Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A New Season in Seoul

Cherry blossoms

At long last, signs of spring are surfacing here in Asia. This weekend we visited Yeouido Park in Seoul for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  Not all the trees were in bloom, but it was the first truly gorgeous day, one of 60 degrees and cloudless blue skies.  We spent the afternoon in the park, lounging and reading over a picnic lunch. 

Kyle and Paige enjoying the warmth with some good books

 I also snapped some photos of random Koreans to give you a feel for the fashion trends over here.

The plaid pants caught me trying to sneak photos. Men definitely wear tighter pants over here. Also, New Balance and Nike are the more popular brands of shoe. The tennis shoes are usually donned in bright, neon colors.

A few budding pop stars practicing dance moves in their skinny jeans and white tees. Their hairstyles are always perfectly coiffed.
American baseball memorabilia is extremely popular here! I almost fell over when I saw my first Chief Wahoo hat. I tried explaining to one of my students that her hoodie represented my hometown's baseball team. After a bit of translating by her friend, she quickly removed the jacket. Strange, I guess they don't  have a clue what they're wearing!  The main events of the festival are pictured in the background. Tents were set up for vendors, and various performers took the stage.

Women are more scandalous from the waist down: short skits, high heels, teeny shorts, or tight pants. However, from the waist up, females show little-to-no skin.
Some more tight pants, heels, and a nice man-purse. Perms are very common, as Korean hair is naturally straight. Even some males have their hair permed to varying textures. There are many more options for perming hair here, such as soft curls on the ends or loose waves.
A couple of women in their skimpy skirts and tights paired with a nice set of heels.

Chuck Taylors are worn in Korea, too. Here's a shot of some more fashion and cherry blossoms.
Thanks to the beautiful weather, the weekend was full of outdoor activities. Saturday night we walked with a group up the path to Seoul tower.  From this location, you have a 360-degree view of Seoul. You hike up Mount Namsan (about 40 minutes from the bottom), then you can ride up the tower to the viewing deck. We opted for saving money and just stopping at the top of the mountain. The top of the peak is wide open with coffee shops, restaurants, and stores. Around the edges of the mountain there are fences covered in locks. Traditionally, couples can bind locks to the links of the fence to symbolize promises made to each other. Like the tower, we opted out of this activity... Maybe next time! We plan to make the trek once each season to see the colors change.
Our destination

A few of the city about halfway up the mountain.
A fancy, but overdone rest stop along the hike. You can tell by the attire, the entire path was paved.

If the hike isn't enough of a workout, why not stop for some weight lifting?

A collection of locks and notes

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul Tower lit up in the night sky

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