Today we said goodbye to our good friend Trudy who came to visit us for a few days. She’s on her way now back to the U.S. to stay for a month. Before she left, we took her to Namsam Hanok Village, a place filled with traditional Korean architecture. After having spent most of her time visiting Seoul’s many markets, she wanted a glimpse of something very different. We wanted to take her to the Korean Folk Village south of Seoul, but we didn’t have time. I didn’t even know about Namsan Hanok Village until I heard about it this morning. It’s a gem of a place near downtown Seoul on the northern flank of Namsan, the mountain crowned by Seoul Tower. It’s a welcome alternative to the palaces, markets, and shopping centers one can visit ad nauseum in Seoul. The simplicity of the homes gathered in this village, surrounded by lush greenery, is calming and serene. When we visited, the Seoullites were not yet out in full force. A lack of people added to pleasantry of the place. I posted several photos of the village for your viewing pleasure.
According to Lonely Planet, Namsan Hanok Village is a group of authentic, historic homes moved from their original locations around Seoul and deposited together in a single location. Consolidating treasures may seem a bit contrived, almost artificial. However, I appreciate that Seoul had the foresight to preserve these treasures in one accessible location. Egypt consolidated two temples at Abu Simbel to avoid submerging them when it built Aswan Dam and created Lake Nasser. Consolidating is much better than submerging, demolishing or giving away historic treasures. Namsan Hanok Village is a hidden treasure. It is not well advertised and is not prominently displayed in any Korea guide book I’ve seen. If you visit Seoul and don’t have time to visit one of any of the traditional Korean villages located throughout the country, be sure to make a trip to Namsan Hanok Village. It’s free too. The Joseon Dynasty period boy and girl mascots roaming the village are a bit over the top, but my son found them fascinating and let us take a picture of him with them.
I had more trouble with technology today. It seems as if every time I buy a new piece of technology I run into trouble. I haven’t boughten any new electronics for awhile, so I almost forgot the frustrating feeling that comes with troubleshooting technology. I do DVD conversion as a hobby (transferring VHS and digital video formats to DVDs), and I needed an easy way to upload VHS video footage to my computer. I have all the pieces I need to create DVDs, and I’ve done it successfully in the past. I grew tired of borrowing the living room VCR, so I thought I would buy a cheap VCR to use exclusively with my computer. I bought a VCR from Wal-Mart.com for $39.99. The VCR is fine, but there’s a compatibility problem between the VCR and my computer. I use a converter called Dazzle DVC 80 that connects electronics such as VCRs to computers. The video streams from the VCR to computer via Dazzle just fine, but the audio isn’t working. As a result, when I upload video footage and play, it plays like a silent movie. That just won’t do. I think it’s because the Dazzle DVC 80 has dual left-right audio inputs, while the VCR I bought has a single audio input. I have to do some research to figure out what I need to do to fix the problem. The Dazzle DVC 80 also has an S-video input, so I may have to pay a little more for a VCR with an S-video output. The most frustrating thing is that this always seems to happen. I buy a new gadget, open the box, flip the switch, and it doesn’t work. That’s technology for you. It’s your best friend and worst enemy.