Weekend Meet-ups: Latin American Festival and Namhansanseong

Through MeetUp I found out about this Latin American Festival just one subway stop or a short walk from where I am staying.  I know I am supposed to be immersing myself in Korean culture but I am also justloving how a big city has anything and everything happening somewhere if you just find it. I jumped at the chance to get a bit of Spanish conversation and South American food! I planned to go with the Meetup group but was late, so I just wandered around the fest on my own and chatted with a few Peruvians and Americans. I bumped into Callie and a friend, and later on Ray, both of whom I had met the weekend before. They don’t even live in Seoul but I think the foreigner world thinks alike and ends up in the same places!

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Because they wrote in both English and Hangeul (Korean), I could practice reading a bit. For example, Spain is written like Seu-paei-in. Note: Spain is not actually in Latin America.

In the end, I found Sangkyu and his wife Mariko! Sangkyu and I met 6, maybe almost 7 years ago now, in Chile for New Years Eve celebrations in Valparaiso/Viña del Mar. We stayed with the same Couchsurfing host Tati along with a few others and it was so much fun! He had hitchhiked down from northern Chile with another guy and we joked about how he was my hermano Coreano. He spoke almost no English when we met and now he is a pro after spending some time in Australia. And he was more of the expert in Spanish before, and now…. Well, now I speak okay, ha! We reminisced about travelling and caught up and just hung around the festival, waiting in long lines for food and drinks, and watching some dancing. By the end of the afternoon, I had had papa rellena, alfajores, anticuchos, empanada, and some mango cocktail and sangria. So we switched it up to Korean style and tried some makgeolli, a milkly looking rice liquor, and went for some dinner (eat, eat, eat) and had some kind of pork foot/leg. Lots of fat but otherwise tasty! Good to soak up the soju, which is much better with fruity flavors. Sadly, I have no pictures of any of this beautiful reunion to share but we will meet again for sure… i am also convincing his wife to come to acroyoga sometime haha.

Then on Sunday I had the day off from work so I signed up for a hiking group going to a mountain/fortress wall – Namhansanseong. Beautiful hike, lots of stairs up and down, up and down, and a little detour to another temple (love being able to do that!) we walked all around the wall for a total of around 12K I think.

Pictures!

imageimage We started off with a huge group but once we got the the fun up-and-down, up-and-down again part (basically the whole thing), we spread out with some more space!

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We got to a point where we could take a detour to Mongwolsa Temple so a small group of us went for it.

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And then back to continue along the Fortress Wall…

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Then we made it to the end! Observation tower then down to the village for dinner. Bibimbap and a sampling of silk worms from our group leader. Not so bad really… Once you get over the texture. They taste like nuts. And only eat leaves and dew, so they are super clean – and they make silk so that’s cool!!

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