Seodaemun Prison in Seoul

With the kids in vacation, getting up late, keeping me busy and messing up by perfect schedules, I decided enough is enough and pulled them out of the home to experience a bit of the Korean heritage. We just happened to choose to go and visit the Seodaemun prison which was built by the Japanese to confine the Korean freedom fighters. It was an interesting but somber experience.

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Bubbling goodness

Yay! Summer vacation is here! I love it when my kids are around, waking up late, heavy breakfast at noon, playing and chatting until lunch time and continuing to play and chat until dinner. It is pretty fun and I am enjoying every second spent with them. 
Today, we ventured out of our home even with the MERS situation hanging above our heads. Few people were wearing masks, there were sanitizers even inside the bus for public use, and antibacterial wipes everywhere. Maybe a little less crowd in the malls, and deserted restaurants. Everything is a bit gloomy and depressing here in Seoul 🙁

The Moonlight tour of Changdeokgung Palace

There are five main palaces in Korea. I had been to the biggest and majestic Gwanghwamun palace which is a must-see for all tourists because of all the history involved. But for the prettiness, I must say the Changdeokgung takes the cake! I was lucky to get into the Moonlight tour of the palace coordinated by the Korea Tourism organization on the full moon nights. The palace is beautiful in the daytime but the night time view just took my breath away!

 
General public are not allowed for this tour. There is a form to be submitted and then 100 people are allowed to participate in it.The weather was so pleasant and it was a perfect night to visit the palace. 
 
The program started out at 7:30pm, Korean precision timing, with the registration for the English or Chinese language tour guides. We were all given headphones to listen to the guide.

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Seoul Brand

Brand names are quite popular and even a status symbol nowadays. Brand named clothes, shoes, are the most sought after items in anyones wardrobe. But I have never heard of a brand name for a city.

Seoul brand promotes the city of Seoul. This is a unique opportunity to improve the image of the city of Seoul and also promote the inflow of visitors to this magnificent city!

I am so happy to become one of those members to promote Seoul 🙂 It is indeed an honor and a privilege to work towards a better and foreigner-friendly city!

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Lotus Lantern Festival 2015

My absolute favorite festival in Seoul has to be the Lotus Lantern Festival. It is held every year on April 8th of the Lunar calendar for Buddha’s Birthday. It is as though the city bursts into color with culture and beauty for these few weeks! I do love the delicately decorated lanterns displayed all over the city. The highlight of the festivities for me is the lotus lantern parade. The lanterns are exorbitantly adorned with lights that brighten up any mopey face! The beat and rhythm of the dancers during the parade add more fun and color to the proceedings.

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Selfie with the PM

 

Today I got to meet an interesting person and world leader!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Korea after his tour of China and Mongolia. He was greeted by Indians in Korea with a lot of enthusiasm and love.

All Indians and others were invited to view the speech of the PM at Kyunghee University auditorium. At first, the embassy had invited just a few of the Indians to a formal luncheon with the PM but seeing the tumultuous response from the Indians living in Korea, resorted to a bigger venue. The program was free of charge and all were encouraged to register with the embassy by sending an email.

The PM was scheduled to arrive at 1PM. But I reached the venue at 11:30AM. Over enthusiasm, i guess 🙂 It was heartening to see so many saris and colorful salwars amidst the formal suits and volunteers. There were many shuttle buses to help us to the auditorium from the subway station. The sign in process and the security check was so smooth and easy. Only the wait for the PM was so long and exciting.

I guess I was expecting punch lines, double talk and drama (I blame the IPL for this). The speech made by the PM was more factual, clear, to the point and in Hindi. He insisted that the Indians in Korea learn from the technologically advanced Korea and implement in India. He asserted that implementing and educating people to have toilets in every home was a difficult task, but he was going to get it done. He maintained that India is the fastest growing economy and developing nation in the world and he would do more for it with his “Make in India” mantra.
 

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Cat Cafe

Another big tick next to the things I want to do before leaving Korea. Visiting the cat cafe in Seoul 🙂

Cat cafes are very popular in Japan but are a rage here in Korea! Taking care of pets like you would do your own child is very common here. I see people carrying dogs in dog carriers like you would carry a baby- protective and concerned, dogs in prams being pushed by their devoted human and the best of all, all the outfits that are available for the pets for all seasons- including hats, socks, sweaters… oh! so cute~ There are also pet hotels where the pets are housed with utmost care while their humans are away, salons where pets are given makeovers and pampered beyond compare. Cat cafe is just an extension for those people who desperately want to own a pet, cuddle with them, pet them and love them but do not do so for whatever reason. Just like me…

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Out in the open

Seoul has been giving us the best temperatures this week. Spring is finally here and we were treated to a burst of flowers. And I managed to drag the family out in the open. Hangang park in center of Seoul by the Han river was the ideal place to go. Lazing around in the sun, we flew a kite in a bright blue sky. Simple pleasures in life!

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Drama Queen- Life without Lifey

“Mom! I think you are in love with the Lifey”, My son scolds me. “Appa! I think she loves Lifey more than she loves all of us put together!”, lassoing my husband into the argument. He nods from his usual seat behind the laptop, as usual unclear whether he is in agreement with the kids or he has just understood the concept dictated by the webpage. “You’ve had Lifey in your life for less than a year and you care about that dumb head more than us, you fatty?”, the little one pipes in, totally annoyed, standing in his Vitruvian man position except with his hands in his imaginary pockets.

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