Tuesday, April 24: I have to admit I’ve been a little stymied trying to find an interesting Q picture for this week’s a-z photo challenge. If I had time, I would go down the east coast of Oman to photograph a town called Quriyat or to Muscat, where I could photograph the Qurum beach area. The problem is, I don’t have time to do that in the next week. I have other plans and they don’t involve anything with a Q… 🙂
Besides, I started looking over my catbird in korea blog this week because that blog got nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. I have to admit, after looking through many of my pictures, a wave of nostalgia swept over me. I discovered I miss Korea a bit, although everyone who knows me knows I didn’t care for it at all while I was there. There was a lot of good about Korea though. At least two weekends out of every month, just as I do in Oman, I went on adventures exploring all that Korea had to offer. And looking back, it actually was quite a lot. So, for this challenge, I’m posting a few pictures that capture Quintessential [Q]orea…. Don’t worry, I do know it’s really spelled with a “K.” But hey, it’s the same sound, right? Quintessential means: most typically representative of a quality, state, etc.; perfect; most typical…..
There’s no way I can really capture Korea in four photos, but that’s my goal and I’m stickin’ to it!
The thing I loved the most in Busan was Donghae Yonggung-Sa, a temple set on the rocky coast. For some reason it was totally packed, possibly some Buddhist holiday we didn’t know about. Though usually crowds like that would detract from a place’s appeal, I didn’t find it offensive. I actually thought the crowd gave the spot a “pilgrimage” ambiance. The entrance is lined with large carved stone zodiac figures and stone lanterns punctuate the steps leading to the temple. It’s such a pleasant setting all around, set on a rocky coast overlooking the East Sea with a pine-covered hillside behind it. Buddha and bodhisattva statues abound and a huge pot-bellied smiling Buddha sits near the top. Korea has hundreds of temples, but I see this one as the quintessential one!
Korea is known for its bright colors verging sometimes on the point of garishness. However, I loved the colorful lanterns at a lantern festival in Seoul.
Finally, I can’t ignore the food. I have to admit I didn’t care much for Korean food. It seems among expats that we either love it or hate it. There were some things I enjoyed, like bibimbap, and a few other dishes, but generally speaking, I dreaded any meal where I was forced to sit at a table with other Koreans who spooned huge helpings of bizarre chewy meats and seafood or heaps of kimchi onto my plate. Every time they loaded up my plate with food I didn’t like, they told me one health benefit or another. According to Koreans, every single food in Korea has a health benefit.
One thing I generally did enjoy, however, was street food. These are steamy hot accordion-shaped dumplings on a stick, made of some fish product (I think!). It actually is quite tasty on one of Korea’s icy cold winter days.
Quintessential Qorea… in 4 little pictures…. 🙂