Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hiking and Junk Food

Today I went hiking up a mountain, Mt. Insawan. This 338 meters-high mountain was known during the Joseon period as the “white tiger mountain” due to the great number of tigers that inhabited the area. No tigers anymore but there are some great views...

After hiking the moutain I went to the Seodaemun Prison. It is a prison and now museum. It was constructed beginning in 1907 while Korea was considered a protectorate of Japan. The prison was opened on October 21, 1908, under the name Gyeongseong Gamok. Its name was changed to Seodaemun Prison in 1923.
The prison was used during the Japanese rule of Korea to house anti-colonial activists, and could accommodate around 500 people. Now it is a memorial/tribute to those who "valiantly fought against the Japanese invasion". While inside you can see the size of the torture chambers, one is called the "wall coffin" because it is so small that you stand in it and have no room to move any part of you body and after 2 or 3 days like this you die...standing up. There was another really small room for torture as well that they would put you in and the amount of solitude and no light would make you mentally and physically impaired. I walked through one of the buildings that housed prisoners and it is said that there were so many people in the prison that there was only room to stand so they had to sleep in shifts or while standing. There were other various forms of torture that were on videos and even though I couldn't understand what they were saying I could understand that it was really bad. I was really shocked at how bad the Japanese could torture someone...

Seperate buildings included the Leper's building, the execution room, corpse removal exit (which is an underground tunnel that the Japanese used to take the executed to the cemetary and a group of cells that were underground.

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but being a foreigner who doesn't know Korean I did...But I only have 2 from inside one of the buildings, before I was told to stop, the other is a map of the grounds, which is ok.

Today I had a bunch of Korean junk food, if you will. I had this pancake like food, it has the syrup and sweet bean paste inside. Pancake on the go if you will, I got it from a street vendor. Yes, mom, it would be good with peanut butter...Then for lunch I had a "dimsum like" food. It was esscentially meat and veggies in a bread dough, delicious. You can get this inside many convience stores.Then for dinner I went to Lotteria, Korea's version of McDonalds, which personally I think they do better. They have a burger that is shrimp...I didn't get that, instead I got a burger on a bun made of rice. It was really good but the bun fell apart :( THIS IS NOT THE KIMCHI BURGER, I wish I could say that I finally got to try one but alas all the Lotterias I have been into to see if they have the Kimchi burger, have not had it. This Lotteria had one at one point but they don't now.

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