“Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.” John Lennon (Day 234)
Not one of our better days….however as John Lennon said "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end"
We finally got out around midday, what we were doing until then I haven’t a clue. We’re certainly not early birds. As we didn’t get to see the Museum of Art at Gwangju, we thought we’d go to the one here. Sunscreen on and a lovely walk by the River Geum, things were looking good. Tim practising his “Annyeonghaseyo” when people pass us by. I’m not sure why, but they usually laugh afterwards!
We arrived at the Museum, a modern concrete building opened in 1998 “to contribute to the development of modern art in South Korea by supporting local art activities, but also to relish its contribution with the public and share a joy of life together”. It seemed remarkably quiet. We saw a mum with her young son carrying his work of art, a mobile with colourfully decorated paper cups hanging down with string. We must be in the right place.
We wandered down the bare corridors, no artwork here and reached the reception area - empty. A security guard approached us – “Closed”. He gave us a leaflet which we gathered that the museum was closed for a period of time to prepare for an exhibition. Mmm…nothing about this on the website! He could see our disappointment and excitedly beckoned us to follow him. He pointed out the neighbouring building “Another museum”. We thanked him and walked over to Lee Ungno Museum and could see people walking in and a large poster with information about the next exhibition. Great – things look more promising.
We walked to the ticket counter. Two young ladies greeted us and Tim asked for two tickets. “Sorry, shut”. We looked at one another. “Shut?” It turned out that this museum was also closed to prepare for the upcoming exhibition. My face must have said it all. I was not amused. We explained that this was our third Art Museum that we’d tried to visit. They were so sweet and printed off a map showing us where three galleries were, showed us the location of a famous bakery and also where the Heritage Museum was. They were a delight.
There was a small open café within the “closed” museum, so we stopped for a nice cool drink and re-planned the rest of our day. We didn’t have too long to play with as I needed to get back to the Airbnb for a coaching session with a client. Opposite the Museum was an Arboretum and beyond that, on the other side of the river was the Science Museum. Our new plan was agreed.
A relaxing walk through the Hanbat Arboretum; it is Korea’s largest man-made urban Arboretum with 98 species of 9,300 exotic plants. How do they know this? When we owned our garden I didn’t have a clue how many species or the number of plants. Plus plants reseed, so do they recount each year? Sorry, being a bit factitious! Anyhow, it was beautiful with young oak trees, bamboo, many different coloured daylilies, my favourite Echinacea and loads of tissue paper-thin Hibiscus. We found the opening for the bridge towards the Science Park. There were pots lining the pathway with varieties of squash growing up a metal frame. What a great idea.
We crossed the bridge with wonderful views of the mountains surrounding the city, Skyscrapers, the river winding through with loads of small Rudbeckias decorating the riverbank. Across the river was the former Expo Park built for the Expo ’93 "The Challenge of a New Road of Development". We were aiming for the Science Museum and walked passed the Observation tower and many science blocks, acres of wasteland being prepared for reconstruction. Unfortunately, Maps.me was directing me not to the public science museum but to a science institution. We wandered around in the heat for some time. Breakfast was a mere blip in the past…so someone was getting hungry. I sensed we were getting close to the “hangry” stage!
Cut a long journey short, we finally reached the museum. We only had an hour here, the good news was that it’s free. I spied a Food Hall so we headed straight for there. Would you believe it – “Closed” on the door! We did laugh. Next door was a shop selling some food. It was heaving with young children and their parents; the noise was deafening. We walked around the shelves. They were full of crap – E numbers galore. Either bright coloured sugary sweets or deep fried crispy things covered in additives. Yuk. What message are we giving to children? Is this the way to eat? There was nothing healthy or worth eating here – a sad state of affair. Oh dear, this will not help the hungry situation. You may think to eat this is better than nothing, however, we have been reading The 4 Pillar Plan and have been getting a much better understanding of what this rubbish does to our body.
Moving on, we saw a sign to the Planetarium. I haven’t been to one since probably about 10 years old and our galaxy is so fascinating. We arrived to find that the next show was in 1 minute. We needed to buy a ticket, the machine was in Korean and so the attendant helped us. Time was ticking and in the end, he signalled us to follow him and guided us to our “free” seats. The 40- minute show (in Korean and in reclining comfy seats) was very relaxing. Looking up at the filmed night sky, it reminded me of sleeping under the stars in Uluru. I am sure that both Tim and I drifted off to sleep for a short time. The show explained the stars, highlighting key planets (thank you google translate) and then showed a short animated film about the journey into space of the first Korean astronaut, Yi So-yeon. She had beaten 36,000 other South Koreans to become the first Korean astronaut and Korean’s government paid $20 million to Russia for her ticket into space in 2008. Wow, what an experience. Now that is what you call brave.
We decided to walk back to our Airbnb, we just about had time. By this stage “HALT” was needed from both of us – (see Day 118). Tim was hungry and I was tired. We managed to get back in one piece and still talking with one another and Tim kindly made me a cup of tea while I got myself ready and in a good frame of mind for the coaching session. Phew!
And after dinner….”Come on England”. Interesting to watch this with Korean commentators and we learnt that “Yeogi” means “Here” and “Wasseubnida” means “Came”. Our Airbnb host had left us strict instructions to be quiet, no jumping or loud shouts to avoid upsetting the neighbours next door and below. Tim had to restrain himself quite a few times! And, of course, you know the rest.