D65. Nov 4. Happy Diwali!

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Yeah, I know what you are going to say: everywhere I go it seems there is either a city festival or a national holiday. So, here we are: India has just celebrated, for five days, the Diwali – Meaning the Lights Festival – A bank holiday here.

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It’s been funny to read the newspapers advertisements those last few days, how brands instrumentalize it (like Christmas or Halloween are in the Western world), and how couples and households are represented. This one above is awesome don’t you think ?

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Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits.

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There are fireworks everywhere and houses hold as many fairy lights as possible.

 

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Yesterday evening was the grand finale, firecrackers were used all night long, for the joy of everyone here.
I had ordered a soup in my room and when the room-service guy came into my room, he seemed so disappointed that I had closed the curtains that I felt ashamed. He went to the window, reopened the curtains, and glued his forehead to the glass, fascinated with the view, looking like a little boy.

 

D35 – Oct 5 – Seoul on fire

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As my legs, knees and ankles were dead, we decided to have an easy day, starting with a cruise on the Han River. Captain of the the boat was very cool, as you can see below. And the skyline was impressive.

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Coming back to the pier, we were offered an amazing show. Two men, propelled by water, were levitating over the flows. Amazing. They looked like Power Rangers!
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Back on the land, we also found out that Seoulians were more and more numerous on the bank. At noon, we thought they were just very well organized for their Saturday picnic party.

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Alex left to visit some new districts on the South Bank, while I stayed on a bench, reading the Lonely Planet to find out what to do next – After Seoul I mean.
People kept coming from the metro to the park, bringing chairs and stuff. I finally investigated: tonight would take place the city annual fireworks festival.
So I decided to stay here, bought a blanket to secure a space on the grass, and waited for Alex… Who stayed more than one hour in the metro station before being able to join me outside.

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Crowd at six. Two hours before the show begins.
As I was alone on my blanket, I couldn’t go anywhere and my nice neighbors where offering me food on after the other ! A couple offered me an apple, then corn. Then two grannies offered me chestnuts and an hard-boiled egg – A strange one by the way : the white part was yellow. Anyway. Of course, when Ale finally reached the place with his biscuits, it was our pleasure to share.

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And then, finally, the show began. Two hours of pyrotechnics.
We enjoyed the first hour on the lawn and then decided to start moving to the exit – which required one additional hour. While we were walking and walking and walking, the sky was sparkling, this was magic!
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And of the show looked liked a Monet painting, the river was on fire!

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Today, the Korea Herald reports than one million people were attending the show with us!!!