Search This Blog

Monday, May 30, 2011

The grass may be greener - part 2

Some more cute fences and iron work in Korea! Including... drum roll please! The screaming kid fence!
Wooo!!! Isn't it awesome! The two children on the left are skipping together while the one screams (haha, I just think "BLAAAHHHHH" every time I see this". The child on the right is flying a traditional Korean kite.

Tree grate at Haeundae... beach themed of course!

Pretty sewage cover? If they can't make it smell better they can at least make it prettier.

Random colorful pretty fence. :)

I promise a longer post tomorrow, most of my day today was taken up with learning to cook Bachimgae and Kimchi Jigae!! Yum yum!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ArtsyFartsy - part 2

I finished editing a lot of pictures yesterday and split them in to reasonable groups. Turns out I have 3 more posts worth after this one! Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to use Gimp very well yet, so these are still just edited using Microsoft Office Picture Manager. I'm sure when I figure Gimp out my pictures will blow your mind! Until then, you'll have to settle for simple awe. :D

I love color saturating the pictures with the temple buildings because of all their beautiful painting!

Jangan Temple during Buddha Birthday. Shannon's favorite out of these pictures.

Jangan Temple 2.

Looking up through the Bamboo Forest.

Well manicured forest path behind Jangansa.

It's definitely a toss up between the one above and the one below for which is my favorite picture in this post.

Cherry Blossoms against the mountain.

Beomeosa waterfall from the top.

 I loooove the bright and pretty lanterns!

Feel free to use my photos anywhere you want to. Just please link back to my site if it's on the web, and let me know... I'd love to know you liked my photos enough to use them somewhere!

I'll probably blog about something else tomorrow (I have a list of topics I haven't gotten to yet), but don't worry, in the near future there will be a part 3, part 4 and part 5... and I'm sure many more parts in the future!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ArtsyFartsy - part1

I've really enjoyed taking photos ever since I arrived in Korea. (I've never been a really big photo person before this, I swear.... on our Honeymoon, Shannon and I had to make a resolution, yes, a resolution to take at least 1 photo together (as a couple) every day, in Hawaii! We still missed 1 day I think. Still, that shows how much we're not typically picture people. We both are usually like, "You take pictures" "No, you take pictures, I don't want to carry the camera" "Meh, guess we're not getting any pictures". But since we've been here I've pretty much monopolized the camera, with Shannon occasionally saying "make sure you get a picture of that!" Ok, side story over.)

Since I've been so enraptured with temples and mountains and cherry blossoms and ocean and all the beautiful stuff around me, I've actually taken the time to tweak some of my more awesome photos. This is just part 1, I have so many awesome photos I'll have to blog more after I edit them.

Gwangalli Beach at night. I was told the words being projected on the sand was a poem.

Haeundae park.

Jin-ha Beach and Island (10 minutes north of our apartment!)

Early spring, flower barely peaking out!

Valley on the way to Moonsoosa.

Mountain view with pine tree.

Cherry blossoms outside our apartment.

Wind-swept tree on a mountain. 

Approaching Moonsoosa.

Path down.

Moonsoosa bell tower coming down from the peak. 

I couldn't decide which one I liked best, with or without color. Gwangan beach.

If you're wondering how I edit my pictures, I swear it's just Microsoft Picture Editor. I don't own any sweet editing program (though I wish I did). This is just cropping, enhancing color (or getting rid of color) and playing with shadows and highlights.

I've actually taken so many photos at this point, there might be a part 2 tomorrow or later this week, just so I can catch up. :D

Feel free to use my photos anywhere you want to. Just please link back to my site if it's on the web, and let me know... I'd love to know you liked my photos enough to use them somewhere!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Godangbong 801.5meters above the ocean

Sunday, we hiked to the peak of this mountain- Geunjeongsan. Though I didn't blog about it, a couple of weekends ago we went to Beomeosa temple. It's a very large temple and a very busy tourist attraction. It's on the Geunjeongsan mountain, but we didn't hike up the mountain last time. There are a lot of hiking trails behind Beomeosa, but we really wanted to go to the peak - Godangbong.

