Saturday, October 15, 2011

Andong Maskdance Festival, Part 1: My first Korean festival

 Last weekend, I hopped on a bus and rode 3 hours south to Andong to hang out at the Maskdance Festival for two days.  I went with two of my coworkers, Kyla and Holly.  We slept in a jimjilbang* and ate on the cheap as part of our awesome-yet-budget-friendly master plan.  The girls both have cameras, so I'm able to share pictures of our adventure!  Here they are!

Welcome to the Andong Maskdance Festival, a celebration of masks and culture!
Our first order of business at the festival was to find where we could make our own masks.  I looked around for someone to ask, and this one volunteer and I made eye contact as he and his friends started to get the cranes ready for the parade.  He shouted to me, "Here!  Take a picture!"  He posed and pranced and made us laugh.
We never made our masks.
Here's one of the choreographed traditional Korean dances.
These lanterns were beautiful.  There was a booth where you could make them yourself.  I believe they are usually set up for Buddha's birthday, I believe.

Out in the country, I was able to see my most beautiful Korean sunset yet.  Add the lights for the coming parade, and it looked pretty magical.

And here's the parade!
These cranes looked really neat.
More of the parade
There were the tall cranes, the fish, and the tall people on poles, but then the rest of the parade was mostly middle aged people dancing with masks on.  They pulled Holly, Kyla, and myself into their throng but we were able to escape back to where our bags were sitting on a planter.  Then another group of crazed parade dancers pulled us into the streets, and again we escaped.  After the fourth or fifth time, though, we looked at each other, nodded that we had our bags, gave up and joined the dancing.
Holly and I danced like maniacs with the ajummas* and ajossis*.  We didn't want to stop because we knew the Koreans would get onto us for not dancing.  Really.  It happened. 
The parade ended at a large stage in the middle of the fairgrounds.  Some of the dancers were on stage, and hundreds more of us were on the ground moving to the music like weirdos.  It was a fun experience.

After the parade, we hit up some of the many booths around the fairground.  This was the bug booth.  The nice man asked if I wanted to hold his stag beetle.  I was excited.  Holly and Kyla freaked out.
Holly and I hanging out with giant mushrooms
Dinner was Turkish kebabs.
It was really strange to see so many booths from all around the world.  Not only was there Turkish food, there were African wares, Chinese metal workings, and Thai crafts.  I thought it was really cool how you could purchase things from all over the world at this Korean mask festival.
This was my first ever kebab.  It was delicious.
This seaweed was set out at one of the booth.  There were quite a few booths with food for sale, and I mean real food.  There were apple stand, meat stands, ramen stands, and others.  Back in the States we'd have small restaurant booths where you can get your funnel cakes and things, and there might be a couple booths selling homemade jams, wines, or what have you, but this was completely new to me.  My main thought was, "How are they going to get that huge chunk of meat home before it spoils?"
My favorite part of the evening is a story I don't have a picture of.
The weather was getting chilly and we were getting tired near the end of the evening as we meandered back to the entrance of the fairground.  I looked to my left and saw two young boys at some stand.
The one boy said, "Hi!"
I walked over to them.  "Hello!  Is this tea?"
"Yes!  Boyo tea.  Free!"
"Free?!  Are you sure?"
"Yes!  Free!"
The 1,500 ₩ sign hung just above me, but I thankfully accepted.  The tea hit the spot, and I was more grateful than I could properly communicate.  The next day, I went back to where his booth should have been so that I could properly buy a cup of tea, but I couldn't find his booth.


Jimjilbang - A Korean public bath house
Ajumma - The term for a Korean married woman, but we use the word specifically for the BA grandmas with the odd fashion taste and the best shoving skills in the world.
Ajussi - The male counterpart to the Korean ajumma.  The ajussi usually wears either a fancy suit or hiking gear, and they can be found passed out in the park after drinking too much soju on any given night.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. That looks like so much fun. And I wonder if those tea boys were flirting with you :)


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