Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chuncheon - Mimes, Fireballs, Waterfights, and Dakgalbi



Chuncheon hosts an international mime festival each year. Foreigners in Korea who do not fluently speak the local tongue soon become accomplished mimes themselves, so I was interested in seeing the abilities of some of my peers. The mime portion of the festival was rather boring though, with only a few moderately skilled performers on hand. The scene stealer was a spectacular set piece that dangled in the skies. A fireball was lifted above the crowds by a crane, held in place by a barely visible cable that did not hinder the effect of the great ball of fire.


What was supposed to be a mime festival broke out into a full fledged water fight on Chuncheon's main thoroughfare. Buckets of water were provided and the citizens let loose with much gusto. It was a welcome change from the stiff necked formality of Seoulites. One courageous little boy gingerly edged towards me, aimed his water pistol in my direction, gently squeezed the trigger, and ran away. His aim was true, as I had to wipe my glasses dry to regain my vision after his strike.


I grew hungry and headed for Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street, where a row of specialty restaurants awaited me. Chuncheon's claim to Korean fame is its delicious dakgalbi, a chicken dish mixed with vegetables, rice cakes, and occasionally cheese. It is cooked on the dining table on a large iron pan or directly over charcoal. Like a hot glance from a shy K-girl on a crowded subway, eating dakgalbi is a tantalizing experience that lingers on in one's memories for many days after.