Monday, February 23, 2015

Golden Weekend (5.3.14 - 5.6.14): Naganeupseong

From Boseong I headed to the traditional folk village of Naganeupseong, deep in Jeollanam-do, on a series of seldom-used buses that a few very helpful and bemused people assisted me in finding. Of course, because it was a major holiday, the village itself was pretty crowded, but I was the only person on the first bus from Boseong, and the driver found that very entertaining.

The driver on the larger, more standard charter-type bus I took after that obviously thought he was hot shit..

... Riiight up until he sideswiped a car

Anyway, the first thing I did after getting there was walk around the two small streets of businesses across from the folk village grounds to try to find a place to stay, and they were all not only overpriced, but shitty. I'd recommend staying in the village itself at any time other than a major holiday weekend, because that seems a bit uncomfortable but genuinely rustic.

Because I couldn't find a place, I had to carry all of my stuff with me all day. 
Having walked around the main entrance area and been totally repelled by the size of the lines to get tickets, I went down the road, out of the village itself, following signs pointing to a small museum. Museums in Korea are usually quite good, and they're always super cheap. I want to say this one was a couple of dollars to get into, and for a museum practically in the middle of nowhere the building was very nice, and it had some really cool paintings and artifacts.

 Ancient cake toppers, anyone?

Look at these ducks. They're all like, 
"Um, this is really awkward, but I think our butts are stuck together?"
And that frog is all like, "HURRRR"

I thought these privacy screens with clusters of everyday objects were really cute and modern; very Katamari.

This guy's won the Most Awkward Tiger Prize 6 years running

When I walked back to the folk village itself, refreshed by light air conditioning and having been able to stash my heavy backpack behind a desk for a bit, I took the scenic route around the back, walking along a narrow dirt road with a large, picturesque field on the other side.

I also came to the conclusion that the "fortress" surrounding the old village isn't much of a fortress if you can just walk in the back without paying. 
It wasn't the $3 or whatever I had a problem with, it was just the undulating mass of disorganised humanity peppered with annoying kids. And if Naganeupsong doesn't get its fortress shit together, they're going to have much bigger problems, like with marauding bandits, thieves, pirates, agitated wild animals, et cetera.
Let this be a lesson to ye, ill-prepared villagefolk.

The first thing I started doing was taking pictures of amusing juxtapositions (like at the Yongin folk village), such as authentic, antique Korean Coke machines, Kias, fire extinguishers, etc., followed by pictures of super cute ceramic and earthernware handicrafts.

These women are standing around an example of how fresh water was diverted into village centres in the middle ages, and invited bystanders to come down and try doing laundry the old-fashioned way:

The view from the top of the "fortress" wall encircling the village was pretty great:

It's just like being at a Goodwill back in Phoenix, but with more abacus!

This stuffed rooster is super displeased about the catering choices at this wedding simulation


One of the more entertaining things the village has is a large open park area where you can play old-fashioned games and things, like flying traditional kites and chasing metal hoops with sticks.

There was also a super-tall standing swing, but there were too many people waiting for me to try it. While I was standing there, a guy came by with a cow-driven cart and had all the little kids in the area hop in for a ride.

Another fun thing was the making of ddeok, or glutinous rice cake. There was an old lady demonstrating how to do it with an enormous stone mortar and wooden pestle, and she had a guy come up and try, sticking a handful of warm rice goop in his mouth as he went for energy.
The people he was with offered me some when it was more or less finished, and i dripped off my fingers onto another guy's shoe. His wife thought it was hilarious, he gave me a death glare for a few seconds, and a good time was had by all. All I can remember eating that day was some grape and pineapple slush drink in paper cups, so the rice slime wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Obligatory enormous koi pond:

And just look at this fluffy little fucker I found stuck on a really short leash in someone's driveway. You'd better believe I petted and played with him for a few minutes. Poor thing was probably super bored; Koreans aren't really dog people.

After a long day of walking around and obviously taking shit tons of photos, I waited forever for a bus to come, and just got on the first one that showed up even though it was going straight to Suncheon Bay as opposed to the actual city of Suncheon...

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