Why? There were lots of reasons, it's the highest peak around, it's all rocky and cool looking, it overlooks a large fortress, and it has a golden spring - Geumseam.
Geumseam is a naturally formed cavity on top of a granite boulder standing off a cliff. According to the legend a golden fish came down from the world of Brahma on a 5 colored cloud and took residence in the golden fountain. The fountain is said never to run dry and the color of the water is always gold. The name of the mountain and the Beomeo temple [Beomeosa] originated from that legend. - Wikipedia

Shannon checking to see if it's really gold. Conclusion- not really, just dirty. Maybe on a less cloudy day it reflects gold or something.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. First, we walked about 3 very steep km until we saw this: 
It was .3km to the top at this point. This wasn't just hiking, we had signed up for a little bit of rock climbing while we were at it. You can barely see it in this picture, but there are platforms and steps up there. But not to get up to the rock. We have no idea how they built the platforms on the top of the rock without building an easier method of getting up the rock. By getting up the rock, I mean there were points where ropes were attached to the rocks to help you climb.

It was rough, especially for me as I have never claimed to be in shape, but it was totally worth it.
For this gorgeous view. That's the huge fortress wall front and center and Haeundae beach and the Gwangan bridge at the upper right. It was a little hazy that day, dang China Yellow Dust.

For anyone here in Korea, looking to do this hike. Go to the Beomeosa temple, continue to walk up hill (follow the other people), then you'll see signs, stay on the main path and follow the signs to Godangbong, the peak. Once you're at the peak, you can actually go a whole bunch of different ways. Make sure you keep track of the way back to Beomeosa, or you could end up hiking to the fortress or somewhere else instead. There are picture signs pointing the way to the Gold fountain, Geumseam. If you're slow like me, but faster then a lot of the Koreans (they like to take breaks and picnic and stuff, I'm jealous, I can't bring myself to stop for more then a couple minutes at a time), it will take you about 1.5 hours to reach the peak. Bring some water and plan on working hard, this is not easy walk!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Misadventures...

Last weekend, we were trying to have adventures but kept having misadventures instead.

On Saturday, we woke up super late (Noribang kicked our butt the night before!), puttered around and finally decided we didn't want to do any hard core hiking so we'd go to the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple... or as Shannon and I have been calling it, the Temple on the Sea.

First, we got lost, but we found this old fortress along the way, Gijangeupseong Fortress.
This fortress was built by the Japanese when they invaded Korea in 1590something. Obviously the Koreans haven't felt any urge to preserve it (who would?), so it's really just stone walls piled on top of one another. Nice views from the top though!

We got back on the road after this, and we got the GPS to work so we didn't get lost again. You're probably thinking "Why didn't they use GPS to begin with?" Did I mention that the GPS is in Korean? We're trying people!

Finally, we ended up at the Temple on the Sea, only to suddenly recall that Buddha Birthday celebrations were still on going. So this very beautiful temple, very close to Busan and Gijang, was packed. When we were parking I spotted this awesome couple. [Thank you to Kaori for introducing me to the matching couple concept, without you I probably wouldn't have noticed them!]
Shannon is super embarrassed when I take pictures of matching couples. My arguments- #1 If they didn't want the attention, they wouldn't dress that way, it obviously takes a lot of planning. #2 My picture is taken all the time because I'm Caucasian and I'm not angry or upset about it.     Win!

When we walked down to the temple, this is what we found: 
Good lord it's crowded!

But totally worth it, it's sooo beautiful... one of the few photos I managed to get with no people in it.

The next day, we got up at a decent time and we wanted to go see the Geumjeongsanseong Fortress. We grabbed some lunch and started driving. We didn't bother trying to use the GPS because we knew there would be signs. Well, we must have missed a sign because soon we were in downtown Busan. We found a place to turn around and decided we just wanted to hike afterall. We drove back to Beomosa Temple, got out and started walking. We stopped at a trail map and Shannon said he really just wanted to see that fortress. So we hiked back and got back in the car. We messed around with that GPS and got it to give us directions to the fortress this time. 3 hours after lunch we finally made it to the fortress. 

This is a huge Korean fortress built in 1703 (after the Korean and Chinese invasions, the Koreans decided to mount a better defense), it was destroyed during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). In 1972 it began to be restored. 

Since we didn't have much time - Shannon had to go into work Sunday evening :P-, we only hiked to a command post. This command post had recently been restored. (or rather, reconstructed on site)
I assume there was less growth back in the day so the generals could view and command battle, you couldn't see much of the surrounding countryside because of all the trees.

However, you could see this...
Dang-it, that's where we wanted to hike!!!
Maybe this weekend or the weekend after, when we're not having such a run of bad luck.  -.-;;;

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Screen Golf

Last week we went screen golfing! This is hard core virtual golf. They give you sets of clubs and you get to pick your course and level (easy, normal, hard). You can also drink and some places you can eat.

