Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Test, An Admiral Yi Sun Shin, A King Se Jong, and A Palace

I took the GRE in Seoul.  And then I was a tourist.

I woke up at 6:30AM, took the subway to Gangnam and then using a bunch of maps I saved on my phone (thank you PrtScr button), I found my way to the Jangwon Building that housed the hagwon (private academy) where my test was to take place.  Then I went to Angel-In-Us right in front of it and got an orange juice and ham egg ciabatta first before deciding to enter the test building (there may have also been a stop at a GS25 for a Snickers...).

When I first walked up the building, I squinted in the door to see if I could find the academy name on the second basement floor (B2F).  Then a security guard in a little building outside rapped loudly on the glass and pointed to the obvious sign below:

Thank you large signs with English.  I followed them around to a little side door and entered the test center where I then waited around for an hour and a half before they posted the list with the names and room assignment.  I met a Korean woman with a Master's in Theology who is looking to pursue her PhD somewhere in California.  We talked about the sections of the GRE test, namely how the verbal was easier for me while the math was easier for her (second language and lots of math in Korea).  Pretty cool conversation.

If you decide to take the GRE outside of the US, note that the GRE people there will speak English (because, you know, it's administered in English), though the owners of the place will not speak English (though they do smile and nod when they see you while they pace around).

Took the test.

Then I went across the street to the Dunkin' Donuts I saw pre-test and got myself a celebratory donut and coffee before hopping on the subway where I became a Seoul sardine (people on all 8-10-12 sides of me!) to meet up with Jeanie at Gwanghwamun Square.

King Se Jong!
We went to a museum about Admiral Yi Sun Shin, the guy who led the army of Iron-Clad Turtle ships against the Japanese, and King Sejong.  You really have to admire how nice Korean museums are.  They are phenomenal about preserving their history and culture.

 Admiral Yi Sun Shin and a replica of the Turtle Ship!

The drummer inside the Turtle Ship that would keep the beat for the rowers.
Poor rowers standing all the time and also operating the little cannons.
Not actually a room...
We think the toilet was around the corner?  There wasn't really
anything by the sign... not a hole or anything.
Me in an Iron-Clad Turtle Ship!
Jeanie shooting down ships with the cannon.  There was a little
bit of a learning curve, so she got an overall accuracy of ~52%.

He's giving orders to fight I think...

Demon Swords from the Chinese.
And then we went to look at King Se Jong's exhibit.  King Se Jong invented the Korean alphabet, so of course, this picture is made up of Hangul characters.

I'm on a throne, yeah...
You know those wooden frogs I have that make noise when you run
a rod over their back?  Yeah.  Here's a tige one!

This flaming arrow contraption was invented during King Se Jong's reign.
Along with a variety of other things, like a sun dial and a celestial globe.
So this is cool.  Below is a picture of city hall in Seoul.  Both city halls.  To the right is the old city hall, but when construction started on the new city hall (left), the citizens wanted to preserve the old city hall as a cultural landmark.  As a result, the new city hall was essentially built "around" the old city hall. According to Tour Guide Jeanie, the architect's original plan was changed so much that they essentially "disowned" the project.

Because it's the city where ancient and modern fuse, across the street was Deoksu Palace.  

The markers indicate where officials would stand before the king
when he was on his throne.

Jeanie and I were trying to be creative with our picture shots.
A theatre house built by a Russian architect where the
king would entertain Western guests.

I was actually taller than this door.
And finally, the wonderful thing below.  Is it a unicorn horn?  Is it a giant monument to poo? We don't know...

No comments:

Post a Comment