Sunday, January 18, 2009

South Korea Part 3 {Everland, Lotte World}

A group picture with C's good friends since grade school, their wives, and kids.

We were blessed to have such a wonderful time on the trip. Everyone was kept warm, safe and in good health, in spite of the subzero temperature. There were no accidents, although looking back now, it would seem that the skiing lesson was one accident waiting to happen. tee-hee!

Everland Resort is South Korea's largest theme park. In 2007, Everland ranked tenth in the world for amusement park attendance. Everland is obviously patterned after Disneyland, the structural design, the mascots and general atmosphere are very much alike.

posing for a souvenir shot at the entrance of Everland

No trip would really be complete without this .

The Skyline ride, akin to a ski lift, offers an easy way to get from one side of Everland to the other.

One of the highlights of Everland for the kids is the safari bus ride which shows animals such as tigers, bears, giraffes, zebras, elephants roaming in a contained habitat. It is a much better version of the Zoobic Safari. It boasts of the Liger, which is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger. This mutant breed is reputedly the largest of all cats, with the heaviest liger weighing in at 1,700 lbs and reaching more than 10 feet long. Ligers have a tiger-like stripes in its body on a lion-like tawny coat. The male ligers notably also do not have a mane.
The Liger and his Ligress

And since no tourist can really leave Korea without doing the customary stop at Lotte World, we headed there on our last day. Lotte World is divided into two sections – Adventure Land (an indoor park) and Magic Island (an outdoor park). Since it was winter, most of the extreme rides at Magic Island were closed off. That did not deter C's speed lust, however. He braved the long queue to get on "the French Revolution", an intense high speed train that makes 360 - 540 degree twists and turns.

I don't really recommend putting Lotte World in your must-see places when you visit South Korea. It's in ours since we have the kids with us and we know they are going to have fun here. If you're short on time, you can skip this and not miss a thing.

having fun with the camera while waiting for the gates at Lotte World to open.
We lined up for our turn at the Lotte World picture spot. Where in Lotte World is B?

Here she is, having a "moment". She could not be persuaded, could not be forced (even with my glaring eyes) to join us. Upset that she missed watching a show that was ongoing at the floor below us.

Travelling with kids involves a lot of hard work, and there are times (like when they call for the third bathroom break of the day… and it’s only been two hours into the journey) when I really think it is more trouble than it is worth. Our schedule wasn't as flexible as our previous trips because we joined a tour group. We had to deal with early morning wake up calls and constantly turning in late at night. The long hours on the road, as we moved in and out of the cities in our travel itinerary, made them listless. There were times that I questioned our sanity, what were we thinking bringing three kids along to freezing Korea!!! The fact of the matter is the kids are out of their familiar routine so things expectedly get chaotic. I just had to learn to accept that and acknowledge the reality that I need to adjust my tolerance level to have the most wonderful time with my kids. A high-strung parent is the last thing a fun-filled vacation needs. Travelling is only fun for the kids when the we (the parents) have fun ourselves.

One set of squirmy arms and legs is challenging, think of three sets as a wrestling match! Three to dress up, three to bathe, three to assist in the public toilet, but on the upside there’s also three to hug and three to love!
Despite people saying that traveling is lost on kids, we will continue to bring them with us wherever we go. Happiness is never going to be about the number of countries we have visited, it's always about the adventure we had once there - wherever "there" may be. Traveling doesn't always have to mean riding on a plane. It could be as simple as taking out the car and driving to a local destination - it's more about experiencing something new. The reward of course is, hopefully, having kids who are utterly at home in the world... truly citizens of our interconnected world.

Being able to look at a photo and give a chuckle or to giggle uncontrollably in recollection of something... these are the travel souvenirs I wish my children would carry with them as they grow older, forever locked in their hearts. It is true that traveling creates character, tolerance, insight and confidence, but most of all it creates memories, which, hopefully, will keep us connected even when distance will later separate us.