Screen golfing is super popular in Korea. There aren't many golf courses in Korea because they just don't have the space. And those courses that do exist are very expensive to get into.
South Korean Golf Courses
In fact, at least one of the courses I looked at had a maximum handicap to play. So terrible players like Shannon and I could never get in. There is an abundance of driving ranges and screen golf though.

For a mere 12,000W you can play 18 holes of screen golf.

Here's a short video of Shannon finishing a hole of screen golf. By finishing I mean this is his last stroke before he makes double par and the game kicks him out.

WARNING! I say F*c% at the 9second mark. Not safe for work or kiddies unless you have the volume turned down or you skip that part.

Poor Shannon, Doug and I were making fun of him. But I chose this video because it shows how cool the setup is. Shannon's got a real club, he presses a button to have it set up the ball for him. It's got cameras and sensors so it knows which way the ball went. It really runs into the tree that's in Shannon's way. And it penalizes him if he goes out of bounds (which is how Shannon had gotten to the double par at this point).

If you're interested in more information about Korean golf, these articles are pretty interesting. (Though I'm sure not as entertaining as us mocking Shannon.)

Virtual Reality Golf in Korea
Korea's mixture of golf and culture truly a world apart.
Korean Golf Association

I stumbled across these articles while looking at South Korea information.... Bizarre...
North Korea to Hold Golf Contest - April 30th
And then in conclusion:
Review and Pics
4 Days ago....

Would I go Screen Golfing again? Probably, but I like the real thing a lot better. Too bad I don't meet that Max Handicap by any means. :D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Noribang - part 2

Last week I posted about Noribangs. We went to a really nice one this last week with friends and I took some awesome video.

******Disclaimer- we were all pretty drunk by this point, also my laughing is very loud because I'm holding the camera (and my laugh is always loud).

This nice Noribang was high up, I don't remember what floor, but for once it was not in a basement. And had real bathrooms!! They do exist! I don't remember how expensive it was, it might have been pretty expensive. And we all agreed that the attenders (the people that assigned us our room, made sure we knew where we were going, got us food and alcohol and got the karaoke machine going for us) were waaay overly eager to do their job. In an almost scary way. By my 4th trip to the bathroom- hey I have a small bladder, especially when I'm drinking, leave off!-, I knew where I was going, but I was still escorted by a very excited attender.
See how excited this girl is? What she's really doing is smiling real big thinking "stop taking pictures in the hall and get into your room!!" Oh yeah, they gave us lollipops when we walked in, neat! Or maybe this is when we were leaving, I can't remember... again, we were pretty drunk by this point!

Roy's picking out what sweet song he's going to sing! YeonSil and Doug and singing their hearts out. I would like to reiterate that I love this type of Karaoke. The bench seating, big table, drinking with your group of friends. It's very comfortable. We rented the room for 2 hours and it flew by.

Best song of the night!!  Notice how when I ask Shannon why he's holding the mic like that, he says, "Cause I'm gangsta." lolololololol, Awesome, just awesome.

For more awesome Noribang videos, and others, visit my YouTube channel, here.

After this we went to another bar and then finally called it quits at about 3:30am. Walked back to the car and went home. We told Andy to drink but he insisted on sober driving, so once again we didn't get to try out a Representative Driver. Someday we will all drink and get a Representative Driver.

Tomorrow - Screen Golfing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Engrish - Number 3!

My latest collection of awesome Engrish!

Ok, this isn't Engrish, it's just funny. Wheelchair racing? Yes please!

I didn't want to unfold it, that's just rude. So it actually says "A moment of a black magic".... If they had ever seen Super Troupers, they'd know it was Brown Magic. ;)

It is?!? I'll have to visit next time I'm in the states!

Once again, subliminal messaging. Awesome Pub indeed! (Thanks for looking awesome in this pic Doug and Roy!)

Shannon thinks I'm reading too much into this one... Really? Do you think I am? :D This would have only been better if it had been on the head of some poor unsuspecting Korean.

I would like to reiterate that I'm sure Americans' use of Japanese Characters in T-shirts, decorations, etc, are just as bad as these. And that the Koreans actually use a lot of English correctly in their signs, T-shirts, etc. But those aren't funny, so they don't go on here. ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Something serious...

Am I a Me-gook slut/whore?

I'm starting to feel self conscious that maybe I am. It's hard to think otherwise when people are dressed like this:
72degrees Fahrenheit and this is what they were wearing. Plus gloves, hats, large backpacks and camping gear for what I'm pretty sure was a half-day hike for them. (Pretty sure because I can't prove it) And some of them were wearing scarves and face-masks too.

