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A Trip to Geongbook Palace on Chooseok

“I thought everyone stayed with family on Chooseok,” is what my Korean friend, Hanul said when she saw there were so many people going to Geongbook Palace today.  In front of the palace, there were hoards of people going in! The Koreans call it “enpa,” a wave of people.  There were Koreans and foreigners too. Mixed among the people in regular clothing, there were lots of people in Korean traditional clothing, hanbok. My daughter and I both have hanboks, so we decided to don our hanboks and celebrate with the rest of them.

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My daughter is in the red hanbok in front of the palace.  The statue next to her is called a hetay.  A hetay is a mythical beast.  There are many Korean children’s stories than have hetay in them.  Here, the hetay are considered guards for the palace.
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Everyone was trying to get into the palace.

 

There was a lot of street food for sale in front of the palace.

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Hanul decided to eat the chicken on a stick.
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I wanted to video the changing of the guards, but there were too many people, and I was just too far away.
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It is too bad we can’t all be babies and sit on someone’s shoulders to see what is going on.
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When I got close enough, I got a picture of the guard standing at the door.

As we approached the palace, there was a lot of activity.  Street vendors selling street food. Hanul wanted to stop and get some.  She got chicken on a stick with sauce on it. I have eaten this, and it is good.  It just so happened that they were having the changing of the guard, but there were so many people, and the crowd was so big, I couldn’t get any decent pictures. However, when we got right up to the gate, I took a picture of the guard that was standing there.

 

 

There was an overwhelming amount of people in the courtyard, and many were in their hanbok.

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There were many foreigners. Here are some Bangladeshi guys.  There are Bangladeshi guys everywhere in Korea. They come here to study and work, and the Korean language is easier for them because the grammar is the same for both languages. I have some Bangladeshi friends.
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After we went through the first gate into the first courtyard full of people, there were still two more gates and two more courtyards full of people.
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Finally, we saw the building where the throne room was, but we had to push through more people to see the throne room.
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A Shot of the Throne Room

When we got inside the gate, the courtyard was overflowing with people headed for the second gate.  We went through the second gate, and there was another court yard full of people packed together like sardines, and then we had to go through a third gate into another court yard.  Finally, the building in front of us was where the throne room was, but trying to get up there to see it was hear impossible. I pushed my way through the people and took a picture of the throne room for you.

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Hanul and I (I am in the hanbok.) The skirt on my hanbok is so big that I feel like a balloon when I wear it, and they are put together so funny that they seem awkward.  They fit Korean women much better than foreigners.

 

 

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My daughter and I

After pushing our way through so many people, we decided we needed a break, so we went to look for a place to sit for a few minutes. After we caught our wind, we got up and went exploring.  The buildings were beautiful, but they were all empty.  There was a place where the crown prince used to live, a place where the queen mother used to live, a place where a princess used to live, etc.  If you know little girls or young women in Korea, they all want to be princesses, and on this day, many looked like princesses in their hanboks.

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I had to get a picture of this guy’s hat for you because these are the kinds of hats that kings and noblemen used to wear.

 

There are color codes to the hanboks.  Red is the color of a bride in Korea and China.  My daughter received her hanbok to wear at her wedding from her mother in law that she wore today.  She looked so pretty in it today that I caught people video taping her walking around in her hanbok.  Her husband had to work today which is typical for Korea. My hanbok is purple because older women wear darker colors.  In the west, purple is the color of royalty, but here in Korea, red and yellow are the colors of royalty.

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One of the many pretty sites on the palace grounds

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These girls look like courtiers, but there is no longer a king or emperor in Korea. Every little girl in Korea wants to grow up to be a princess. Behind the girls, there are more Bangladeshi guys.

We walked around looking at several things, and then decided we were tired and it was time to go.  A friend who couldn’t come, but wanted to, told me yesterday she heard there were lots of activities at Geongbook Palace on Chooseok, but we didn’t see many activities, just people walking around displaying their hanboks and looking at the buildings. After a while, we got tired and decided to leave.

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The cafe we found (I didn’t realize my daughter and Hanul would be coming out right then, and they didn’t know I was taking a picture.)
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It was carbonated. It wasn’t sweet, but it was good.

When we left, we found a cafe close to the entrance to the palace and got something cold to drink. We drank Pomegranate water. There was no Coca Cola Zero or iced tea.  Koreans like unusual drinks.  The Pomegranate water was imported from England.

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The front of the American embassy

Yes, we are in Korea, and we are celebrating one of the largest holidays of the year in Korea, but we are still Americans. When we walked by the American embassy, I had to take a picture. On the way home, we stopped at McDonalds for a hamburger and then headed home to eat some American apple pie. We had fun at Gyeongbook Palace, but we are Americans.

 

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