Friday, 20 March 2015

월미도 | Wolmido: Why Does it Always Rain On Me

We've been to Wolmido a few times now. And for some reason, it's rained pretty much every. Single. Time. Regardless of time of day or season, or the recent weather surrounding it. It's like our own little slice of England on the coast of Incheon. I don't understand.

We wanted to take Mike to Wolmi, as it's always quite unusual and fun, and quite different to home. There's also the 'model village' park that we like to go to. I don't know if it has a proper name, but it's basically lots of little examples of Korean architecture and replicas of historical buildings all in one place. It's really lovely! When the rain holds off.

We managed to have a look around before we got too swamped, but the sandy area around my favourite bit, the hanok displays, had turned to mud and I wasn't willing to ruin my already poor choice of footwear. So we wandered back onto the tarmac and headed towards a building I'd always seen signposted but never actually visited.

I can't remember the  exact name, and I can't actually seem to find any evidence of its existence online either, but it's definitely a real place. Something like the Incheon Food and Culture Centre. Anyway, we wandered in to see what would happen, and at the very least hoping for some respite from the rain.

It actually ended up being incredibly fun!

The one staff member manning the reception desk seemed quite surprised to have any guests, let alone foreigners. Presumably a rainy day in winter isn't a common time to have visitors at a seaside holiday sort of place. Go figure :p

She apologised for her lack of English (as many Koreans usually do) but was still lovely enough to try where possible. It took quite a lot of repetition, back-and-forth in a strange mashup of her limited English and our scant Korean (which has thankfully increased a tiny bit, making this easier for us and presumably also a little less stressful for her), and mostly gesticulation, but she took us around the whole place and gave us her full attention which I was really grateful for. She could have just introduced the two halls and then left us to our own devices and saved herself the effort, but she didn't.

There was a lot of different information about traditional Korean schooling, customs and traditions for all stages of life, as well as the different roles that food and music play throughout everything.

But I'm going to be honest here, the highlight was when she offered to dress us up in some traditional Korean hanbok and take photos of us.

She taught us the names of each part, and showed us the correct traditional ways to sit and stand whilst wearing them, which I didn't realise was a thing. I definitely also did it incorrectly despite her trying to make corrections. Sorry ㅠㅠ

I was really happy to be invited to do this, because I always want to try out these traditional clothing experiences but worry about being appropriative and a bad tourist rather than being invited to learn from a local.

I was also fully expecting the hanbok (I got to be a queen, ooh) to be way too short on me, but actually it wasn't too bad!

She then invited us to pose for all sorts of photos such as sitting on the throne, and eating dinner at a nearby display of a traditional "royal feast" setup. I look a bit sinister though.

So it ended up being really great despite the rain, and we finished up with a great meal of jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk at a proper Chinese place in Chinatown before we went home~

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