Hi friends! For anyone who is still using the old “http://www.worldwalkabout.wordpress.com” url–we’ve moved! From now on, if you want to keep getting updates about our travels, please visit “www.world-walk-about.com.” All new posts will be on the new site only.
I’m also not entirely sure how this will affect the folks who subscribe with the wordpress “follow” feature or who have signed up to receive email alerts…but I’m working on it, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, come on over to:
We just wanted to give everyone the heads up that we are officially a “dot com” now (instead of “wordpress.com”). Our new and improved URL is http://www.world-walk-about.com, but the old one will always work and redirect you here too.
Speaking of changes and improvements, we could use your help. If you’re a regular reader, what kinds of posts do you like to read? What has been your favorite post so far? We want to know what kind of things our people are interested in so we can keep you interested in our vagabond life! 🙂
If you’re a new reader, what kinds of things would you like to see here that we are currently not writing about?
If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment with your suggestions or to let us know what you’ve liked so far. Thanks to everyone for reading our little travel blog, we appreciate you all!
Those of you who know me know I usually have my camera on hand. I joke that my camera is my first born, because that is how much I love it. Matt and I both take way too many pictures all the time, and only a fraction of them end up on this blog or on our Facebook pages. But because I want these hundreds of pictures to be enjoyed by someone other than us, I have been uploading most of them to Flikr. So, if you are interested in seeing our travel photos, including photos of trips we took before we started blogging, please check out our Flikr! You can also click on the image in the side bar of this blog to get there.
Happy Friday (at least it’s Friday in Korea…), and have a great weekend! I’ll be off snapping pics of anything and everything, per usual. 🙂
Occasionally we do act like adults and do things like go to listen to jazz in swanky clubs. Since it’s not very often, it is very fitting that our jazz bar debut was at Once in a Blue Moon, an up-scale jazz bar in Apgujeong.
There’s no cover charge for the band, but that is offset by the fact that the drinks start at 15,000 won ($15)…and that’s for a non-alcoholic drink. The food is even more pricey. Also, you are required to buy a drink. So we sucked it up and paid 18,000 won each for some amazingly delicious cocktails–but it was definitely a one-drink kind of place! These prices would even be expensive at home in Seattle, but it is really unheard of here in Korea, where food and drinks are usually so cheap.
Our friend Eric tells us that Once in a Blue Moon is famous amongst Korea’s well-heeled. He also said that in basically every romantic movie or television show, if there is a marriage proposal, it is probably happening at Once in a Blue Moon. Apgujeong is the fanciest neighborhood I have ever seen in Korea, and I heard another expat describe it as the “Beverly Hills of Korea,” which is pretty fitting. We saw a lot of high-end cars on the streets and designer bags on the tables.
Even though the drinks were pricey, the atmosphere was great, the music was awesome, and all the songs were in English. I like to think I was rubbing elbows with Korea’s elite…but it was probably mostly regular people. Oh well, I’m a celebrity at my school, and that will have to be good enough for now…
To get to Once in a Blue Moon, take line 3 to Apgujeong Station and take exit 2. Walk out the exit and turn around (180 degrees), then walk straight and turn right at the corner. Walk for 2-3 blocks before hitting a major intersection. Cross the road. Walk several blocks, about 10 minutes, until you see the Galleria Dept. Store. Turn right down the major intersection on the opposite corner of Galleria — it will be on the left side of the street after about a five minute walk. I got these directions from this blog…we actually just hopped into a cab from Apgujeong Station, and it was about a 5 minute ride.
…royal cardboard people that is!
After we decided we didn’t feel like hiking two more miles around the Hwaseong Fortress, we decided to head straight downhill and check out the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace.
This palace was built by King Jeongjo of the Joseon dynasty in 1789 within the walls of Hwaseong Fortress. It served as a place for the king to come and rest during times of war, and it was where he would stay during celebrations. When the king was not there, it was used as a base for the government. Most of the palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, but has since been restored. Along with the Hwaseong Fortress, the palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
So we did what all mature adults do at impressive places like UNESCO sites…I posed with some cardboard people, Ashley went around the palace collecting stamps in her notebook (an activity that I think was meant for children), and the boys spent almost the entire time throwing arrows while playing some ancient palace game. We’re mature and worthy of these sites…right?
To get to the palace, take Line 1 from Seoul to Suwon Station and then take Exit 6. Cross the road, turn right, and walk 100m to the Yeokjeon Market bus stop. Take Bus 7, 7-2 or 32-1 and get off at Hwaseong Fortress. Walk down the street until you reach a pharmacy at the three-way intersection. Turn right and cross the street.
Today I am taking a break from our usual talk of travel to talk about something even more important. Do you know who Joseph Kony is? Since 2002, the International Criminal Court in the Hague has named him the number-one most wanted criminal in the world for his crimes against humanity as the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (a group the African Union has declared a terrorist organization) that has been fighting in Sudan, Uganda and most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This same list included the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as number 24. Yet while Gaddafi appeared regularly in news coverage until his death in October, the man occupying the list’s number one slot is barely ever even mentioned in mainstream media.
In a nutshell, Kony is responsible for the kidnapping of tens of thousands of people in Central Africa, mainly children, who he then forces to become child soldiers or sex slaves and commit horrible atrocities. He is backed by no government, believes himself a prophet, and his mission is to preserve his own power. He has been doing this for over 20 years.
The organization Invisible Children was started to bring awareness to the plight of these kidnapped children, and has since grown into a movement to inspire activism. Their films and campaigns have played a role in rallying support for U.S. aid and involvement in Uganda for the purpose of helping the Ugandan army capture Joseph Kony and bring him to justice. The United Nations, African Union and the government’s of several Central African countries are also involved in efforts to halt the activities of the LRA, which you can read about in this press release from the African Union.
I’ve personally been a supporter of Invisible Children for many years, ever since they screened their first film at my university. This year, Invisible Children’s mission is to make Joseph Kony a household name. They want everyone to know who he is, what he has done, and why he needs to be stopped so that we can all do everything in our power to support our governments in this mission. Please note that I am not asking you to donate money. If you feel that the best way to show your support for this issue is to donate money to Invisible Children or another charity group that works in Central Africa, that is your own choice. What I think is more important at this time is to become aware of this issue so that you can make informed decisions about it as a voter and a citizen of this planet.
I have seen a lot of conversations happening in the social media world about this issue, and whatever your stance, the fact that we are having conversations about it is really important. I understand that bad things are happening all over the world at any given time, and some people scoff at the publicity this project is getting, asking “why this issue?” To me, it’s because this is a war primarily against children. We can’t turn our backs on the atrocities of the world, especially those that target our populations most vulnerable members. I think it is important for people to know this is happening in the world we live in. Awareness is important, no matter how much the critics of this project denounce it’s usefulness. For more information on the criticisms of Invisible Children’s work, see this NPR news article. Click here if you are interested in reading Invisible Children’s official response to the criticism of their projects.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading. Please take thirty minutes of your day, watch the video, and find out how you can help. Invisible Children’s advocates will be papering the streets with pamphlets and posters all over the world, spreading awareness about this cause. I’m doing my best to “paper” the internet, so if you watch the video, feel moved, and are so inclined, please repost the film and help get the message out. #stopkony