One thing my grandfather in the USA repeatedly stated as I packed my bags was, “remember if anyone asks who you are or is mean to you, tell them you are Kyongju Kim-shi.” You probably have just as good of an idea of what that means as I do. I simply nodded my head and smiled. haha It wasn’t until we were in Kyongju that I truly understood what his words meant. The two largest Kim clans, the Kim family of Kimhae and the Kim family of Kyongju, are descended from semi-mythological characters who lived two thousand years ago. According to legend, the Kimhae Kim family founder, Kim Suro, came in answer to a prayer offered by the nine elders of the ancient Karak Kingdom. In 42 ad, these elders met together to pray for a king. In answer to their prayer, they were sent a golden box containing six golden eggs. From the first egg emerged King Su-ro, Karak’s first king. The other five eggs became the five kings of Karak’s neighboring kingdom, Kaya. The founder of the Kim family of Kyongju, Kim Al-ji, had similar origins. In 65 ad the king of Shilla, T’alhae, heard a strange sound from a forest near the Shilla capital, Kyongju. On investigation he found a crowing white rooster standing next to a golden egg. From this egg emerged Al-ji, founder of the Kyongju Kim family and subsequent king of the Shilla Kingdom. Because Al-ji emerged from a golden egg, King T’alhae bestowed upon the child the surname Kim, which means ‘gold’. It is estimated that about half of the one hundred or so Kim clans of modern Korea are descended from the Kyongju Kim clan. Kyongju is the “old” Seoul, Korea were the city was alive fully of people, numerous places to go, and businesses bustling with people. However as with a lot of locations, people began to move away and industry go along with them. Kyongju is now famous for their traditional lifestyle. Of course there is nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn’t consider it a tourist destination. Fortunately, my sister had an awesome friend who drove us around to site see.
After a few traditional places, we stopped for the famous tteokgalbi. It is made by shaping a mixture of beef and pork into a rectangular appearance then grilled on charcoal. It was good, but not one of my favorites. The meat tasted like a hamburger patty and you ate rice and other banchan (side dishes) with it. Outside the restaurant, the owners has a small coop with goats! Then we headed into town to walk around. We stopped by Baskin Robbins, which is crazy popular in Korea! Also, 7-11 is a convenience store and probably on every other corner! It amazed me that these corporations are much bigger in Korean than in America. The other day I found out 7-11 is the largest retailer corporation in the world (saw on Sharks TV show) hah I probably shouldn’t tell people how nerdy I am but….too late! hehe After walking and seeing some small shops we headed back to the hotel. You can ask for rooms with either a bed or no bed. My sister and I shared the small room and my brother had the living room. Did I mention this hotel had an arcade room as well?
Today was a really relaxing day,
Jennifer Jie Young