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korea, Travel, weekends

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Not to alarm anyone but I have three months left. The pressure is on!

What have I been up to you may wonder. The answer is not much. In the time I have posted I actually have done a few things mostly just exploration, nothing huge. Either way here it is.

I’ll start with Hockey. It’s finally over! Which is a shame because it’s really fun and it also gave me something to do on Sundays.

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Not to discount the season though we did end up getting second place overall. Which is pretty good. We played a tight final but eventually we just couldn’t break through. Which was upsetting but hey I’m totally fine now and hold no grudges at all.

Our team was really good, and I actually got better because of it. Am I good? Probably no, but I found my legs again. I ended up with a total of 9 points with an amazing 4 goals. For comparison I had 0 last year. So a step up I say! Either way the CBHK is a ton of fun, and I’m so glad I found it. I won’t be able to play again because the season doesn’t start till I leave. However It will probably be one of the things I miss the most about Korea.

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There also happened to be an EXO concert going on next door one game.

I also went to Namiseom Island (남이섬 종합휴양지)

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Namiseom is an island shaped like a dumpling shaped island. It has a mildly interesting history but the most fun bit is the “country” status.

Naminara Republic
Nami Island declared its cultural independence on 01 March 2006 and re-named itself the Naminara Republic (Namisun).
The Naminara Republic is an imaginary country, but it has invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone card, and has promoted the establishment of Naminara in other countries. A “passport” issued from Naminara is required to enter the Namisum. Korea4expats

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for example

Being an island with no bridges you can’t get there by foot and have to wait for a ferry to take you across the river. It’s very quick and not at all hard to figure out how to do. You can also zip line across to the island if that’s your kind of tea. Once there you can take a few paths to walk around the island. It’s actually quite big and took a bit longer to get around than I thought it would.

If you’re that kind of person you can rent all kinds of things to get around the island. From bikes, to pedal cars, golf carts, and even off brand segways. There are plenty of options to chose from.

It’s all pretty quaint. There are a lot of tree lined paths that can be pretty scenic at times. There are lots of groomed fields and it really just has a very relaxed atmosphere. It’s basically a giant park. It is definitely a couple and or family spot as there are lots of both running around. There are the few sculptures and a decent amount to see. However there isn’t a lot to actually do. At least how I did it, it was way more of a leisurely stroll through the island just looking at things than actually interacting with anything. There are also some animals littered around the park like peacocks, rabbits, and apparently an ostrich but I didn’t see it.

I probably wouldn’t go back there, but I’m glad I went at least once. It was relaxing and for sure a good way to spend the afternoon.

As a quick note, the area around the island is known for chicken I guess so there are tons of chicken places to eat. Choose wisely!

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leaving to the island

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Beyond that I had a cute afternoon exploring some roof tops in HBC. We went to 100 Food Truck which was a bit disappointing. Sure the view is cool but you can get it pretty much anywhere else in the area. I’m embarrassed to say how long I waited to get up there. Just to have a pretty good hamburger that totally fell apart in seconds. Eventually I was just eating a guacamole salad. My issue was mainly with the wait. To be fair we waited for the shade and as far as I know if I went for the un shaded part the wait would have been much quicker.

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view from the top

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I had the green one

Almost forgot to mention I went to Seoullo 7017.

 

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It was an overpass created back in the 70’s. It has since been renovated into a walkway with a bunch of trees and random other points of interest. Here is a link about it if you’re interested.

Moving on from Food Truck we went to a Thai themed rooftop. It was way better. Not only was there no one up there but it was just very chill. Also carried about 90% less pretentiousness the last place did. To make matters better it was on top of a bbq place, what a location! I will go back here again for sure.

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Random picture time!

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So that has been the past three weekends pretty much. The last one was pretty hectic, well with not a bunch of sleep that’s for sure.

I ended up going on a trip this past Sunday to some places i’m not really sure of between Chungju and Danyang.KakaoTalk_20170616_112313101.jpg

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It was definitely a good way to spend the Sunday.

As far as school goes a new term has rolled around a few weeks ago, and it is a nice change of pace from last term for sure.

That is pretty much it. Now a new weekend is a day away so lets see what happens!

Let’s not forget though.

THE PENS WON THE STANLEY CUP!

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Hey I got some of it right…..

Busan Weeeeeekend!

festival, korea, Travel

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I went to Busan this past weekend. It was tons of fun. Probably one of the top things I have done here.

What else has happened in the meantime? Not much else. I’ve played in one hockey game and missed another this past weekend. From what I heard we tied and won so 1-0-1. I’ll take it. This team is good and I think we can make a good run.

