MONDAY MAY 6TH
This morning, we started to go onto a tour around Seoul and explore some of the areas around our hotel. We started our tour at 10 am where we went to the Royal Palace, Gyeongbokgung, to watch the guards perform at the first gate. It was quite interesting. Some aspects of the 15-minute presentation reminded me of the guards coming out of the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom. However, it was evident that the guard performance here had a lot more culture and history behind the meaning of the performance. After the performance, we were able tour the palace and learn more about the king of the Joseon Dynasty. One thing that was interesting about the building was that some of the buildings had animals on the roof and the more animals present on the top the more important that building was.
Once we left the palace, we also visited the Jogyessa Temple. The temple was quite vibrant because we were coming during a national Buddhist holiday. Yesterday, we walked through the temple but did not know exactly what was going on. Today, we examined the lanterns and all of the vibrant displays during the day.
Another place we visited was Namdaemun Market. This area was full of street market food, stores, and clothing place. It reminded me of the Nigerian street markets I had visited as a kid but was in a more formal setting and fewer bargaining opportunities. I really enjoyed this opportunity to explore so that I could buy some gifts for my family and friends and was able to try some Korean street food. Some of my favorites Korean food places that I was able to try was the street fried chicken, the spicy rice cakes, and the sweet donuts. It was a fulfilling day.