Our first thought of Daegu was associated with the fact that Korean exchange students came to Gdańsk from University of Daegu (Kyungpook National University. As usual in Korea – we didn’t know what to expect. Once again we slept in an American English teacher’s house. Jason didn’t have too much time for us, because every day he worked till late, but during his spare time he told us very interesting stories of his travels .
He was in Latin America, where he survived the attack in Rio de Janeiro and restless nights among sounds of shootings in the streets and in Africa, where he was in during the hunt for people with white skin – not associated with racism, but with the magic of the local wizards with human bodies with white skin (mainly blacks albino) preparing a whole range of magic products.
With the help of the underground (phenomenal tickets shape like poker chips, luckily we are not gamblers so we used them only as a tickets) we visited the city. Our attention brought a small, but quite interesting Museum of Contemporary History of Daegu (again free) and Dalseong park. We had no idea that inside the park there is a zoo (also free). Initially, we thought that Korea once again surprised us positively – unfortunately, we quickly changed our minds. Some animals had more or less sufficient space, while others – especially 2 great wolves and a few coyotes, were in small cages, it looked like prison. Animals looked very sad in such a limited space, walked back and forth awakening in us a sense of bitter pity. We would like to write to someone who can do something on the animals of the Dalseong park, so far, we don’t know to whom …
In the evening we went to a meeting with Choi-girl with whom a few years ago in Sopot we talked about our wedding plans – still remembers us :). Together with her friends, Choi had prepared for us a drink of soju, beer and soda. There were tasty barbecue and then woman’s conversation about men mostly about difference between Chinese and Koreans. Chinese are more open and they say what they feel (of course I went to the toilet that time to give women the freedom to express their thoughts). Another evening in Daegu we met up with a friend who while studying in Poland presented himself as “Jerry” – because his Korean name is quite similar (Asians sometimes choose their new “Western” names, probably to make it easier). We were very pleased to hear how warm he mentioned staying in our country.
The next day we went to Gatbawi – Buddhist place of worship at the top of the Palong mountain (Palongsan). We were a little embarrassed that we were completely deprived of condition – 80 year old Koreans climbed the mountain faster than us ;-). Along the way we passed the Buddhist temples (the symbol of buddhism is svastika). We saw Koreans bowing and kneeling in front of the statue of Buddha. There was monotonous prayer from the speakers. Traditional Korean religion is shamanism, later they adopted Buddhism, then Confucianism and now South Korea has the highest percentage of Christians – in many cities we have seen a lot of churches (mostly perhaps in Daegu). Perhaps the development of Christianity was associated with American influences during the Cold War. All beliefs are combined with a deep respect for the elderly – during the lunar new year (Korean New Year, which is celebrated at the same time the Chinese new year, but without a huge amount of fireworks and other noise sources) Koreans pay homage to their ancestors. Another tradition is giving the food – that explaines why we received Korean rice cake at Gatbawi and tangerines at the train station from random people.
Sometimes we write about alcohols, but we don’t want to give anyone a bad example –we usually drink soft drinks. In Daegu we tried a few interesting – for example honey with ginseng, green aloe drink and green tea latte (Jowita already drank green tea in Japan in “1000 ways,” for me it was something new). Ginseng is one of the traditional export products of Korea, this root is a traditional East Asian medicine assigns various medicinal properties. Moreover, in Korea – as in Japan – there is a widespread sale of hot drinks in glass and plastic bottles, a few times we bought a warm soy milk.