A Travellerspoint blog

October 2012

The Black Pig!

They have these tent things set up in Korea all over they place. They are called "black pig" restaurants.

They are sort of, but not really restaurants because they avoid taxes by being "semi-permanent" structures. The facilities are horrendous, but the food is fresh and good. We went and it was freezing, but inside the tents it was warm. We had lots and lots of barbecue and beer. It was a good time.

This one was built out of a transport truck and some tarps.

My neighbourhood

My neighbourhood


Me vs. Hite

Me vs. Hite


Guy cooking our meat

Guy cooking our meat


Guy serving our meat

Guy serving our meat


Me vs. food

Me vs. food


Some fire in a bucket

Some fire in a bucket

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Sitting in a luggage rack

The people at my training failed to mention that there wouldn't be a bus driving me home in the morning like everyone else. I took the train home and by the time I got there, there were no seats left, so here I am in the luggage rack.

In the luggage rack

In the luggage rack

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We went on a cruise

Ahhhhhhhhh these photos are so old, sorry.

They took us on a trip to some sort of market in Seoul. I met another person who was not so enthusiastic about this training, finally. We drank so soju/beer (somek) in the park, got kicked out and then drank it on the side of the street like homeless people.

From there, we went on a boat ride on the Han River. We also ate at Lotteria; I remember getting the shrimp burger because it's on my "list of things to eat in Korea".

Anyway, it was kind of boring.

On the bus

On the bus


Our boat

Our boat


Our boat

Our boat


Our boat

Our boat

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Doctor appointment

So I woke up with more bites in a row on my arm today. I couldn't stop scratching them just like the others, so off I went to the nurse. They hired a real nurse just for this training, so I went there and she looked at all the bites, told me they are definitely not mosquito bites and promised to make me an appointment with a dermatologist tomorrow. We shall see how true that is.

After taking the anti-histamines that she gave me, I was passing out in the front row of all my lectures. (I sit in the front row, because I am always late). I asked my homeroom person what will happen with the doctor appointment. She said that there are no doctors nearby, that I could see. I later found out something like Seoul University Hospital is right around the corner. Looks like I'll never know what is biting me. I'll just throw everything out and hope for the best.

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Aghhhhh

The last two days, I read my magazines in class, while they gave us pep talks about being a good teacher and all that. There were some good ideas for activities that I got for my classes, but other than that, it was more informative if I just read Harper's through it. A highlight of the day was dressing up in a traditional hanbok dress and taking a picture. On the bed bug front, I think they are all gone, but I may have gotten another two bites on my pinkie finger! Agh! Where did it come from? This is so frustrating. The other bites are already healing and are not itching anymore. This itching has an undeniable effect on the psyche. Anyone who I know that has had bed bugs, I sympathize with you. Please pray for me that I don't bring them home into my house.

Warning: If they do appear in my room, I am taking the next plane out of here, I don't even care if it's after pay day or not!

Last night, I went with my roommate and some other people to karaoke. That was a good time. It was the first time some of them have been, and also the first time some of them drank soju. So, that was entertaining for me.

Culture class

Culture class


Hanbok

Hanbok


Me in hanbok

Me in hanbok


Me in hanbok

Me in hanbok


My team and our lesson plan

My team and our lesson plan


Working hard

Working hard

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This training stuff is awesome...

After I left the hostel (at 5 a.m.) I thought I might walk all the way to the training, across the city, since I had six hours to get there. However, when I went out, there was a torrential downpour. Instead, I rode the subway around randomly, just taking whatever train was coming first, and getting off whenever I finished a chapter in my book. That got old pretty quick.

Before I knew it, it was time to get to the school. I knew that all the newcomers were supposed to register at 8:30 a.m. and I was supposed to register at 11 a.m., but I managed to register earlier than I was supposed to in the schedule. Shocking, I know.

I immediately went to bed, but then I realized HEY I HAVE TO PUT ALL MY CRAP IN A DRYER!

