Posted by: rammac13 | February 23, 2012

Thailand and Taiwan – Winter breaks in the tropics

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Posted by: rammac13 | August 23, 2011

Jeju Island trip

We had an awesome time cycling around the Hawaii of Korea. Jeju island. Here are the pictures.

Link to Jeju Slideshow

Here are some lanscape pictures we took.

The inside of sunrise peak

A view from the top of the peak.

A nice view from the side of the road.

We made it on the Korean News!!

A view from our hotel room during the hurricane.

Quite a memorable trip. It truly is the Hawaii of Korea.

Posted by: rammac13 | July 22, 2011

Sports day!

We have just started going to church in the big city. There is a nice express bus that comes and picks people up for church. The first day we went to the church they were having their church-wide sports day. We were thinking it would be something like a simple little picnic where the kids would play some soccer while people relax and eat fried chicken. Boy were we wrong…


I have decided change the blog into slideshow format because it takes too long to add images individually. Put your mouse arrow over the images and click the stop button to read comments. Thanks for checking it out!

We had a Great time at sports day and it was a fun introduction to the church.

Posted by: rammac13 | April 12, 2011

Trip to the Philippines

After the Freezing temperatures of the Korean winter it was so nice to escape
to the warm paradise of the Philippines for a week. We left Korea Christmas
night and after a cramped five hour flight we arrived in the Philippines just after
midnight. When we stepped out of the airport we were surprised to be able to
wait for our hotel taxi in our t-shirts and also that our Korean phones worked there.
The taxi driver was a really friendly guy who made us feel very welcomed to this new
country.


Here is a picture of the airport hotel we stayed in and a look at our view of the airport.
We had some amazing breakfast food at this hotel.  With some sort of fried bananas
or something. Whatever it was it was delicious.


This is the cheap way to get around in Manila if you don’t want to go by motorbike.
It’s called a Jeepney. Basically it is two benches inside of this Jeep van looking vehicle.

Below are some pictures of our transportation to the Island of Mindoro where
our resort was. At the bus terminal vendors would try to sell food and drinks to
passengers while they wait to leave. We were so glad to get some water. Also a
note about the bus ride: we didn’t have to pay when we got on but about 10
minutes after the bus took off was when they came bye and had us buy the tickets.


cute little girl with a HUGE bag on her lap.


It was quite a contrast to see this line of nice skyscrapers next to the shacks in
the poorer area of Manila. 


Heading from Batangas to Puerto Galera, Mindoro on Bancas. We were lucky not
to get seasick. Some of the other passengers weren’t that lucky.


Our first meal in Sabang, Puerto Galera. mmm… mango juice.

Next we had to figure out how to get to our resort. The locals were very helpful
and they told us we could hire a Jeepney to take us up to the resort but it would
cost much less to take a ride on the back of a motorbike. We  were both a little
wary of doing this because we didn’t want to fall off the back but as we were soon
to learn that Filipinos are pretty much born on motorbikes and we made it up
safely to our Resort. The Coral Cove. We soon found out that we had the whole
resort to ourselves. So that first day we enjoyed an hour long massage for about
$15.


Our little friend the lizard in our shower. Outside during the night we would see
these little guys gathered around the ceiling lights. Like moths to a flame they
would fight to get the best spot. We also had a night guard who made us feel pretty
secure.


Below are some videos of our resort.


The town of Puerto Galera. This is were we learned what a target we were for
people trying to sell us stuff. Wow pretty overwhelming at first with people
offering massages, pool sticks, pearl necklaces, fruit, motorbike rides etc. But
we learned to deal with it.



from the town of Puerto Galera we next went to the good beach called White Beach.
We took a tricycle ride like the ones below and it felt safer than the back of the
motorbikes. The prices varied depending on who the driver was so we had to do
some haggling once in a while. 

Below are some pictures of White Beach.


the water was nice and warm. The current was really strong but only at the very
edge of the water so we had a strong curl that would suck us out and then spit us
back onto the sand.


The next day we were told by the receptionist at the resort about Big La Laguna Beach
We found this beach to be full of foreign families from around the world who were
just relaxing on the beach. It was also full of Filipino children who were doing
flips into the water.





