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Hello Hwaseong Fortress Festival!

October 14, 2010

Saturday I took a day trip down to Suwon to see a UNESCO World Heritage site during one of its largest annual celebrations. I’ve been itching to get to the Fortress since it’s the last Heritage site for me to see in the Seoul area and the festival was all the incentive I needed to get there.

Fortunately, Joey was available to accompany my journey there. We took the express line 1 train to Suwon – all of about 45 minutes later we arrived ready to brave the crowds already forming at mid morning.

I’ll let the picture captions tell the rest.

This is one of the first things we saw upon arriving. This has something to do with the ceremony involved in appointing officials in olden days.

Tightrope walkers here are quite intense. This guy commanded a huge crowd as he performed all kinds of stunts one of which was bouncing on the rope on his crotch.

After dealing with some craziness, Joey and I managed to get a shishkebab that was just beyond heavenly. She almost got me to try one of these insanely hot peppers.

From afar I could see a golden Buddha gleaming on the mountain face and so, we had to see it up close.

We climbed some stairs to get to one of the many gates of the giant wall surrounding Suwon and to get a bird's eye view of the parade which was far too loud to enjoy except from a distance

Joey introduced me to Five Taste Tea - this was delicious and I highly recommend it to everyone everywhere.

We left at around sunset and planned to go see some fireworks near the river in Seoul with my friend, Maggie (who suggested the idea but didn’t make it in time for the fireworks)

Turns out, the fireworks were for some kind of international fireworks festival. Now I thought I had see all there was to see in the world of fireworks but this event included fireworks that made hearts, stars, and cube shapes. I was pretty darn entertained. I didn’t really have many photos come out well but here are some I like.

Btw, I should mention that this was the absolutely most chaotic, overcrowded event I've ever attended. The metro police couldn't manage the entire population of Seoul making its way to one station. It was madness. Beautiful madness.

Of course it wasn't my intention to make Maggie look as if she were vomiting and/or being possessed by cotton candy. My camera had other ideas.

After the real fireworks, roman candles made a predictable appearance along with the usual injury-related shenanigans

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