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November 16th 2008
Published: November 16th 2008
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Bowling with the IrishBowling with the IrishBowling with the Irish

How bad am I at bowling!
It’s been a while

Hello to my friends, family and any other random passers by who did a search looking for info on SK and found my blog! I’m sorry its been a while but I will put it down to the fact that more has been happening on the social scene than anything else and all that news needs no words cause the facebook photos tell their own story. I do however think that I have finally managed to rack up a worthwhile amount of news to warrant a blog insert so here we go J.

Lets start with school. Lets just say that teaching is never going to be my ultimate profession, specially nursery school teaching but the job is easy and it’s paying the bills so I can’t complain. The school pretty much has their minds set on what they want me to teach and seem a little apprehensive at times about the things I do but in all honest I can already see that the kids (well at least some of them) really are learning from me which is really great so I think there is method in my madness. The past couple of weeks
The IrishThe IrishThe Irish

Team one!
really have flown, I think it can largely be attributed to the fact that I think I have finally mastered the art of finding lessons that really do last 20mins so that I’m not grasping at straws for 10 minutes of the lesson resulting in days that seem like an eternity. The week leading up to my birthday was a bit of a nightmare, singing Old Macdonald for 8 lessons each of which were 20mins at a go was horrific and to top it off the classes are either kids who sit and stare at you and don’t see a peep so getting them to sing is like pulling teeth otherwise they are overly excitable 5 and 6 year olds who understand just about 0 English and If you don’t have an activity that involves being active well oh well you may as well be teaching the chimps at the zoo cause these kids are all over the place. So I have to make sure that at I have sustained energy to run around with the wild 5 and 6 year olds and drum up some enthusiasm in the dull kids! All that aside school really is fine but if
Bowling with the IrishBowling with the IrishBowling with the Irish

Bad pic of my team who I didn't help at all!
ever I choose to teach again it will definitely be kids older than 10!!

I think last time I left off I mentioned meeting some westerners at the school Hookie Dookie day and I mentioned the Irish footballer. Well I got in touch with him and the Seoul Gaerls football club secretary the following week and found myself in Seoul that very next Saturday morning going to join the Irish for a little football club fun day. We started out at the Irish pub at Itaewon and in true Irish style the Guinness was already flowing at 12pm. From there we moved onto the bowling ally. It was all in all a pretty fun day of really really bad bowling on my part, the Irish are good fun and it was a fantastic outing given that it was pouring with rain outside and its always nice to meet new people. After many around of bowling we finally called it a day and headed back and got ready for a night on the town. It was my mate Mikes birthday so after a quick stop in at a dinner thing again with the Irish folk (at this random Moroccan all
Mike's Birthday @ Mikes CabinMike's Birthday @ Mikes CabinMike's Birthday @ Mikes Cabin

The most awesome seating arrangement! Cath and Liz
you can eat buffet, I didn’t bother to eat cause I can cook Moroccan food that looks better than that and at a fraction of the price!) we headed through to Sinchon. So I was on the tube having a fat conversation with the Irish bloke who was tagging along with me and next thing I look across the way and sitting opposite me is none other than Luke who was with me at varsity, in fact his mother was one of my art history lecturers. Its so so random how you meet up with people you know in far-flung corners of the earth it really does show how small the world is.

After a little catch up with Luke on the tube we finally found ourselves at Mikes Cabin for Mike’s birthday. I think it may go down as one of my top fun nights in Seoul. We danced the night away and played a whole lot of foozball. After much dancing a little rest was needed and this spot had these most fantastic bunk bed couch things. Justine and I managed to have a good 1hr30 power nap on these bunk beds, Cath woke us up quite
Mike's BirthdayMike's BirthdayMike's Birthday

