Hi Seoul Festival 2005


May 5th was Children’s Day in Korea, a national holiday. That day too was the last day for the annualfestival called “Hi Seoul Festival”. My husband and I wouldn’t want to spend a holiday just staying home. So in the afternoon we decided to go to Jongno and join in the festivities. We live in Kangbuk (north of the river) so it just took us a few minutes to get to where the action was.

We got to Gwanghwamun, our first stop, at 2 PM. It was where the “Food Festival” was being held. White tents were lined up and used as food stalls from the gate all the way to the City Hall. Different kinds of Korean dishes were being sold at a cheap price and there were freebies as well. We took advantage of the free rice cakes, drinks, and candy even if the lines were long. What we missed was the New Zealand barbecued beef that were sold for 1,000 won per serving. The queue at that booth was just amazingly long!

We weren’t able to eat until 5PM because it was really difficult to decide what to eat. We ended up having “mul naeng myeon” (cold noodles), which didn’t really satisfy us and was expensive at 5,000 won per serving. “Naksan naeng myeon” is still the best one I’ve tasted!

After eating, we went to the “Dynamic Seoul” show (broadcast live on SBS). The show started with all the performers singing on stage and then followed by the girl group Jewelry, who lipsynched and danced to their hit “Superstar”. Next in line was Jo Sung Mo, the balladeer who sang songs from Lovers in Paris, followed by CAN. Baritone Kim Dong Gyu was a hit as well as In Sun Ee. Im Hyung Joo was surprisingly good. Seoul Mayor Lee Myung Bak gave a speech sometime during the show. The finale number was lead by In Sun Ee when they sang the theme for the festival. And then it started to rain.

About 20 minutes after, another show started again and the girl group Sugar sang live but unsuccessfully. They sounded awful but at least they tried to sing live! 😀 There was an Indonesian group who performed so lively that the Korean crowd absolutely loved them! By this time, the rain was really pouring and a lot of the people have left but we still stayed. Everybody by then was wearing the different colored disposable raincoats that were distributed earlier (ours were pink).

The “rock” set came next with Kang San-E, Hot Potato (Tteu-keo-un kamja) and Yun Do Hyeon. We enjoyed this set the most since it was so lively. My husband and I screamed, jumped and rocked along with the young people specially during Yun Do Hyeon’s performance. He was the guy who popularized “Oh! Pilseung Korea”. We were soaking wet because of the rain but it was a lot of fun. We felt like teenagers again!

The concert ended at almost 10 PM. The events were not yet over, though. A firecracker show was launched on the rooftop of Seoul Plaza Hotel amidst the heavy downpour. It lasted for about 20 minutes. The finale was a light show on the facade of the Seoul City Hall.

We got home at almost 12 midnight. We were famished but there was nothing in the refrigerator so we just cooked “ramyeon”. And boy, noodles never tasted so good!

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