Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jebudo and other exciting things I saw this Saturday (note the sarcasm)

Here are some photos from my work trip on Saturday.
Well there was no digging for shellfish, and no actual tour as was suggested by the memo we received. Instead we spent hours walking along a dirty beach, stopping every few steps for group photos, riding on a bus for endless hours and then ended the day by visiting the worlds most boring soy bean farm...that's right soy beans!!
As boring as it was, the weather was great and it was nice to spend the day seeing some sights of Korea that I would not choose to see on my own (ahhh....the silver lining...I knew it was in there somewhere).
I have come down with a cold , so I have spent all day today in bed, despite the fact it was another beautiful sunny day. This week I hope to get into Seoul Tuesday or Thursday night to watch the first two games between Ottawa and Anaheim. My fingers remain crossed!!

Here is a photo of me on the boardwalk at Jebudo beach.

Some rocks at Jebudo

Some Korean woman picking greens for their dinner

Soybeans fermenting to make all sorts of yummy things. How interesting!!!
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Friday, May 25, 2007

As I promised, here's the photo of Jon on stage at Nanta...too funny! The hat is the best part I think.Tomorrow I am off to Jebudo, which is an island off the west coast of Korea - not too far from where I live.My school decided to take the teachers for a 'Saturday retreat', which as generous as this is, will be forcing me to be on a bus at 7:30am tomorrow morning and likely spending the afternoon picking shellfish....hmmm - how delightfully un-vegetarian of me!!.... but I am sure when it's over I will be glad I went....right?
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

My week with Jon it long awaited update...long being the keyword here.
I have tried to get some photos from each day that Jon was here. as I have said before - we had a great time together. It just makes me realize even more how happy I am.
Anyways, I have made an attempt to not be too cheesy.
Jon arrived on the 11th of May , which was actually our 6th month anniversary. Since his flight arrived at night, we stayed in and spent the evening exchanging gifts and planning for the next day. We had decided to travel south west to Daecheon beach for a couple days of sun and surf.
Since Jon had never been south of Seoul, I was really excited to show him more of Korea.

I had been bragging to Jon that the weather was so warm and sunny lately - unfortunately my forecast was wrong.

This is Jon standing outside of Nambu Bus terminal. He was such a good sport - patiently standing in the rain while I attempted to photograph everything at 8:30 in the morning.

Here's me on the bus to and bagel in hand.
It rained the whole 3 hours to the beach but stopped just as we got to Daecheon. But it was a great bus ride ...Jon brought some trashy gossip magazines for me to enjoy while he slept off his jet lag.

It was cold and windy, but that didn't stop us from walking along the beach for a while when we arrived. We had a lot of fun just hanging out together (which is something quite novel for us).
Eventually, we decided to stay indoors and play some scrabble....Jon had never played before....and may never play again.
Apparently I can be competative?? who knew...ha ha.
We spent the evening bar hopping in the small town and ate some pizza at midnight in our hotel room.
Since it is a beach town, there are few options for food that don't include fish or some sort of sea creature.
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Sunday at Daecheon Beach

This was what we woken up to on Sunday morning...sunny weather and calm waves. It was such a big change from the day before. Jon and I had considered going for a mud bath at the center (since this area is famous for it's mud) but opted to enjoy the day in the sun instead. The water was still too cold to go swimming, so we relaxed in the sand and walked along the beach for a few hours before lunch.
Korean Pennisula Paradise!
(mind the dirt spot from my lense)

A fishing boat resting in the sand of Dacheon beach.
Jon viewing the small crowds of Koreans.

Our make-shift picnic along the beach...Rameon, chips and cans of Cass beer.
It's a GS-25 special!!
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Beachy Sunday

Here are some photos of us at the beach on Sunday. The weather was perfect and I brought my tri-pod (hence the cheesy photos)...feel free to gag a little.

These green balls are used as weights for fishing boats. We saw this one along the beach. It was too heavy to take with us, but makes for a great photo!!

After lunch Jon and I walked long a sea wall towards a small village.
Here's a photo of the village.
Dacheon beach was so great and I really wished we could have had more time there. Jon and I left late in the afternoon to catch our bus back to Seoul for some Thai food and cocktails.
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Monday and Tuesday

Here is Jon eating is first Galbi dinner. We went for dinner with my coworker's Kate, Amanda and Tyler.
Now he's a pro with those tricky metal chopsticks!!

After Galbi, we went for beer and snacks at a local bar that opened up near my house. This is one of the snacks they served...ewwwe!
Yes...Jon actually ate some - I know...I know.

On Tuesday, Jon and I met up with my friend Helen to help her celebrate her last night in Korea before she left to return home to England for the summer. Several beers and two pitchers of Long Island Ice Tea later, we were the last to leave the bar. Jon and I packed Helen into a cab and dragged our drunken selves home. Needless to say wednesday was a very difficult day at work...hangovers and kindi kids don't mix well.
Thanks to Helen again who somehow paid for the eveing before we could - it was a great evening!! Have an awesome summer and I can't wait to see you in September!!

