(I recently returned from a little trip to Seoul and Taipei, some photos and thoughts here).
I had a little extra time between my Thursday talk in Seoul and my Monday talk in Taipei, so I did a little looking around Seoul.
Some Korean names seem a bit hard for this white American to get his tongue around. One of the best things to visit in Seoul goes by the throat-clearing name of Gyeongbokgung. It’s a fantastic place, an old palace complex which had seen a lot of damage through foreign occupations, and is now being actively restored. The site calls to mind the Forbidden City in Beijing, but smaller, better decorated and without the mammoth crowds.
In fact when I came, just when it opened at 9AM, the place was completely empty except for some groups of school kids.
With the autumn leaves turning, and the quiet morning, the place seemed like it was in a bubble of lost time from a bygone era.
Twice a day, there is a changing of the guard ceremony, complete with swords and arrows, a military band playing traditional instruments, and announcements in four languages. The colors were dramatic and resplendent.
And afterwards, a quick walk to Insadong to see the shops, restaurants and temples.