For the 10 days camp, 3 full days were dedicated to excursion trips and we always looked forward to them. Seriously, who didn't want to go out and explore? So up the buses and off we go!
Breakfast on the go, was always sandwiches, Korean rice cakes and pineapple/strawberry juices. I tried not to touch the juices just in case my motion-sickness kicked in.
First stop was the beautiful, rustic village of Yangdong. I'm not going to bore you with too much history, but basically it was an important Korean village from the Joseon Dynasty, as kings and other important people of the era hailed from the village clan.
Registered with UNESCO as a world heritage site, some of the clan's descendants were still staying in the village. We spotted horses in a house's stable, a grandma hacking away at branches for winter, and houses making huge vats that among its many uses, one would probably be for marinating of Kimchi.
Two sightings at Yangdong Village that amused me; the shaggiest-looking dog ever, with fringe so long that I wasn't sure if he could even sees us. And despite all the rural-ness, HDTV, anyone?
Seobaekodang, home of the Wolseong Son family.
Boys and girls. Be nice, cross your legs and smile for the camera!
Although Winter had forced out most of the farming crops, I was sure it will be real pretty when Spring comes again.
Next up, a visit to the steel-manufacturing giant, Pohang Iron & Steel Co Ltd, more fondly known as PosCo.
PosCo Museum, Hematite Lump Ore Samples
Established after the Korean War, the company was instrumental in rebuilding the country's economy and is currently the world's third-largest steel producer.
The visit to their factory and museum wasn't all that interesting, to be honest. Nonetheless, it did remind me how much of South Korea's post-war economic success (Samsung, Hyundai etc) was coined from scratch, as the people striked out of poverty for a better future. Sounds like a familiar nation-building story eh?
Lunch was taken in the company's cafeteria, as most large corporations in South Korea provided meal services. PosCo even had hostels for employees!
Though the dishes didn't differ too much from Pyeongsan's cafeteria, we realised that every place marinated Kimchi differently and the ones here were way too fermented for me.
Lotte Young Plaza, Downtown Daegu
And now, the last part of the day trip that we were truly anticipating for; shopping at Downtown Daegu! But let's have dinner first!
Located at one of the narrow streets of Downtown Daegu (Sorry I was totally lost), the organizers booked a cosy restaurant that was popular for their Bibimbap. Finally, the real stuff!
Bibimbap, being a plain rice dish with plenty of shredded raw vegetables, could hardly have much differences among restaurants. Therefore, as I have learnt, the soul of a good bibimbap is essentially its bean paste. Many chefs took great pains to tweak their paste recipe to capture consumers' stomach, and the version here certainly caught ours.
Being my maiden bowl (Don't laugh, honestly) of Bibimbap, I found the bursts of sweet, savoury and spicy flavours very appetising. This was further complemented by the clean, crisp taste of fresh vegetables. Admittedly, bibimbap looked really ugly and lumpy after mixing, but those were sure delicious lumps!
Unfortunately the seafood pancake was served cold and rubbery, while I didn't eat much of the refillable side dishes. What did stood out was the dessert drink; Cinnamon Tea. AS a cinnamon fan, I adored its sweet and intense flavours, washing down all remnants of that fiery bibimbap nicely.
With the tummy filled, its time to shop! The main street was bustling with young Koreans and you could be sure to find all the cosmetics brands lined up neatly one after another. Just how competitive were they?
Well without buying anything, they were already giving out plenty offree samples on the street. And when I bought face masks and cosmetics (with the aid of female friends, of course. I was a clueless chicken in the shops) for the girlfriend, they gave me even more masks, so I ended up having more free than paid ones. Not that I'm complaining!
I also learnt that Koreans tend to be very organised in urban planning. Downtown Daegu has one street for pubs and clubs, one street for cyber-gaming and no doubt, one street for their national hobby; plastic surgeries! Koreans are so good at it that a double eye lids operation takes only 20 minutes! Faster than you could eat your breakfast huh!
No free-hands Team Singapore and our Korean buddy guides, Song and Joyce.
Although I was sure that Seoul had everything on a much bigger scale, Downtown Daegu was already fasincating enough for us, as we wished for more time to explore the place thoroughly. But that's quite enough for the tiring day already!