May 28th was Buddha’s birthday which was celebrated by a 3+ day festival in Seoul and many other places around the world. We were happy to go into Seoul for the lantern parade. Because of the limitations of our camera, most of my photos turned out blurry but I did get a few. Here are some snippets of our day.
Headed in on the subway around 4 and stopped for some street food.
That was some delicious Spam-like meat-ish slice with cabbage, a bbq-ish sauce and mustard sandwich. Tasty! For all you grimacing, I will tell you that Spam is quite popular here as it is in many countries who survived on it during a recent war. When in Osan you gotta try it, right?!
Next was to check out the pre-parade situation. Found lots of chairs but knew those would go fast. We had no problem with standing so we walked around looking at more street food and stopped at this little place:
Had nice frosty drinks and very friendly atmosphere.
Back to the parade route we saw a police band playing and shortly after, the parade started! It was beautiful. Many, many, MANY lanterns filled the streets. Bands performing traditional music. Big floats with images of Buddha and other religious symbols. It was very beautiful!
After the parade we had our first ‘soju tent’ experience. Soju tents are these tarp and stove top restaurants that line the streets selling street food. There are sometimes plastic tables and chairs, sometimes simply crates, inside the tent. A nice woman waved us in and took me by the hand up to her display of fresh seafood etc. I pointed to some squid and some skewers that looked like beef. She sent me back to our table and went to work. She brought us some food that was pretty half decent!
Can’t really complain. Though I was disappointed because the beef turned out to be some sort of (cow?) organ meat (kidney?). Organ meat is not really my thing… at all. Luckily, Sandy liked it! (as he did the beef intestine that we accidently ordered, but that’s another story).
We caught one of the last trains back to Osan but only 5 or six stops the train stopped and everyone got off. The subway was closing for the night! Instead of the trains finishing their routes, they just stop wherever they are at a certain time and kick everyone off. Okie dokie. Off to find a taxi. $50 later we are back in Osan (it was an hour trip so $50 is pretty good, I’d say!).
A great occasion!