Day 38- Korean Holiday Chusuk

Trip Start Aug 23, 2009
Trip End May 23, 2010

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Uncle's House

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Today is the start of a 3 day holiday known as Chu-suk. Koreans are celebrating the harvest season. This morning my uncle took me to a market to buy stuff for the celebrations. Wow, not only was the market huge, there were thousands of people all around buying things from chestnuts to socks. Everything was for sale and I mean everything. Towards the back of the market I noticed some dogs in cages. These dogs were not family dogs but rather dogs that would be eaten. I walked closer and noticed a freezer that I would describe as an ice cream freezer and there lay a dead dog that was skinned, split open right down the middle and gutted. I went to take a picture but was quickly shot down by a lady telling me no pictures were allowed. The lady thought my Uncle and Mom were interested in buying a live dog so she started to poke at one to start making it squeal and bark. We kept on walking and cage after cage there were different types of dogs. When I ate dog the other day, my cousin mentioned it was only a certain type of dog. I have learned that this is incorrect. There were Hound dogs, Sheppards, and all sorts of mutts for sale. It was very sad. Some of the dogs looked like they would be great pets and it seemed that they knew that they soon would be killed. The dogs could actually see their dead, skinned brothers and sisters right next to them. After walking about 30 yards a guy came out from his shop with blood on his apron and grabbed one of the dogs by the back of his neck and took him back into his shop. I had to leave quickly because I started to feel sick. I will never eat dog again.

After the chaotic adventure to the market we went to another market that only sold fruits and vegetables. It was about the size of a football field with boxes of produce everywhere. After a few purchases that were needed to complete dinner we stopped at one of the many fruit stands and my Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle started to pick out boxes of pears, apples, grapes, watermelons, oranges, and peaches. I couldn’t believe how much fruit they were buying. I asked my mom how much was the total and she said it cost about $180. A hundred and eighty fucking dollars, are you kidding me. There is no way we would be able to eat all that. She replied back saying that they use fruit as gifts for Chu-suk, sort of like Christmas. Once we got back home, my mother, aunts, and grandmother started cooking.

For dinner we had, fish, ribs, pork, egg rolls, crabs, several types of kimchi, lettuce, spouts, fried potatoes, peppers, octopus, and of course rice. It is also tradition to drink makali which is a low power alcohol made from rice. Even my grandmother who doesn’t drink had a couple of glasses. After dinner my aunts, mother, and uncle started to drink Soju which is similar to Saki while I drank brandy. After we all got a good buzz we went to “norte-bang” also known as a karaoke bar.

The karaoke bar was divided up into multiple private rooms that had two flat screen TV’s with a huge wrap around couch. When we first arrived at the place, the first thing I noticed were the Halloween customs all around. You could dress up in all sorts of customs like Spiderman, Superman, and even a leopard. My aunt grabbed five colorful wigs that we wore as they sang the night away. When we were leaving I ended up seeing a guy dressed up in the Spiderman outfit and I took a quick picture. I am not sure why they dress up to sing but it was actually pretty fun.
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