A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

Green Blue Festival!

I was divided on whether or not to actually go to this festival. It seemed really complicated to get there. First you had to go to Jeonju and then you had to find this random bar I've never been to, where one of only three shuttle buses would take you out to who knows where. Then, what if the shuttle bus is full when you get there, and you miss the last one because of that? Then what, HUH?! So, when I first found out about it, I was like PASS.

Then, I found out a bunch of people I knew in Iksan decided they would hire a taxi and go there since it was in between Iksan and Jeonju. So, I ended up buying a ticket at the last minute and going.

However, another thing I didn't like about it was that there were lots of shows, but they were only on Saturday night, so camping out didn't really make sense to me, since there was nothing to do the next day but go home. Then the first shuttle bus wouldn't leave until 1 p.m on Sunday and I didn't understand why it was leaving so late.

ALSO, I am averse to things where you are forced to be in a certain location and to wait for a bus/taxi or whatever before you can leave. If I want to leave, I want to leave, I don't want to convince other people to leave or wait for the boat to get back to the dock, or shuttle bus to take me home.

SO, what I did was look at exactly where this place was on the map. At first glance, it looked very easy to get there by bike. A couple of turns and I would be there in 20 km. I could even cruise alongside the gorgeous rivers and green green rice fields in this part of the country. Nice and flat and pure and everything. HOWEVER, in reality it was not that easy. What was supposed to take about an hour or an hour and a half, ended up taking more like three.

I was going around in circles, in an endless spiral of rice fields and run down villages, when I saw Kari in a little white car with a bumper sticker that says "Princess" on the back. I had never met her, but I was pretty sure it was her, judging by all the stuff in the car. When she stopped and asked for directions, I looked in the window and I recognized her from the Facebook group. A nice old man helped us get there, him in front in his van, Kari behind him, and me trying to keep up on my bike. Hahaha.

We were just in time for the Iksan band to go on stage, Mongtooth; the singer is Kari's husband. They were fun, I had never seen them before. I will definitely go again to another one of their shows.

The rest of the day was great, until about midnight, when the bands got crappier and crappier. I danced all day and there were only about 300 people there, so I became a little famous and strangers started hugging me and asking me to dance with them. But by then, I was too tired and just wanted to go home.

I started for home at around 1 a.m. and got there maybe at 4 a.m. or so. I tried to find the same roads that I got here at, but it was a gong show. Eventually I found a highway and followed it back to Iksan on the service roads beside it. In retrospect, it was kind of a bad idea, but at least I got to sleep in my own bed.

I found this bridge somehow

I found this bridge somehow


My bike and the bridge

My bike and the bridge

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Giant golden Buddha

I had Teachers' Day off, but it was a Wednesday. I think this park was literally the furthest I could go in a day. It was a lot of bussing. I wanted to do the five hour hike up to the peak, but I had to wait too long for my bus to the park in Cheongju, so I couldn't. Shame shame shame.

The park was beautiful, check the pictures. I would like to say that the road leading up to the park is a gaudy tourist trap. Ugh, I hate that, but what can you do about it, right?

I am having kind of a crisis in my life, and feeling a little hopeless and directionless, so I seriously had a little chat with Buddha while I was there. Since Amy showed me how to pray, I don't feel so weird visiting temples and getting down on the floor and meditating for a bit anymore. So I had a little moment with the creator and did the whole prostration thing, and nothing happened.

I continued on my hike. Picked a relatively close temple for my goal and went up a small mountain to get there. When I got there, however, it was locked and some monks looked at me strangely, like why are you here? So, I went back home a little bit disappointed but still happy to get a good enough workout and see some beautiful countryside. You'll probably think I'm nuts, but whatever. On my way back home while drifting in and out of sleep on the bus, an extreme feeling of peace came over me. I just had this idea come to me that I should stop trying to "force" everything into happening. I know that my life will fall into place if I open myself up to other options, this job in China isn't the only opportunity... by FAR. So Buddha/God/whatever came to me on the bus and told me what to do! He/she told me that I might be trying to force something that was not meant to be (mostly my job in China I think) and that I should just go with whatever happens. If it turns out that I can get my visa completed with NUDT, then I will, I'm not going to do anything crazy to force it to happen. I did my best and if that's not good enough, I will find another employment option. There's really no question about that, so why all this worrying?

Whether it's in China or somewhere else, as long as I don't force anything, it will be good!

Am I nuts? Maybe, but whatever.

Trail

Trail


Giant golden Buddha

Giant golden Buddha


Me vs. Buddha

Me vs. Buddha


Lanterns for Buddha's birthday

Lanterns for Buddha's birthday


Stone Lantern

Stone Lantern


Stone Lantern

Stone Lantern


Golden Buddha

Golden Buddha


Giant Golden Buddha

Giant Golden Buddha


Giant Golden Buddha

Giant Golden Buddha


Stone carving

Stone carving


He's huge!

He's huge!


Bodhisatva sculpture

Bodhisatva sculpture


Statue

Statue


River

River


A real lake!

A real lake!


A lake!

A lake!


Trail

Trail


River

River


River

River


Garden and my finger

Garden and my finger


Temple that was closed

Temple that was closed


The trail back down

The trail back down

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ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST

We went to this place that we thought would have a lot of fruit for breakfast. When I tried to order, we actually got fruit covered with ice cream, cereal, syrup and ice milk shavings. PATBINGSU. There was also icing to spread on your toast. Also, all of the seats were actually swings or rocking chairs, and everything was decorated like an old lady's house.

It was amazing. Best breakfast ever, and then Dave went into a diabetic coma.

We went to the art gallery that was closed last time I was here. There was a lot of art about the May 18 killings. It was really interesting. Dave has the pictures, maybe I will steal them from him.

