Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Horror that is Yellow

Korea has been wonderful. We have experienced beautiful people, amazing food, stunning places, and a society that is crime free and efficient. Sounds like a fantastic place, doesn't it? Well, let me tell you, it is.

So far (and were down to our last month here) we have had no major complaints. Sure there has been the odd Korean man or woman, who seems to have been suffering from xenophobia, and has treated us differently, but these could also have simply been horrible individuals, and let's be quite honest here, they exist everywhere.

I now have a major complaint. And the horrible thing is that it's not actually a complaint that I can share with anyone for the hope of it being remedied. It's a complaint that bothers me every morning, and no matter how much I complain and throw my toys, this complaint will arise every year for the forseable future. The complaint: Yellow Dust.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jangdari Sikdang

We sit down, starved after a day of sightseeing and ready to taste something new. We get the menu, pricey, hmmm. The hunger growls in my belly and I realise I don't care about the price, I just want food and I want it to be something I have never tried before.

Outside the restaurant

Turns out where were at the right place. Danyang is famous for garlic and this restaurant (Jangdari Sikdang) specialises in Garlic rice. Yum. 20,000Won for Garlic Rice. What? Oh well, we are here now and the waitress assures us it is amazing. We nod.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Won Cashing Girls 원캐싱

Everytime we spot an advert by the "Won Cashing Girls" Oliver gets very excited. I am not sure if it because they are pretty or it is because their music borders on iritating/awesome (a definite earworm). Or maybe, maybe, it is their very bizarre way of moving.

Here is one of their best and it was the first we ever saw

I love the weird!

Hope its stuck in you head...good and proper!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's White Day...wait, what day...?

Confused by the title? So am I. Let me explain.

I believe that most people that read this blog (the whole handful of you ;)  know all about Valentine's Day. It is a 'traditional day of love' on which to be-gift your partner, or nowadays basically anyone, with chocolates and gifts and anything else that may symbolise your love for them, or that you simply care, even if just a little. Still with me? Good. It's pretty simple.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mallipo Beach

This weekend we headed out of Wonju toward the west coast for a farewell party.  I was nervous about going to the beach. Lately, the wind has been strong and nippy (to say the least) and as is the norm the wind is likely to be even less forgiving on the beach. But I was wrong.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pushing boundaries: Student's in South Korea

I recently wrote an article for Go Overseas about how hard children work in South Korea.

I looked at both sides of the argument and put together my opinion!

You can see the argument, which is very much my opinion, here.

Let me know what you think!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Standing on a River

The very first thing I am going to do is get a reason, or an excuse out of the way. If you believe what I say, then to you it's a reason, if you don't it's an excuse. Either way, this is the story:

As anyone who reads this blog knows, we have been pretty good at doing updates on the blog, which given schedules and happenings is not always an easy thing to do. The last month or so has been particularly bad with regards to any news from the ROK. As Claudia mentioned in a previous post, she had to rush back to South Africa, due to medical issues in her family. Luckily though, things have taken a sharp turn for the better, and Claudia will be returning to me here in Korea in a couple of days. YAY!

So Claudia had some big issues, which is why she has been struggling to do any updates on the blog. But why have I not done anything...? Quite simple and straightforward really. About 3 days after Claudia left, I fractured two bones in my wrist while snowboarding. Joy of joys. So for the last 3 1/2 weeks I have been stuck with a massive splint on my arm, which was kindly dubbed 'the claw' by my friends. The 'Claw' made it incredibly difficult to sit at a keyboard properly, and aside from the pain, made typing anything near substantial a very difficult and tedious event. Happily for me, the Claw has been retired and will now be serving duty as...well, nothing really. My hand feels 100 times better, although not 100% yet, and I am able to type again. Another YAY!

Buy it or not, that is the reason for lack of updates from my side. So here is a new update.

About 2 weeks ago, I was invited by my co-teacher and friend Sunny to go fishing in Jinbu. Fishing is not something I'm crazy about, and in my eyes it is an activity best performed wearing no t-shirt, having a cold beer in my hand and sitting on a riverbank in the South African summer sun. This was a little different.

A view of the river

In the clothing department, I had to don more than just a pair of shorts. The extra itmes included a pair of long thermal underwear, long jeans, thick socks, a long thermal vest, a long sleeved t-shirt, a t-shirt, another t-shirt, a jersey, and a thick winter jacket. So the attire was a little different, OK.

Was I holding a cold beer in my hand? Nope, the ice cold beer was replaced with a very rapidly cooling cup of hot....oh wait, no it was hot, now it's gone cold, coffee.

Was I standing on a river bank? No. I was standing on a river, a frozen river.
So it's a little different. Was it awesome. Hell yes.

The technique involved holding a little 'fishing rod' (more of a little metal rod with some fishing line) above a pre made hole, and bobbing it up and down, in an attempt to convince the fish that the lure is indeed a living creature. Did it work? In my case, no, I obviously do not have the motion down to a T yet, but there was definitely no shortage of fish being caught all around us. Sunny and her friend Veronica didn't catch anything either, but it was all made up for by a boy from Sunny's church that was with us, who caught 4 fish! It felt like he didn't stop pulling them out.

Sunny and Veronica showing off their technique

The champion fisherman

After the fish had been caught, people had the option of simply taking them home, or going to a nearby restaurant, that sells all manner of fish related dishes, or for a very minimal fee (3000 Won or about R20) they would cut up the fish for you, so you can enjoy it raw, with some veggies on the side and some dipping sauces. Our mind was made up...the latter choice was ours, and what a good choice it was. Pieces of raw Trout dipped in a mixture of Soy Sauce and Sesame seed oil...heaven.

The raw fish...mmmmm

A spicy fish soup

Anyone coming to or living in Korea should really do this. The joy of spending a day in the cold (dressed appropriately, of course), enjoy the Korean winter sun, and tasting a fish you yourself (or a friend) caught is fantastic. Definitely worth the time and effort and a highly recommended winter activity!

Somebody's catch of the day

Veronica doing her best!

Veronica and Sunny in beautiful Jinbu

Heading back

Today I am heading back to the land of morning calm to finish what I started.

The month in South Africa has had its fair share of ups and downs...thank you friends and family for trying to help me where possible!

You will be happy to know that my mother is doing much better. She is still a little sore but you can't compare her to what she looked like a month ago. So now that things are OK on this side I am going back to Korea.

It will only be for a short bit (another two months before our contract ends) but I am so grateful that I get to go back and so good bye to my kids, my friends, the food and the country in general.

When I left in January I was disraught because I did get to do any of these things and I felt as though I was not done in Korea so I am thrilled I get to go back!!!

So..instead of being sad that I only have two months I am over the moon that I have two more months and I am going to live it up Korea like crazy!!!

So you will be seeing a lot more activity on the blog once I am back!