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.
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.
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”.
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…
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.