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.

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