Peculiar Places of Korea: Penis Park

4 12 2009

Thirty(ish) minutes South of the port town of Samcheok, you can discover one of the strangest places in Korea. Haesindang, or Penis Park. Why is it called “Penis Park” you might ask? Easy. Its full of statues of Penises.

Penis Park, Samcheok

We are not talking one or two of them, but hundreds, some highly elaborately carved out of huge tree’s.

Penis Park, Samcheok

Penis Park, Samcheok

Why does this place even exist? Being Korea, there’s a legend behind it. Instead of trying to paraphrase, I’ll just copy and paste from the Korean Tourism Page on the subject.

Legend of Aebawi and Haesindang – There once lived a young maid who was engaged. One day, the maid took her husband’s boat out to sea to harvest seaweed. Her husband dropped her off at a rock that was at a distance from the beach. After promising to pick her up later, he returned to the beach to do his work. Later, the weather changed, and brought with it strong winds and pummeling waves. The man couldn’t rescue his wife and she ultimately drowned. Since then, the village people caught no fish and some said that it was because of the dead maid. To soothe the spirit of the dead maid, the village people made several wooden carvings and held religious ceremonies on her behalf. After a while, the fish slowly returned and the villagers were able to live comfortably again. The place where the maid died was named Aebawi Rock and the building where the religious ceremony is held twice a year was named Haesindang. The ceremony is still honored today as a traditional folk event.

Since then, its turned into a kind of outdoor art sculpture garden dedicated to the, well, penis.

Penis Park, Samcheok

Penis Park, Samcheok

Penis Park, Samcheok

Thats not all. Everything is penis themed. We even have a water fountain style thing that moves up and down by the power of water.

Penis Park, Samcheok

Strange?

More odd are the museum style outdoor exhibits, showing how Koreans used to live and work. Similar to many folk village exhibits except for one small (large?) detail. Guess.

Penis Park, Samcheok

We also have the 12 signs of the zodiac done as penises. Each granite statue is carved with the relevant animal and exhibited in a circle looking out over the water. (This pic is actually a huge mega panorama. 15 shots stitched together, so click it and have a look. Beware if your computer is slow or your have a slow internet connection, it might take a while.)

Twelve Penises of the Zodiac

If you come to Korea, I’d recommend this place. Its one of the nicest parks, in a stunning part of the country. Yes its a good long way from Seoul, but worth it.





Jojawar, small but fabulous. Day 7.

1 12 2009

Between Udaipur and Pushkar we stopped for a night in the small village of Jojawar. By far the smallest place on our itinerary, it has maybe 8000 residents. Its nice, small and flat, easy to walk.

Road to Jojawar

On arrival into our hotel, we checked into the old place. It feels like 100 years ago it was a luxury palace hotel for the British, probably hunting. Now? Its feeling a bit run down but full of character. Rather nice place actually. Seems to be about the only place in town, probably as its a good stopping point on the way from A to B.

This girl met us out the front of the place and was more than willing to chat. Everytime we asked, she came out with a different name, seemingly enjoying verbally sparring with the tourists.

Girl of many names.

The town, small, cute and rural. Cows and animals have right of way.

Holy Cow! It's Sacred

Life in Jojawar

Streets of Jojawar

Restaurants of Jojawar

Some of my favourite Indian pics came from the town, it was just so nice with friendly people.

Mother and Baby

Mother and Daughter

The kids especially were fun. Not demanding money or things like kids in bigger cities, just much more fun and cheeky.

Toy Wheel.

Kids and their toys.

Kids, Kids, Kids

Can I have some please?

More interesting was the “shopping”. Being a small local village, there are no supermarkets, shopping centers or the like. Most produce seemed to be sold on street carts, with most of it looking extremely fresh and delicious. The fish however……Nowhere near the ocean and we didn’t see any big rivers.

Local Supermarket Owner

Local Supermarket

Tomato?

Would you buy this fish?

Would you buy this fish?

The night? Well, the restaurant “buffet” wasn’t the best, but sitting in the courtyard, playing cards, drinking beverages looking at this sunset? Amazing.

Jojawar Sunset





Monday monday monday I hate mondays

30 11 2009

Yurgh, Monday. Worst possible combination of things. The end of the weekend, the start of the work week and worse, 2nd grade students.

Making things worse, we didn’t really have a weekend. We worked a camp for 2 days. About 30 students, 1st and 2nd grade, boys and girls, too much candy and coffee. Fun fun fun. Actually it was fun, mostly.

