Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ahhhhh! The Skulls!!!!

The Skulls -the most feared English Teaching duo in Nowon-gu - are taking off on Sunday. Not so cool. They have been here for one year and have taught diligently for 11 months and 17 days. We've loved getting to know them, hang out with them, noraybong with them (no two have ever sung 'Hero' so true to its intended glory) , jimjilbong with them (no pictures here cuz that would just be wrong), talk with them and get to go to Dokejokedo with them too! They have been wonderful friends whom we cherish and will miss dearly. But, we take comfort in the fact that they will soon be able to buy yogurt in larger-than-1-tbsp sizes, 4L LOWFAT milk, and breathe real clean(er) Canadian air. So at least they're not going to something worse.
It's been great with the Skulls! With their departure, the Gang o' 6 is suddenly reduced to 2, but here are some pics to remind us of some highlights together:

Lydia and Nathan on their hogs. Not many couples can pull off biking with so much 'tude, but these two do it effortlessly.

Weird faces at restaurants and hofs. Pretty much anywhere we went these guys were always making interesting pictures and sights for the other patrons.

Sharing the tuna and rameon!!! Soooooooo good.....
Quite possibly the first clear day in Korea we ever experienced (back in May) -on our way home from the Doke. That whole weekend was such a wonderful time with the Skulls -we were so glad to have gone together.

So yes, we must now say goodbye as they are about to take off on Sunday and head back to Canada and various travel adventures! We hope you guys have a great trip back and a wonderful autumney autumn (yes, that's an adjective now). You will be missed guys!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Yah, so ve vent on an amazing biking photo extravaganza on Sunday at Ilsan Lake, and so it vas fun, und das ve thought ve vould share das pictures ***

And who could forget the newby teachers, our new pals Colin and Anne...

Busan Here We Come

With a holiday bookended-weekend, Hilary and I decided to quit this here popsicle stand and head on out to Busan. Two days prior to leaving the weather suddenly turned absolutely gorgeous with the sun utterly dominating the sky. It was so good to finally be clear of the rain in the city. So, we up and boarded the Mugunghwa train bound for Pusan earl-i in the mornin', and as it crept ever so slowly down to the South-Eastern seaboard we enjoyed the vistas and cool countryside. It's interesting that the entire country has really similar mountains and that the flora remains remarkably constant throughout the entire span of the country (our trip brought us through nearly all of the country North to South). There were so many small towns along the way and it was quite refreshing to see something other than city everywhere. So yeah, 5.5 hours later we showed up in the quaint city of Busan. And it was stifling hot! Totally great and sweat-filled.

Here's a view of Haeundae beach -Korea's most famous- jam-packed with Koreans. It was CRAZY. The 20ft-wide swimming area left a lot to be desired mostly because it was filled with hair, bandaids, watermelon, and - lest we forget - 200,000 people. The only way to really sit on the beach was to rent space from the monopolizing umbrella owners (Canada, how we miss your free beaches!). So on day one, we decided just to rough it and of course, we got burned. But it was great while it lasted. (And I don't know why this section is underlined.)

There was also this Star Wars festival in Pusan at the time and a couple of Storm Troopers were oot and aboot, so we just couldn't let this opportunity pass. After the pic he tried to steal my popsicle so I gave him a left hook and ran for it. Dude shoulda thought about bringing the real blaster if he was so intent on struttin' his stuff by the beach. Silly storm trooper...

Hil: "Once in a while I like the taste of a Hite: when I'm really thirsty and there's nothing else to drink." And wouldn't you know she actually started liking it from this point on. With nothing else to eat but fried chicken and a side plate of popcorn.

And who can resist the cool bikes but Adrian every time he sees them. Especially with random words like "Handy STD" on them. Sheesh.

The next day (Sunday?) we went to explore the coastline a bit. Man, was it hot. Not even Seoul gets this hot in the summer. I got heat stroke (I think, anyway) the day before just trying to keep up with Adrian on an afternoon meandering through the rocks along the beach and an unexpected encounter with this international conference building and a free tour through it! In our beachwear, of course. We saw Canada's special seat for the prime minister (they had sort of a round table in there with the names of countries on them). Fun times on the beach.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Adrian got all shifty and had to move, see. Can't get enough adventure, that one. I had the pleasure of observing and daydreaming such thoughts as shall be made known in the following scenes...

If you look at this picture for a long time, it looks as though the rocks form a monster mouth that will shortly engulf this confident form before you. Beware, oh picture of youth and uncanny climbing ability, beware!

After this stunning escapade, we walked down the coastline further, past the over-crowded beaches and caught some cool views like this pagoda far centre.

Adrian is hot next to the two Russian dudes (as found out later) surfacing for a visit on the little rock island he swam out to, beyond swimming limits, I may add. I didn't know whether there was going to be a conflict about to arise. Unfortunately, he forgot all the Russian his dad had ever spoken to him. All I could see was distant bodies approaching one another...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Rain

It's amazing, but true: Korea receives 70% of its rain during late June to late July. Prior to their rainy season, we were all like 'Dude, rain shmain; we're from Van and we've seen some rain. We can deal with rain.'
Boy oh boy.
This was something new. One moment it would be drizzling, and then the next few hours would be a near-deafening thwump of water pouring from the sky. The entire sidewalk (high and low-points) would be covered with 1 - 2 inches of water; rivers rose (seriously) 6 feet in two days; playgrounds looked like this most of the time:

We got soaked everywhere. It was refreshing, cuz it was the first time in 6 months the air was remotely clean. But, after 20 something days of straight rain and no sun, we were DEFINITELY ready for some actual summer sun.

And of course, just like the stores here, it all changed over night. The next thing we knew it was hot, humid and sunny. Now we smile and sweat the days away. It's humid bliss...

Goin' out with style...

Just like the renowned singer Vanessa Williams once sung,
"[Jamie and Jennica] go and save the best [noraybang experience and meat-fest] for last"
Too true, Vanessa. Too true.
Take for example, our last night spent with the Grahams.

These stellar dudes engaged many in an evening dedicated to eating frying pig in lettuce with garlic and kimchi, and of course, to raising our soju-soaked glasses in a heartening cheer of "Gambay!" We're still not sure what that word means, but we think it's something similar to "I dare you to drink this!" or "Here's to rubbing alcohol!" In either case, we 'gambayed' ourselves to a wonderful capitulation of time spent with such stellar dudes as the Grahams.

And then Nathan got all squirrelly and we had to go somewhere else.

But thankfully that was Puuuuuuuuurincess Noraybang!!! No lewd acts this time, just pure vocal amazingosity to the tenth degree. Do you doubt? Here's proof:

Hil and Lydia just bustin' out the moves as the Grahams sing away the night...

So Nathan and I had to show them all how Ricky Martin does it... We mostly just walked back and forth but they got the idea.

Sometimes it is sooooooo good to sing!!! This was definitely one of those nights. We belted it out something fierce (I got hoarse -wasn't using my diaphragm properly, it turns out) and you should hear the Koreans sing! It blows yer top. One of the Grahams/Skuls' supervisors was there and he sang with such passion and so little accent that it absolutely floored us. Great times, and a great way to say goodbye.