David Lee (Christine Lee’s brother) came to pick me up from the hotel in the morning and I met his new girlfriend Junghyun – David has grown up considerably since I last saw him two years ago in San Diego – he has been living in Korea – working for an English language Korean tv station - his main job is to make sure the English that is used on the show is properly formatted for grammar. He has been learning Korean and I would say he gets around quite well. His girlfriend is really sweet, kind of shy and quiet. Anyway we were to meet David’s parents at the Stilla Hotel for a Sunday brunch – this hotel is on top of a hill and the restaurant, located on the top floor has an incredible view of Seoul – and the winds from a typhoon off the coast of Japan has blown away most of the smog and so you can see quite a distance on this clear day.
It was the first time I met Mr. Lee, and the first impression was that he looks so much like Christine!! The resemblance was uncanny!! I was amazed. Both he and Christine’s mom Lucy looked great, and we had a really nice time at lunch. Mostly talked about Christine and what an amazing artist she has become. It is really great to be able to honestly brag about one of your students to their parents. No faking necessary. Christine is going to go places if she plays her cards right.
After lunch we went to a palace just as what appeared to be the changing of the guards was taking place. Stern faced guards in their monkey suits marching not unlike the Wizard of Oz guards. Come to think of it their suits looked exactly like the ones in the movie. Bright red longish waistcoats. Hats with feathers in them, and quite un-korean looking, to tell the truth. A real contrast from the folk dancers and musicians yesterday. We barely had time to go to the Museum so we went into the gift shop and browsed – Mr. Lee purchased a nice book about Seoul for me. Then we went to Insadong, and I made the mistake of commenting that I was looking for a few things – well from then on out the excursion turned into a rabid hunt for these items. What was a bit disconcerting was the fact that whenever I did find something nice for mom or for my aunt, the Lees would not let me pay for these items!!! This led to the awkward ritual of my giving said gifts to my intended recipients back home, saying, and “it was paid for by the Lees”. On the other hand it was all an incredibly generous gesture on their part and I was extremely grateful for their willingness to take me out on the town. Another reason we shopped like maniacs was because we had a small window of time to do this before the dinner show. In less than 30 minutes I had found something for mom and dad and auntie tae.
So we drove to the Sheraton for the dinner show – I was told that it was a traditional folk dance presentation. We go into a large auditorium with tables, I’ve actually never been to a dinner show my whole life so this was exciting for me too. We had drinks, and just as dinner was being served, the show began. The Korean danccrs were all very beautiful ,graceful and lithe. It was a bit like ballet – I am not sure how traditional it is but it struck me as being more modern than traditional Japanese dance. The women were all, of course, beautiful, and I would say that their hand movements were the most interesting. Fingers were so long and they moved so daintily. It was so mesmerizing that I forgot to eat and at one time, I glanced over, and both Lucy and Janghun were finished with their dinners. Then there was intermission. At this time even more people came in, some just for cocktails (no dinner) and I noticed it was mostly men. The next show apparently was an international collaboration and was most definitely contemporary dance, the costumes were beautiful – some sort of pirate theme. Mostly women dancers but also some males. Suddenly, 20 minutes into the show, the women were topless. I was shocked, not because I am some prude but that I hadn’t expected it, and especially since the Lees were bringing me to this show. I doubt if Mom and Dad would have done something like this for their daughter’s teacher. This also explains the presence of the mostly male audience up front, But the dancers were quite good and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was a really wonderful and full day.