Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Return Of Mrs. Kim - Friday, April 16, 2010

We had no plans for the day, and so spent a lazy morning around the house. Ok Hwa wasn't going anywhere util her mom got home. I was getting restless, and so at 11:00 I took my cameras and headed out.

I started walking down this new road which cuts across the valley, north to south. I saw on the map that a little ways down it crosses the expressway that leads back to Seoul. Also, the map shows that pretty close to this intersection there is the Tomb of King Myeongjugun. That seemed like it might be interesting. It's not a very detailed map, so I wasn't sure exactly where this place would be. It was uphill all the way to the expressway, about five or six kilometers. I never did see a king's tomb, or a sign indicating one. It turned out to be a pretty boring walk, but good exercise.

I made it back to the house in just about two hours. Mrs. Kim still had not arrived, but Ok Hwa said that she'd called and would be here about 14:00. That gave me time for a nap. A short while later I was awakened by the arrival of Mrs. Kim herself.

It was all talk and excitement when she arrived. The old guy does not talk or do much while she's gone, but when she's here he becomes, at least, partially animated. They talk a lot between themselves, sometimes late into the night. Ok Hwa was, as usual, chattering non-stop. Mrs. Kim returned with her little back pack completely filled with foodstuffs. There was Kimchi, fresh meat, vegetables, and spices. It must have weighed thirty pounds. I do not know how she carried it. Her walking is uncertain, even without a load. She was in great spirits, as usual, always commanding whatever situation she's in.

Lunch was quickly prepared, and we set down to a great meal of spicy noodle soup, fresh Kimchi, and all the usual Korean side dishes. After lunch Mrs. Kim and the old guy retired to the front room to watch TV, talk and take a nap. I wasted no time returning to the futon for my afternoon nap, also. Ok Hwa was left to clean up the dishes, and put away the food. I always ask if I can help, but she's perfectly content to do the kitchen work. It's the same way when we're at home. The kitchen is her domain, and she'd rather I stayed out of her way. What a gal!

After an hour or so, she woke me to say she was bored and wanted to go into town, I got up and got ready, and we waited on the porch for the 15:50 bus to arrive.

In town we got off the bus a few blocks before our usual stop. There is what looks to be a large historical house which occupies about a half a city block just before the intersection with the main drag. This house sits up behind a large ornate wall, and from the bus you can see over the wall into the compound. I've been fascinated with it for a long time, and today I decided we'd try to get a closer look.

The place is called Imnyeonggwan, Historic Site #388. It is not a house, but a series of government buildings from centuries ago. It is, indeed, open for tours at no cost. Most of the buildings have survived intact from their beginning, but a few of them were damaged or destroyed during the Japanese occupation of the early 1900s. These damaged or destroyed buildings have been re-built, and the rest restored.

The buildings are all very beautiful, and the grounds are a peaceful oasis in the center of the city. We strolled around at our leisure, taking pictures and admiring the beautiful architecture and setting.

After leaving Imnyeonggwan, we walked over to the Jungang Market, a few blocks away. We always end up there. It just draws us in. We wandered the many small lanes and alleys, window shopping and making a few purchases. I found a couple of nice small baskets to add to my collection back home. She was searching for a new purse for her mom, but I finally talked her out of that idea. It was turning cold again, and I had not brought my jacket. I wanted to find a coffee shop so we could get in out of the cold, and drink some warm coffee. We ended up at the Dunkin' Donuts out on the main drag. We sat in there warming up, and watching the passers by out on the street. After drinking our coffee, we bought a six-pack (of donuts) to go. We headed over to the bus stop and caught the 18:30 back to Sacheon Valley.

As we arrived home, Mrs. Kim was looking out the front door to see if we got off the bus. This made Ok Hwa so happy, to see that her Mom was waiting by the door, and happy to have her back home. That girl sure loves her Mama.

We had another great Korean dinner, this time featuring beef and Kimchi stew.

Today was the first day since we've been here that it almost felt warm outside. I don't think it's been above 50 degrees Fahrenheit since we got here. Today it got up to maybe 55 degrees. It felt good while I was out on my walk earlier in the day, but once we got in town late in the afternoon, and the wind picked up, I was really feeling the chill. We've been looking forward to seeing the cherry blossoms spring out, but they haven't yet. It's been too cold. There are a very few scattered trees around town that are starting to bloom, but most of them are holding back, waiting for warmer weather. We were here last year during this same time, April 6 through about the twentieth. It was much warmer then, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Every flowering plant was in full bloom. It was amazing to see. We've got almost another week before we depart, and we're still hopeful of seeing the cherry blossoms before we leave.

Here is the link to today's pictures:

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