On Saturday I headed to Hi Seoul Festival, the world’s largest non-verbal performance art festival with the other Munsan and Geumchon teachers. The festival was totally free and took over the whole of Yeouido park, along the Han river in Seoul. From men on stilts dressed in dragon costumes, traditional korean drummers and dancers to a bizarre adult puppet show performed by a crazy french woman, the festival appeared to have something for everyone.
The atmosphere was totally chilled with kids running around freely jumping in the water features, flying their cheap plastic kites or simply snoozing in purpose built “mini- teepee’s”. In Korea people seem to sleep everywhere and come to festivals very well prepared with blankets, tents, home made traditional korean snacks and all sorts of other delicious things. It was fun just to stroll around, people watching and soaking up the October sunshine.
After wandering around for an hour we tried to figure out where the continuous drumming we had been hearing was coming from. Glancing at the sky for all the beautiful kites, we looked up and could vaguely make out 6 people that appeared to be hanging in mid air. Turned out to be an act called ‘Mobile Hommes’ , where a group of 6 drummers on a ‘human mobile’ were hanging from a crane about 16 storeys high while about 10 feet above them a very flexible woman was performing acrobatics. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, and a spectacualar sight to witness as the sun was setting.
Next we learned that you should never trust a Korean woman’s reccomendations!! We were told we should attend the puppet show as it was entertaining and for ‘adults’. It turned out to be a one woman show, and 1 crazy face painted, hideously dressed woman at that. A board fence larded with finds for a setting and adisrupted “Little Red Riding Hood” for a script, this crazy lady attempted to entertain the masses using funny faces, eccentric grunts an array of random props, and outbursts of ‘blah,blah,blah’. It was actually painful to watch at times, hilarious at other times but mostly just plain weird. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting old and have lost faith in the art of imagination.
To top off an awesome day, we were lucky enough to witness the Seoul Fireworks Festival, an hour long explosion in the sky, which we witnessed alongside 600,000 other Seoulites. It was insane. Four countries were represented, the sky and bridges were lit up in a way I can say was similar to the unbelievable sight of Sydney Harbour on New Years Eve. Sadly though we decided to amke our exit early to avoid the half million subway squeeze and headed for some western food in the infamous Itaewon.