We also did some snorkling in this area and we found Nemo as well as a fish that
seemed to glow neon blue. Callie also met a little girl who was fishing with a
pop bottle, some fishing line and a hook who proudly showed her the string
of fish that she had caught. She is one of the kids on the rock in the picture above.


The next day we tried to do some snorkling up by our resort but it was pretty
difficult to do so. The area is more for scuba diving and Callie got a little
banged up. Feeling a little down from our snorkling experience we decided to
explore the island a bit. Our plan was to hire a bike to take us to the waterfalls
but when we got to the bottom of the hill that the resort was on and told the
guys with the motorbikes our plan they strongly suggested we just rent a bike
for the day and then we would be able to go wherever we wanted to for much
cheaper then hiring someone to take us around. This sounded like a good plan
and though we were nervous we decided to try it out. After a while we got the
hang of it and enjoyed one of our best days in the Philippines. Check out the
pictures below.




Tamaraw Waterfall. We think Tamaraw must mean ox or water buffalo.

Place next to the falls where you can pay to swim.



Above are some pictures of families. The one on the left is a group taking a
shower. Wherever we would go people would yell Merry Christmas to us.
They would take our picture as we were taking theirs.




Beautiful church. It seemed like most of the people in the Philippines had
something good to say about Jesus.


Below are some pictures of a traditional village (tourist attraction). We wondered
how these people felt to have foreigners always wandering around in their
village. Oh well, we bought a hand woven basket that one of the villagers was
selling. It was pretty good quality.



On the right you can see the school building.


We ended the day with some pretty tasty pizza. The great end to an adventurous day!

We woke up to see an Italian or Spanish fellow teaching the kids some Tai Chi.
The kids were on their Christmas break. They always seemed to be having a
good time.

The next day we hired a boat to take us to a place called the Coral Gardens
where we could do some snorkeling. A guide first took us to the market place
and helped us order some pork chops, vinegar, limes and other seasonings
and most importantly fresh mangoes for the lunch we would later have. After
shopping he took us out to the Coral Gardens where we fed fish bread while
snorkeling. Then we allowed ourselves to be dragged or drug along in the
water while we looked at the coral and the fish. The boat driver then took us
to the Giant Clam. It was okay, but we could only go down so far into the water
before our heads filled with pressure and began to scream at us.




Unfortunately we did not have an underwater camera but these videos give
you a good idea of what we experienced.






And above you can see pictures of our delicious lunch that the guides prepared
for us. The guides were fun guys to hang out with. Very happy, laid back people.

The next day we decided to take a walk to the lighthouse that the receptionist
at the resort told us about.


Anyone interested in a mansion for 5million pesos (about $100,000) down payment.
We learned that rich folk buy a nice house like this and stay in it for one month
out of the year and the rest of the time they hire a local housekeeper to live in the
place.




Above is a picture of the three lighthouses. The old, the less old and the new.


It was Callie’s birthday and our last full day in the Philippines so we decided to
check out this “hidden paradise” that a motorbike vendor had told us about. We
took a tricycle to white beach and then walked from there. With signs everywhere
pointing us to the waterfall we had no problem getting there. However that did
not stop almost everyone we walked by from asking us if we wanted to buy a guide.
We did come to one fork in the road but a nice little girl told us which way to go. And
she didn’t even charge us :). At least the poorer people here are willing to work
for money. We even had a guy hail a taxi for us (one that we had already hailed
and was coming over to pick us up). I will take this attitude over a lazy person
who just expects money any day.




We couldn’t get enough of the baby goats.



The Coral Cove staff was so nice to give Callie a rose and a birthday card on her
birthday. We ended the day having cake and also watching fireworks from our
hill top resort where we were able to see fireworks from all the neighboring towns.
People sure know how to celebrate Callie’s birthday (Dec 31).

Our trip to the Philippines is one we will not forget and we both hope to go back
sometime. When we got back to Korea we were soon surrounded by snow.

Posted by: rammac13 | December 22, 2010

Korean Wedding Experience

One of Callie’s coworkers was nice enough to invite us to her wedding and we jumped at the chance to have this new experience.

The wedding took place in Seoul so the bride’s parents rented an express bus to help the guests who lived in or around Cheongju to get up there.  Ryan wore his suit and for once did not feel underdressed while in Korea. We felt like we were in first class as the mother of the bride kept bringing us snacks and drinks for the ride up.

