On Wednesday (07/29), Sarah and I went to the Korean Folk Village in Suwon. (Fun story, the first time I was in Korea [summer 2007] at least one of the signs for the Korean Folk Village said Korean Fork Village. The 'l' and 'r' sound are the same symbol in Hangul [ㄹ] so it's an understandable, if funny, mistake, but I will forever think of folk villages as fork villages.) Folk villages are a pervasive part of Korean tourism, but with 282 buildings, workshops, markets, games, a theme park and five traditional performances, the Korean Folk Village is the largest.
It's quite simple to get to the Korean Folk Village. Take Line 1 to Suwon Station (Sarah and I took a bus from Ansan because there are a half dozen buses going between Ansan and Suwon, but the subway is the tourist friendly way to get there from Seoul) and go to the Tourist Information Center next to station to buy your tickets and catch the free shuttle bus.
Sarah and I spent an hour or so looking at the traditional homes and playing on the nol-ttwigi, the traditional Korean see-saw. Unlike western see-saws, riders stand on either end of the nol-ttwigi and jump, forcing their partner into the air. There's a video (not mine) of traditional nol-ttwigi here, but Sarah and I weren't that good. No midair acrobatics from us; we mostly tried not to hurt ourselves and shouted a lot.
We also caught a few traditional performances. First, we saw a pungmul dance (traditional farmers' dance). Pungmul was traditionally performed by musicians and dancers during farming festivals. The musicians play drums, gongs and a horn while the dancers played a small drum while dancing. The dancers wore sangmo, hats with long ribbons attached to them. The dancers caused the ribbons to move in elaborate spirals and patterns by moving their heads.
As we were leaving, we stumbled upon the kunettwigi, or traditional Korean swings. Kunettwigi are much larger than western swings and the rider stands on the seat instead of sitting. It's actually quite hard, since I'm use to pumping with my legs, not my entire body. (I'm sure it doesn't help that I can't remember the last time I was actually *on* a swing.) It was a lot of fun, if challenging. Sarah was quite good at it, but I never managed to get very high.
The full set of photos are here (down at the bottom). Incidentally, a few days ago something happened and my set of Suwon photos got 18,000 views in 24 hours. I don't know *what* happened - it was probably a bug - but it was very unsettling to refresh my Flickr page and discover 400 people had viewed the page in the past ten minutes.