Thursday, November 10, 2011

Masks, Pigs and Gladiators

As I said in my long-ago most recent post, I finally left Seoul, which was very exciting. Elaine, Carrie, Ben, Dustin, Sandy and I went to Andong, for the Andong International Mask Festival, which was pretty awesome.

We left bright and early on Sunday morning. We woke up at 7AM. I have not seen that hour in a very long time, except perhaps after not actually going to sleep until then. It happens when you work 2PM until 10PM. At the moment, my schedule consists of waking up at 8:45 for Korean class. Going to Korean class until 1PM. Going home for about an hour or less if I need to plan a lesson. work til 10. Relax a little. go to bed. Repeat. Aka I'm a tad tired sometimes. Aka I was unhappy about this 7AM waking up, even though I was very excited to finally leave Seoul.

We headed to the bus station and managed to catch a bus at about 9:15, which arrived in Andong about 12:15. I fully intended to stay awake and watch the scenery as I finally exited Seoul and see the mountains around Seoul and fully appreciate nature instead of the constant buildings. I took this picture:

Then promptly fell alseep and could not wake up, except to get out at this rest stop:

which was the fanciest slash most restaurant-y rest stop I've ever been at. I bought a water bottle, got on the bus and immediately was asleep again. It was an issue. But it could not be helped. I was sleep deprived.

The bus ride was 3 hours. We arrived in Andong and immediately saw this very specific and helpful sign:

Which did not lead to a bus stop.

We all took bathroom breaks in this bathroom:

Well obviously the boys used the boys bathroom. The bathroom had the unique quality of communal toilet paper that was hanging on the wall by the door and you had to take before you entered the stall. Or so I thought it was unique. I've actually seen it a couple times since. It's horrifying.

We bought our bus ticket home at the ticket stand, which had this poster above it:

We then headed to the Festival. We took a taxi, because we couldn't find the bus stop.

It didn't take too long to drive to the festival. We arrived and there were quite a few people there.

This was at the gate:


We watched a few of the performances that were on the stage for free. These women we thought for a bit were highly inappropriately dressed teenagers, but they were adults. And definitely professional dancers, as you can see from the video.

These dancers here were definitely my level of dancing ability. I would have fit in very well.

Then we took pictures of all the crazy things that were at the festival.

Shrek in a mask.
The Little Prince in a mask...and a random Russian doll.

He was having too much fun and fell over.

This sign was having some trouble after a while:

Then Carrie, Elaine, Ben and I went to watch the actual mask performances, which were pretty awesome.

We watched the Phillipines' mask dances first. Those dancers were amazing!! It was so cool! It's hard to describe or capture, but they were really great dancers. Here are a couple videos, which show a bit of what we saw.
They started out blindfolded and re-enacting torture and murder scenes, which was interesting.
Notice how they are still blindfolded...

Then this guy danced and he was amazing, but it didn't last very long, so I didn't get a video.

Then they danced and were also very good, especially that last move in the video.

And they ended with the gladiators...or something. I am not sure why they were dressed as gladiators or what they were supposed to be. It happens when you go to a mask festival in Korea and the dance is from the Phillipines.

Next up were the dancers from Malaysia, which were a little more traditional it seemed than the Philippines dancers. Still pretty cool I must say. here are the pictures and videos:

This was the roof:

This is a scorpion, which was on the seat in front of us:

And these older women were with nuns, eating corn and watching the Malaysian dancing.

Next, the Korean traditional mask dance happened. It was all in Korean and I literally had no idea what was going on. It seemed to be a play of some sorts and apparently the woman was funny, but I have no idea. She came out with an electric scooter, a cell phone and this outfit on:

Then was pretend sleeping next to a pretend tree.

Then these people came out:

I'm still confused.

Afterwards, we were accosted by a charity group.

Then we saw these cars:

Which moved around as your pushed down on the handle. They went pretty slowly

except for the Pooh Bear cart, which seemed to be having some technical difficulties:

We walked by the countless stands of food, which all seemed to serve the same thing:

Naturally, we got the most edible thing. The roast pig. It was extremely delicious. Best pig I've ever had.

Afterwards, we headed to the traditional village in Andong, which was quite awesome and will be in the next blog post.

But before, a student story.

I overheard two of my students arguing about Lady Gaga. Quite literally, my (male) students. This is what I head:

Male Student 1: Lady Gaga is crazy
Male Student 2: No she just likes being different
Male Student 1: No she's crazy
Male Student 2: No she just wears strange clothes. She just want be different!


  1. Fabulous pics - looks like you had a great, delicious time

  2. Really love the embedded videos .. this was all great/interesting to see ... the food is amazing as usual. Just saw a special on Seoul ... it was interesting to see the places I recognize from your blog pictures.