Sunday, June 28, 2009

Muse, National, Eum, and all that..

Today was a trip to the Seoul National Museum. Yvonne and I had been here once before, with BKF on our first trip to Seoul several years ago. This time, however, we were in search of Egyptian culture. The museum is hosting an exhibition, and since it is beginning to heat up in Seoul (I think it hit 28-29) we are trying to do more indoor things. We walked to the tube-station and had one of the excellent street-pastries they sell in Korea. Something like donuts in the US, but the “dough” part is a bit closer to bread, and there are no sticky glazes. The sweetness comes from the dusting of sugar, most of which I try to brush off. Then it was to Noksapyeong Station for coffee and down to the museum.

It is farking vast, as that picture above is intended to demonstrate (Which you are going to have to click on, since Blogger won't size it right). Someone had also tarted it out a bit.. the columns were covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs and art, and the bank of stairs at the middle of the museum had been painted with the Sphinx. It was a cool combination of the existing architecture and an application of Egyptian motifs. As usual it left me wondering how it is that when Koreans get near getting something right they so often hit it head on, but if they get too far away from getting something right it slides all the way to dead wrong.

My guess?

Every culture is like this, it just so happens that crabby old me is here. ;-)

The exhibit was grand, one of the few themed museum exhibits I’ve been on in which the exhibit gave out before my interest did. There were several cool things, including a semi-panoramic movie, a Terry Gilliam-esque thing in which someone at the British museum had taken old Egyptian frescoes and art, and animated them. It sounds totally cheesy, but it was quite grand. There were also some cool holographs. But really, the main thing was the exhibit, which was well thought out and presented. There was also the typical lack of queuing and too many kids running around unwatched, but as we got there early, it wasn’t too bad. Sunday afternoon would have been an entirely different story!

On the way out I took a picture in the gift shop, of the pyramid of chocolate you see to the right and was immediately stopped by an ajumma who told me “no pictures, no pictures!” I was a bit surprised, because behind me was a flock of couples and families snapping pictures. I pointed over my shoulder to where at least 10 of were taking pictures with flashes flaring (I observe a polite “no flash” when in public indoor spaces approach) and said, “no pictures?” Ajumma said, “no pictures.”

Seeing me put my camera down she walked away content, the barbarian insurrection quelled!

The flashing behind me continued unabated.

Oh well. Next time I’ll wear my Korean makeup. ;-)

I tried to sneak back to the tube-station before any more culture could be inflicted upon me. Unfortunately, Yvonne remembered that the Korean National General exhibits were free and thus we had to go check them out. This time, however, we got the little 3k won tour-guide PDA and that was completely worth it even though the information was set up as a woman lecturing and a retarded man answering randomly (sample quote when faced with the complexities of the Paleolithic Era: “Are you kidding me? There was a technique for chipping stones?”).

After all this we were a bit peckish and stopped in at the Korean Restaurant and Yvonne had some kind of sogogi dish and I had hae-mul pajeon. Then it was out into the heat for me to take some pictures and for Yvonne to wander far, then near, and then fall asleep. So when I was done with my pictures I wandered far to find her while, near, she could not find me and got on the subway home. ;-)

We finally met up there and headed up the hill to have a delicious noodle dinner and watch the first episode of Michael Palin’s Sahara (on the wall, from the computer through my projector).

As the B-man says, “another average day in paradise.”

Oh yeah...

that picture over there on the right?

Like any visit to a Korean museum could be complete without some kind of pictorial representation of the Korean museum's bizarre fixation with roof tiles.

Yep, that's a roof tile.



Anonymous said...

28-29 degrees? You big sissies! Over in the US, where we do things big, we got 38-39 degrees AND a deYoung Museum chock full of Tut's Egyptian doo-dads...

Charles Montgomery said...


We are well aware that nothing can compare to where you are. But we struggle by with what little comfort we can find here.

Next weekend, Renoir.