Monday, July 20, 2009

Goodbye to you

My mom and Pam have returned to Canada :(

While I'm sad that they are gone I am so happy that they were able to come to Korea. We had a great week and it was really neat to be able to give them a taste of what my life is like here.
On Saturday we got an early start on our adventures. After meeting at Haeundae subway station we travelled almost an hour to the Jalgachi fish market. After exploring the market we walked to the nearby Busan tower to check out the amazing views of the port and the surrounding city. Our next stop was Nampodong market where my mom and Pam were able to buy some souvenir t-shirts and even ajumma visors!

On returning to Haeundae the weather was still decent, so we packed up and went to Songjeong beach for the afternoon. What an experience! My friend Meg met us there and we were a little overwhelmed by the response we got from other beach-goers. A few different people approached us and asked to have their pictures taken with us. A lady asked Meg to brush sand off of her babies hands (when she could have easily done so herself). The 2 Korean girls sitting next to us were hilarious. They came over for multiple photo shoots and brought us gifts of dried squid and cans of Coke. Once the boys showed up they brought out the booze giving us a bottle of soju and then continued to refill our cups with "So-Maek" a combination of soju and beer. Overall a very entertaining afternoon.

For dinner we went to d'Maris seafood buffet, which is right down the street from me. My mom's name is Maris, so I knew the second I saw the restaurant when we arrived in Busan that I'd have to take her there for dinner when she visited. We had a great meal, but all that eating was tiring and we had an early night.

On Sunday we were lucky enough to have another day without rain. Although the skies seemed somewhat overcast we decided to set up camp on Haeundae beach and get some reading done. My mom, Pam and I were on the beach from about 10:30-5:30, with on a short Fuzzy Navel lunch break. Needless to say that after weeks of rain that much sun exposure left me quite burnt! The waves on Sunday were massive (which is rare at Haeundae beach) and we spent a lot of time in the freezing cold water enjoying them. I was in the icy cold ocean 3 times, ranging in length from 10-30 minutes, which I still cant believe ... that water is so cold, but I was having too much fun to notice! After lunch we rented 2 tubes and used those to ride massive waves into the shore. I think it was the most fun I've ever had on the beach! I'm hoping to see waves like that again soon. We had a nice dinner of Korean BBQ on Sunday night with some friends who had come down from Seoul.

Yesterday morning my mom and Pam left Busan for their long trip home. I am SO lucky that they were able to visit, and I'm going to miss them!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Take me out to the ball game, Take me out to the crowd

We took my mom and Pam to a Lotte Giants game on Wednesday evening.

It was a great game, lots of excitement, and even a (rare) win for the Giants. The most excitement came with a rain delay. Umbrellas went up, ponchos were sold, and the die-hard (and/or intoxicated) fans settled in to wait it out. I think the rain delay was more fun than the game! The only disappointment was that because everyone was under umbrellas or wearing ponchos they didn't hand out the orange bags. So my mom and Pam didn't get to experience that, but with the weather we've been having they were lucky to even get to see a game!

We hung out on Gwangalli beach last night and wandered down the beach to look at the carnival and nearby fish farm. The after effects of the 260mm+ of rain we got yesterday morning were apparent. Streets were still quite dirty from all the running water and large sections of the beach were washed out.

The weather has been awful all week, but we've managed to squeeze lots of fun activities into the short periods of time that it is not raining. I'm having a great time and wish that my mom and Pam were staying longer then 10 days!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh happy day!

My Mom and Pam arrived in Korea on Saturday night and I couldn't be happier! George and I wore some sweet couples shirts to pick them up from the airport.

It still seems so surreal that they are actually in Busan.

The weather has been terrible. It's easily the worst we've had all summer, but at least it's hot, which apparently is a wonderful change after the cold summer they've been having in Canada. So far they've been to Haedongyoungoonsa (temple by the sea), Jangansa (a mountain temple near my school), the Busan museum, Haeundae beach, Busan Aquarium, Gwangalli beach and bridge and APEC house. They also got to spend a few hours at my school yesterday, sitting in on the kindergarten and grade 1 classes, and getting to experience the caferteria food at lunch.

We've take them to a few of our favourite restaurants so far including Korean bbq, kimbap and shabu shabu.

I'm hoping that the rain will miraculously clear tonight or tomorrow so that we can go to a Lotte Giants game.

Either way, I am SO happy to have visitors!!

:) :) :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rain rain go away

So, it's rainy season here in Korea ... and today was terrible!
I set out to walk to my bus stop this morning, and after about 2 minutes I was soaked to the knee. My tiny umbrella was no match for the torrential downpour and soon i was completely drenched. Somehow even my hair was wet before I was 5 minutes from home.
Just before my bus stop I have to cross a road and walk up a hill. This road at the bottom of the hill was completely washed out. There is no other way around and I was already miserable, so I proceeded to wade through water that was well above my ankles - I probably now have some kind of gross Korean foot fungus!
The bus ride to school was almost double the normal time, as the area around Songjeong beach was completely flooded. Water was up over the sidewalks and about midway up the tires of cars, and that was at 7:30am. The rain hasn't let up all day, so the ride home should be interesting.

In happier news, George bought a scooter on Saturday. He's been talking about getting one since before we'd even arrived in Korea, and is so happy to own his first vehicle! I've got to admit, it's alot of fun and waaaay more convenient.

Only 4 sleeps til my mom and Pam arrive ... hopefully it's done raining by then!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oh Canada ...

Last weekend George and I set out to find one of the sites listed in our Lonely Planet Korea guide book: Seokbulsa (석 불 사 ), which is an out of the way temple with some incredible stone carvings.

We took the subway to Oncheonjang and from there took a taxi to Geumgang Park. Instead of walking up the mountain we decided to take the cable car, which provided us with some incredible views of Busan - I highly recommend it!

Once at the top we decided to make our way to the south gate, where Lonely Planet's directions started. We were almost there, and looking lost when an older Korean man stopped and ask "Can I give you my hand?" ... hmmm, I think he was asking if we needed a hand! When we told him our destination he told us to follow him and he'd lead us there. We really lucked out ... I don't know if we would have found the temple otherwise.

It was a nice half hour hike to get to a road leading to the temple, from there it was another 10 -15 minutes straight uphill. I'd recommend taking a taxi, because you can drive almost all the way up to the temple, and it saves the confusion of finding the temple with somewhat unclear directions.

We spent about half an hour taking pictures of the temple and marvelling over the huge stone Buddha's carved into the rock. It was one of my favourite sights in Busan so far and I'm anxious to go back again.

A big thanks to Mr. Lee, Korean hiking enthusiast and our wonderful guide for the day. It was really neat to have a running commentary about the temple, the places we hiked, and the views of the city. I learned a lot more than I would have if we'd been alone, and that really added to my appreciation of what we were seeing. He even gave George his number and asked us to call him if we ever wanted to go on a guided hike again!

This week I had another open class, this one with my Korean co-teacher. I think it went pretty well. Definitely good practice for the fall when our open class will be judged by someone from the board of education.

Canada Day in Korea was pretty low-key. We went to a nearby bar that was holding a Canada Day party and had a few Canadian Club and diet cokes. Since it was a work night we didn't get to crazy, but it was nice to see so many Canadians out, enthusiastically celebrating the holiday.