Ruby Ramblings


Tea
June 20, 2009, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Korea, Travel

It takes so long to get anywhere.  I feel the need to plan excursions outside of Bupyeong packed with interesting things to do. as I’m going to be spending at least three hours of my day on the subway, I want to feel like my destination was worth it.  Usually that just ends up with me coming home with really sore feet.  Today I went down (north and east actually) to Samcheong-Dong – an artsy neighborhood that is a great reprieve from the concrete jungle that spreads from Incheon to eastern Seoul.  Most of the two or three floor buildings are glass, wood, or brick, with probably fifty coffee shops in a four block radius.

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I walked around, and then couldn’t resist going to the Tibet Museum, even though the outside looked gimicky.  The familiar Buddha eyes drew me, and although the entrance price was steeper than most large Korean museums (at 5,000 wan, which isn’t that bad), it housed some interesting pieces.  The museum was quite small, but some of the artifacts were quite old.  There weren’t any signs in English, so I can’t tell you quite how old, but I enjoyed the displays of traditional dress and the raggedy old prayer wheels.

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Their gift shop was a joke.  I was hoping to get some more Tibetan incense, but there was nothing remotely related to the subject matter of the museum.  Some plain leather purses, some really ugly and girly hair ties, and some cheap bracelets.

I saw a sign for a musuem up the hill called The Silk Road Museum, but I didn’t make it that far.  Instead I got distracted by the most lovely tea house.  Nestled in the neighborhood, I wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t been admiring the building.  I was just thinking that it would be the most amazing apartment, and then realized folks were sitting at little floor tables sipping something.  I slipped my shoes off at the door, shook out my umbrella and left it in the handy umbrella holder, and found a great little wood table to sit at.  Tea Houses may be my  new favorite thing.  The smiling older woman who took my order was so welcoming.  I ordered persimmon leaf tea, not the most flavorful, but it never got bitter either no matter how long I let it steep.  Each order of tea comes with a three step process:  a thermos full of hot water as you are supposed to use the tea leaves until they are exhausted, a little tiny teapot to brew the tea, a strainer and holding vessel that you strain the tea into, and finally the little tiny cup you sip out of.  I just sat, read, and nibbled on traditional Korean cookies for a couple hours.

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The tea house had a garden in the middle.  The building was a square built around the garden, with the interior walls being made entirely of glass so you can contemplate the garden while sipping tea.  Just gorgeous.

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