Weddings are a big business here in Korea and it shows.  Many weddings happen each day and sometimes simutaneously.

We gave our gift to the receptionist and we were given our tickets to the buffet area.

Cute little kid in her Hanbak. The mothers of the bride and groom also wore these.

The popular thing to do is mix American and Korean traditions into the ceremony. Below is a look at the ceremony.

The mothers bow to each other.

The bride and groom bow to the parents.

 

Very cool dry ice effect.

 

Picture time. We made it into a couple of the pictures.

Bora, another of Callie’s co-workers and her boyfriend.

After the more American ceremony many couples go into a seperate room, after changing into thier traditional wedding clothes, where they have the traditional Korean ceremony with the family.

After the ceremony we went to the buffet. It was amazing! Food from all over the world it seemed. It is a baquet hall that is set up for everyone that is having a wedding in the building that day.

One of the most surprising experiences of a Korean wedding is the bus ride home. Once you are on the bus they hand out more beer, food and soju. After a bit of time the disco lights come on and the older ladies get up and start dancing up and down the isle. They tried many times to get us to stand up and dance with them but we were happy to just cheer them on from our seats. After the dancing comes the Karaoke (noorebong). WOW!! These old ladies know how to get down.

 

It was quite an experience and we are so glad that we were invited to share in this important event.

Posted by: rammac13 | October 28, 2010

Chuseok!The tale of a 6 day weekend…

Twas a dark and stormy morn when we set off into the wide world of Korea! Well, actually it was  bright and sunny, and we had a relaxing bus journey to the east coast. Before our journey we had sketched out a rough plan of where we would go and what we would see. We wanted to relax on the beach, see a North Korean submarine and wander into a cave! And so headed to Jongdongjin to check beach relaxing off our to-do list.

When we arrived it started to rain…and we, being fearless adventures, ran into the closest hotel to check the price and avoid being drowned in the down pour. Surprisingly, this nice cozy hotel, located on the beach, was only 30,000 won. So we headed to our room, stared at the lovely water…and checked beach relaxing off the list!

The next day we went to pay for another night at our hotel, only to have the man wave Ryan off and motion that they were closed for the holiday. (At least we think that was what the motion was.) So, we packed up and headed to another hotel. We found one farther away and twice as expensive. But it did have a fan so we were able to dry out our wet clothes!

After that we wandered around Jongdonjin…and discovered the delicacy that is corn dogs rolled in sugar, and topped off with ketchup!! We checked out the train station that was literally on the beach. Made some friends with some beautiful statues. Hiked a small mountain and enjoyed the view of the ocean….and wandered up and down the beach. We were impressed by the strong undertow of the waves, which made the beach quite steep as it rolled into the ocean. Here are some pictures from around Jongdongjin






 
 

As it was the holiday people were out celebrating. They did this by shooting off fireworks and we were amazed at how the parents let their little kids get so involved. Little 4 year old kids could be seen holding roman candles that would shoot fireworks 20 feet into the air. We decided that if the little kids can do it then so can we so we bought a couple of roman candles and they threw in some free sparklers. That night we also checked out the Huge cruise ship that was being used as a luxury hotel.





The next day we headed up the coast a bit to Unification park where we  saw the huge US navy ship that the US donated to Korea in the 70’s. We got do a bit of exploring through the ship and see what the living quarters were like. Also in the same area there was a North Korean submarine that crashed off the coast of South Korea in 1996. The captain ended up killing the crew and he and his soldiers abandoned the sub and tried to make it back to the North. But they got caught. The final attraction at the park was a very recent addition. Just last year a group of North Koreans escaped to the south on a small boat. Below you can read all about it. We then decided we’d had enough of this beach so we took the sea train and a bus to our next destination, Samcheok.





 
 

When we got into the Samcheok bus station we found the information booth and asked them where the cheapest hotel around was. They directed us to it and it was only 25,000 won($23) a night. After we got settled in we decided to check out the city a bit and find some place to eat. We saw a Korean bbq restaurant called Big Al’s or something like that. We had the cheapest Galbi ever and it was delicious! So delicious in fact that we went there the next night as well.