The obvious problem when you take 30ish kids is that they separate into 4 distinct groups. 1st grade boys, 1st grade girls, 2nd grade boys and 2nd grade girls. Usually its an absolute struggle to get them to combine at all into any form of team. This camp was better than usual for that. All sorts of fun activities, games, movies etc were planned. We almost managed to stick to the plan too, however the study time for the kids really didn’t work out too well.

We’ve both worked many camps. We’ve learnt from past mistakes. We know not to even bother attempting to sleep at the same place as the kids as sleep is not what the kids want. Usually Sunday morning arrives, we roll up about 9am, the kids look like zombies. A few hours sleep if they were lucky. Ha ha ha. No sympathy here.

For me, the saturday was a struggle. I was off sick for most of Friday with a stomach bug (mental note, don’t drink blue powerade when you can’t keep anything down). Saturday I was completely drained, but the kids were fun and I struggled through. Sunday was shorter and better.

Today, Monday? The worst. I got about 4 hours sleep last night for no apparent reason. 2nd grade are the worst classes I have to teach. They are at that middle stage; the’ve been in the school long enough to think they know everything, they are not the youngest, but neither must they work hard to get into a good highschool. So they just drive me crazy. Evil munchkins, most of them at least. I can’t believe that my best students and my worst are all bundled together into 2nd grade.

Today also marks the start of the next course of my online uni stuff. This time round its “Managing the Transition to eBusiness”, which promises to be interesting but kinda awkward as I’m probably the only one participating who isn’t involved in any kind of online venture at all at the moment. Teaching kids is decidedly not eBusiness, about as far as I get towards eBusiness at the moment is internet shopping, something Korea leads the world in.

I also finally managed to get the “avante of power”, the car, in for its snow tyres. Probably should have done it a few weeks back but we’ve had no snow in a month and its been a busy busy month and I only just got round to it. Lets see what that costs this time around.





Udaipur, city of lakes and palaces. Days 5 & 6

8 11 2009

Continuing on from Kumbalgarh, it was about 80km into the town of Udaipur. Udaipur, the royal city of lakes and palaces is justifiably famous. Why?

Udaipur's City Palace

The city is built on and around Lake Pichola and contains a vast number of royal palaces. If you can remember the James Bond movie, Octopussy, you will remember part of this city. Much of it was filmed in the Lake Palace (now a hotel) and in the Monsoon Palace. While we didn’t get time to visit the Monsoon Palace, we could see it on top of a mountain just out of town.

Lake Palace and Monsoon Palace

When we arrived into Udaipur it was a challenge to get to our hotel. We were stuck in traffic for quite a while and only once we got close to our hotel did we find out that a large tree had fallen, taken out a wall and brought the power lines down, right out the front of our hotel. This also meant no electricity for a few hours. It’s India, no big deal.

We initially went out to see some traditional Rajasthani dances. A short(ish) performance showcasing a range of different dances. Quite interesting.

Rajasthani Folk Dance

Rajasthani Folk Dance

The next morning we headed over to quite possibly one of the most amazing palaces in India, the City Palace of Udaipur. This is the largest royal palace in Rajashtan and stunningly beautiful.

City Palace of Udaipur

Entering through the gateway in the street we came into a large courtyard, still with parking spots for elephants, now used by cars.

Udiapur Palace Gateway

Udaipur City Palace

Golden Face

Like most such places it has been partly turned into a museum. The guard was rather proud of his moustache and happily posed for photos.

Mr Moustache

More pics from within the City Palace

Indian God's

Screened Tower

Need a Hand?

The next day we ventured out onto the lake for a cruise. The centrepiece of Udaipur, it gives great views of all the famous sights as well as superb photo-ops.

Lake Pichola Panorama

Gnats on Lake Pichola

Udaipur City Reflections

Our boat dropped us at one of the floating hotels, so we could wander, take pics and pay exorbitant prices for drinks. The option was there for dinner but not at those prices.

Smoking Elephant

Cats Royal Box

Reflections of a Lake Palace

Sunset came quickly with us still on the lake.

Lake Palace Sunset

Sunset over Lake Pichola





Hill Forts at Kumbalgarh, Day 5 begins

23 10 2009

Oh India, why must you be such a contrasting place? You have both the best and the worst of travel. Really you do.

Located 80km North of Udaipur is the formidable hilltop fort of Kumbalgarh. Built during the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, this fort has some of the most impressive fortifications I’ve ever seen. Its huge walls stretch 36km and are still intact. Supposedly this makes them the 2nd longest continuous walls in the world, after China’s Great Wall.

Kumbalgarh Mountaintop Fort

These walls meant that during its entire history, the fort was only defeated once, by the Emperor Akbar, and that was aided by the poisoning of the water supply. Put simply, this is one of the most secure forts around.

