Monday, May 3, 2010

2010 Munkyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival

I am off work till Thursday due to Children's Day (Wednesday) and that our school has their anniversary on Tuesday. Last month I planned the idea of going to Munkyeong again for their annual tea bowl festival. I figured I would go on Saturday stay a night and browse around Sunday then go home.

But then I came down with a cough last week and by Friday was feeling pretty miserable. Thursday I was allowed to see a doctor and so got some medicine and Friday I managed to teach my classes. Surprisingly Mrs. K told me, after lunch, that I could go home.

I really wanted to go to the festival with JH but he had to drive to a far location for his work. So Saturday I ended up resting at home and talking to my new friend K. She lives in my building and works at another Elementary school near mine. We have bumped into each other on the way to work and found that we both have interests in the same things. I invited her to come along with me to the festival.

We all ended up finally going on Sunday and had a good time. The weather was great as it warmed up into the high 60's! It sure felt like winter was finally over.

On our way at a rest stop~
If you have been reading this blog long enough you would know that I went to this festival last year. It was a time in my life when I was feeling blue due to breaking up with my ex boyfriend. I needed to get away and get myself together.

Munkyeong became this special place to me where I found a sense of peace amongst all the crap I had gone through in Korea. Therefore I was really looking forward to revisiting this place again. However, as you will see, sometimes you can't repeat the same thing twice.

We got there pretty early before the crowds came and walked to the festival grounds.

I saw the familiar pink and reddish o-mi-ja products.
On our way there were stall vendors giving out samples, one of which were chestnuts. 
Coming into the first part of the festival you are first welcomed by an "experience area." Here they had potters from a local university giving demonstrations using traditional kick wheels. I kind of felt bad for them because I knew as the day got hotter it would get harder to work with the clay. 
Around the tent was an area to make your own tea-bowl with the assistance of one of the students. When we came back around this part as we were leaving it was chaotic. There were clay mounds sitting out in the sun and people crowded around. 
Leaving that area we came to where there were some tents and open space. Inside the tents were master works on display. I should have seen this as a sign that they changed things this year, because last year the master works were on display in the hanok houses at the other end of the park. This year they didn't do it the same way, instead the hanok houses had tea vendors set up inside them. I don't mind getting to know and taste traditional tea, but I really enjoyed going from hanok to hanok looking at different artists works. 

Well despite this change we tried to make the best of things. As we walked around the sun was beating down on us hotter and hotter. I really needed a hat and finally found one in the vendor area.

We looked around the various vendors and found some selling those beach / hippy dresses. This kind of stuff is common back in my hometown but was fun to see here in Korea. I contemplated buying some items but decided to take pictures instead.

There was a tent area that was selling country themed food or merchandise. However, authenticity didn't seem to match up. Behind the "America" booth was a smoothie stand and Germany had the Korean waffle and potato-on-a-stick thing. I guess they tried. I laughed and made the joke that maybe I should stand behind the American booth to make it more authentic.

What I do enjoy about these kinds of events is the live artists they have at work.
Now and then the wind would blow and the petals would fly around like a scene in a Japanese animation.
There are some photos of JH and I on this bridge but he wasn't smiling the whole time so I didn't put them up. Indeed, he didn't seem to cheer up till later on. I think he was just tired but wanted to be with me. He is such a sport. 

Throughout the village area there were actors walking around in a parade.
We came to the "restaurant" part of the village and found that we were ready for lunch time. We had pajeon,  tofu and kimchi. 

Then we meandered around as I was trying to find the houses with the ceramics inside. Of course, as you know, I never really found them. But we saw other interesting things, like traditional games.
We checked out the tea exhibitions.
We moved on and had a little fun taking photos.

It was getting really hot and so we made our way back to the car. On the way we found a guy making tteok (traditional sticky rice cake) and some more beautiful flowers.
I forgot to mention that we passed by a traditional medicine showcase, where you can sit down and get a treatment. This one was where they use the acupuncture points on your hand to help some recent ailment. The lady figured I was tired and put on these point-type bandaids on spots on my finger tips. The little bandaid had a small point coming out of it that pressed down on your skin. You could really feel something when you touched it. This was fun and I wonder if it really worked.

Here's the guy making the tteok.
You know, after checking out the website, I think we made the mistake of walking past the display tents with the ceramics. My mistake for thinking they were in the hanok houses. Oh well what can you do? haha It was a good time and felt great to get away from the usual sites of everyday life.

Before you go check out this video I made of the day ~ :)

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