The next day we took a bus to the beach along the Samcheok coast. On the way to our destination we passed a statue that is dedicated to the Korean marathon runner who won the olympics a few years back. Also during the bus ride we got to know another couple who are English teachers. One was from the California and the other from South Africa. We ended up hanging out with them for a few hours while we explored the port village of Haesindang. When we arrived in the village a nice Korean woman who rode on the bus with us invited us into her house for some coffee, grapes and rice. We all didn’t want to be rude so we said yes. After exploring the village we made our way to one of the more deserted beaches and we relaxed a bit. While at the beach we stopped into a convenience store and a little girl behind the counter decided to recite what she had been learning in English to us. It was very cute and it sounded like she had just memorized a book of phrases. After the beach we made our way back to the cheap hotel and spent another night there.

 
 
 

On our final day we went to the HUGE Hwanseon Cave. When we got to the cave we were in awe of it’s size. What we were not in awe of was the way the inside of the cave was lit up by neon lights. It kinda ruins the natural beauty of a thing when it is made to look like a night club. After about an hour and a half of cave exploring we headed back down to our bus only to find that we had just missed the bus and that it was going to be another Two hours before the next one arrived. Ugh, we are still learning how to travel and hopefully we have learned our lesson about knowing bus schedules.

 
 

When we got into Samcheok we hopped on the bus and headed home. We actually had to take three buses this time and our GRAND TOTAL OF TRAVELING THAT DAY WAS….. 8 hours!!

Overall it was a good trip and we feel like we are starting to get the hang of this travelling abroad thing.

Posted by: rammac13 | September 9, 2010

Vacation in Japan!

Day 1 – Busan

We began our vacation with an interesting train experience. We took a cab ride to Cheongju station and the cabbie gave us some free travel tissues, “service” they call it whenever you get something free. We got on the first train easy enough. It was headed to Daejeon and that is where we were to make our connection to the next train. When we got there we waited on the train platform and a guy gave us some corn because we moved over on our bench so that he could sit down. Our next train was supposed to come at noon and end up in Busan at 2:00. At 9:59 a train headed for Busan pulled up to our platform, so we got on. Let me just say that workers on trains in Korea don’t think it is important to check tickets and let people know if they are on the correct train or not. Well we found the right car but the seat numbers were WAY off! We found two empty seats that HAD to be ours and we sat down. At about an hour later we stopped in Daegu and were awakened by two men who for some reason wanted us to move. We realized what our fears of being on the wrong train were confirmed and we hefted our backpacks up and headed to the area between cars. This is the point at which a member of the train staff decided to ask us for our tickets. It turned out we got on the fast train and we were to get into Busan two hours earlier than expected. We paid a little extra and were allowed to stand for the last hour of the trip. Actually we saw a lot of people standing in between cars. It must be quite a bit cheaper. We got into Busan and found our Motel, a bit early for check in but we were allowed to go to our room.

The night beach (Gwangangill) in Busan was pretty amazing. A huge boardwalk with restaurants and perfomances as well as a brightly lit bridge.

What you get for $60 in Korea – This hotel had a very big flat screen tv, a computer that was connected to the tv monitor so that you could see whatever was on the computer monitor on the big screen, a large bed, a jacuzzi tub and a steam shower.

Jumping ahead a bit for the comparison this is what you get for $60 in Japan – This was a hostel but we got our own private room.

After a great night sleep in a huge bed we found our way to Busan port.

Day 2 – Hakata

We took a hydrofoil(ferry) from Busan to Hakata Japan. This thing is like a boat on skiis and travels about 80 mph. It just feels like you are on a train. No getting out to see the ocean at this speed though, unless you want to see it first hand. We enjoyed a 3 hour ride while watching an Anime movie (Princess Mononoke) in Japanese with Korean subtitles.

We met a girl from Missouri and we tried to help each other find our hostels.

Here is a picture of the front of a bullet train and the inside of one. Lots of leg room. Ryan had a bit of an embarrasing moment as he found a lever under the seat infront of him that he thought would come out as a foot rest. It actually caused the man infront of him to recline completely and look around confused for a few seconds. It was really pretty funny.

Kyoto – Day 2.5

After our night in the Hakata hostel we hopped on a couple of trains and headed for Kyoto where we were to meet Tina and Brigitta. The faces we are making are sad because the girls were a little later than we thought they would be in getting to Kyoto. Also above is a picture of a rickshaw.

