I know what you guys are thinking. Aren’t you in America right now? Why are you still posting about Korea? Well, kids, here’s the thing – I was kinda lazy when I started this blog, so I didn’t get to write about everything I wanted to. Also, since I’m going back for a second year, I might as well keep it going while I’m home, keep you guys interested and such. I mean, you are interested, right? Of course you are. So you can look forward to a couple more posts about Korea and maybe even a couple about my time stateside. Lucky you.
Hanoks are traditional Korean-style houses. A Hanok Village is a bunch of hanoks that have been turned into either shops or restaurants or have been preserved to reflect the ways of the past. Jeonju Hanok Village has over 800 houses you can stroll through. I’ve been there several times and every time I feel like I’m wandering a labyrinth. There are numerous tiny alleys that lead to new parts of the village to explore. Or sometimes they lead to me right back to where I started. I’m not very good with directions. So I guess, really, it could be a very tiny place and I just keep getting lost. I choose to believe the former. Amidst the shops and restaurants are mini-museums usually dedicated to one aspect of the Korean culture (paper, alcohol, fans, games, etc.). It’s a great place to try Korean food and pick up souvenirs. The majority of the souvenirs I brought home may or may not have come from there… This particular Hanok Village also has a bamboo forest and a one room gallery of portraits of famous Korean kings. But the best thing about it is a guy known as “The Magkeolli Man.” The foreign crowd refers to him as Casanova. I don’t know why. He’s not a ladies man by any means. He runs a small restaurant and has a table out front where he lures people in (mostly foreigners) and plows them with free alcohol. He seriously just shouts, “Hey, foreigner! Come here! Free magkeolli!” at every foreigner that walks by. If you stay for a long time, he’ll even give you free food. Don’t ask how I know this. No one can figure out how he can afford to do this (because he does it every day), but there are lots of rumors flying around town.
The village is also host to an abundance of festivals, like the bibimbap (a food Jeonju is famous for) and hanji (traditional Korean paper) festivals, where you can watch taekwondo performances, traditional Korean song and dance performances, and even contemporary performances. Or you can visit one of the many vendor stalls and try their food or scope out their wares. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and get some fun photos.