Friday, June 17, 2011

Inheung estate, Seomoon Market and a hospital tour

Gorgeous grounds and buildings, immaculately maintained, Inheung estate is an early 19th century upper class estate complete with Confucian school. The surrounding fields had been set up around the river, with stone walls obviously very old. The clan which still owns the place and lives there traces its origins all the way back to a courtier of King Sejong (developer of Korean Hangul writing) who became famous for smuggling cotton seeds from China and establishing that crop independent of Chinese control. This was in a beautiful setting outside the city of Daegu with views of forested mountains. It was good to get out of the urban core and see some of the countryside, and we strolled through the small town (village?) to a small restaurant where, as is typical in Korean restaurants that serve traditional Korean food, we ate from low tables, sitting on the floor. A dog which was a dead ringer for one in a Korean drama we watched recently was chained near the entrance, and we had amazing cold noodle food (broth was served iced!) and jun with greens dominating the body of the cake.

Back into the city we had a tour of Seomoon market, which to Jim showed elements of cargo heaven, but also gave us a better view of the less affluent--lots of contemporary clothes and lovely made to order work. Later, we had a tour of Bae Sung Psychiatric Hospital, a facility where patients stay a long time, but look healthy and well cared for. It seems a combination of what we would call a state mental hospital and a shorter stay facility with a psychiatric ER. Dr. Byung Jo Kang took us around and his wife, Shim Jung Ae showed us her studio, her art work and made us delicious food. We had rice wine and ate an amazing meal of banchan, bulgogi and melons (which proliferate around Daegu!).

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