Below are pictures of our first day of touring around the traditional Japanese town of Kyoto. We had some Wonderful guides in Rua and Hakari who were Brigitta’s friends from college. We were sooo glad to have them there for both translation purposes and to show us the important sites in the city. It was also great to have them explain some of the Japanese culture to us. We now have some friends in Japan!

 

Purifying our hands before entering the temple grounds. It was just so stinkin hot that the cold water felt great.

Cute little girl jumping down the stairs.

This was one of the good luck customs that shintoism has. If you can close your eyes and walk to a piece of stone at the end of the path, then you will have a good love life. Callie made it to the end. The rest of us are just doomed to wander the world lovelessly. You can also buy a piece of paper with a fortune on it. If it is a bad fortune then you need to hang it on a pole and it will later be burned.

I got in to trouble for taking this picture of the samurai swords! But I was able to play the confused foreigner card….all ended well.

Can’t go to Japan without checking out the Anime

River near our hostel. On the deck you can see a Geisha if you look hard enough.

 

These are Japanese pancakes with yakisoba noodles on the side. We were given the batter and Tina cooked it up for us. We can’t remeber what it was filled with but it was good.

Below is a Kibuki theater. Our hostel manager told us about an English pub that was near the hostel so we went there to hang out for a while. They had some expensive food but it was excellent. The best burger we have had since leaving the states.

Kyoto – Day 3

We happened to be in Japan during the time when the cicadas burrow out of the ground and sing their song. Their song just happens to be ear piercing screams! The picture on the right is a cicada skin.

We could not believe it. We found a hat from Ontario Oregon in Kyoto Japan. Small world. And the squids look very pretty….if only they tasted that way.

Above are pictures from our Golden temple trip. The turtle is trying to get away from some Huge fish.

 

Walking along the Philosophers path. Quite a peaceful area next to the stream. Well, it would be more peaceful without the screaming cicadas!!


Here are some fun statutes we passed during our travels.

This was our last dinner in Kyoto. And what a treat it was. We ordered a variety of Japanese dishes that were just DELIGHTFUL! We had some edamamae, sushi(Callie did not eat this) cheese dipped in excellent soup(above picture-which Callie devoured!) Tasty meat, rice mixed with soup, and many many more dishes…..YUM!

Kyoto – Day 4

Fushimi Inari temple – The thousand gates…Literally! This temple has a series of shrines placed throughout the path to the top of the mountain. The path up the mountain is lined with these beautiful gates…some smaller than others…..and all of them adorned by gross gross spiders!! (And one of them sported a bee that was about the size of a grapefruit!!) We weren’t able to go up the entire mountain due to some time limits, but what we saw was very beautiful….and we ate some tasty oodong noodles and had some delicious shaved ice!!

 

Hiroshima- Day 4.5

The pictures below are from our brief stop over in Hiroshima. The city is very beautiful with a lovely river running through the middle of it. It was hard to look around and imagine that almost 65 years ago to the day, most everything we were looking at was in complete ruin. Ryan was able to take a photo of a picture in the museum that captured a panoramic view of Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped, and the difference between then and now is remarkable.

Kagoshima- Day 4.75/all nighter

 

We wanted to save some money so we took a train that got into Kagoshima at midnight and then we were to catch a ferry at 6am that would take us to Yakushima island. When we got into the train station we saw some pretty nice benches that we were hoping we could crash on for 5 or so hours. No such luck! We got kicked out of that area and we were forced to make our way to the entrance of the train station. Unfortunately there were no nice benches there, so we decided to walk around and find a restaurant or a bar or even a convenience store that we could hang out at for a while. In Korea they have these wonderfull little stores with outside tables where people can stay at all night if they want. Japanese people seem to go to bed quite early in comparison. Well that is the feeling we got anyway. We found a bar and when we asked how long it would stay open the guy said “Until she gets plastered” pointing to Tina. Since she never gets plastered we decided we could kill a few hours there. The time actually flew by when this friendly French guy came over to our table and talked to us. He said that all the things you hear about French people are true. Except for anything you hear about the French having bad hygiene, their hygiene is impeccable. After this we took a cab to the ferry port and anxiously await our boat!!!

Yakushima Island – Day 5,6,7

A nice four hour sleep on the ferry. Much appreciated!!

