Saturday, July 04, 2009

"You have the tenacity of a Jamaican"

Andrew saw me carrying my corn chip bag full of pee on the bus, took one look at it, and then me, and then said, "you did not!" He's from Kingston, Jamaica, and funny enough, I found a museum pic of Port Royal, the Jamaican city devastated by a huge 1692 earthquake, at the maritime museum in Mokpo. Here he is working on his cup at the celadon museum in Gangjin, one of the famous kiln areas in Korea.

This was my cup from the celadon museum. But I likely will never see it again since I'm leaving next week and it won't get shipped to me in NY (plus I incised my Korean name, which almost no one knows, in Chinese characters on the bottom, lightly, even though we were told NOT to use the bottom of the cup). It was fun, regardless, and a nice break from being on the bus, stuffing our faces w/amazing food, and going from place to place on about 3.5 hours of sleep.

The day before, we had visited a center in Namwon for traditional music and pansori (Korean "opera" - a vocal form with percussion accompaniment that is a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity). The grounds were gorgeous, even though they stank of manure since they were smack in the middle of farmland. These containers for fermenting were on the path towards the museum and indoor concert area.

Our last stop yesterday was at the maritime museum in Mokpo, a port city. It was fascinating to learn about all these artifacts that had been found in sea excavations - tons of boats sank along the western coast of Korea b/c the current is super strong and the shore is rocky. There was lots of ceramic wares found since they were transported from the famous southern kiln sites north to Seoul.

After all the difficult travel and peeing on the bus drama, we arrived in Seoul at about 8:30 and I then had to trek to my weaving teacher's place to meet him, his wife, my hanji teacher, and his wife and children for our final party - we went out to dinner at a local place and then I took my lacquered and dyed pieces and caught a cab home.

Today I made two trips to say goodbye to my dyeing teacher and his family, bought calligraphy supplies (which are crazy heavy b/c of the inkstone for grinding ink), sat for a while in the bird cafe to recover, took a tiny nap at my dyeing teacher's studio, met the woman from a publishing house and her colleagues who are working on creating souvenirs for tourists using traditional Korean craft forms, saw an exhibit of some intangible property holders, and saw half of my cousins that live in Seoul and their families for a yummy Chinese dinner. I've cleaned up some of the mess on my desk and did laundry. Hopefully I will get enough sleep to tackle the four major appts slated for tomorrow.

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