So... our boss decided to treat us to a staff retreat outside of Seoul. While we all appreciated the gesture, they asked us to meet on the other side of the city at 7:20 on a Sunday morning and we were all a bit grouchy about it. But, frankly, when it comes down to it... it's a free trip to see something I would never see on my own, so I tried to look at it in the best way possible. Most of the Korean teachers got out of it, so it was just us western teachers, one Korean teacher and the bosses on a tour with about 30 Koreans. They took us about 2- 2.5 hours outside the city towards the east. Not terribly far from where we were at the beach in Jongdongjin in August actually, though we didn't go as far as the coast.
These pictures are not in any particular order here First stop was the Herb Garden. This was a very nice place to walk around and... basically take lots of pictures. I suppose if you were a plant person you would be much more impressed... I'm sure my mom could have spent hours here, but for most of us it was like a giant photo opp. Of course my camera batteries had to die as soon as we got here, so all these photos I had to steal from friends...
Each section had a theme. There was a bible garden, a Shakespeare garden, a medicinal garden, and and aromatic garden.. among many others.
Our next stop was a sheep farm. The Koreans seemed to be paying a fair amount of money to get into this sheep farm and walk around. Then if you wanted to feed the sheep you had to pay for that too. Whoever owns that farm is making a killing... it was really crowded. Who would have thought someone would go so far just to see sheep. I guess that's what happens when you live in such a giant city.. you are willing to travel far to see that sort of thing.
Last stop was a Buddhist temple. It was very nice.. in the middle of nowhere... very tranquil... as a temple should be I think. The wooden statue above I found there I am quite certain is the goddess Kuan Yin (that's the Chinese name, not sure if there is a Korean name for her). She is known as the Compassionate Rebel and her name literally means "one who hears the cries of the world". Now I don't claim to be any sort of Buddhist expert here... in fact I know pathetically little. But I did try to learn a little bit about this goddess because I bought a scroll with her image while I was in Taipei, because I thought it was really pretty. If you want to learn more about this goddess, this is the best website I've found: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/kuanyin/