Seoul Friendship Fair 2012

The world is such an amazing place. You’d never realise it until you’ve been overwhelmed by what you see, hear, smell, touch and taste at an event like the Seoul Friendship Fair 2012. I have never heard of event called a Friendship Fair before, it’s always called something more formal and appropriate but Friendship Fair was what pulled me in, knowing that this fair is a place where everybody is invited no matter what colour your skin is or what language you speak. To me, Friendship Fair is where strangers become friends through dance, music, food, a simple smile and even a peace sign for a photograph.

The fair was spread out over three areas of Seoul Plaza where white and blue canopies lined the street. Stages were set up for performances, cultural and traditional songs, dancing and comedy were scheduled to entertain the visitors, tourists, locals or anyone that happen to walk that way by accident.

My visit was no accident, I was looking forward to this event as being a foreigner living in Korea. I was looking forward to seeing the old, familiar and new, being curious by nature, this was the event for me. As I walked through the food stalls, I see so many lovely faces looking back at me, some even had a huge big smile on their faces albeit a hot sunny day, with microwaves heating up food, fryers sizzling away, BBQ crackling and spitting, smokey and intoxicating at the same time. Lots of chatters, yelling and money exchanging. I was not one to shy away so I had to push my way into the massive crowds to get to my perfect photo shot or to buy that curious looking rugby ball like croquette that I just had to sink my teeth into. What an amazing euphoria I had walking past different faces at different paces, all sorts of backgrounds, an Asian lady eating a kebab, an European man enjoying his satay and a group of giggling Korean friends sharing huge Boerwurst Hot Dog with each one taking turns for a bite.

On the other side of the Plaza were cultural stalls that shared and sold traditional and cultural items, either to try on traditional costumes or take home traditional toys or decorations. There were performances and fun activities, balloons and photo opportunities surrounding Seoul Plaza where people just lied on the grass and absorbed the sun’s rays. Performances from all over the world took turns to entertain the crowd as the sun rose from the East and slowly set in the West. I enjoyed performances from Japan – traditional singing and dancing, Turkmenistan – singing and string playing, China – Lion Dancing and Changing Mask, Taiwan – traditional opera, Mongolia – acrobatics and Spain – singing over the 1.5 hours I was under the bright blue sky.

My worldy eats took me to Thailand – Singha Beer, South Africa – Apple Beer, India – Tandoori Chicken, Morocco – Falafel and Kebab, Vietnam – Vietnamese Coffee, Africa – Coconut Sweet Ball, Sri Lanka – Vadai and Murtaba, Malaysia – Karipap, Ubi Kayu and Pandan Kueh and finally Peru – Potato Mince Rugby Ball Croquette topped with Spicy Creamy Sauce! There were so many more food to taste and try, I wish I was a cow… um, no – I am not calling myself a cow, I wish I had 4 stomachs – Cows have 4 stomachs! Got it?!

The world is such a wonderful place, I experienced it in 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon. What a wonderful fair and event it was and thanks to the Korea Tourism for opening and stimulating all our senses. Enjoy the photos and lovely smiles!

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