So, frantically, I went, looking for a dryer. Finally I found one in a random basement. Dryers are not so common here, you see. It was an ordeal trying to shove money into it, but finally I made it work, and I bought two hours worth of drying. If there was any chance that the bed bugs had invaded, they are definitely gone now. ... I hope. I think I'm still throwing out all my clothes, and then taking my bags to the laundromat back in Iksan. But, I'm not sure yet. We'lll see how it goes.

Lunch was screwed up, as is the norm for me. I thought we were eating free lunch in the cafeteria, but apparently it was only meant for the people who had just arrived from the airport today or yesterday. Drat. If someone would have given me a heads up, I would have gone out and had a leisurely brunch while my clothes were drying, instead of starving and nervously snoozing until 12:30.

A couple of Irish (??) guys (I don't even care anymore where people are from) were in the same boat as me, except they weren't starving, so we went to a coffee shop and I had a nice crepe with fancy vegetable and fruit salad while they sipped coffee and awkwardly watched me shove it down my throat.

My room

My room


The caf

The caf


Orientation

Orientation

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BED BUGS?!

Sam woke up early and left in the morning, but Alex and I slept in. We went to get some coffee and then came back and took another nap. Suzanne never showed up at the party, so I tried to find her, but I couldn't figure out where she was trying to tell me where to go, so I didn't bother. I went off on my own with a little walking tour I downloaded from National Geographic.

So, I went up on the cable car to the top of Seoul Tower, then walked all the way down to Itaewon, the shopping/foreigner area. I didn't manage to get out of the hostel until 2 p.m., so it took up the rest of my day.

On the walking tour that I was doing, at the end, it was supposed to bring you to the red light district, but I think it's gone now. I walked around and around and around and still couldn't find it. I read that in 2005 Korea finally made prostitution illegal. So, that's a good thing maybe, unless the whole thing just went underground, which would be worse. As tourist, these are the types of things you are unlikely to find out. Yes, I still consider myself a tourist, and I think I always will.

After I gave up looking for "Hooker Hill" I went and had a giant hamburger because I was STARVING. Something you probably wouldn't guess: Koreans know how to do a good burger. I have never been disappointed... except that time they put a pineapple and some sort of barbecue sauce on my burger...Every other time was awesome. Not cheap however, but awesome.

As I was eating my burger, my foot suddenly became itchy beyond belief. I started scratching and scratching and thought nothing of it. From there, I took the subway home, completely exhausted. As I was walking back to the hostel, I heard some shoegazing type sounding music. This is the kind of thing that I cannot pass by. So, I descended into the basement to take in some atmospheric jam rock??? I dunno what I would classify it as, but it was a really nice end to my day.

It got worse though, when my arm started itching out of control just like my foot! I was trying to enjoy the music, but could not keep my mind off of my insanely itchy arm... I could feel a ton of bites all over the place, but it wasn't until I got home (and Steph told me that they sounded like bed bugs) that I looked in the mirror and I realized they were ALL IN A STRAIGHT LINE. Oh no, yep, telltale bed bug sign. I slept until 4 a.m. and woke up to the crazed urged to just itch all of my skin on my arm and ankle off. It is probably the side that I was sleeping on that got all the bites. So I immediately bagged up all my clothes and left a note, telling them to please throw it out without paying for the last night at the hostel. Sidenote: It's too crowded here. Ugh! The cable car was packed, the subways were packed, the park was packed and the bar was packed. Too many people in too small a place. STOP HAVING BABIES KOREANS!

