Recuperating in Seoul, South Korea

November 1-24, 2013

Autumn in Seoul!

Gyeonbokgung Palace guards.






View from our top floor 18th storey apartment!

Quirky Lantern Festival in downtown Seoul.





We happen to be here for the opening of the brand new, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul. The museum's 10,000 square meters of exhibition space showcase five inaugural exhibits featuring 120 works by 70 artists.

One of our favorite exhibits is by Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh. In Home within Home within Home within Home within Home Suh has recreated life-size replicas of the three-story town house in Providence, RI, where he first lived as a student in the US, and hanging within, his family's traditional Korean house in Seoul. The structures are suspended in free space and are created, in painstaking detail, with wire and transparent blue fabric.



"May I sing you a song?" A tiny spirit asks, then leads me to a chair, and her magnificent voice moves me to tears.

Lee Mingwei: Sonic Blossom, 2013

"While taking care of my mother recently, I found great beauty and comfort in Schubert's lieder. Through the singers selected for this project, I hope to share the beauty with you who have come to visit this gallery. If offered one of these songs as a gift, please accept the encounter and allow the experience to transform you." -- Lee Mingwei



Hah Tesoc: Hovering Geometry

Sound and light patterns projected on a series of translucent screens, creating a "non-existent architecture."



Edwin van der Heide: Evolving Spark Network

In a pitch-dark room, 80 spark bridges are suspended directly above the audience. These sparks emit a bright light and loud crackling noises as they are triggered in various sequences, quickly leading to sensory overload.

Jonathan Borofsky: Singing Man

David Hockney's 50-painting work Bigger Trees Near Warter in yet another Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Gwacheon, south of Seoul.


Stairway in the Leeum Museum.






Hiking the Seoul Fortress Wall, originally constructed in 1396.



A short subway ride away, Bukhansan National Park.


Nifty compressed air boot cleaning station!



It all started during our final days in Madagascar when I came down with a strong fever and general intestinal upset. But by the end of our first week in Kolkata it seemed I was fully recovered. Then, just before our bus trip to the Sunderbans, it started up again. And by the time we reached Seoul, I was one sick puppy. From all our travels, we're used to the usual 2-3 day bout, but this was starting to feel serious.

It was a very different hospital experience when it was my turn to seek medical treatment. As opposed to Liza's simple clinic back in Madagascar, I ended up at the towering ultra-modern International Health Center in one of Seoul's major university hospitals. The extremely polite and efficient English-speaking staff were on the case, and quickly performed a series of tests. After a couple hospital visits and seven days of antibiotics, they discovered my esinophile count (a type of white blood cell) was sky-high, indicating either an allergy or ... parasites. Yikes!

I was somewhat skeptical at the time but after two more hospital visits to see the infectious disease specialist, and a series of giant pills, the freeloaders seem to have been vanquished.

Dateline November 25th: At last, I am fully recovered, and after an unexpectedly long stay (3+ weeks) in wonderful Seoul, we're back at it and off to Japan!

Back in action!