Today we are going to have a special guest blogger. I stayed in Coex with the girls (which was good, as Aquila ended up developing a fever at night) while Volucris went alone on two subway trains across the city to the War Memorial of Korea, which is a giant museum complex that houses the artifacts of all of Korea’s military history.
Here is Volucris, to share his War Memorial experience with you.
When my mother said, “you can go by yourself”, I thought, wow, this will be a very different experience from most of the trips I’ve been on. Most of my constraints, like having to move as a group, are gone. I can walk, run, slug, and awe at something without having to wait, catch up, or stay with someone else. When I got to the War Memorial of Korea, I thought, I’m here… HERE… here. I walked around the outside exhibitions for a bit and climbed on tanks and looked inside of airplanes. Then I entered the museum, got a little briefing from one of the ladies at the desk, and found the turtle ship.
The turtle ship was the ultimate naval ship of the Koreans during the Japanese invasions from 1413 to 1592. It helped the Koreans maintain independence from Japan in a series of naval battles. turtle ship in the museum is a 1:1 scale replica. After admiring it and rubbing my hands back and forth on its smooth surface and finding the DO NOT TOUCH sign I began to admire it from a distance. It is as long as three city buses, as tall as a giraffe, and as wide as an elephant– an African elephant with its big ears spread. You feel its presence.
The turtle ship has a dragon head that can turn from side to side and release poisonous gas from its mouth. It also has hexagonal armor plating on top and ten cannons on each side with two in the front and one mounted in the dragon’s head. The ship was heavy but fast and almost invincible. Because of its armor plating on the top boarding parties could not penetrate to the crew area. All the enemy could do was chop off the mast, but even then the Korean marines could pull in the canons, deploy the oars, and row away. Its dragon head could turn and look like it was a real dragon. It had a battering ram on its front with a iron mask that looked like a charging warrior, and could lay a huge amount of small caliber cannon fire all at once. It was also very effective at blockading.
On my way home while having my face smushed into the glass window of an overcrowded subway car I felt like I had had a full day.