Housetay

Housetay


Seoul tower

Seoul tower


Seoul tower

Seoul tower


Me vs. Seoul tower

Me vs. Seoul tower


Seoul tower cable car

Seoul tower cable car


Smoke signal stations

Smoke signal stations


Seoul tower park

Seoul tower park


Seoul tower

Seoul tower


New

New


New York is 11,000 km away

New York is 11,000 km away


Me vs. Seoul

Me vs. Seoul


Me vs. Seoul

Me vs. Seoul


Seoul tower

Seoul tower


Seoul tower

Seoul tower


Me vs. the terrace

Me vs. the terrace


Locked messages

Locked messages


Cable car

Cable car


Cable car

Cable car


Seoul at night

Seoul at night


Seoul streets at night

Seoul streets at night


Seoul tower at night

Seoul tower at night


Seoul tower at night

Seoul tower at night


Seoul tower at night

Seoul tower at night


Seoul tower at night

Seoul tower at night


Random indie band

Random indie band


Random indie band

Random indie band


Random indie band

Random indie band


BED BUGS ON MY ARM

BED BUGS ON MY ARM


BED BUGS ON MY ARM

BED BUGS ON MY ARM

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Veganism and sausages

This morning, I made the trip up to Seoul with Melanie. I haven't seen here in at least a month! Since my birthday I think! She is always away in Busan with her boyfriend. This was actually her first weekend away from him, and she came to Seoul to see her friends who are leaving for Scotland next Friday. She saw me post about going to this weird Oktoberfest party, so she suggested we take the train up together and go to vegan lunch at Loving Hut. I had heard many things about this place, for example, it is run by an evil cult for brainwashing people. But I went anyway. We were joined by a bunch of other vegans and we talked about veganism and also, of all things, the CRTC and Can-Con regulations. I had two media studies majors at the table with me.

After lunch, Eva, Mel and I went to get some vegan ice cream, and then the other two went shopping, while I waited around.

After that, it was time to head to Mapo, where I met the group for the party. Suzanne said she was coming, but she never ended up there, so I had to fend for myself! Most of the crowd was under 25, so I felt a little old. I yelled at a racist drunk black guy, and tried to act as a "wing girl" for some of these young guys that I was meeting. That's how bored I was. It didn't turn out too well, but I tried anyway. Maybe I'll get better at it next time.

From there, I had to find myself a hostel. I had no idea where I would sleep that night and it was already 11 p.m. Luckily, I saw a bunch of Australians getting into a taxi and going somewhere. I hoped that they already knew where they had booked a room, and went with them. Sam, who is fluent in Korean, took me to their hostel while the others went to some lame club. We dropped off my bags and then went to the same lame club. We didn't like it, so we went back outside, where there was a drum circle. It didn't last very long, but what we saw of it was nice. I danced around a bit, and then waited in a giant line to pee, where I dropped my glass bottle of juice on the ground. DRAT. Then, I decided it was time to go to sleep. So Sam and I went home.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

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Sometimes Caleb takes us to concerts

Here are the videos...

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Day at the dragon rock thing

I don't remember what this is, but there is a legend that says that a dragon is sleeping under this rock. So we went to it. Dave had to do something else.

Ulsan beach

Ulsan beach


Ulsan beach

Ulsan beach


Ulsan beach

Ulsan beach


Me vs. Ulsan beach

Me vs. Ulsan beach


Ulsan beach stairs

Ulsan beach stairs


Stairs/boardwalk

Stairs/boardwalk


At the top

At the top


Ulsan

Ulsan


Ulsan lighthouse

Ulsan lighthouse


Ulsan forest

Ulsan forest


Forest

Forest


The rock

The rock


Small fish market

Small fish market


Fishermen

Fishermen


The bridge to the rock

The bridge to the rock


Rocks

Rocks


Rocks

Rocks


Rocks

Rocks


Rocks

Rocks


Me vs. rocks

Me vs. rocks


Pathways

Pathways


Me vs. lighthouse

Me vs. lighthouse

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Dave's house for Thanksgiving

I went to Dave's in Ulsan again for Thanksgiving. His parents were there and we finally went to the black pebble beach. I took them to the same shaved ice place that I went to before, it was great.

Juk

Juk


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Black pebble beach

Black pebble beach


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving


Whip cream in a carton

Whip cream in a carton


Me vs. pumpkin pie

Me vs. pumpkin pie

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Olivia had a barbecue

My friend in Madong had a BBQ.

Jason the BBQ-er

Jason the BBQ-er


Lee and Nicole

Lee and Nicole


Olivia and Jason

Olivia and Jason

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