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… 🙂

This is my neighborhood in Daegu; it's the QUINTESSENTIAL Korean city block....

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!

Donghae Yonggung-Sa Temple in Busan, South Korea ~ the quintessential temple in Korea

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.

one of many colorful lanterns at the Lantern Festival in Seoul, Korea

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.

Korean street food

Quintessential Qorea… in 4 little pictures…. 🙂