Friday, 12 October 2012

Jinju Lantern Festival

Dragon Lantern at Jinju Lantern Festival
After a busy weekend exploring Gwangju and two days teaching I was happy to greet the weekend in, it's a hard life! I spent most of the time catching up on sleep, but decided to go to Jinju's lantern festival on Sunday night.

We left Busan just after three as the bus takes an hour and a half to Jinju and we'd heard that the lantern festival was at its best when it was dark.

When we arrived the sun was still up but the festival already looked pretty impressive, there were massive floats drifting in the river as far as you could see. We walked down the edge of the river and took the chance to make our own lanterns and attach our wishes. I noticed the couple near us were wishing for peace and healthy children, quite deep compared to Nick's hopes for the future. Small things...

The excitement of the lanterns can't be contained. 
Cute dinosaur lanterns

Hard at work designing lanterns
Attaching our wishes for the future

We went for a drink at the Angel-In-Us while we waited for the sun to go down, where I discovered that it's not quite cold enough to properly enjoy hot chocolate yet.

By 6 it was dark so we decided to saunter through the castle grounds where lantern guards kept watch over the walls, and the lantern trees shone along the walkways. The boys especially enjoyed the punishment section of the castle and gave each other a good paddling, much to the amusement of onlooking Koreans.

Lantern Guards keeping watch

View of the river

The boys giving each other a good paddling
We left the castle and decided to walk over the floating bridge, passing the massive lanterns in the river, there was a lantern for nearly every country, including beefeaters for the UK, Baboushka dolls for Russia, and strangely enough they decided to show the Canadian navy badge for Canada.

We stopped for a beer at an outside bar next to the river where a Korean guy took a liking to Alex, insisting that he looked like Brad Pitt, and his friend then tried to set Nick up with his three daughters. When the man clicked on that infact Nick was already in the presence of two girls he told him that he was a 'bad, bad man' and consequently turned his back on him. An impromptu end to what I thought was a start to a beautiful friendship.

We walked past the Disney themed lanterns and eventually got to the other side of the river where there was an amazing moving Chinese Dragon lantern. There were hundreds of food and drink stalls along the way selling the usual chicken, dried squid and other snacks.

We eventually came back to the start and before we rushed to the bus we decided to set our lanterns free on the river. Unfortunately you weren't allowed to put them in the river yourself, and had to pass them to a worker who would do it for you, but feeling a little daring, we decided to do it ourselves. Mine sploshed into the water which caused the flame to die, so we had to get it lighted again, the lantern then set alight and the woman caught us trying to put it in the river a second time, which she was not impressed by. Alot of lantern drama to end a brilliant night.

Before the lantern drama

I hope that all these wishes come true

Caught red handed letting our own lantern free

Katie getting it on with the bin

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