Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lotus Lantern Festival 2015

My absolute favorite festival in Seoul has to be the Lotus Lantern Festival. It is held every year on April 8th of the Lunar calendar for Buddha's Birthday. It is as though the city bursts into color with culture and beauty for these few weeks! I do love the delicately decorated lanterns displayed all over the city. The highlight of the festivities for me is the lotus lantern parade. The lanterns are exorbitantly adorned with lights that brighten up any mopey face! The beat and rhythm of the dancers during the parade add more fun and color to the proceedings.
This year, the lotus lantern festival was celebrated on the 16th and 17th of May. Seoul was basking in perfect Spring temperatures with flowers blooming everywhere and looking so pretty! More pictures of Lotus Lantern Festival here. This year I was not able to do the lotus lanterns with the monks but I had a great time doing it the previous year.

The Changgyecheon Stream with the lanterns on a bright sunny day!
The Beautiful stream as the dusk approaches...
Oh! The festivities are so addicting!
Lanterns for the year of the Sheep
I loved this lantern with a beautiful message!

The lantern mountains resemble the ones made by Minhwa drawings 
The lanterns are huge almost 3 times the height of an average adult. 
The peacocks were the highlight of this year's parade. Oh so beautiful!




My favorite flower of all time! The beautiful lotus. So pretty!

Beautiful fishie!
Beautiful Phoenix that would make Dumbledore proud



Another favorite of mine!

Love the paintings as well!




Dragons with smoke and fire spewing from its mouth was ofcourse the crowd pleaser!





The Hero :)

T for Tasty bit of Lotus Lantern Festival for ABC Wednesday

Monday, May 18, 2015

Selfie with the PM

Today I got to meet an interesting person and world leader!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Korea after his tour of China and Mongolia. He was greeted by Indians in Korea with a lot of enthusiasm and love.

All Indians and others were invited to view the speech of the PM at Kyunghee University auditorium. At first, the embassy had invited just a few of the Indians to a formal luncheon with the PM but seeing the tumultuous response from the Indians living in Korea, resorted to a bigger venue. The program was free of charge and all were encouraged to register with the embassy by sending an email.

The PM was scheduled to arrive at 1PM. But I reached the venue at 11:30AM. Over enthusiasm, i guess :) It was heartening to see so many saris and colorful salwars amidst the formal suits and volunteers. There were many shuttle buses to help us to the auditorium from the subway station. The sign in process and the security check was so smooth and easy. Only the wait for the PM was so long and exciting.

I guess I was expecting punch lines, double talk and drama (I blame the IPL for this). The speech made by the PM was more factual, clear, to the point and in Hindi. He insisted that the Indians in Korea learn from the technologically advanced Korea and implement in India. He asserted that implementing and educating people to have toilets in every home was a difficult task, but he was going to get it done. He maintained that India is the fastest growing economy and developing nation in the world and he would do more for it with his "Make in India" mantra.

The auditorium and the people
Free snacks, water and juice on the far end tents. Registration and confirmation at the entrance.  
Modi did a costume change between his arrival at the airport and his speech at the auditorium! 
Big screens on both the sides of the stage gave us a larger than real look at the PM

His talk was not motivating or engrossing but the auditorium was in pin drop silence until he entered with his entourage. 
Closest selfie I could get of the PM :)
Yay! Another selfie with the PM :)

S for- Selfie with the PM for ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cat Cafe

Another big tick next to the things I want to do before leaving Korea. Visiting the cat cafe in Seoul :)

Cat cafes are very popular in Japan but are a rage here in Korea! Taking care of pets like you would do your own child is very common here. I see people carrying dogs in dog carriers like you would carry a baby- protective and concerned, dogs in prams being pushed by their devoted human and the best of all, all the outfits that are available for the pets for all seasons- including hats, socks, sweaters... oh! so cute~ There are also pet hotels where the pets are housed with utmost care while their humans are away, salons where pets are given makeovers and pampered beyond compare. Cat cafe is just an extension for those people who desperately want to own a pet, cuddle with them, pet them and love them but do not do so for whatever reason. Just like me...

This cat cafe is located in the Hongdae subway station, close to the Hongkik University- Seoul's young gen hangout place.

cat cafe in Seoul
Forget the spelling. Focus on petting the cats
Small intro to the cats in the cafe
We had to wash our hands and apply sanitizer and remove our footwear before we enter into the cafe. We pay an entrance fee of 8,000won which includes a free drink. And we get to feed the cat also. Though I was feeling a bit nervous about the cleanliness of the place, I was relieved to see that the place was very clean along with the cats.

Cats were very friendly, playing with the visitors who feed them and ofcourse posing well. 
My younger one was successful in feeding them and petting them.
cat cafe in Seoul
Elder one got all the love and attention
cat cafe in Hongdae, Seoul

Water station
This one retires to its cubby hole after a long day of being petted and pampered. What a way to live!
This weird cat was scary to look at but was one of the most friendly ones. 
Queer cat

There were around 20 different kinds of cats and they were situated prettily in different places.  


The cats were well trained and would go use their bathroom and the place was very clean.

Now that we have checked out the cat cafe, I am more willing to go to the dog cafe and sheep cafe here in Seoul!interested

Q for Queer cat cafe for ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Green Wall





The green wall
Seoul city has a new city hall. As a part of the Monitor program, we were taken on a tour of this new city hall with an English speaking guide. I was very thrilled about visiting this place because it is one of the most eco-friendly buildings in Seoul. Almost 28% of the energy used in the building is derived from eco-friendly energy sources including photo voltaic, thermal, geo thermal and solar energy. But the most fascinating and unique aspect of the building is the green wall.


The vertical garden is housed in the inside layer of the new city hall building protected by the glass yet with a full supply of sunlight. It was really amazing that this vertical garden holds 40,000 plants of 14 different species! And the wall starts from the bottom and goes up until the 7th floor of the building. The greenery naturally clean the microfine dust and helps maintain the humidity and temperature of the building.



The vertical garden- the green wall
If all buildings could be so green!
The new city hall has a state-of-the-art glass exterior with the touch of the traditional Korean house design. The building on the left is the old historic city hall, which is now the Metropolitan library.
The new city hall
Energy derived from geo thermal, thermal and photo voltaic means.
P for Plants for a wall~ the green wall for ABC Wednesday
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