Post #28 – Many have asked me why I came to Seoul, and I stumble daily over answers.  Like for example… A Korean family of three, mom, dad and a pint of a little fellow of not more than 5 years of age (although he looked 3), stroll through the Seoul Friendship Fair.  Dad explains to the little one where from is each food booth: Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala… “Where is Colombia?” he asks. Dad points back and says: “We passed it already.”  “Ah. They all speak ESPAÑOL says the little one”… I don’t understand much Korean, but the conversation was easy to decipher.  The boy’s interest and knowledge of the world geography and languages, and perfect pronunciation was endearing.  Being a Latina at heart, he almost made me cry. It definitely proved to me why Seoul celebrates a Friendship Fair: for enrichment and cultural exchange, for education and for peaceful submersion into other countries’ traditions and customs.  I must have been blind … but I never seen such gathering in any of the other cities I lived in so far.

Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017 – section of arts and crafts booths

The Seoul Friendship Fair was promoted by I SEOUL U, the city’s international image campaign.  I found out about it via the Seoul City Government twitter account and I suggest everyone who wants to visit Seoul should follow them at @Seoul_gov.  They post all the most novel activities and places in the city.  I am rushing here at Take-KR.com to cover as many as I can to bring more details and images to international visitors as we go.

Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017 – section with cultural booth from many countries around the globe
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Promotional pavilion for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchangg 2018 at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Main Stage at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017

The event took place during two days, September 2 and 3, 2017, between Seoul Plaza and Cheonggye Plaza. The Seoul Plaza has a large Main Stage used for cultural happenings, and hosted acts from several international destinations such as: Minsk, Ulaanbaatar, Ankara, Taipei, Hanoi, Bandung, Jakarta, Cairo, Beijing, Tashkent, Istanbul, Bangkok, and Mexico City.

The Seoul Friendship Fair was comprised of a World Tourism Fair with booths from countries around the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, and America – showcasing their arts and crafts, as well as national traditional products.  Two stages showed performances, other booths promoted NGOs sharing and giving, or promoted the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, while more than 45 food booths offered traditional food and drink in the “World Food Fair”.

Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017 – World Food Fair with over 45 countries serving traditional food and drinks
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Children playing at the water fountain in Seoul Plaza during Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul City Hall – an impressive building with a distinctive architecture. t can be best appreciated fro Seoul Plaza

I toured my formed resident countries of Romania, Germany and Peru and made new friends.  Peru was the busiest arts and crafts stand, full to the brim with colorful familiar items, while a Peruvian food stall in the food section was selling ceviche, causa, chicha morada, and seco… for you out there who know what I am talking about. Germany had a long cue selling sausages, although the pairing with tortilla chips did not seem too German to me, but the line was long. I opted for Serbian chevapchich and Czech dark beer.  Plus an impromptu Vampire wine tasting in Romania.  All good choices.  I could have gone for the Indian or Iranian food that looked delicious, but the nostalgia took me towards Europe and South America.  I was amazed at how many countries around the world consider BBQ their most national food.  Primeval…

Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Peruvian Arts and Crafts at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Peruvian representatives at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
World Food Fair stand from Pakistan at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
World Food Fair stand from India at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
World Food Fair stand from Turkey at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
World Food Fair stand from Romania at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017. It includes mineral water from Borsec and Vampire Wines tasting
Seoul Friendship Fair 2017
World Food Fair stand from Germany at Seoul Friendship Fair 2017

For more details you can visit www.seoulfriendshipfair.org.  Thanks to this lovely event now I know that I am not the first one venturing to live here for a while, and that Seoul has Romanian wine stores, Uzbek restaurants, Peruvian arts and crafts retailers and music performers, and much more.  Makes for a great potluck.

 

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“A long and sinuous Silk Road unites all our cultures, a road full of colors, hardships, and hopes. If given the chance to travel this road over and over again, overlapping images would melt into a warm human fabric, full of labor, sweat and dreams. This fabric inspires my work. Its resilience is my hope for a common road into a harmonious future.” Ellie Perla

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