Once we docked we got some wonderful help from the nice ladies at the information desk, and rented a car. The car was very nice…even with the steering wheel on the wrong side. Tina, being the brave soul she is, was our driver for the duration…and Ryan the navigator!! Gita and I were there for looks and witty commentary!! (We also always offered to watch the car for Ryan and Tina, so they could get out in the pouring rain and ask for directions…almost too helpful!)

Yakushima island is known for their red deer and monkeys, which we discovered often hover on the edge of the road. The monkey’s will let you get really close to them..pretty neat!

After checking out a sketchy looking campsite that was directly in someone’s backyard, we found a real campsite up the road a bit farther. Quite a nice view. However, the 5-6 person tent really only fit 2 full grown adults and one Gita. Somehow, with the door open, we managed one night with all of us in it….and the next night Ryan slept outside….and God smiled on Ryan and kept the rain at bay! The two pictures below were the view from our campsite!!

We saw sooo many waterfalls on this Island. Some were huge…others just plain lovely!! Callie got thirsty at one of the waterfalls…..

 

Below are some pictures of our trek up to Janokuchi waterfall. If you don’t watch your step you will crush some cute little crabs that scuttle accross the path. The forests on this Island are where the creator of the famous anime movie Princess Mononoke got his inspiration. The trees have the most intricate twisting roots and vines……the path was pretty easy going at first…and then it took a detour….and then we found the markers….and then a tour guide told us the river was IMPOSSIBLE to cross, and our hopes of swimming under the waterfall were dashed!! After quite a while of staring at the “impassible” river Ryan decided to simply jump over it and see how far the waterfall was. Once he did this and came back alive we all chose to go and check it out. Maybe people from Oregon just know how to cross rivers or something because the impassible part was pretty easy to cross. After a few minutes we made it to the waterfall and it was breathtaking! We all decided to jump in and take a dip below the waterfall. We wished we could stay there all day but we wanted to make sure we got to a restaurant before the whole island shut down, which seemed to happen around 6:00 or so.

 

This is where Gita fell in and gave us a scare. Because we were not expecting this to be a very strenuous hike (it sounded pretty easy in the description) Gita did not have shoes with a whole lot of traction and so when she stepped on that big rock in the picture with the little divets for foot holds she slipped into the pool below the rock. The current was pretty strong in this area and the pool looked pretty deep. Callie was next to her putting her contact in her eye and when she saw Gita go she used her cat-like reflexes and grabbed her. Gita was a little shaken up by it all (as were the rest of us) but she kept going anyway and it was worth it.

Just Beautifull!! Callie was the dedicated “push the button on the self timer and then hustle over to the rest of us” person…and that is why she appears to be much much closer to the camera than everyone else…even though she had plenty of time to reach every one else…what a cuke!

On the Ferry with an erupting volcano in the background. We also were able to see some dolphins that were following in our wake.

Hakata – Last night in Japan

Shopping at Canal city. There is a whole store dedicated to Michael Jackson.

These vending machines are seriously every 3 blocks in Japan. It felt that way anyway. Ready to tackle Korea!

Back in Korea – Day 8

Below are some pictures of Busan during the daytime.

Hyundai Beach. Soo many people. Do you get the feeling that Koreans would rather stay out of the sun? It is actually opposite of the states. Tan skin is not as beautiful here.

Best subway system we have yet to experience in Korea. You can ride all day for $3.

When we got into our little Ochang we had some delicious Sam-gop-sal with Tina and Gita….and we also introduced them to the wonders of Noreabong!!Good times!!

Overall our trip to Japan was quite a fun adventure and we were glad to experience it with friends and family.

Posted by: rammac13 | August 13, 2010

Trip to Daegu

We got the chance to see Callie’s friend Bekah one weekend. She is teaching English in Pohung for a month and we met up with her in Daegu. We did a bit of shopping, hiked a mountain and enjoyed some great bbq and thunderstorms.  Here are some pictures.

 

Outside of Daegu Train Station – This place had some pretty high tech lockers that you had to use your fingerprint as a key.

Below are some pictures of  Palgongsan (Palgong Mountain)

 

 

We believe this is the healing budda so the people here are probably praying for healing. This is a famous stone budda called the Gatbawi. It looked a lot bigger in the pictures we saw of it.

 

 

Japan Pics coming soon….

