Monday, December 03, 2007

Korea Day 3: Welcome to Naju

Welcome to Naju, home of the "world-famous" Naju pear. That's how they advertise themselves anyways. They're all about the Naju pear here. Anyways, that's where I'm at right now. I finally am no longer jet-lagged (at least at the moment, I'm sure I'll need a nap later on) and I even made it outside to look around. DF pointed me in the direction of the markets, so I headed down there first this morning.

This is how most of apartmets around here look. They're all about 15 stories high and you just have to know your number or else you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Naju is pretty small by Korean standards, only about 100,000 people here. They are all pretty friendly though.

They talk about the mountains a lot in Korea. I've seen the Rockies, so when I think of mountains, that's what I usually think of. I've been to the Smokies, and they're smaller, but you can still call them mountains. This is a hill:

They would call that a mountain. It's not bad sized, but it's not a mountain. Knob maybe, but not a mountain. Anyways, I might get to climb a mountain while I'm here :oP

Naju kind of looks a little run down, but it's actually not too bad. The people are really nice here.

I had one woman come up to me and shake my hand. She rambled on for a good five minutes in Korean and kept shaking my hand. She seemed really happy at least and I said anyang haseo to her which means hello. She lit up when I said that. Like I said, pretty nice people. The guy at the market offered to help me carry the bag of bottled water I bought back to the apartment, but I told him it was OK, I could get it. They seemed impressed that I could heft that much weight. It was only 3 bottles of water and two 1.5 liters of soda, so not too much. Anyways...

The first thing that struck me on the drive to Naju was the red crosses. There must have been 50 or more red crosses in the night sky. Every church has a red cross that lights up at night so that you can see it. I found a couple of them in daylight today.

The top of that little building is one of the neon crosses. I assume the little building is a church. There are lots of churches around.

One other random observation too. There are lots of little cartoon things around, even on big street signs and stuff.

They were on the plane on the way over, in the airport, and now I've even seen them on street signs. Go figure.

That's it for today. I'm going to go walk around some more in a little while and probably take some more pictures. And I need to drink some more Chilseng Cider. It's like ginger ale, but man does it taste good. More pictures tomorrow, I'm sure :oP

Knit on...

PS: I cast on for a sock now. I only got four rounds knit on it yesterday. We'll see if I get any knitting in today. There's too much to look at right now.


asterpurl said...

wow wow wow
Looks like a cool place!

Dana said...

Awesome pics! Can't wait to see more! :)

Zabet said...

I forgot about the neon crosses! It can be pretty creepy to a westerner to see a sea of red crosses out across an otherwise rural (and not well lit) area!

I'm glad you're being adventurous and off the the market already! If you want to stop in a small "greasy spoon" you should try ordering "yakimandoo" (fried pork and vegetable dumplings, wait, are you veggie? can't remember now!) or if you want some korean ramen ask for "ha-na rahm-i-on ju-say-oh" (1 Ramen Please!)

How stupid is it that I"m so excited that you are somewhere I used to be? (Even though I never lived in Nanju....!) I'm just glad to know that someone will have the shared experience and I'm interested to know what's changed since I was there so long ago. (For example, no cartoons on road signs 20 years ago!)

I hope you have SO MUCH FUN! (Beware the soju!)