Mike, Me and the Irish having a dance off! Very fun times!
abruptly for us only to discover that the whole place had in fact emptied out during our power nap and that all our other mates had left Cath, Justine and I behind (suppose it was 4am so I’m not surprised). Now all three of us live at least an hour from Seoul and at 4am unless you are willing to fork out W40 000 to get home you have to wait for the subway or busses to start running. I suggested we visit the jinjubang (Korean Bath house where you can pay W6000 and spend the night, haven’t tried it yet but apparently it’s a brilliant spot to stay) since majority rules however the girls felt a second wind and decided that we should go through to Hongdae and find another party till transport was up and running. I will mention that I was, as usual, carting an entire backpack full of sleepover kit cause I was supposed to be staying over at Liz’s house and not walking the Seoul streets at 4:30am in search of another party. After a little discussion we found ourselves a cab and ask the driver to take us to Hongdae, two stops away. After
Mike's BirthdayMike's BirthdayMike's Birthday

An intense game of Fuz which I my sporting game skills were at an all time low this very day!
W15 000 was clocked up we realized the guy was taking us on a complete joy ride and after much gesticulation we managed to get him to turn the car around and take us where we needed to go. He wanted to charge us W25 000 for the trip, we refused and eventually shut his door parting with W18 000, the cab ride should only have cost us W2000. I suspect the cab driver was taking a massive chance, the other girls were far too nice thinking that there was a genuine misunderstanding. Clearly they have not had as many taxi driver incidences as me!

Its not surprising that by the time we finally made it to Hongdae after our cab ride everything there was pretty closed up and the streets were just packed with people heading home after a very long night out. Since there was nowhere to go and we were all pretty starving we decided that maybe the best thing to do would be to get some food and then go from there. After traipsing around Hongdae aimlessly looking for an open place to serve us some food we finally stumbled upon this massive marquee in
Eating dinner at 4:30amEating dinner at 4:30amEating dinner at 4:30am

I wouldn't recommend seaweed soup to anyone
the middle of Hongdae, which happened to be an all night eatery. Quite unsurprising it was packed and there were no menus to be had and on top of it none of the waiters understood so establishing what exactly they served was a challenge. I was all for taking a little table to table recce looking what others were eating and ordering that way but the girls weren’t too happy about that idea so after some konglish conversation we established that they had chicken and chips and I don’t think we could have put our order in faster. We managed to find a little table right in the back of the marquee, I was so happy to have a seat and to put my massive bag down! While waiting for our meal they brought us a traditional appetizer….yummy…NOT!! Seaweed soup. Basically its sheets of seaweed that have been boiled in water for who knows how long, been allowed to cool and then brought to your table for your enjoyment, now I’m pretty game to try anything but one mouthful of that and never ever again. Thankfully our food arrived fairly soon after so that I could chase that horrid seaweed
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

The tail end of the festival.
soup with some “yummy” chicken and chips. I think I need to ask the question…how wrong can you possibly go with ordering chicken and chips?? Well when it tastes more like smoked sausage than chicken and the chips are more like balls of some random starch than potato and there is so much oil you could save some and cook tomorrows chicken with it I would suggest being very weary about what is safe to order the more the normal the dis sounds the more likely it is to be uba dodgy!! As you can imagine the meal was horrid horrid horrid but we were so starving that we devoured the plateful and felt horrid the rest of Sunday! Suppose its all part of the Korean experience hey!

By this stage it was around 5:15 and since the 1st trains and busses only start running at the end of each line at 5:30 in some cases and at 6 in most, we still had some time to kill after our early morning snack and we were exhausted. While walking along trying to decide what we could do to kill an hour and a half we spotted another wonderful thing
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

Some traditional dancing as I walked into the festival
about South Korea, the DVD Bang….DVD Bang you may ask, well directly translated it means DVD room so you can go in hire a DVD and go into this room and watch it. We duly hired Love actually which we had all seen “but wouldn’t mind seeing again” made it through the wedding scene and woke up at 8:40, how classic. I tell you there is never a shortage of safe places to sleep in Seoul. I was so excited to head home though as you can only imagine. I had sadly still not discovered the wonderful world of the SK bus system so I had to take my exhausted body and very heavy unused kit bag home on the subway, what a schlep!! I think I eventually made it home at 11am after leaving home at that very same time the day before. It was a very very fun night though!

