Thumbnails - September 2009

September 2009
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Kimchi Museum Photo: Red rope cordons off those that desire to wantonly destroy the hanging kimchi portraits near the entrance of the Kimchi museum. ;-) Black Bean Paste Photo: Jjiajiang myun (짜장면) is a Korean noodle dish featuring a sweet black bean sauce, originally brought over from China but tweaked for the Korean palette.  The sour yellow side dish, called dan mu ji (단무지), is made from pickled radish perfectly complements the taste of jjiajiang myun.  Anyone else drooling besides me? Sticky Venom Photo: Spiderman's alter ego, Venom, hangs comfortably on the inside of a motorcycle windshield. Downtown Amusement Photo: There's nothing like an amusement park squeezed directly in downtown, well, anywhere.  Welcome to Lotte World, a Disney-esque attraction complete with its very own fairy tale castle and hordes of vomiting teenagers.  Half-price after 7pm!
Seoul Music Photo: For two simple reasons, my photography expeditions in Seoul generally begin at Seoul City Hall.  For starters, I really don't know much else about Seoul because I'm too cheap to buy I don't have access to a guidebook.  Secondly, it's apparent, there are myriad festivals and happenings on the lawn in front of city hall, including what seem like daily musical performances. Gurdwara Head Photo: The leader (or head) of the Paonta Sahib Gurdwara appears menacing with weapons drawn.  Contrary to the impression left by this image, this man, like most Sikhs I've met, is one of the classiest, kindest, gentlemen in all of India.  Despite the fierce stance, you can see the gentle grin poking through his salt and pepper beard. The Admiral Photo: Downtown Seoul, very near Seoul city hall.  Summer is full of activity at the base of the statue of Admiral Yi Sun Sin (이순신).  As far as I'm concerned, this is the cultural heart of the city.  There seems to be something different planned in this area for every night of the summer, thankfully, giving bored locals and tourists something to do that doesn't involve a television set and perfectly groomed Korean drama stars. The Night Admiral Photo: Same place as yesterday but much later.  I embed all my photos with original EXIF information so were you curious what time this photo was taken, take a look (Firefox add-on Exif Viewer recommended).  Except for this country, I forgot to adjust to local time.  The camera's still on India time so add 3.5 hours which puts this picture around the 10pm area.
Fallen Laureate Photo: This photo is a bit dated but still worth posting.  On August 18, Kim Dae Jung (김대중), a former Korean president and 2000 Nobel Peace Prize winner passed away.  Memorials were held in quite a few places around Seoul but the one at city hall dwarfed all others in comparison.  Waiting times were often as long as three hours as each group of well-wishers got a chance to pay their respects, a minute per group. 47 Bright Photo: Often, I wander around Seoul, or any city for that matter, with no particular photographic goal or attraction in mind.  Locals generally think I'm mad to walk for 5 or 6 hours a day when I can hail a taxi and not besmirch the high respect unduly granted to foreigners for no other reason than their being foreign.  Some days I come home with terribly unusable photographs and calluses covering my feet.  Other days, my compact flash card spilleth over and calluses cover my feet.  On this particular day, I returned home with only three usable images that I rolled up into one multi-image composite. Fierce Face Photo: A Chinese Opera company came rolling into town, much like a traveling circus, complete with frightening characters in exaggerated makeup sans bulbous red noses.  There are only two things I fear in life:  A land war in Asia and the unholy grin of a circus clown.  Today I add to my list of fears:  Chinese opera performers. Skilled Simian Photo: During the same Chinese opera performance as yesterday's frightening post, an acrobatic monkey performs to the delight of the audience.  The performance was part of the Chungmuro International Film Festival (ChIFF).
Cow Lick & Child Photo: An unwelcome visitor gets a small reprieve when the Muslim boy sees a camera pointing his way. Creamy White Skin Photo: A seller of goods at the Damnoen Saduak floating market takes a short break.  My spider sense is tingling.  I suspect, by the white tanaka on her face, this woman is a Burmese refugee, of which there are many in Thailand. Concealed Crest Photo: Hot off the press!  As my achy legs heal from the soreness acquired on a two day trek to the peak of Seoraksan (소락산), I pounded out this multiple image composite of a pair of pictures taken on day one of the journey. Silk Falls Photo: The sunset's glow bathes the western face of a nearby peak at Seoraksan (소락산).  You can see by the leaves that they are on the cusp of achieving autumn cliche status.  When the leaves finally change colors, Seoraksan is overflowing with more professionally geared trekkers than Everest base camp.
