It has been a while since I have posted. I have been studying Korean and exams and presentations came up around the same time so I have been a bit busy. However, with studies, I have also been able to squeeze is some travels.
A month ago, I went to Andong for a Mask Dance Festival!
Andong is a city in Korea that is known for its traditional houses and culture. A Mask Dance Festival is held in Andong every October. I did not know about it, but my friend was kind enough to ask me to come along! I was happy that I did because it was my first trip outside Daejeon with friends. (Last Seoul trip was with a class)
ANDONG DAY 1
Our first stop was to the Andong-Gu Market! We got there got some steamed chicken! We looked at some of the clothing and had a feel of the traditional market. Although I did not buy anything there, a part of me wishes that I got the ahjumma pants (super comfortable and cheap)! However, I did not want to carry more than what I had in my backpack already so I did not end up getting anything.
After filling ourselves up, we made our way to the Andong Mask Dance Festival. Each person was 5,000W (~ $4.32). We had six people going to it was about 30,000W. I also loved that they just gave us all one ticket so they did not waste paper!
As I walked around, there were doors open that allowed tourists to come in and try things that people in the past did. One of which was carrying large pots on the head that is cushioned with a cloth piece just under to not hurt your head.
We also walked around and explored the village and saw this massive tree! This tree supposedly looks like a woman giving birth. The tree is called Samsindang and Samsin is known as the goddess of fertility. Many people hang their prayers (the white papers) and pray to the goddess of fertility.
As night began to descend, it was time to watch the firework show. This firework is not the traditional firework that is seen on Fourth of July. It is a traditional firework show that does not explode in the sky. Rather, it rain-like fire that cascades beautiful down from the wires. Right beside it, from the top of the hill, they tossed a fireball down as the audience cheered. It was truly a sight to see.
It was one of the most beautiful firework shows I have ever seen in my life and the feeling of everyone yelling at the same time to throw the fireball down made me feel warm. I felt like I was part of a really great community. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
As the day came to an end, it was time to head to the jimjilbbang (Korean spa). We were not able to book an airbnb in the area so we decided to sleep overnight at a jimjilbbang instead. It took about 2 hours to get jimjilbbang and once I got there. I headed for a shower.
The shower experience was a little odd. It was my first time EVER getting naked in front of a women that I did not know and some friends that I just met for a few months. I was nervous and a little weirded out quite honestly. Nonetheless, I shut myself up from giggling at the awkwardness and went into the showers.
Steps to a jimjilbbang (1) shower (2) sauna or jacuzzi like thing (whatever order and however many times) (3) shower again.
After taking my last shower, I got dressed and proceeded to sleep on the floor. The only place left on the floor was right under the air conditioner so I was freezing the entire night. I did not know who to ask for a blanket either so it was bad. However, it was a really unique experience. The jimjillbang in Andong was a small one so I completed understand. I will definitely try a different jimjilbbang another time!
andong – day 2
After waking up, it was time to do more touristy stuff! Right after waking up in the morning we took a taxi to the Andong bridge. The bridge was absolutely beautiful and refreshing in the morning.
After the bridge, we made our way to the Mask Dance Festival nearby. There were stalls of food and lots of performances occurring. However, of all the food stands there, this stall (pictured below) is one of the must tries in Korea. It is called a 호떡ho-dok. It looks similar to naan bread, but it a bit thinner and has little amount of honey inside to keep it sweet.
With both hands holding my warm 호떡, it was time to go back to home to Chungnam National University.
As my first official trip outside Daejeon with my friends, it was a really great experience to see that kind of celebrations that Koreans have. They go truly above and beyond with decorations and food choices.
Thank you for reading!