In other news the weather has been warming up. So going outside has been an option pretty much everyday. It’s nice to stretch the legs again.  The kids at school are getting sick again though because of this now I’m getting sick. The amount of times I have been coughed on is insane. Any time I walk near a kid who is sick there is an 80% chance they are going to try their hardest to make me ill and cough all over me.

While I remember it, I guess the biggest news country wise is that the president has gotten impeached. People were pretty happy. Celebrations etc.. and it was on a Friday! What timing… Obviously not everyone is happy about it though. However, now she is in (more)legal trouble because she no longer holds her title. She is going to be investigated. I have no idea where everything will go, but there is a vote for a new person in May.

Back to Busan though. For those who don’t know where it is it’s on the south east side of the country along the coast. It’s also the second biggest city outside of Seoul. I even edited a map for you.

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So that’s where it is. Now for some history. Busan was one of two cities not captured by North Korea in the first few months of the Korean war. It was the last stand of UN forces who were pushed all the way back. Fortunately after some tense fighting and the Incheon landing the UN won out and the North Korean army was pushed back, and Korea was saved. However because of this, there were quite a bit of refugees that fled down south to Busan. Which leads us too Gamcheon culture Village!

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This place

During the war the number of houses on this hill went from 20 to 800.

stairsGamcheon has long been home to the city’s poorest residents. In the 1940s, only 20 or so houses dotted the hillside, but that number swelled dramatically at the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. War refugees fled their homes for the relative safety of Busan, the only area of the peninsula that remained free from fighting. Within a year, Busan’s population grew from 880,000 to 1.4 million people, and a half million homeless refugees needed a place to live and fast. Approximately 4,000 people moved from the crowded port areas surrounding the Jagalchi Fish Market to nearby Gamcheon, erecting some 800 makeshift homes using scrap iron, wood and rocks.” From here

So the history behind the place is also pretty interesting. The link above explains it better than I can. I went on this trip with my friend Bailey. The culture village wasn’t bad but it wasn’t exactly mind blowing either. It’s a stroll through a few streets either trying to sell coffee or random souvenirs. Pretty much similar to any “artsy” area in Korea. Which means cool, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there. Unless I really wanted a coffee in a colorful building. The history behind it is probably the coolest thing.

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In reverse order we also went to Jagalchi fish market. Which as the name suggests is a fish market. What I didn’t realize was I went to the same area years ago but had no idea.

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Old people selling things

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Old people sitting on things

There were plenty of curious things being sold here. Including a drink made from turtle shell, there were also live ells with peeled skin squirming around. I’m sure there are even more strange things going on, but these are the ones that I knew about. Unless you really wanted a smelly fish to carry around with you it’s all about the atmosphere here which is pretty cool.

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young AND old people blocking everyone

The thing that stuck out to me the most was one the age of everyone. Everyone working there looked about 90 and how colorful everything was. There were umbrellas covering the little alley between the stalls with lots of yellows and reds. Then just like Korean hikers, the adjumas were decked out in colorful aprons, jackets etc..

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I wonder what business is like. That one lady is pretty sleepy

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These guys were trying to escape.

We also went to the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사). Which I went to last time I was here and by all means is kind of lame. Sure it’s in a cool spot by the ocean but not much is going on.

The big take away from this place was I got a picture with my animal the monkey, and saw two gold pigs. Riveting stuff.

That was all on Saturday. I went out and met some people and hung out on the beach for a bit. On Sunday was the reason why I was here. There is an Indian event called Holi Hai .

“Holi Hai is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”.[7][1][8] The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.[9][10] It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.[9][10] It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar [11] month of Phalgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi,[12] or Phagwah.[13]Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.[9] In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.” Source

At around 11 ish we went to Haeundae beach which is a pretty popular spot in Busan. I want to say the most popular but I’m not %100. I went with a tour group called WinK. They weren’t bad, and I might even use them again if I get the chance. They gave everyone a thing of powder and  shirt. Thankfully the weather was great.

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Bailey

Look how clean she is. 20170319_12000420170319_120037

As 3 stated to roll around it was finally time to go. I briefly washed paint off my face then sat down on the beach with Bailey waiting till it was time to go to KTX and catch the train. I could still taste paint in my mouth almost the whole day. Like I said at the start though this was an awesome time and one of top thing I’ve done recently for sure. So if you get a chance to check it out, go!

I’ve also finished up some tickets I was working on last week. allfour

There is a post about them below.

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The Motel I stayed in had gaming computers which I think is definitely worth noting.

