Gwangju Blog

What To Do This Weekend: Springing, Singing, Sea Parting, Stars

Some of the usual, some of the new, going on this weekend….here in Gwangju. And I’m super excited! (Especially about numbers 4, 5, and 6)

cheongwansan

1) SATURDAY, SPRING HIKING WITH PEDRO IN JANGHEOUNG!

This Saturday, Pedro will take hikers to Jangheoung,  located approximately a 2 hour drive from Gwangju. In 2007 the city became Asia’s first designated “slow city”, part of the Slow Food movement started in Italy in 1999. It is well-known for Korean beef among Korean people and also for it’s  mountain Cheongwan-san, one of the top 5 mountains in jella-do. Apparently, it’s not very  (723 M) but it is pretty rocky. And, on a clear day,  Halla-san onJeju is visible from the top.

Pedro’s trip will include panoramic views from the top of Cheongwan-san, a trip to the local Saturday Market, a taste of the best Korean beef or street food  by the river. To sign up for the trip, visit the event page on Facebook or text Pedro at 010 9592 9993.

Photo courtesy of visitkorea.or.kr

Photo courtesy of visitkorea.or.kr

2) THE JINDO SEA PARTING IS ON SUNDAY THIS YEAR!

Jindo island  is famous for Jindo dogs,  as well as the “Moses Miracle”:  it’s annual Sea Parting Festival. Once a year when the tide gets very low, it creates a long land bridge (2.8 km) in the middle of the ocean between the main Jindo island and the smaller Modo island. The natural land road is open for a little while, and then closes up quickly.

Pedro’s trip will leave Sunday morning and go to Jindo for the day, just for the festival. Highlights include playing in the mud and free seafood scavenging on the parted waters! Go to the event page on facebook or text Pedro today to sign up.

Photo Credit: Gwangju Metropolitan City

Photo Credit: Gwangju Metropolitan City

3) GWANGJU SPRING FLOWER SHOW 2014

The show is starting this Friday and goes until April 6th  at the Kimdaejung Convention Center. I went to the show two years ago and it was really incredible. There were many stalls and exhibits and a vast array of colors and flowers. It’s a very kid-friendly event, and while there I saw large groups of tiny preschoolers wearing vibrant and matching shirts, which was almost an exhibit unto itself. It is a really kid-friendly event.The event also had lots of plants and crafts available for sale, including homemade jewelry and Turkish ice cream and it’s a great place to buy gifts for others or fun trinkets for yourself. The show is open every weekday except Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on from Friday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Directions: By Bus, 38, 64 or 1000, get off at the Kimdaejung Convention Center Bus stop, or by  Buses 19, 20, 38, 62, 64, 69 or 1000, get off at the Kimdaejung Convention Center( Mareuk) Subway Station Bus Stop.

gpp

4) GWANGJU CHOIR STARTUP!

If you have any desire to be a part of a choir comprised of members of the Gwangju community, come to the First Alleyway restaurant this Saturday at 2pm for a discussion of  repertoire choices, confirmation of the rehearsal time and most importantly finding out what YOU want from the choir. The choir will be led by Heather Aitkin and Caitlin O’Neill with the Gwangju Performance Project. This choir is the first one of its kind, so if you’re interested please stop by, or visit the new facebook page for more information.

5) VOLUNTEER TO HELP ORGANIZE THE GIC LIBRARY WITH JOEY NUNEZ

Joey Nunez is the current GIC Coordinator in charge of the GIC Library, and is in need of volunteers willing to help organize.  Joey says “At this time, all I need are people to come in whenever they are available. My office hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I can show you or anyone else what can be done to help me.” All those interested can e-mail him at: j.nunez@gic.or.kr with their names and availability. Thanks in advance!

grand-budapest-hotel-cast-of-characters-trailer

6) GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL starring every famous person ever AT GWANGJU CINEMA

This amazing film, which I saw last weekend, will be playing at the Gwangju Cinema behind NC Wave downtown  7:30 every night this  Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And if Wes Anderson isn’t enough to get you out to see the the film, do it for Ralph Fiennes,AdrienBrody , Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Tilde Swinton, Owen Wilson.

Yowza.

Have a great weekend!

News of the Week: March 27, 2014

Jindo Miracle Sea Festival to Kick Off on March 30th

This year’s Jindo Miracle Sea Festival, where visitors can observe a mysterious sea parting that creates a 2.8 kilometer-long road measuring 40 to 60 meters in width, will kick off on March 30th and last for four days.

The sea parting is expected to occur around 5 p.m. on the 30th at which time visitors can enjoy walking along the sea road and participating in various seafood related activities.

Visitors can also pick regional specialty seafood, such as abalone, clam and small octopus, throughout the festival.

Also, other traditional cultural activities and attractions, including the traditional dance, Ganggang Suwolae, the song, Jindo Arirang, which was designated as UNESCO’s World Heritage, as well as the famous Jindo Dog also known as Korean traditional dog watching experience will be available for tourists to enjoy.

 

May 18th Ceremonies to be Hosted by Citizens

Leading up to the June 4th Regional Elections, organizers of the May 18th Democratic Movement Ceremonial Event announced that commemorative programs will be held in a manner that will exclude the excessive involvement of the political sector.

As the commemorative events are expected to be used by candidates to advance their campaigns, the organizing committee declared officially that it will promote greater citizen participation in the ceremonial events.

To this end, the organizing committee will reduce politicians’ participation in the ceremonial events by downsizing the speech sessions of influential local figures.

In addition, citizens in each autonomous district will be encouraged to take part in commemorative events at designated places in their own living complexes instead of having to travel to the old Jeollanamdo provincial hall in downtown where the commemorative events traditionally take place.

 

Warmed Up Conditions are Forecast for April

Gwangju and Jeollanamdo are expected to see warmer weather for the month of April as compared to its monthly average temperatures.

Average temperatures in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo will range between 14 and 15 degrees Celsius, slightly higher than the seasonal average of 12 to 13 degrees Celsius.

According to the temperature and weather data for the month of April, released by Gwangju Regional Meteorological Administration, Gwangju and Jeollanamdo will be under the influence of migratory high and low pressure systems with warm air currently moving northward from the south.

However, the southern coastal areas are expected to receive more rain than usual at 120 millimeters.

 

Jeollanamdo to Open Internet Addiction Response Center

In the midst of a rapid increase in smartphone usage and addiction to these and the internet, Jeollanamdo has announced it will operate a ‘Provincial Internet Addiction Response Center’ from tomorrow.

In an effort to provide effective countermeasures for residents addicted to excessive usage of the internet or smart media tools, the Provincial Internet Addiction Response Center will be in operation starting tomorrow.

The center will provide advice on the possible danger and seriousness of internet addiction and suggest preventive measures for this addiction as well as cultivate professional instructors for prevention education.

For those who have difficulties making a visit to the center, a customized visit program will be available.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Soft Queen Bee

I scream, you scream, we all scream for organic ice cream! Okay, maybe that’s not as catchy as the original, but the new trend that’s been spreading around Gwangju is definitely worth getting excited over. Small ice cream parlors offering organic milk ice cream have been popping up all over town, offering creamy milk ice cream topped with all natural extras. Though it’s hard to say who started this trend, I made it a point to visit the very first location that landed in our city (to my knowledge) before the copies began to show up.

FrontInside

Soft Queen Bee, which is located in the heart of downtown, is a tiny place that’s easy to miss. I can’t even remember what store used to be in the spot it took over. Still, its opening was enough to draw in all sorts of crowds. Advertising premium ice cream made with organic milk, it’s not surprising to see why people would be interested. Though I initially chose to ignore and walk past the crowds, I eventually made my way to the tiny shop with a couple of friends to give this place a try.

DisplayMenu

Upon entry, it was clear to see that this was not a place to sit down and eat while chatting. Offering no more than a few seats and no tables, there was just enough room to sit and wait for our treats. The menu, which was almost as limited as the seating, was nice and simple. It offered five different types of Queen Bees, which I assume was the name of the ice cream itself. Along with the plain option was the Honey Gold Queen Bee, the Honey Cube Queen Bee, the Real Caramel Queen Bee, and the Real Brioche Queen Bee. I got the Real Brioche Queen Bee, which came with a piece of brioche bread that had been hollowed out in the middle and filled with ice cream that had been topped with organic honey. My friends got the Honey Cube Queen Bee, which came with a solid piece of honey comb in the ice cream, and the Real Caramel Queen Bee, which came with a gooey piece of caramel that looked nothing like the hard, unnatural versions found in candy stores.

Once we placed our orders, we ended up waiting for a little bit as the honey men got to work. As I watched, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the large piece of honey comb that the employees worked with. Seeing how it was my first time ever seeing honey in its natural form, I found myself wanting to reach down and grab some to get a taste. Luckily, our orders were ready before I could do something that drastic.

Honey CombReal Brioche Queen Bee

The first thing I got a taste of was my Real Brioche Queen Bee. The soft, airy bread soaked up any milk ice cream that had melted as I ate it, giving me a creamy, milky few bites to look forward to at the end. One thing I noticed about the organic honey that it had been topped with was that there were small flecks of gold in it. While I’m not entirely sure why this was a thing, it didn’t stop me from enjoying my ice cream any less. The honey was sweet and a little thinner than a lot of the honey I had enjoyed in the past. The ice cream went beautifully with the honey, as it was surprisingly light and not too sweet.

Honey Cube Queen BeeReal Caramel Queen Bee

Next, I stole a bite of honey comb from my friend, who still appeared to be chewing on her first taste by the time I got to her. As I sank my teeth into the waxy cube, there was a strange yet pleasant popping sensation as pockets of sweet honey exploded in my mouth. With bite, more and more honey was squeezed out until there was nothing more than a ball of wax left. Once the taste was gone, the wonderful experience came to a halt once it started to feel like I was chewing on a candle. While I’ve heard that it’s okay to eat the wax, I eventually spat the ball of the flavorless stuff out. The Real Caramel Queen Bee, which had loads of caramel instead of honey, was a little less intense. Mixed throughout the ice cream was thin caramel syrup, and on top was a dollop of thick, caramel that was somewhere between a solid and a liquid. Though the syrup tasted similar to stuff I’ve been known to put in my drinks, the real deal was rich and sweet with just a touch of salt. It was a bit overwhelming on its own, but it paired wonderfully with the cool, mild ice cream.

Overall, Soft Queen Bee is a nice little place to stop by for a quick treat after dinner. Now that spring is here, allergies are running wild, and it’s been said that eating some organic honey has been known to help. While I’m not enough of a scientist to have any say on just how accurate that belief is, I’m certainly willing to try it with a side of milk ice cream. Also, if you’re not a fan of ice cream, the shop offers other options like small pies and chiffon cakes.

Address: 광주광역시 동구 중앙로160번길 15-28 (across the street from Hakoya)
Phone: 062-222-2292
Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 3,500 to 5,3000 per Queen Bee

‘Cultural Wednesday Program’ to Offer Citizens Free or Discount Cultural and Artistic Events this Wednesday, March 26th

Take advantage of free or discount cultural and artistic events in Gwangju and surrounding Jeollanamdo areas through a ‘Cultural Wednesday’ Program, which occurs on the last Wednesday of every month.

Local art galleries in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo, museums, performance halls and movie theaters are the main participants of this ‘Cultural Wednesday Program’.

Movies (Gwangju Only)

Check out the movie theaters that will offer movies that are shown between 6 and 8 p.m. at 5,000 won.

  • CGV: Yongbong (용봉점) / Cheomdan (첨단점) / U-Square Bus Terminal (광천터미널점) Branches
  • Megabox: Chungjang (충장점) / Hanam (하남점) Branches
  • Lotte Cinema: Suwan (수완점) / Gwangju (광주점) / Sangmu (상무점) / Chungjang (충장점) Branches

*Make sure to double check different time tables for movies that will be shown at the movie theaters introduced above.

 

Exhibitions

The National Gwangju Museum (국립 광주박물관)
The National Gwangju Museum will be open late until 8 p.m. this Wednesday and offer ‘Free Museum Hours for Wood Craft and Korean Lacquer’ from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The National Naju Museum (국립 나주박물관)
The Namdo Dolmen Exhibition where visitors can learn about Namdo-located dolmen heritages

Yeosu GS Caltex Yaewool Maru (여수 GS 칼텍스 예울마루) 
Take a 50 percent discount on admission tickets to the Scientific Art Exhibition, ‘Life is Beautiful’ at 3,000 won

 

Sports and Other Historical Sites

Damyang Sosaewon Heritage Site 
50 Percent Discount Rate on its Tickets

Football game ‘Jeonam Dragons vs. Ulsan Hyundai’ (7p.m. Wednesday, March 26th) 
51 Percent Discount Rate on Tickets when parents and children enter the game together

Swig Meets Gwangju: Dog Cafe

When friends or family when ask what I miss most about living abroad, I respond by telling them that I miss them. But in reality I think I miss my dog the most. Since it is really hard to communicate with him on Skype.  At least I can talk face to face with my friends and family regularly. But it is almost impossible to get ahold of my family dog Max. He hasn’t figured out the latest in Video Chatting technology, I guess I can blame his lack of opposable thumbs.

IMG_7053

I am an avid dog lover and really wanted to play with dogs. Luckily Korea has figured out a simple solution. This weekend I headed to grab a drink and relax at a Dog Café.  This is a great place where you can enjoy a coffee, smoothie or some snacks while playing with dogs of all shapes and sizes.  Before going to this place I really had no idea what to expect. The picture that came to my mind was a pet shop mixed with a coffee shop, which was actually sort of accurate.

IMG_7052

The dog café is three stories: 1st floor is the coffee shop with dogs, 2nd floor is a sitting area with more dogs and the 3rd floor is for grooming.  We spent most of our time on the 2nd floor since it was less crowded and actually had more dogs running around than the first floor.

1535399_804292778783_2020017539_n

The strawberry smoothie I ordered was 5,000 Won and tasted great. They have a pretty nice drink selection to please everyone.  The café is fairly cozy and there were about 10-15 dogs running around and playing with each other and the customers.  The majority of the dogs seemed to be fairly young and untrained. This was fine, but it was actually kind of hard to pet or play with them since they were so distracted with the other dogs.

IMG_7047

One thing to keep in mind is that practically all the dogs are not potty trained so watch your steps. Although there are some accidents around, the staff does a great job of quickly cleaning up the mess.  You can also bring your own dog here to play with the others.  Combining a pet store, dog park and coffee shop into one is a great concept.  They have taken a few great ideas and placed them into one unique setting.  Playing with dogs and having none of the responsibility is a great feeling.

The name of the shop is Café Flying Dog and is pretty nearby to First Alleyway. You can see the map below for directions.

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 7.18.08 PM