And I'm dressed like this:
Sorry it's fuzzy, I couldn't tell because it was so bright out.

Also, I was getting scoped out pretty hard core, like more then just being Caucasian usually gets me (Shannon wasn't being checked out so much). I actually had a guy blatantly try to look down my shirt (no subtlety at all). It wasn't that low! It showed a lot of neck and was lower then anything any Korean women were wearing, but come on!

Some background. It was 72degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, and we were planning on hiking up a mountain. I was planning on sweating. So I wore a tank top and shorts. I was also wearing a full coverage sports bra that I could've worn without a tank top at a US gym.

So here's my theory's:

  1. All the Korean women were cold. Their body temperature is not the same as westerners, not to mention their petiteness (practically no body fat). So maybe they're all that cold, and they were all staring at me because they couldn't believe I was that hot (temperature!!).
  2. They're all making fashion statements and couldn't bear to leave any part of their ensemble at home that day., and they all thought I was super poor, very unfashionable, etc and that's why I kept getting stared at.
  3. They're all a lot more modest then me and thought I was a Me-gook slut/whore.   >.<

Here's the deal. I really like going hiking every weekend in this beautiful weather and Korea is genuinely beautiful and fascinating. There's a lot you can't get to by car and I want to see it. But I don't want to sweat to death either. I'll probably try wearing more clothes and hope that as it gets warmer, the Korean ladies start stripping off the layers so I don't feel so obvious. Come on Korean ladies, you like the short skirts (, Thank you Laura E for sending me this link!), let's transfer that you wearing short shorts hiking! Go go go!

Something adorable to end on.... Lizzie chasing her new toy!

If you noticed the mess, it's because you're a jerk. lol, j/j. Our sea shipment came just a couple of days ago, so stuff is everywhere!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jagalchi Market, Bulguksa temple, and Seokguram grotto

Finally, blogger is working again and I can tell you all about last weekend. Saturday morning we were pretty hung over from saying good-bye to Wayne so we woke up late. We decided something easy was a good idea. So we took the bus and the metro to Jagalchi market. (This took about 1.5 hours from Wollae) Jagalchi market is a huge fish market in downtown Busan. It's like a big festival down there, next to all the creepy crawlies. Luckily, even when hung over I have a particularly strong stomach.

I'll take him him and him....

He's a feisty octopus, he'll probably taste great!

Meh, those don't look too great, put em back!



Live squid. (According to Doug, squid is in everything in Korea, don't believe it!)

We didn't buy any fish that day, not only do we not know how to prepare it, we had a 1.5 hour ride back to be carrying around dead fish. We looked around the market some more and walked over to Nampo market area where we found a Pizza Hut to eat dinner at (OMG!! Cheese!!!), too bad we practically had to sell our unborn children to buy said Pizza. Real american food is super expensive here. If you're on a budget when you come to Korea, stick to Korean food.

I spotted this awesomeness while we were shopping through street venders. I need to figure out how much it is going to cost to mail packages back to the US. If it's not too bad, all my friends having baby's are going to get one of these adorable things for their future darling children.

Don't you want an adorable Korean outfit for your baby?!

Ok, back on topic. Sunday we went to Bulguksa temple, and shrine. It was VERY crowded (due to Buddha's birthday being on Tuesday, I assume).

And now, my coup de gras. My video of the Seokguram grotto. Here's what the sign said outside the grotto:
"The Seokguram grotto is not only known as one of the finest masterpiece of Korean art, but is also recognized the world over as a cultural treasure that is the quintessence of Buddhist art works. It is our duty to make every effort to preserve this great cultural property so that it will remain a historic site for the benefit of generations to come.
The fact that the inside has been open to the public without any restriction has brought about great difficulties in preserving the grotto.
A glass wall has been set up in front of it so that the inner portion may be outside. It would be highly appreciated therefore if you would kindly view the grotto without touching the glass."

There were signs that said No Cameras, so I used video instead. But I had to be subtle because as soon as the guard saw a camera he started shouting "No Camera, No Camera!" I was filming, but there was a Korean guy behind me flashing away with his camera. Finally, the guard realized it was a Korean taking pictures, not those crazy Me-gooks, and he started yelling in Korean instead. Fooled him good!!
There's a gem in the middle of Buddha's forehead that you can't see in the video.

Mwhahaha! Till next time!