Apr 15, 2012

chungju dam cherry blossom festival and creepy clown dude

Balloons carrying banners, it's the only way to go when your festival is out in the mountains. I'd already been to the dam, but my students informed me that there would be a cherry blossom festival there this weekend. I was a little surprised since Chungju seems to be severely lacking in cherry blossoms right now... But it was about 10km biking from where I am, it was nice out and my friend wanted to go for a bike, so why not?
Military guys directing traffic. All Korean men have to enlist for two years, so why not put them to good use? What else could they possibly do?
Food selection, there were many vendors but they all had the same/similar food to choose from. Hotdogs with various coatings, meat on a stick, bugs and snails. And my personal favourite, corn on a stick!
After some snacks, we settled on some janchi guksu and beer. I didn't really understand what you were supposed to do when you got there. I guess just enjoy the performers, eat some food and take some pictures with the (depleted) cherry blossoms? But it was nice and relaxing. It just didn't seem to have a whole lot going on for the crazy amount of traffic that was going through.
A video showing a bit of a performance at the stage area.

And then then we wandered a bit and happened upon this:
 A creepy clown dude, aka your worst nightmare as a a foreigner. As soon as he saw us, he beckoned us closer, in front of a captive audience and everyone couldn't help but stare, fascinated by the clown / foreigner interactions. Both of us hesitated, we were being propositioned by a freaking clown, no less, in front of an audience. You get enough stares as a foreigner, you don't really need added clown attention. Sensing our hesitation, he bribed us with some candy. Yes, we were bribed with candy by a creepy clown. He spoke a little bit of English, and thankfully we managed to escape, miraculously, unscathed, only being asked where we were from and if we were a couple. Pretty harmless in the end. But all of the horrible possibilities were running through my head...
The clown pretty much signaled the end to the festival and we decided to head back. The walkway across the dam was closed, so we had to bike down the road (with an insane amount of traffic) but at least there were a lot of cherry blossoms along the way. Definitely made up for the lack of them at the festival spot. All in all, another beautiful day for biking. I'm going to be so sad when summer humidity hits.

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