Saturday, September 27, 2008

October festivals

I am sure the nightingale singers are wonderful. It is too bad they transposed the words "dept" and "nursing". I hope I have covered the name of the university sufficiently well but if you want to hear them sing, ask me for the university's name. They perform October 1 in Sokcho.

Snarkiness aside, there are three festivals that look interesting. I have only preliminary information now but I will try to post updates.

Sokcho Hotspring Festival. The website can be found here (Best on IE). Oct 10-16. Its a little strange that the festival ends on a Thursday. Sokcho seems to have many hot springs but don't expect a rustic pool on a mountain slope surrounded by pine - Korean hotsprings are universally piped into buildings to make Bathhouses-with-special-water. Case in point is the Chuksan Hotspring (척산온천장), which is entirely serviceable but is little more than a small bathhouse. There is another location with a similar name on Sokcho City bus 3 route that might be more extensive - I don't know because they didn't give me a discount coupon.
Also on bus route 3 are Seorak Pines and Waterpia, both of which offer hot spring water in a variety of settings and other pools. Seorak Pines has a 18 metre exercise pool, a full bathhouse (for naked use), and five outdoor pools and two saunas (co-ed, bathing suits required). I think it is 18,000 won for a day, locals half price.
Waterpia has everything. There is a full bathhouse (again, single gender), two wave pools, a children's pool, an exercise pool and several outdoor hottubs. It is expensive (around 30,000 won) but locals have a cheap day on the third Sunday of each non-peak(not summer) month.
Dae-myeong Condo has a Water park of some sort that I plan to visit soon so I can comment on it. From the window, it seems nice and costs around 22,000won - no discount for locals. I don't if it, or indeed any of the hotsprings I have mentioned have special deals for the festival - the offical website mostly described the Miss Hotspring contest - I hope it involves bikinis!

Immediately after the hotspring festival is a fantastic weekend of events. On Oct 18-19, Sokcho has a 'Culture Festival' - more details to follow but it includes a Gaet-bae race - At Expo Park, Chungcho Lake, two human-powered ferries are set up and I think that teams of five race them about fifty metres and back. I don't know about the rest of the fest, but that looks like a lot of fun and I hope I can find a team to enter.
At the same time is the Salmon Festival in Yangyang - twenty minutes away by bus. The highpoint of the festival is catching salmon in the river by hand. When you catch a salmon, you keep it. Actually, I just cuaght salmon and let them go until the time limit was almost up then caught one to take home. Ah, I let them go back into the netted part of the river so others could catch them- I have often fantasized about standing at the net and catching salmon and releasing them into the open river to be free but have never done so. (Gangwon Notes, Lao Ocean, official site).

I think this weekend should also be good for fall colours - one might have a busy weekend enjoying all on offer.

The next weekend, nothing will be happening here because KwandongBrian will be in Seoul for the KOTESOL conference. As the Geek will tell you, registering is a bother - you have to transfer money to an individual's account (David Shaffer - I believe he is on the board) which is common in Korea but seems a little hinky. He is also unexcited by the speakers - I am sure he means no disrespect to the giant Joe Seoul Man who will be presenting, ah, something. I plan to meet Joe for lunch on Saturday but hope also to see the Geek - and any readers of this blog.

No comments: