Monday, 4 May 2009
A night to remember (1)
Last night's adventure is one I will always remember. After class finished two of my students, Daniel and Susan (husband and wife) and a teacher from Kids Club (which is a Hagwon or private school), set off on an amazing adventure. We were going to a "restaurant for dinner."
Daniel is often my "driver" and he's great. Loves his new car - with plastic applied to keep it pristine, and he has a speed camera warning device on the dashboard as well as a GPS and as he is also a musician (and teacher of Chinese at kindergarten) he always has wonderful music playing on his car radio.
A ride in Daniel's car is always special!
But this was a night to remember.
We drove out another part of the city which I hadn't seen - a rather new looking area, and we (the visitors) were awed at the number of golf shops - row after row of them. Koreans do love golf, but it is hard to imagine that so many golf shops would manage to so survive! But they must!
Past the city we found ourselves on a motorway, heading south of Jeonju. We passed acres of farm lands on either side of the motorway which always travelled high above the lands. Rice paddies, plastic domed "hot houses" and acres of vegetables.
The motorway was excellent and instead of taking us over the many hills, we drove through - there are many great well lit tunnels here in Korea - and kept on. The journey must have taken 40 minutes or so, and we were a little curious about going so far for a restaurant when there were millions behind us in the city and few out here in the country.
It was nearly 7 pm and the sun was setting and the red crosses on top of the many churches stood out in the country.
Susan did tell the story as we neared our destination that her aunt had been married at this place. When we stopped we could see that we were at a place that differed so much from any other Korean place or restaurant. There was no doubt that it was to be a place to remember.
There was little parking but Daniel parked the precious car on the footpath, and we girls headed through the gate to be overwhelmed by the sight before us. The restaurant building was to our right, and to the left almost clinging to a cliff was a condominium - rows of holiday apartments that also shared the spectacular view over a lake, which serves as a water storage area. (I noted that here too the water is so much lower than its high point.)
Also we commented on the new bridge that is being built across the water - rather destroying the view. Korea is building an amazing number of bridges, tunnels and motorways, and sadly this does destroy some of the spectacular scenery.
There was a lawned area ringed by rocks, a wooden raised platform which is the venue for many weddings which gives the spectacular view behind.
We stood and look, and clicked with our cameras before venturing inside.
In a way it is a stark building - all cement but great form with a huge door, huge glass windows overlooking the lawns with the spectacular view. Inside and to the right is a gallery, which featured black and white art works - acrylic on silk paper. The floor was polished cement, the walls white and many dark timber beams featured in the high ceiling.
Susan asked a man if we could go upstairs. This is a two bedroomed apartment, which is often where the wedding couple spend their first days together as man and wife. As it appeared that it would not be possible to view, we made our way into the restaurant. That was unlike anything we had seen in Korea. It was spectacular and I hope the photos give some indication of what it was like.
I'm a bit confused about the owner of the complex. The artist appears to be Lee joowon, and it might be that the artist is also called "O" - hence the place is called O's Place. I'm sure the artist is a female - but I'm yet to determine that. A search on the internet reveals some information, but not all I was hoping to find.
The food was Italian. Susan and Daniel ordered - though there was discussion between us and soon a huge bowl was placed in front of me - (see photo). And it was delightfully delicious. As we were struggling to see the bottom of the bowl, the pizza arrived!
I had eaten most of my (only) slice of pizza, a lady walked past and Susan left the table and had a conversation with her. Then she motioned to Ronelle and I - we were to be shown around the rooms upstairs.