Posted by: rammac13 | June 19, 2010

Gwangju Travels

Ryan and I finally had our first three day weekend since we’ve been in Korea, and we took full advantage. We created a wonderful plan to go to a place named Gwangju. We were going to wander around a memorial park, watch the Kia Tigers play baseball, hike a mountain and shop in the street markets. We found, however, things don’t always go as planned…


These are pictures of our long walk to our hotel room, and the cozy comfy room we enjoyed!! It had a BATH TUB!!

Next we went to a baseball game!  Infront of the gates to the baseball stadium there were tons and tons of vendors selling “tasty” treats. Umm…..dried squid and fried chicken…..and that was it. Not a peanut in sight. We went to buy our tickets, only to discover the game was sold out! So we sat down with the rest of the fans and watched the game on a tiny TV set up by the ticket line.

Since we didn’t get to see our baseball game we decided to go on a ‘not too long’ walk to the May 18th Memorial Park. Never trust the distances in maps! After walking approximately 126 miles we got to the park, exhausted, thirsty and one of us may have been cranky. Fortuately we could sit down and enjoy a free local play….all in Korean.

Our goal in coming here was to go to the museum and learn about the May 18th Massacre, but we were too late and it was closed. Instead we walked around and saw the statues that honor the lives that were lost in South Korea’s fight for true democracy. It made us realize how fortunate we are.


The paper laterns were soooo beautiful!


This is the temple area below Mudangsan mountain. The monks sure picked a nice place to live.


Panoramic view of the mountains surrounding the city.


Not a bad trail to climb. It was rainy and windy but that kept people away so we had the whole mountain to ourselves.

 
Nice little mountain springs with community cups to drink from.

 

 
Top o the mountain to ya.

 
Well almost.

 

Ok, so we went to this chinese restaurant next to our hotel and we were hoping to get at-least something like the chinese food in America. Nope. We ended up having an eight course meal. The first couple of courses were some slimy soupish snotty stuff. We tried our best to choke it down. Then the next course was something like prawns but they still had the faces on them and there was breading on top of the shell and then we got to the meat. We had no forks so we did our best to pry open the prawns with chopsticks and a spoon. We will both have carpel tunnel in the future due to this effort. One of the courses did end up being something close to the Chinese food we get in the states so that was nice. It was an experience anyway. They played a video of China on the wall right next to our table  and the waiters were nice. It was a family run business and the teenage boy that worked there was excited to try out some English phrases on us.


We then made a quick trip to New York 🙂


Great Subway under the city.

  

 

 
Outside world cup stadium. The world cup was held in Korea in 2002.

 
So glad to get a good hotdog.

 
Some very descriptive signs for bathrooms in the outlet mall next to the stadium.

We had a great experience in Gwangju! We took our first taxi ride without the help of a bilingual speaker and the bus system was easy and cheap to use. Great cheap hotel also. Only 40,000 won per night – about $35. We saw a beautiful mountain and used the subway for the first time.

Posted by: rammac13 | May 27, 2010

Songnisan Mountain Trip

We headed out early one Saturday morning to visit a famous temple area and climb a mountain that our tour book recommended. After an hour ride into Cheongju we caught an express bus to the small tourist town near the mountain. The ride was quite pretty and we were excited to see some more of the country side in Korea. Below are some pictures of the temple area below the mountain including an old style Korean toilet Callie had to use. She said it is actually quite convenient with no backsplash.

A 33 meter, 160 ton bronze standing buddha.

Tallest  wooden pagoda left in Korea. Two lions holding up an old lantern.

Giant Iron cauldron from the 700’s AD.

Beautiful Cherry blossoms

Giant carved buddha and river with tons of little fish who you can feed.

Top of the mountain. So the tourist book we are using says that this hike is relatively easy. Yeah right! We were so tired when we got to the top.

Helipad. I knew we should have taken our helicopter!

Coming down the mountain

We would hear this shuffling under leaves. Then we would see these little shrew looking animals. Can you find it?

Still Ice even in the Spring

Some pretty purple flowers

Sooooo tired at this point! It looks like a lot of food but we really only liked the fried bulgogi (beef) and the eggs. The side dishes are boiled to death so they remind me of that slimey green stuff that we find on the side of our road after it rains for a while.

We finished off with a well deserved trip to Dunkin Donuts. All in all a good trip

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