Break and other things

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Went to Jeju for Korean Thanksgiving aka Chuseok aka 추석. I was there from Wednesday until Saturday with a few of my friends from work. Every time I go there I always think that there was something else I could have seen or done and this time was no different. In part due to weather. I’d go back although maybe not for awhile since the weather is getting worse.

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I’m not single anymore!-that guy

Our group got separated for the ferry which was lame. Although it did work out. We rode the bus all night long and I got almost 0 sleep. The ride on the ferry was pretty quick since we got the quick boat. We got to the island quicker which meant basically nothing cause we just spent it waiting for the rest of our group and sleeping on random benches.

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We got  there way earlier than we thought we would. Didn’t do much that I remember really. Spent most of the time sleeping and finding something to eat.  We found a black pig place that was really good. Supposedly food here is pretty bad, which I believe. However this was good. 20160916_200940

Day 2 we went to a maze, didn’t get lost at all. Easy. There were lots of spiders and lots of cats. Like 20 cats or something. There were a ton of them.

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We also went to a lava tube. It was pretty cool and pretty huge. 20160915_135256img_656720160916_145711

The food we ate was for the most part all good. we settled for Pizza a couple times which were the low points of the food experience. Places closed pretty early, the also opened pretty late. So it threw us off a bit. The stuff above was pretty good.It was moving when it came out which was a bit funky. The owner quickly pushed them under the boiling water and solved that! The clams in there were great. Again the food was good. We got help finding it though. If by myself chances are it wouldn’t have been like that. The last day we went to some back woods place that was really good. Had some amazing fish on the last day. The setup for it was really picture perfect too.

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I mean look at all of that. Another weird thing about Jeju was that the transportation totally  blows. We spent literally 2 hours trying to get back to our place one day. You can’t really just pick up a taxi like you can in Seoul. Which isn’t surprising really. We had to rely on call taxis but sometimes they weren’t available and it led us stranded for a bit occasionally. This is why there are so many rented cars there.

The last day was pretty fun though. We left at 5 in the afternoon and as usual this trip it was raining. Although this time I had a friend and they were willing to drive! We started it up by going to that fish place. Then traveled an hour across the island to go to some green tea fields. It rained a lot on our way over there. It was a bout as exciting as looking at this picture. Although the place had some pretty cool atmosphere. It was pretty swanky. Koreans are pretty obsessed about being chic.

Which reminds me. The whole place is pretty village esque. Then randomly there will be this super modern, artsy, square building. Which make sense because I figure a lot of rich people come here and set up shop on the weekends or vacation.

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green tea fields. The fans are to stop the plants from frosting.

Jeju was over for now. It was a really nice day outside up here though. So while I still could I went exploring to get some books from Itaewon. Overall it took about 3 hours. Pretty interesting. I saw some things I didn’t know existed and would probably check out again. For example the park in the first 2 pictures. If you follow it you go across the Ihwa mural village, which I didn’t actually go into but want to in the future. The road/ally that I was following had a lot of atmosphere. wish I took a picture of it.

In a surprise twist the thing stopped at Dongdaemun .3 .4. After I got there I walked around a pretty average road for an hour till I got to  a random path that turned into a wooded park. Wasn’t expecting that. cool part was part of the path went over the road as a bridge .5. Even weirder for the last hour I saw almost no one. It was relaxing!

After some wrong turns and almost making it the N tower by accident I found myself going up a really long and tall hill. I couldn’t believe Itaewon was on such a big hill..6 it’s not as flat as it looks. I haven’t been there much so I was surprised. Well it’s not. I ended up going right back down. At least not the part that I wanted to go to. It was a bit weird seeing it at it’s “back” though.

I finally found some books to read! Got some kebabs and walked away to Samgakji to get on the subway. I haven’t really been around that area much. It was a bit surprising because at some points between Itaewon and Samgakji it reminded me of Squirrel Hill at home. Freaky stuff. At the end of it all I realized how little of the city I have seen/know. This is isn’t much of a realization as it is reinforcement. I think little walks like this will keep on happening till it gets cold outside and I have to hibernate.

That’s what success looks like. ^^

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Panorama with my real camera. Turned out oook I realized way after the fact that they had 4.5 as the aperture. Which is kind of very frustrating. However I did learn how to make a panorama and blend pictures together. Lets compare it to the last time I was there. Weather looks very different.

(also hopefully the new one is better)

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So now random stuff that I have been up to.

Went to a giant horse race track and won a cool $10. Would go again. The place was probably x4 the size of the one at home and the track is x8 it looked like. It was huuuuge.

Then in no particular order, watched some baseball again. Played some hockey in the league I joined (im horrible)  walked are Konkuk Univ. area for some disappointing Indian food. Then went to the Kakao store in Gangnam, I might have bought something.