Another Daegu Weekend

Trip Start Dec 02, 2011
Trip End Dec 02, 2012

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Friday, March 29, 2013

While I had gone home for the winter, a couple of my friends were getting cabin fever in Korea. When I got back, we decided to head down to Daegu for an easy weekend trip and a change of scenery. I went to Daegu for the first time around the end of March last year, but this was the first visit for my friends. Since everything is still brown and dormant, a city trip seemed like a decent plan.

We arrived at Daegu in the early evening. After checking into our hotels near Daegu station, we hopped in a cab and headed to the Daegu EXCO building. When looking for things to do in Daegu, I came across something called the "Alive Gallery". It was a traveling exhibition of electronic versions of famous works of art.

I was really excited. I thought it would be like the best of the "living" art from Yeosu Expo. Unfortunately, it was terrible. The website said it had been featured on the BBC and ABC News, but I did some investigating after visiting and realized those websites had just reprinted the press release sent out by the gallery. Instead of the beautiful and seamless enhancements to static art I'd seen at Yeosu Expos, most of the Alive Gallery animations were crude or silly or both. Many of the animations involved characters in the paintings yelling at you in Korean.

To top it off, there were random, non-animated copies of other paintings scattered throughout the gallery. These copies had clearly just been printed on giant copiers and were of terrible quality. The least they could have done was print onto canvas, although maybe there's something illegal about printing fake masterpieces like that.

For me, there were only two redeeming things about the gallery. The first was the animation of the from Egyptian Book of the Dead of the famous weighing the heart scene. That was well done and fairly neat, especially since I've always been interested in Egyptology. I think the fact that the animations only had to match 2D figures, not the brush strokes of master painters, helped.

The second cool thing was a random laser maze at the museum exit. For a few won you could worm your way through laser beams like in a spy movie. I'm not entirely sure it was intended for adults, but I had to race one of my friends. We ended-up with my time just slightly longer than his, but I broke one fewer laser beam. He claimed the extra beam was broken by the operator closing the curtain so I let him have the victory. The laser house was almost worth the whole trip out there.

After the "gallery", we grabbed a cab over to the Seomun Market (서문시장). We wandered for a bit and somehow ended-up on the roof. We were just going to random floors on the enclosed portion of the market and pressed the button for the top floor. At the time, I thought it said 'electronics', but I now think it said 'electrical equipment'. One floor before the top, a woman got on and expressed surprise when she saw it was going up. The Korean man in the elevator with us said something about 'foreigners'. I assume it was his version of 'I didn't do it'! At any rate, there was a nice "garden" area on the roof and views of the city, so we just went with it and hung-out up there for a while.

All-in-all, we didn't do too much tonight, although I was shocked to see stores and restaurants going strong after 10pm, even though it was a Friday. On my previous trips to Daegu, Friday after 10pm downtown was a ghost town. Perhaps everything stayed open late because today was a holiday, or maybe Daegu recently changed an ordinance. I guess I'll just have to come back again. (I'm sure I couldn't just find out the truth via the internet...)

But, like I said, we didn't really take advantage. We just had the best Italian food I've had by far in Korea. In fact, the only decent Italian food I've ever had here. It would be considered good in North America as well, and I just got back so I still remember what Italian food in America tastes like. If it's still open when you read this, Little Italia was tiny but worth the short wait.

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