my penultimate full day in korea. THis has been for me one of the ultimate holidays, in a way: I get to listen to really great lectures for free and commune with feminists and see really great art (more on that later) and then go and have amazing food and shop. i had planned to do a bit more museum going...there is so much to see here...but by today after three days of 8 hours of lecture sessions (more or less) i just felt like wanderng and shopping today, my day off.
Unfortunately i have an outrageous headache right now...probably from being out wandering in the sun.
I had the ultimate korean experience yesterday and today:
Yesterday I went to the conference as usual...there has been a lot of stuff there about the plight of the korean women taken as "comfort women" i.e. sexual slaves/forced prostitution/rape victims by the japanese army durng the second world war. I am sure that some of you are aware of the level of brutality that these women, now mostly in their 70's and 80's were forced to endure. on monday there was a meeting between Koizumi and the Korean leader (whose name escapes me, ugh) here inSeoul (and actally, i think at my hotel, at least in part...there were tonnes of riot police and what not here on monday...it was scary) and Koizumi categorically refused to acknowledge that these atrocities had occured and refused to rectify new textbooks that glossed over this and other war atrocities (the textbook has China's back up too...incidentally). So there ws a protest, actually the 67th (i think) on this matter yesterday, and i and many participants from the conference were pleased to take part and lend our suport to these brave women.
afterwards i went to some more lectures about gender in china and whatnot, and then to a rountable on women's new media art...i am thinking about putting an online exhibition together for Dudley!! I have another plot/plan which i will write about shortly and which i am really excited about...a feminista-journal-scrapbook-translation project (more on that later)
So i met some wonderful curators and artists and went out to dinner on my own, came back an looked at the films that were being shown through their work, and the work of EMAP (Ewha Media Arts Project). glorious evening...been walking aroun Seoul with my massive Bose headphones on listening to Van Morrison and Fairuz(the ones my parents gave me as hand me downs) looking very old skool. Funny thing...huge headphones attached to an iPod!
Today I started my day with a green tea an Sweet potato Latte at O'Shelloc ( swanky japanese influenced green tea boutique cafe) in Myeongdong (nearby fashionista lively shopping area) and walked to namdaemun Market which is HUGE and piled high with dried fish, fruit and veg, and fake gucci...as well as sundry household items, art supplies (?), costume jewellery wholesalers and dry goods as well as clothes in great heaps for no money (but not anything you would want, for the most part). Had lunch at a market stall in the midst of all of this, a quiet corner in the chaos (there was a demonstration going on on one of the streets at the edge of the market as well...no idea what for...signs all in korean) where i saw somebody eating something that looked tasty and i pointed an said "i'll have what he's having". Ended up with a huge bowl of vermicelli type noodles in an iced soup with kimchi in. it was absolutely delicious. I drank a bottle of iced green tea an ate what i could reading "The Opoponax" and the ladies working the stall were somewhat amused.
went on the Dongdaemun, another market in the shadow of one of the former city gates, except this is a whole series of huge fashion malls something like Xidan in Beijing, plus a big clothing warehouse market...more like Wujin Xing with hats and scarves and stuff. I bought some great stuff...and went off to look for some culture. BEcause even though i didn't feel like musuem hopping all day, i couldn't shop all day either.
wandered around the lovely buildings of the "traditional korean village" at Cheongmuro. big groups of chinese an japanese tourists. after getting dusty looking into the comfy looking wooden floored homes stocked with furniture and bolsters, i had a cup of citron tea (AmaZING.. a sweet marmalade like paste you mix with water to make a kind of tea) in the restaurant that is inside one of the traditional style buildings (xirca 19th C), just as the sun was begining to be a little gentler and a breeze was stirring up
Spent a couple of hours wandering aroun the Lotte Dept. store, one of the sawnkiest i have ever been in...really...rivals japan. sampled all different snacks, and bought some...seaweeds and crackers and encrused tea leaves (i think..it's tasty, so whatever) to bring home..and some of that citron tea.
now, probably due to being out in the sun, i have a raging headache...but it was worth it...i have one more day of conference tomorrow,,,an ihave to pack...get ready to go back to singapore...which is how i got the title of this entry. Because as good a time as i have had here, and as much as i like it...i actually miss singapore. I miss my apartment..i miss the sense of space and the cleanliness of the air in my room, the incense burning, the indian markets and the exciting prospects....most of all, i miss my view.