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Hello Hampyeong!

April 24, 2010

Today, a Saturday, I woke up at the crack of dawn to get on a five hour train ride to southwestern Korea. Luckily, Matt was getting up to go to China and I was going to meet Joey so that we could make the trip together down to the town of Hampyeong, home of The Butterfly Festival.

Today was the first weekend of the festival that ends around mid May before the area becomes too warm. Spring being a little late this year, it was a little chilly and the free-range butterflies might have been a bit sparse but the sun was out and the attractions at the Expo Area made for good times.

I can’t leave out the train ride itself – Joey and I took the slow train through the Korean countryside which refused to be green until about 3 hours in. The countryside I saw was agricultural sites farming either rice or cabbage with the occasional rash of 20+ story, identical concrete apartment buildings lined up on the skyline. I was really hoping to see valleys with lush fields of green grass but that was 4 hours in. Sigh. Anyway, I was happy to finally get to Hampyeong where it was windy but at least somewhat warm, sunny, and green.

what is this

From the train station, Joey and I entered butterfly worhip grounds. We took a bus covered in butterflies through a butterfly covered bridge, under butterfly lined lampposts, past butterfly festival souvenir tents to the Butterfly Expo Park, which was covered with every form of butterfly art imaginable.

The map offered 19 different sites to visit over a four hour period. Here are more than a few.

Problem 1: Reptiles in a Butterfly Festival? Problem 2: This is a Monitor Lizard...fingers fit in there.

This area was called "Fleshy Plants" otherwise known as cacti and succulents. I loved this area

Kids were petting silkworms and yelling English at me.

Tons of kids came here. Some wore cute wings.

A ladybug that embodies the full spirit and style of the ajumma.

So, like, where are the butterflies? Here are some, I think everything else goes to Flickr.

Thankfully they kept the butterflies separated from the kids. The kids were a little rough with what was already available. There were also a few performances, widely available fried and frozen snacks,some butterfly paintings, and ….mudfishing?

Rummaging around in cold mud for tiny fish that I’m pretty sure aren’t even edible. But leave it to a couple boys to do it anyway. I think Joey said “I feel sorry for their parents” hehe, yeah.

We finished the list of activities just in time for us to head back to the bus to take us to our train home. The ride back was only three hours thanks to the KTX super fast, ultra classy train. So, in all, we took a train at 7:05 AM, got there at 11:40-something AM, had lunch, saw everything, took the train home at 7:15 PM and got to Seoul around 10:00 PM. A very well-organized Day Trip all thanks to Joey. I’m exhausted.

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