After a couple of hours of power napping I woke up and decided it was too lovely a day to waist and the others had mentioned that there was some Africa day on so I thought rather than waiting a day indoors I would head out and
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

The eating tent I picked for dinner, this is a very common Korean restaurant type setting, they love the plastic chair tent vibe!
check out Africa day. Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of anyone to find out exactly where it was so after a little internet search I discovered there was a rice festival on in Icheon. This made me very excited cause I though this meant it was down the road from me. After some discussion with a very helpful dude at the trusty info counter at EMart (its amazing where you find tourist info when you are traveling J) I discovered that there was strategically an ‘n’ missing from that name which meant that the rice festival was in actual fact about an hour and a half from me and not in my city at all! The Koreans love to do that there is Incheon, Icheon and Ichon…go figure. I found out that I needed to get myself to the bus terminal and that the next bus left at 3pm, at that stage it was already 2:30. So I missioner to the bus terminal but sadly the whole endeavor to the bus terminal via subway took a little longer than anticipated and I had to still buy a bus ticket which meant standing in this insane line in the most chaotic
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

A very very yummy dinner.
bus terminal you have ever seen so I had to get a ticket for the 4:10 bus.

After an hour and a half on the bus I arrived in Icheon and eventually got on the shuttle bus destined for the actual festival. I was a little worried cause by this stage it was already 5:40 and I had no idea what time the last bus left to go back to Incheon and since everything on the bus schedule was in Korean I was having a little anxiety heading off to this rice festival so late and risking having to find somewhere to stay in Icheon cause I missed the last bus back home, luckily I got chatting to a very nice Korean man who called the bus terminal for me and got all the bus times for me. Korean people really can be so helpful. After establishing that I had at least an hour and a half at the festival I was pretty relaxed and ready to enjoy this big festival. I arrived only to find that the rice festival was actually being packed up. I couldn’t believe it I had left home at 2pm finally made it to
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

Some very cool Korean drumming show these people we brilliant.
the rice festival at 6 and it was just about all packed up, what a dork am I. Although I missed most of the festivities I did get to see some of the remaining stalls that were still open I had a very very yummy dinner of Korean soup, rice and scrumptious seafood pancake thing and then got to watch some Korean drumming show. After about an hour I had seen all that there was left to be seen and I had to make my way back to the bus terminal. I still can’t believe what a mission I went on for an hours worth of activity, sometimes I think I have some really hair brain ideas but at least I can say I went to the famous Icheon rice festival! I get back on the shuttle bus that had brought us to the festival in the 1st place only to find out that the shuttle was only taking people one stop since it was the last shuttle running. Man my hear sank cause I had no idea where I was and was just starting to get very nervous about how I was going to get myself back to the
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

More of the drummers and some random old Koreans dancing to the drumming
bus terminal where the shuttle had initially picked us up. After the driver had kicked all the other passengers off the bus I started questioning why him about why the bus had to stop here and I told him that I had to get back to the bus terminal, shame I think he saw some slight alarm in my face and he duly told me to take a seat and made a special trip with only me on his big Putko bus all the way back to the bus terminal. I have no idea how I managed to convince him to do that but what a relief making it back to the bus terminal in time to catch the bus home! Again Koreans really can stick their neck out for you!

Traffic in SK on a Sunday night is so so ridiculous so the hour and a half ride home ended up being 2 and a half hours. Oh well ultimately the crazy schlep was worth it cause I didn’t waist a lovely day in my apartment and I did have a really good dinner! I Suspect I will have to go and visit the rice festival next year
Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival

Its amazing how no matter what festival or market you are at in the world you are bound to find artists wanting to draw you!
if I am still here to fully experience it and perhaps the next time I embark on one of my spur of the moment adventures I will 1st ascertain exactly what the deal is before I just get on a bus!

Well that was the end of another fun and eventful week 5 in SK.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Icheon Rice FestivalIcheon Rice Festival
Icheon Rice Festival

Not too sure what the story behind them was but they had tones of these very cool scarecrows all over the festival!

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