Defenses of Kumbalgarh

Kumbalgarh Defenses

Kumbalgarh Defenses

We were in for a bit of a surprise when we arrived, as there was a French film crew filming part of a travel documentary, using a pair of old American mustangs to travel to various forts and around India. More impressive was their use of a camera mounted on a remote control helicopter. A toy that looked very difficult to use, but loads of fun.

Filming at Kumbalgarh

The fort itself used to have a temple at the top of the hill. Unfortunately now the temple is just a bare shell

Kumbalgarh Fort

We spent a good few hours exploring the remains of the old fort and temple complex. Unfortunately much of it is ruins now, but still it remains highly impressive.

Within the vast 36km walls are other settlements and temples. Obviously at 36km long we couldn’t walk the whole walls, in fact we barely had time to do a few hundred meters. There was plenty to be seen in and around the main area. Numerous temples are right there, mostly allowing entry.

Temple at Kumbalgarh

One of my favourite views was through the main entrance/exit doorway of the final set of defences, the entry into the main fort. It opens out and shows the vastness of Rajasthan and the defences of the fort.

Grand Exit

And of course, how could I forget the monkeys? These cheeky buggers were hanging around the entrance, where the restaurants were. They obviously want nothing better than to steal food from tourists.

Monkey at the Fort

After the fort, we endured the next few hour onwards and into Udaipur, our home of the next few days, and the goal of the next post.





The Haechi of Seoul – Gwanghwamun Plaza

6 10 2009

Recently the area in front of Gyeongbokgung palace in Seoul has been turned from a 12 lane road into a vast public space, Gwanghwamun Plaza. The old statue of King Sejong is still here, but now is part of a fountain structure.

King Sejong and his Fountians

On a nice hot day, the kids go crazy running around, trying to avoid the water and usually failing.

Upwards Rain?

Strut in those fountains boy

The plaza itself contains more than just the fountains. It is also a vast public exhibition space, both above ground and underground.

Gwanghwamun Plaza

Currently they are exhibiting the Haechi of Seoul. The Haechi is a mythical beast that once protected the palaces of Seoul. Now it is the latest tourist face of the city. They have put at least 20 differently decorated Haechi statues out as an art exhibit. Similar in concept to the decorated cows that were in many cities over the last few years, these seem to have more of a sense of fun.

Vodpod videos no longer available.




Hagia Sophia, in Pink

18 09 2009

Just playing with some filters in aperture and came up with this. Not sure why but I think it works.

The photo is of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Cathedral/Mosque/Museum getting on towards sunset.

Hagia Sophia in Pink





Weekends, shopping and Obama?

3 09 2009

Finally, we have discovered that a long standing rumour is true. Yes, they are real. Really real.

For one of these

1000won.jpg

we managed to obtain the long rumoured, never before seen (at least by us), mythological

obama.jpg

Yes indeedily, they are geniune Obama Socks. Now you’ve seen everything. Only in Korea could you possibly find a treasure such as these, and all for about $1 Australian too.

However thats not the full extent of the bounty. For the same W1000, we also obtained this

50000won.jpg

W50,000??? Wait, that can’t be right, $1 gives you $50?

Oops, I actually meant these

OManSocks.jpg

The amazing W50,000 pair of socks. Some of the most valuable socks ever to be seen in the back streets of Daegu.

On topic (barely), the new W50,000 notes are a godsend. Finally you can carry a reasonable amount of cash with you without needing a huge wallet stuffed with cash. Amazing when you consider that the W10,000 note was introduced in 1973 and so was the top valued not for over 25 years. It ended up being worth about US$10 or so.

It meant to buy even a old 2nd hand car required a huge handful of cash, like this (about W2,000,000)

Photo 44.jpg

Please note, that picture is old. My hair now in no way resembles what you see in that picture.

Apparently the lack of a larger valued note was to reduce corruption, making large cash bribes physically very large. Not that it seemed to stop it happening……





The famous Whirling Dervishes

3 08 2009

This is the real deal, members of the real dervish sect perform the famous dance every evening at their hall in Bursa, Turkey.

All over turkey are fake dervish dancers performing for tourists and charging a small fortune to watch. These guys do it every night for real.

Surprisingly it wasn’t just adults, young kids also take part, seemingly entering the same trance and whirling around with hands up for 10-15 minutes. Unbelievable.

Those that we met are really nice guys, very friendly and willing to talk.

Whirling Dervishes

Whirling Dervishes

Whirling Dervishes





Viagra robot!

3 08 2009

Yes I’ve been lax in posting pics and writing. I’m sorry, but its so nice here I just don’t really have time.

Still, I couldn’t go past this. A genuine Viagra robot as found in the front window of a local pharmacy in Bursa, Turkey.

Viagra Robot!