This was one hell of an experience.
A friend of ours mentioned that around Jonggak Station, there's a bell that gets rung every new year's eve. It didn't sound very exciting at all. But then she also mentioned that there may be fireworks after that. Well, we're a couple of suckers for fireworks so we were sold.
On our way to Jonggak, we started thinking about the fireworks. Jonggak is a very busy area. Lots of people, and lots of buildings around. There's no open space at all for fireworks so we thought this may be the suckiest fireworks ever. But hey this is Korea, you never know what to expect. I wasn't even sure if they're big in celebrating the coming of a new year... from an ordinary calendar. What I understand is they have their own new year... from the lunar calendar, and I thought it would be a bigger event. I was wrong.
As soon as we left the train, we were still underground but we already began smelling the fireworks burning. We emerged from the station, and we immediately pronounced the area "The War Zone".
I have never seen this kind of madness before.
Thousands of burning roman candles were all over the streets of Jonggak. You buy it, you burn it wherever you are. Everybody was friendly, everybody was happy, and everybody was selling roman candles... including foreigners. Thousands of cops were all over the place to keep the peace. People didn't care about anything else other than their fireworks. They point it up in the air, towards the buildings, and sometimes on people. We witnessed a person (whose name I cannot reveal) shoot one of the million police officers at the back, and it actually popped on his vest. NUTS!!
The roman candles were not as strong as bazookas but when people were burning and popping them at the same time, it became an awesome new year's eve show.
We spent the last finest hours of 2006 in Jogyesa Temple
. It is a small temple just a little bit north of Jonggak Station. They had lantern displays, free hot drinks, small performances, a short new year's eve ceremony and the countdown of course.