Sunday, April 13, 2008

Festival Weekend

Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival

March seems to be the kick off of the Korean festival season, and I decided to take advantage and visit a couple of them. On Saturday, I went to the Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival in, of course, Yeongdeok. Yeongdeok is famous for their crabs, with restaurants all over the country advertising Yeongdeok snow crab. The whole town is one giant string of crab markets and crab restaurants. As you can see, they take their crab seriously here.

It was an interesting festival, with some activities that required a little bit of explanation. Unfortunately, they were not prepared for the onslaught of English speaking tourists, namely myself, and did not provide any explanation whatsoever. One of the first things they did was some sort of silent auction. They had boxes of crabs and people wrote down prices. They held up their bid and the auctioneers went around selecting the winning bids. I don't think it was based upon the highest bid, but rather the closest to some randomly chosen magic price. I never did quite figure out the whole process, which is unfortunate since the prices seemed to be quite on the cheap side.

The next major activity was fishing for crabs. For 10,000 Won, about $10, you could rent a pole and catch crabs out of a giant pool they had constructed. But again, the directions in English were a little lacking. I was in line early for a pole, but unfortunately, it was the wrong line. I was in the line for those with tickets. But first, I had to buy a ticket in a line 5 feet away. Of course, they wouldn't just take my 10,000 Won and give me a ticket then and there. They wanted me to wait in line. Which had grown considerably longer by this point in time. So I gave up my hopes of catching my lunch.

And what could a crab festival be without eating some crab? So I headed to the food stalls were I first had to buy the crab from a vendor. Two good size crabs cost 50,000 Won, or about $50. Which is supposedly about half the price you'd pay in a restaurant. They then had cookers who I had to pay 6,000 Won to cook my crab. As you can tell from the before and after pictures, the crabs were quite tasty. For another couple thousand won, they even took the bodies and mixed in some rice with the innards. So pretty much every last edible bit of those things was consumed.



Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival
(official website in Korean)

From Yeongdeok, I headed to Daegu, where I spent Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I was off to Cheongdo for the bullfighting festival. You may remember that attended this festival last year as well.

The forecast was for rain, but it ended up being a beautiful day. The stands were crowded and the bullfights were as fascinating to watch as they were last year. There was even a woman trainer who won her match, which excited the the crowd, especially the women.

I was able to take some better video this year as well, but I still need to edit it down. So check back in a week or two for that.

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