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Wednesday to Friday

Here is a photo of Jon and some of my students. We ate lunch with them one day (Jon's enjoying some cake). My students were so excited to see Jon every day and have been asking about him every day since he left.
Here is the funniest photo I have of Christoph...I call this his angry face. He is one of the smartest in the class, but also one of the worst behaved. He gets in trouble daily, which means I get to see a lot of his angry face.
I admit, it makes me laugh sometimes.
On Thursday night Jon and I went to watch Nanta. The show is a non-verbal performance where the performers used cooking utensils, pots and pans to make music and included everything from magic to acrobats and a food fight. It was a fabulous performance and Jon even got pulled up on stage. They dressed him up as a groom with traditional Korean clothes and hat, and he had to taste soup. It was hilarious!
They said they will email us a photo (since we weren't allowed to use our cameras during the performance), so I will post it as soon as we get it. After the show , we had some Mexican food in Itaewon. The waiter actually made Jon wear a funny sombrero the first time he took this photo (but Jon's face looks too funny for me to post the photo online) here is the second photo the waiter took *without the hat*.

Here is a photo of Jon and me on Friday night. We went to an Italian restuarant that my coworker, Kathryn reccommended. It was definately more Korean then Italian, which should really not have been a surprise. The dried flowers and tacky interior was worth it! I think Jon described it best: like his great aunt's kitchen....yes!
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On Saturday morning Jon and I took the subway East of Seoul to Yongmasan. We started the morning by visiting Yongmasan’s Waterfall Park. Which is (according to a Korean Tourism website)The largest man-made waterfall in Asia, where the central falls are 51 meters high, while those on each side are 21 meters. It was beautiful, but not as impressive as I expected (it was no Niagra Falls..hee hee).
After the waterfall, we found the trail leading up the mountain and began our hike up Yongma Mountain which is about 348 meters high.

The hike itself was not too hard, despite the fact that I was sweating like a pig (sooo sexy).
As we got higher and higher the views got better and better. Even though it was a cloudy day, we could see a lot of Seoul and the Han river.

The trails were not very busy which was great considering the weather was perfect when we started.
Here's a photo of Jon - barely breaking a sweat. The trail we took was more of a horseshoe loop that took us from Yongma mountain to Acha mountain. In total we hiked for about 4 hours.
Here is a very sweaty me - haggered almost non? Anyways, we stopped for lunch of kimbap and a few cans of beer before we started our decent from Achasan. It was good timing since the sky turned yellow and then opened up. As the Koreans littrally ran for cover, Jon and I enjoyed the refreshing rainfall (which was more monsoonal then normal for this time of year) and had the trail to ourselves.
Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, we stopped in at Hwayangsa Temple for a quick look around, walked through an old neighborhood near Achasan Station and then took the subway to Insadong.
We decided to stay in Seoul for the night so we wouldn't have to bother with the commute to the suberbs.
After searching for a motel we finally found one that wouild rent us a room for more then an hour ( gotta love the Love Motels). The room was pretty standard. It's high point was the large flat screen TV on the wall and it's low point was a very unstable bath tub that rocked when you moved and a cockroach that we discovered the next morning...high class all the way!
~ Saturday night Jon and I had an Indian dinner outside on a beautiful patio and then spent a few hours walking through Hongdae.
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Sunday in Insadong

On Sunday morning, after breakfast in the park, Jon and I walked around the Lotus Lantern festival in Insadong. It was a beautiful day and the lanterns were everywhere. Although I had been to this festival last year, this was Jon's first time to see the festival which made it even more exciting for me. There were many performances, demonstrations and various stands set up displaying everything from Buddhist artwork to food (yummy vegan food of course). It is one of the few festivals in korea I have been to that really includes the International community. Buddhists from all over the world help to celebrate this festival and there are many opportunities for foreigners to volunteer and to take part in lantern making activities and other crafts. Jon and I didn't make our own lanterns, but got a couple from some Monks (for a small donation of course).

Here is a photo that Jon took of some buddhist nuns praying. I love the hats!

The lanterns were so beautiful. It really is worth going just to see all the colors!
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Jogyesa Temple

Before we left Insadon, we visited Jogyesa Temple. Here is Jon standing just outside the entrance.

Here is Jon and me inside of Jogyesa Temple. We walked around and saw some of the shrines and more lanterns.

Jon took this photo of some gold Buddha's inside one of the shrines. Fabulous eh?
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After walking around the lantern festival for a few hours, Jon and I went to Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon to watch game 5 between Ottawa and Buffalo. We met up with Sue, Justin and Tyler as well as another Ottawatarian, Sebastian who was in Seoul on buisness (small world). It was Jon's first hockey game, but he did a good job of following the game. He even tasted his first ever Ceaser - apparently clamato juice is a Canadian thing...hmm.

As all of you know by now, Ottawa won the game in overtime and we are now headed towards the cup!! Wow! Go Sens Go!!!
Unfortunately, Jon and I didn't get to see the winning goal, due to technical difficulties and the last few minutes of the game were cut off.
But it was great to spend our last afternooon together chilling out and watching some good 'ol Canadian hockey.
After the game, Jon and I returned to Jukjeon, grabbed a pizza and some beer and spent the evening together.
Jon's flight left Seoul early Monday morning, which meant we left my apartment just after 4:30am to get to the airport. It was hard to say good bye again, but we are trying to focus on our next trip in July. Destination: Cebu, Philippines.
This time I will be on vacation too!!!
There is so much to look forward to.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

After spending 10 days together, Jon returned to England yesterday. (sniff sniff).
We had a fabulous time and it was very special to show Jon more of 'my Korea'.
There will be many stories and more photos to come over the next day or so, but here is one of Jon and I at a waterfall we visited this past weekend before our hike.