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Mums in Seoul
July 3rd, 2004

Both our mums visited Korea for a 1 month during the month of May.  Whilst it was Jeanette's third visit to Seoul, Raymond's mum's first visit to Seoul reminded her how things have changed when she visited over 20 years ago.

It was especially difficult for Raymond's mum to get used to living in Korea, in particular as she does not eat beef, mutton or raw fish.  Beef, being the staple diet of Korean non-vegans, is served in some 80% of meals and ruling this out, meant that food would be difficult to find.  In addition, the language difficulties also mean that she was totally dependent on us.  The loss of freedom of speech, even for simple communications became un-bearingly difficult as time went on.  In a way, its like visiting an alien planet.

Nevertheless, we enlisted the help of friends to make the stay of the two mum's as pleasant as possible.  We guess, with the personality differences in the two mums, at least one would find our efforts to entertain at any one time, enjoyable. 

Uncle Boon also visited from Malaysia, spending 4 days in Seoul before they all (two mum's included) departed Seoul on the same aircraft, heading for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Lotus Lantern Festival was held on the weekend before Korea celebrated Buddha's birthday.  The street which Jogyesa (Korean Order of Buddhism) temple is situation on is shut to vehicle traffic for one day.  Stalls are erected - each one displaying a feature or activity of Buddhism.... well, all except one - which happened to be the Nepalese tourism authority.  Activity such as making of lanterns, sampling of temple cooking, face painting, dances and concerts continued all day long.   While we have now accepted walking amongst the crown in the thousands - this can be rather hair-raising for our visitors as if they are separated, the prospect of being reunited quickly is only a dream.  Therefore, for those who visit in the future - organise a landmark to reunite if you are ever lost, at specific time intervals - like, every hour on the hour.

Ginseng, known in Korea as Insam is a well known "commodity" .  We visited Ganghwa Island, to see how fresh and packaged Ginseng is sold in the local market.  We discovered that there are apart from fresh Ginseng, which is normally between 3 to 6 yeras old, there are two varieties of preserved Ginseng - the white and the red Ginseng.

If you check the Korean Insam website, you will note that the venerable root has many properties ranging from the cure to cancer right through correcting sexual disfunction. However, the mums paid hard earned money to buy the Korean Ginseng because they know its good for you (Hokkien "Chiak Pohr") and that it's cheaper in Korea and whist you're here ..........

During the time the mums were here, some of the places we visited are:

Keep well ! ....  Jeanette and Raymond Han

 

Both mums posing at the Festival Garden in Everland.
Amazon actor in the Festival World carnival street parade, Everland.

Lotus Lanterns hangs above Jogyesa temple in Jung-gu, Seoul.

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