Blogs from South Korea, Asia

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Asia » South Korea » Busan May 26th 2015

Ok, I’ve done a ton of stuff and haven’t written in a while so prepare yourselves for a long post filled with things that are probably only interesting to me. Also, I want you to know that, like the rebel I am possibly becoming, I am doing this instead of my homework, even though I have a ton now. Seriously, we haven’t done anything all semester and now I have two essays, a presentation, one math test, and two essay exams to prepare for. That’s my rant, thanks for listening. Two weeks ago the people at the Buddhist temple surprised me with a cake for my birthday. They turned off the lights and started signing the Star Wars Darth Vader song as they processed in with a huge cake that was almost on fire because of ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Busan May 19th 2015

The weather is finally nice so, of course, my first reaction is to spend as much time outside as possible. Luckily, I am an easy bus / subway ride into some of the best beach areas in Busan - Gwangalli and Haeundae - and have been spending the last several weekends there. This has led to many fun adventures, meeting new friends, and good times all around. In Gwangalli, my new favorite Korean bar - Sharky's - has beach bags where you can order either 4 or 6 shots worth of a mixed drink and take it to go with you on the beach. Margaritas on the beach?? Yes please! Nothing better than walking around in the sun and enjoying the sights with a huge margarita in hand :D I also visited the fish market in ... read more
Gwangalli Beach
Lanterns along the beach
Statue

Asia » South Korea » Seoul » Itaewon May 19th 2015

Our research group had two amazing experiences today. We interviewed the Land and Housing Corporation (LH) as well as the Korean Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS). I personally went on the LH "tour" of affordable housing units in Seoul. Our guide was Senior Researcher, Meeyoun Jin, Dr. Lee (professor) as well as an interpreter. Both women were so hospitable and friendly. They picked us up at the hotel, took their entire morning to drive us to 3 separate areas, all while filling our research data with solid and interesting information. Our other group took the metro to KRIHS and had an unbelievable time with 3 lectures and a plethora of useful information for us to use in our project. After our interviews we had a free afternoon to explore. A small group of us ate ... read more
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Asia » South Korea » Seoul May 18th 2015

We landed in Seoul yesterday after a 12 hour journey from Los Angeles. It took about 90 minutes to get through Korean customs with our group of 30 but we managed to not lose anyone and made it to our gorgeous hotel, The Grand Hyatt, in one piece. South Korea is beautiful. Rolling hills and stunning mountain tops, wrap the busy high-rises creating a picture perfect landscape. The traditional Korean architecture mirrored with the modern buildings create a mesmerizing juxtaposition of textures and colors. Our hotel sits atop the southern mountain and overlooks the cityscape and river. It must be the place to stay because our very own Secretary of State John Kerry (and his brigade) are staying here as well! This morning we took a special trip to the Samsung headquarters. A communications specialist spoke ... read more
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Asia » South Korea » Jeollanam-do May 17th 2015

We arrived at Jirisan about 3:45 am. The bus journey up to the pass was pretty hairy. Normally, the driving skills of the bus driver don't bother me, but this time I was scared. We got out at the parking lot and were treated to a sky full of stars. It was so beautiful. There is so much light pollution where I live, I haven't seen the stars like this in years. The car park was quite busy for this time in the morning, there were about 5 other buses parked up. This isn't the normal trail that people do when coming to Jirisan, most people do the hike that goes to the biggest peak in the park. We started hiking at 4 am. It was pitch black. I love hiking in the dark like this. ... read more
Sunrise
Still A Long Way To Go
Sunrise

Asia » South Korea » Gyeongsangnam-do » Yangsan May 11th 2015

I have heard, time and again, that home is not necessarily where you have physical belongings. It's not where you have a roof over your head, or where you happen to be sitting at the moment. Home, at the end of the day, is where your heart is. I've always loved this sentiment. Home doesn't have to be where I am right now, or where I will be tomorrow. Home will always be where the people I love are; where, as much as my wanderlust is a huge part of me, I yearn to be. Home is where my family is... but it's also where my friends are. My friends are just as important to me as my family by blood.... they are the family I chose, after all. While I truly believe that home doesn't ... read more
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Asia » South Korea » Seoul May 7th 2015

This past week has been one of the best so far. Last Friday was Labor Day, Tuesday was Children’s Day, and Monday was my birthday, so I just skipped class like the rebel that I am not. On Friday I went with a group of wonderful people who all happen to be native Russian speakers to climb Mount Apsan (or Upsam, or Apsen or some other variation… I kind of just try to say it quickly and confidently and hope people know what I’m talking about). We bought a bunch of Gimbap from Gimbap Heaven before hopping on the bus, took a cable car to the top, took a bunch of pictures of the great view of the city below, and had a picnic. A lot of Koreans stared at us and some even asked for ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Jeju » Jeju-si May 4th 2015

Leaving Seoul to go to Jeju Island for the weekend, we lined up to wait for the airport limousine (a bus). A family ahead of us with a lot of luggage were poached away by a couple of taxi drivers but as the taxis started to drive away, the bus pulled up... the family got out the taxis and started to unload all of their luggage, Russ jokingly said "Well we are first in line now" but the Momma bear did not like that, she started yelling at Russ, "NO, we are first in line, we have been waiting for a long time. We are FIRST!" We all got on the bus and waited for it to leave but there was a problem with another passenger. She wouldn't be honest about the age of her children ... read more
Sides
Lava tube
The octopus on top was alive...

Asia » South Korea » Jeollabuk-do May 3rd 2015

We took the train from Seoul to Daejeon, we were on the slow train so the journey took about two hours and we arrived around 10. We exited the station and found our tour bus eventually. The tour bus looked brand new and the seats were covered with vinyl. Once everyone had arrived, we set off and we drove through Daejeon for about half an hour to reach our first destination Ppuri Gongwon or in English Root Park. Ppuri Gongwon was opened on 1st November 1997 and is filed with sculptures and pieces of artwork that remind people of their family ties. In Korea, the same family names are very common, with Park, Kim and Lee being the most prominent, I think. Also the family names have ties to different areas or cities, so if your ... read more
Ppuri Gongwon
Ppuri Gongwon
Ppuri Gongwon

Asia » South Korea » Seoul » Jongno-gu » Gwanghwamun April 29th 2015

Our connection from Athens to Seoul was in Moscow and I was pumped to finally be stepping foot in Russia. Binnson has heard stories of Russia being a pretty racist place for Asians to travel to which has deterred us from getting there so far..... but I won't rule it out just yet! Although we weren't leaving the airport, we still had fun walking around checking out babushkas, lavish faberge eggs, and other such goodies - my favorite being a Putin t-shirt and cell phone covers vending machine :-) We shot into the future and landed in Seoul late the next morning. As we were meeting up with some friends in Korea to tour around with, we hung out at the airport for a little bit waiting for one of them who was getting in to ... read more
Waiting for Russ at the airport
War memorial and museum
Street food lady




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