Published: July 1st 2009June 25th 2009
The title speaks for it self of how hot and humid it has become. It seems that the weather here in Korea is just as sneaky as our short tempered neighbor to the North. Well last time I wrote, North Korea hadn't detonated a nuclear missile, and we were just beginning our heat wave. This is where I will begin, there has been a lot happening lately, including yours truly's 26th birthday.
So I woke up one morning (as I usually do) and opened the computer to check the news and emails. As NPR loads, I notice the head line..."North Korean Detonates Nuclear Missile". Well I sat there for a second taking in just the headline and what that meant. Then I went on an adventure in my head of what happened. What played out was the missile was fired from the north and missile interceptors came and destroyed it a mile in the air somewhere over the Sea of China. Troops were storming the DMZ and we foreigners are now on lock down. I then thought...well should I stay and earn a reputation as a war photographer?...I saw my self diving under burning cars while bullets rick-o-shayed of the wheels.
great view from the back of our rooms
I would make my way all the way to the big P, and see the unification of Korea.
I then opened the article to find that the North detonated the missile in North Korea underground near China. And that the world was very upset with "their dear leader". I must say that it was a little anticlimactic after reading what did take place.
I went to work thinking there would be this buzz around Seoul, and that people would be huddled around tvs in store windows or staring up at one in pub. What I got was quite the opposite. It was life as usual here. I was a little confused really. I asked my co-worker KC about it and what she thought as a Korean. She seemed calm cool and collected about it. In fact she even told me that Seoul would be safer that Japan. I gave her an odd glance, then she told me that N. Koreans would rather do harm to Japan than there brothers down south.
Well the rest of the day went just like every other day. I forgot all about diving under cars and pushing north with the front. It was all about
it was that exciting.
learning what the weather was like outside...rainy, snowy, windy, HOT!! yes good job....stickers around!
A few days later the last president of S. Korea decided to jump off the side of mountain in the wee hours of morning. Justin and I had a discussion about this and I said that he could have picked a better time. Now before you get all rightous and moral, hear me out. Of course suicide is terrible thing to be a part of either doing it or This was actually a bigger and noticeable shock to the people than anything that the bad hairdo up north did. He was in a money laundrying scandal and rather than face the shame of taking a few won from the people he decided to jump. I learned later that he was not even personally taking money, but his brother in law. He was a much loved man among the people and tried to cool relations with Kimmy. The president at the moment has a much harder stance with the North and has caused controversy with both sides of the border. I'm not getting into a history lesson or even a update current events lecture here. It would
take forever and whats the point. I would like to know what you guys think of the situation. As someone who is living here I have not experienced any change. Some friends have posted a news articles on facebook about some of the action going on...but for the most part it is business as usual.
I digressed a lot on that topic. As for other happenings around here, I went to Duk juk do, which is an island an hour an half out of incheon, which is an hour outside of seoul. I had a Friday off, and so did Justin, so we both head out on the last ferry (3:00 pm) on Friday. Now this was not an easy job...for some reason we decided that running for a boat as it's about to leave sounded like a good idea. We booked our tickets a few days before, and just needed to pick them up at the dock. Well on the subway to incheon we both noticed that time was quickly running out and had to jump off the subway and into a cab. Something about being in a rush always seems to attract the cautious slow drivers. We jumped
we had a huge spread that night.
into the cab told him the dock and to step on it KAJA!. He took his sweet time getting there while Justin and I sweated in the back wondering if we are going to have to kill this man and take over our selfs. We arrived at the dock at 2:58 and threw some money at the driver. I think he got a tip, but not a big one, we ran inside scanning quickly for the ticket booth and heard faint little voice say..."Joey" (it says Joe on the ticket, but you say the "e" sometimes here i guess). I grab the tickets, smiled said thank you and rushed to the gate. To see the boat powering up. We were stopped by the dock police, or just the police. They apparently needed our passport numbers written on our tickets. We laughed a little and then proceeded to scribble a few numbers down. "I think it's 12 numbers no maybe 10...shit who cares, just write 11. We handed our tickets the kind man at the dock and jumped aboard. We made it...and it called for beers.
When we got to the island, we were the only tourist there expect for a
Andi and Mark
church group, but basically had the run of island to our selfs. We hitch hiked to the other side of the island where we stayed last year and found the hotel we new was nice. The guys there were really cool and even gave us bikes to explore the island with. They were the best quality, but they were free and it was GREAT to ride around in such a laid back atmosphere rather than the hustle and bustle of Seoul. We befriended a small island dog who followed us on our bikes all day. That night we got a bonfire going on the beach and down a few beers. It was great to be away from people and to relax by a fire on the beach. The next day 30 more people that we know showed up for our buddy Tom's going away party. He apparently has had enough of Korea in one year of working here, and is moving on to greener pastures (New Zealand). We had a big hoopla for him that night, and he sang us a free style song that included each of us in it. One of the best speeches I have ever heard.
the start of the dance party. Someone had to get it going.
That night there were fireworks exploding, guitars a playing, and laughs a plenty. we took over the beach in South Korea. It is surreal sometimes, and it's times like that where you really realize where you are and take it in.
After getting home from the island, and returning to work, I began planning my birthday. It seemed far off, but I wanted to make it a good one, and different from the usual weekend ramblings and wanderings in Seoul. I decided to go rafting and found a company that would take the amount of people I had. I booked our rafting and accommodation for the weekend after, and got everyone to pay up. It ended up being quite the task since their we going to be 29 of us going. Some of us were going to Kayak, others raft. When the day finally came, we all gathered in tired droves to the bus terminal on the other side of Seoul at 7:30 in the morning. Justin and I had gone out and bought a few waterproof cameras and handed them out to a few people to use while on the river. Since they are film cameras, and I haven't
drinking around the table
looks like Adam just lost something.
developed the film yet, pictures from on the river are going to have to wait.
Anywho we got the rafting place in the early afternoon which ended up being a great day, with blue skies and weather near 90 degrees. The place it self was one of, if not, the nicest minbak ((pension(cheap room with a floor)), that I have stayed in. All the rooms had lofts and patios that looked out onto the river and mountains in the background. Korea is a very beautiful place once you get out of Seoul. It is very mountainous and quiet. It was really nice for all of us again, and we all took deep breaths of fresh air. It's strange how you can forget the taste and smell of fresh clean air while living in the city.
We took the chance when we got there to postpone our trip for an hour and take in the scenary and a few beers. It was all laughs and adrenaline as we made our way down the river though. There was everything from boats flipping to panic attacks (not in our group), to commandeering other boats and tossing the passengers overboard. When we finished, we
all gathered up near our place for more beers and food gathering. For around $10 a person we got enough food to feed 29 people dinner, breakfast and lunch. That also includes 3 cases of beer. Luckily we had some whiskey on hand and the right kind of attitude that night. The next day was a lazy one, with the bus not leaving until 2 pm. That allowed us all to lounge around and swim in the river some more. By the time we had to leave, we were all re energized from our trip out east. We headed back 3 hours to Seoul and slept most of the way.
As for now, it's back to school and the next adventure. I booked a ticket to Borneo, and will be going there in early August. I'm not sure what to expect just yet, but from what I hear and what I have read, lots of adventure.
Until I write again, I hope all of you are doing good, and that I miss you over here. Take care and keep in touch. I like stories from home, so if there good ones that you would like to tell, don't hesitate.
There are more photos below