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a day at the 'jew'

This is a great opportunity to talk about one of those 'lost in translation' moments. A couple months back in my class when I was asking my students to write speeches about their 'dream job'. One of the first students began speaking:

Student: "When I grow up I would love to become a jew keeper."
Chris: "A what...?"
Student: "You know at a jew, I would look after the animals etc..."

This student's speech highlighted the fact that the Korean language does not have a 'z' sound and instead 'j' is often substituted - for example words like Fabreeze (Pa-bree-je) Zebra (Jee-bra) or words like Cheese (chee-je). So it took me a second to correlate the words Jew and Zoo. My student was not in fact aspiring to be a circa 1944 Nazi prison camp guard, but in actuality he wanted to work with animals at a zoo.



...and now to today's blog
It was another lovely day in Seoul. Lovely for two reasons, the sun was shining and the smog was at a breathable minimum and also this is the first day of our 4 day Cheuseok holiday (Korean thanksgiving). While we were a little more ambitious last year by traveling to Japan for our holiday, this year we decided to just enjoy some much needed downtime. Since we will be leaving the country in less than 6 weeks now.

On this first day of no school, we were able to connect with Jon Bowman, who hails from Baden, Ontario (a friend from Camp and University days). Our destination today was Seoul Racecourse park - to watch the horse races.

Jill and Jon
Jill and Jon posing by the Gwacheon Resivoir on the long walk to Seoul Land

When we got there unfortunately, the track was closed so that experience will have to wait for another time. Instead we remembered elephantthat Seoul Grand Park (the Seoul Zoo) was only one subway stop away. After asking some people which direction the zoo was, the conversation I had with student months ago dawned on me, and right away we asked which way to the jew and sure enough people now began to understand us.

When we finally reached the zoo, (it was a long walk) we paid the 4,500 won admission ($5 CDN) which included a 1/2 hour dolphin show! The zoo had a very spread out layout - quite different from the usual building upon building layout we are used to here in the city. It also had a beautiful backdrop against the lush green mountains.

I can't remember the last time I had been to zebra an actual zoo (not counting Colasanti's in Leamington or the pathetic Waterloo Park Zoo). While it was cool to see so many different animals up close, it also had that feeling of sadness seeing cement lined ponds and thick fences. It didn't really have that natural feeling (besides the smell I guess).

While the dolphin show was cool (just like marine land), the three of us agreed that the highlight of the day was the feeding of the lions. As we strolled by the lion's pen we stood in the gallery about 20' above where about 7 lions were circling around looking hungry. Our thoughts were correct, since it was feeding liontime. From where we were standing a man began feeding the lions, tossing whole chickens 1-by-1 into the pen. With an incredible amount of strength and power the lions snatched the chickens out of the air, while the few chickens that fell to the ground were hotly contested amongst the herd. After devouring the chickens whole (each lion had 3), they threw the main course into the pen - a 5lb beef roast, and once again the lions went wild.

lions feeding
feeding time for the lions - notice the chicken carcass in mid flight

the dolphin show

After walking around all afternoon, we were beat - so we each headed home (us to Anyang and Jon back into Seoul) when we got home we settled in and watched tv all night. Aren't holidays great!

chris,jill and jon
Chris, Jill and Jon posing in front of Seoul Grand park, not intimidated by the tiger behind them

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