Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Green Tea Fields Forever

This is the land of festivals.  They're beloved events and there's a festival for something every week.  If it exists then there's a chance that there's a festival for it.  A celebration for kimchi or strawberries or butterflies or clams or sting rays or masks or a change in the tide.  South Korea could have a festival for festivals.  Why not?

So festivals are great right?  Fun in the outdoors.  A cause for celebration.  Good food and maybe some rides.  However, my experiences with festivals in South Korea have not been great.  First the grounds are filled with tents that are selling crap that has nothing to do with the theme.  This mostly consists of unidentifiable barrels of food.  Or kitchenware that will "change" the way you look at the world of cooking.  Second there are way too many Koreans there.  For example, Korea recently had a famous festival in a province next to ours that featured the cherry blossoms.  Millions of Koreans go there each year to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.  However, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom all over the country.  In my city there were tons of beautiful cherry blossoms everywhere!  So I didn't feel the need to take a 3.5 hour bus ride to see the same thing that I could take pictures of across the street.  However, Koreans do not have the same mentality.  Which brings me to my last point of the festivals just being pointless.  We made the mistake of going to the strawberry festival sometime last April.  When we heard about it we thought that we could grab some baskets and fill them with freshly picked strawberries with our own hands.  Then we could hang around and enjoy the many delights that strawberries have to offer.  Instead we got a bunch of worthless tents, and there was a backhoe actually doing work in the middle of the festival grounds, and there was the world's scariest petting zoo.  There was one cage that housed two rabbits, a tortoise, an anxious skunk, and the world's saddest monkey.  Did I mention they were all in one cage?  Needless to say it was not strawberry fields forever.

When the Green Tea Festival rolled around I was understandably skeptical.  The three or four festivals I had been to before were major failures.  However, I had heard of the famous green tea fields of Boseong several times and thought I would at least give it a chance.  It turned out to be a great choice!  The tea fields were beautiful and the congregation of tents weren't too annoying.  We were also serenaded by a band and got to pick our own tea leaves.  As a lover of green tea it was a great experience.  My sister and a friend were here visiting all the way from Kansas City and they were also very impressed.  Perhaps my view of Korean festivals could change after all.  Pictures!!!

Green tea is cool.

Brian displays the proper to way to pick green tea.  Make sure it's green.

Then bang a giant drum when you finish your pickin'.