Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Protect me from evil.

Wahooooo! Two Thousand City finally got some decent snow. It is not that much and it will likely be gone as soon as the sun comes out for longer than five minutes, but at least there was a nice little white blanket over everything. When will I ever get to see something like this?

In other news, Sunday was Winter Solstice. For Buddhists this is a big day. There is a whole tradition in which you eat Donji Patjuk, Read Bean “Soup”, to ward off bad spirits. I was told that this would happen on Sunday past and that temples serve PatJuk to the visitors. Needless to say I had to go see this for myself.

As temples often are, our big temple is located on top of a mountain. The climb there starts out nice and easy, but just when you are nicely lulled in to a false sense of comfort, and at right about the time when you are far enough in to be committed to the course, the path suddenly increases in steepness. I’m talking about 30+ decrees here. What makes it worse is that you can’t see the end and you have to climb blind, so to speak.

Luckily I knew this beforehand as I had been up that road before, but it is never easy. Both on the way to the top and at the temple itself I was surprised to find that almost everyone was female. Seems men are not very spiritual in thin country.

I hung around for a bit, observing things and taking pictures, when I heard a small voice saying “Poo-Rang-Soo-Wa!” (That is one way of taking the French out of my name.) One of the students from my dojang saw me and wanted to say hello. He is still very young so his English is limited to “hello”. His father’s English was much better though and he invited me to have some of the magical red stuff.

The PatJuk was a bit bland, but still tasty. Interestingly, it was not sweet at all. It is nice to eat something that is not laced with chilies. Putting the same pepper paste in everything does not exactly lend your food to variety. I was, of course, given the normal side dished of kimchi and a few other things, as well as rice cake rolled in red bean.

I am now set for the rest of the year. No bad spirits will get close to me. All I have to worry about now is keeping bad children away.

*** My computer started acting up something awful and I decided to reinstall it. I still have to install my photo editing software and hence there are no photos of my little trip to find protection.

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