Friday, February 15, 2013

Tapsa and Lunar New Year... the last big adventure before Japan

 
Happy Lunar New Year Everyone! This is the holiday where the family gets together and the children, wearing traditional Korean attire, bow to their elders and ask for money. You get paid to dress up! And they look so cute!  This is also one of two most horrible dates to travel in Korea. Everyone is traveling to their families place and therefore the traffic is horrible. Only a psycho would get on a bus to go anywhere this last weekend. Thankfully, I consider myself pretty crazy. 


I went on my last big adventure till Japan! I got to the temple called Tapsa. It is this really amazing temple where there was this Hermit monk who spent his whole life stacking stones to create about 100 pagodas. Only 80 of them survive today but some of the bigger ones are huge! These pagodas surround a small temple but around the temple are these really cool mountains that are called horse ear mountains.  The real reason I loved this temple is because of the hermit himself... the fact that he was a hermit.... okay I am a nerd.
 Being a Temple, it is located in a fairly secluded area, go figure the home of a hermit is in a far away location. psh. Anyways, my friend Jackie and I, along with a couple of other girls headed to this temple together. We had to catch an early bus to get to a city called Jeonju, then catch another bus that would take us to Jinan and then we grabbed a Taxi in order to actually get to the temple. It was a long process.  But that is what Saturdays are for :)

 
But along the way up we ran into a bunch of vendors and some really cool people. Like this awesome Hot chocolate stand. Koreans are super nice people because this guy actually allowed us to leave behind on of our bigger backpacks with him while we climbed to the temple.
  
Also, while we were on the road up to the mountain we ran into one of these vendors who was selling hard toffee from her stand. This toffee was covered in nuts and there were birds everywhere. They were coming pretty close to us to, so I whip out my camera in hope to catch one of these feathery creatures in action. As soon as we start chasing the birds around the lady calls us over and sprinkles a few nuts onto our hands and instructs us to hold out our hands to let the birds eat from our hands. Well the girls get into this and soon enough the birds come and they all get to have their very own bird eat out of their hands. One girl started screaming when a bird landed on her hand, but despite the high pitch squels the bird munched on its meal and calmly flew off when it was done. At least Stephanie didn't move. I was the last person to feed them, for some reason none of the birds would get close for a long time. I was wearing my bear-eared hat and so my friends said that it might be scarring the birds off. So the moment I put my hand up to remove my hat, a bird lands on my head!
Somehow my friend get a picture of it and the bird did venture to my hand after taking a rest on my head.
That lady was super sweet so I bought one of her toffee/nut sticks. It was actually really tasty too!

 And then we finally arrived at Tapsa, or Maisan Temple.
 There were a ton of these stone pagodas everywhere! And I think I took about 200 pictures but sorry you will only see a few of them here. ( I know your secretly saying, thank you)
 This is a statue of the monk, I approve of Hermits :)
 The whole area was covered in snow and it was really pretty to see and be around. Though a little dangerous, because this mountain was snug up against the sheer cliff of the mountain and occasionally there was snow and icicles falling from the cliff.

 There was a path leading up farther past the temple and my newly found friend Amanda and I decided to explore it, to see where it ended up. Well not so surprisingly but there was yet another temple up their, more for where the monks lived. Well walking around the area we found an old drum and someone had absentmindedly left the mallet next to it. Well I couldn't help myself and I grabbed the thing and hit it once. The boom was resonating and after my friend had a try as well, we scurried off before some monk got the idea to come after us. bwahahaha

Here is another fun story, so my friend Jackie wanted to take a video of herself dancing to the song 'Can't touch this' by MC hammer, she wanted to do this at the temple so that she could send the video to her sister to make her feel happy. Jackie is such an entertainer. Well, she got a lot of viewers and when a couple of kids came to watch, she told them to join her. AND THEY DID! It was awesome watching them copy her moves and then they taught her some moves too, yep even the Gunnam Style dance. It was awesome! Lets see if I can get a video:
video
well it is part of a video, but you get the idea :)

Later, as we were about to walk back down the mountain, the family stopped us and asked if they could drive us down the mountain. Which was super nice because we wouldn't have made our bus if we had walked. While in their car, we learned that the family was from Jinju, where Jackie and Amanda and Stephanie were working as Teachers. This made everyone very happy in the car and numbers were exchanged. It was awesome and it just shows how amazing some Koreans can be.

   
 These are the horse-ears Mountains

Luckily I was able to catch the last bus back to my city after we returned to Jeonju, but I had to miss dinner with the girls. It was a great trip though!

The rest of the weekend, I stayed in Masan but I was invited to a couple of families houses to eat and celebrate the Lunar new year. Not a bad weekend, actually everything turned out really well. I really felt like my Heavenly Father was looking out for me this weekend, in more ways than one.
That's all for now, folks.

Adventure is out there!



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