On Sunday, I woke up bright and early (5AM— host family had already been up for a couple hours… true story) to go watch the sunrise. In Korea, many people go watch the sunrise on New Year’s day, as a way to welcome in the New Year. (America, let’s switch to that tradition. Much better than drinking the night away, I’d say.) Since So Yeong and I were gone for New Year’s, Sunday was our sunrise watching makeup day.
By the way, this is what happens when you ask a 12 year old boy to take a picture:
Very funny, Inseo.
(Actually, come to think of it, I think my 30 year old brother has done that to me, too…hahah)
The beach we went to was about 40 minutes outside of Gyeongju. It’s famous for its underwater tomb— apparently one of the kings in their ancient history wanted to become a sea dragon when he died so that he could always protect his country. His successor had this tomb built in the sea for him so that his dying wish could come true. The rocks peeking out of the water are the tombs:
Inseo was inspired by my writing in the sand, so he actually wrote something cute (although, in his 12 year old boy mind, he was probably thinking it would be scandalous and embarrassing for me):
"Liz loves Stephen"
Sunny saw this and told him he should have written it in English, so she got in on the action, too:
Stephen, you were missed. haha!
Pretending to push his sister into the water:
…Actually pushing his sister into the water:
Forgive my being cliche, but a pretty morning like this one deserved a heart:
Inseo took care of that one, though, don’t worry.
Isn’t he just charming??
After the sun had risen and the shrimp flavored chips were eaten, we headed to a nearby site to see two ancient pagodas. Apparently the successor not only built underwater tombs for the sea dragon king, but also built a pathway to the pagodas to assist in the whole country protection thing. Not too shabby!
Outside of the pagodas (not pictured)— Relationship dynamics #1:
Then we went to a series of beautiful temples. Sure wish I could remember their names. But they were in some foreign language.
(Just kidding. …Except I can’t actually remember their names, shoot.)
Relationship dynamics #2:
(Remember that time I said I would never put my fur hood up? Well… then it got cold.)
The temples were quite impressive. One room alone housed 3000 Buddhas…Buddhai?. The architecture was also impressive. (Daddy, I took lots of pictures of the wood and building structures for you!)
Relationship dynamics #3:
Inseo decided this little Buddha needed a bath:
The side of a beautiful giant drum:
Then the host sibs found a giant, lethal icicle:
Next we found a frozen lake and spent about 30 minutes throwing rocks onto the less frozen parts to watch the ice shatter… Pure joy.
The next temple we went to was pretty awesome. Many Buddhas were carved onto the mountainside, making it look like part of an Indiana Jones ride or something… except real. Cool.
Only problem: I was in Uggs. For those of you considering scaling sides of mountain cliffs in the Australian-born furry booties… I wouldn’t suggest it. There were no twisted ankles or anything of the sort, but some parts of the climb were pretty sketchy. Yaaaay for making it out alive! :)
At the top, carved into the mountain face:
After the climb, we were able to watch a performance of Zen martial arts. It was pretty cool, and if I can get it to upload, I will include a video in my next post!
When that finished, we had a lovely Korean lunch (what else?) and headed home.