Me vs. Patbingsu

Me vs. Patbingsu


Diabetic coma!

Diabetic coma!


Giant patbingsu

Giant patbingsu

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Scavenger hunt in Gwangju

Some of Dave's friends were in Gwangju for two weeks for an exercise, so we went there to hang out with them. I saw that a recruiting company was putting on a scavenger hunt, so we put a team together and signed up.

They gave us a free beer and let us loose all over Gwangju with our cameras. We had to take pictures and videos with the whole team (minus the photographer) for various numbers of points. We ended up coming in second last place, which I thought was awesome, since we knew nothing of Gwangju.

After the hunt we ate some sushi, then to karaoke with ACCESSORIES. Mostly we just sang 80s hair metal songs. Any other song was inevitably sung in a Metallica fashion after that. I peed my pants.

At the noraebang

At the noraebang


Scavenger hunt group

Scavenger hunt group


We are doing something illegal

We are doing something illegal


Me hugging someone over 70

Me hugging someone over 70


Hugging someone over 70

Hugging someone over 70


Konglish sign

Konglish sign


Konglish sign

Konglish sign


Konglish sign

Konglish sign


Bundegi

Bundegi


A healthy meal

A healthy meal


Inappropriate decoration

Inappropriate decoration


On the stepping stones

On the stepping stones


On the stepping stones

On the stepping stones


At the top of the gazebo?

At the top of the gazebo?


Scavenger

Scavenger


Somek

Somek


Somek at a Korean bar

Somek at a Korean bar


A healthy meal

A healthy meal


Konglish

Konglish


Harry Potter glasses

Harry Potter glasses


We borrowed someone's hat

We borrowed someone's hat


Boy George purse

Boy George purse


I'm air conditioner

I'm air conditioner


Karaoke

Karaoke

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Buso Mountain Fortress

In the morning we wandered around Daejeon looking at puppies. We tried to find some decent breakfast that wasn't ramen noodles. No luck. I settled for a green apple yogurt smoothie.

We decided to go and see the site of the mountain fortress in Buyeo. It was destroyed in 660 AD when the Shilla people took over the Baekje kingdom. The book said that there was a direct bus from Daejeon to Buyeo, but it wasn't so. It took us a little longer than expected to get there, but we had a pretty full adventure anyway.

There were hardly any people at the temple, so it was nice to get a little fresh air and away from the manic tendencies of every day Korea. We went way out into the countryside. When we got there, it is a very short walk to the fortress. There was a temple for three military leaders. At the top of the hill, you can see the site of the warehouse for the fort and also a museum that shows you how people lived have in the ground in "pit houses". There was also a special marker for the cliff where 3,000 women jumped, after they learned that their side was losing to the Shilla. The story is that they refused to be captured, so they all jumped off this cliff onto the rocks below and died. They called it Nakwaam Rock, the rock of falling flowers. I told Dave that if North Korea invaded and killed/captured him, I'd probably just join the invaders, rather than jump off a cliff. Seems like an unneccessarily extreme reaction to a war. Just sayin'.

From there, you can walk down to a temple in the side of the cliff where there is a spring you have to drink from to become three years younger. Instead of walking all the way back up, there is a ferry you can take back to town, which was awesome. I think Dave's injured knee had enough stairs for the day. After the ferry, there was a very bland and corporate feeling sculpture park.

We were too starving to appreciate the park, so we had the craziest meat-wrapped-in-lettuce-with-rice (dolssambap) meal I have had yet!

King Sejong

King Sejong


Dave vs. dolssambap

Dave vs. dolssambap


Boring sculpture park

Boring sculpture park


Me vs. ferry

Me vs. ferry


Ferry ride

Ferry ride


Me on the ferry

Me on the ferry


Dave drinking the magic spring water

Dave drinking the magic spring water


The cliff

The cliff


Me on top of the cliff

Me on top of the cliff


Me vs. Nakwaam Rock

Me vs. Nakwaam Rock


Nakwaam Rock

Nakwaam Rock


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


"Pit houses"

"Pit houses"


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


Buyeo Fortress

Buyeo Fortress


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


Buyeo fortress

Buyeo fortress


Shrine

Shrine


Samchungsa Temple

Samchungsa Temple


Samchungsa Temple

Samchungsa Temple


Samchungsa Temple

Samchungsa Temple

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Hanwha Eagles game

I know that baseball is a big deal here, and also I know that Dave is a big baseball fan, so I wanted to go to a baseball game and sit in the sun and eat dried squid and stuff.

It is now spring, so it's a good time to get out in the sun and do that right? Yay. Dave had quite an adventure getting to the stadium, but he managed to find me just in time. We bought some chicken and my favourite pickled radishes from the ladies lined up outside and then just basically watched what unravelled. I have to say it was the most outsider feeling I have ever felt in my life. Everyone else was constantly singing songs and doing dances that I have never seen before. There was a group of freakishly tall Korean women in crazy short shorts dancing around everytime there was a change of inning. There was also some sort of weird hype man, trying to get people excited. There was no seventh inning stretch, instead, it was time to pick up your garbage. They handed out plastic bags and you had to bag it yourself.

They didn't even stop singing to wait for the pitcher to pitch! It was like no one was even paying attention and it didn't even matter if they won or lost. The typical North American reverence for the game was completely absent. I don't think I ever heard the crack of the bat or the deafening silence while the crowd waits for the next hit.

It wasn't exactly an uncomfortable experience, I just got a really strong feeling that I am you know "not in Kansas anymore", or something.

Me vs. radishes

Me vs. radishes


Me and Dave

Me and Dave


Hanwha Eagles

Hanwha Eagles

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