Dizzying Heights Photo: This panorama was taken in the open area fronting the highest shelter in Seoraksan National Park (소락산).  In the panorama, the peak to the left of the shelter (without the white spheres) is the highest point (대청봉) in the entire park at an under-appreciated 1709m.  And the spheres or more accurately, geodesic domes, if I may?  I don't know their function.  I was too tired, hungry and stinky to risk expending more energy asking what seemed at the time, a useless question.  A good guess is that it has to do with meteorology but my mind's buggy from staring at a computer screen all day that I wouldn't suggest believing me at the moment. Stoned View Photo: The view of the east section of Seoraksan (소락산) National Park from near the highest point of the mountain.  Coincidentally, that would be the area of the park my now jiggly legs forbade me to go.  At this point in the journey, I'm exhausted, hungry, and aching for a hot cup o' joe.  For those of you that think traveling is - wait for it - a stroll in the park, I can doubly assure you, often it's not and the main reason I punish my achy breaky body is for the possibility of that next halfway decent photo. Top Panorama Photo: A panoramic view of the 1708m peak Dae Chung Bong (대청봉) at Seoraksan (소락산) National Park.  On either side of the peak are paths that lead back down to warmth and safety but most importantly, Korean food (though around these parts, they just call it 'food'). Why so important?  Because honestly, those man-sized helpings of bibim bap (비빔밥) and doenjang jigae (된장 찌개) aren't gonna finish themselves! 1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Indians Photo: In this day and age, I'm not sure the title of this post is politically correct but frankly, I've got nothing else.  At times, I exhaust far too much time and energy trying to think of a clever title to label these posts.  Thesauruses & almanacs are laboriously consulted but in this case, a children's song was all I could conjure up.  With this title, I was trying to imply that these three people of differing ethnic backgrounds are all Indian, highlighting the extreme diversity of India's population.  The Darjeeling (Sikkim also) area as well as North India (Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir) serve as these unique crossroads of human ethnicities.  Ethnic groups in these areas seem to melt and morph into each other.
A Humble Seoul Photo: A photo from Seoul Plaza, in front of city hall, looking west.  The capitol of Korea isn't renowned for its unforgettable skyline or magnificent buildings but somehow the architecture comes together, a near-perfect example that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Underground Lair Photo: Lady in red on the campus of Ewha Womans University (이화여자대학교).  I believe something got lost in the translation or you can attribute it to the lack of plural words in the Korean language however, don't blame me.  I didn't misspell "Womans."  Now back to the image:  I couldn't decide between the faux infrared or color post-processed image.  I'm leaning towards the faux infrared.  Et tu, Brute?  Comment area below if you wanna help me with your opinion. Model Students Photo: University students mozy in and out of the Ewha Campus Complex (ECC), or as I'd like to call it, "the divot".  See yesterday's Underground Lair post for more photos of the divot. Spin Me Right Round Photo: The panorama-rama continues!
Rocketeers Photo: A crotch rocket races past an intersection near the Yi Sun Shin statue in Seoul. Out of Step Photo: A group of young "police" officers walk in loose formation down Cheonggyecheon (청계천) Stream in Seoul.  Korean residents are obliged to serve in the military but some skirt gun-toting duty by being assigned as civilian police officers. Urban Plateaus Photo: Non-Korea-photo Sundays... the tradition continues. Bandaged Warrior Photo: Let's keep this one short and simple.  I'm running on little sleep since my sojourn to the center of South Korea.
Building Shadow Photo: A beautifully illuminated building at the head of the man-made Cheonggyecheon (청계천) stream. Leggy Photo: Women's professional tennis player, Magdalena Rybarikova from Slovakia goes for a towel during an early round match at the Hansol Open.    
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