I haven't felt up to the big letter for a while but I'm in the mood now so
it's time to catch up.
Things are just fine. Most of my little health problems got sorted out a
while ago. Apparently everyone gets sick in the first two months with
something or other. I was beginning to feel a little like a target though.
Let's see there was the rollerblading accident, then the stomach flu, then
nasty lung infection, then I fell off of a curb when I was drunkenly
in the street with one of the irish girls. I got a few scrapes and bruises
from that. I've been taking it a little easier and feeling the better for
The Korean medical system is pretty bizarre by our standards and took some
figuring out. Want to see a ENT specialist? Walk in and make an
How about an internist or orthopedic surgeon or even a cardiologist? same
thing. So I went to an internist for the chest cold :). Now here's the
really weird thing: they give you a prescription and you take it to the
druggists who gives you a whole lot of pills....if you're like me you have
to figure out what the stuff is and of course no one speaks english. I
finally managed to figure out what the antibiotic was in case I had a
reaction. The rest is Korean medicine stuff that I have no clue about but
seems to work as I'm fine now. Apparently no one asks these questions but
I finally, FINALLY, joined a fitness club today after a long search. It's
one of those places with the blaring dance music and large video screens.
Seems more like a pick up place than a gym (possibly cool?) but it's as
clean as a whistle, brand new and luxurious compared to the aquatic
Most Korean men seem pretty out of shape as they seem too busy chasing
or getting smashed to be concerned with this stuff. Women have a healthier
attitude although I suspect it has less to do with being healthy than it
does with looking attractive. I'm happy I finally managed to find a club,
though, as I was really missing my routine.
Work continues to motor along just fine. I work quite a bit but I've found
that the door to the roof of the hogwon is open and every chance I get I
up there, take of my shirt and stretch or just sit in the sun. I'm
becoming tanned for the first time in years and despite the possible
problems I think it makes me look and feel a lot healthier.
Oh yeah, the
Korean won has improved against the american dollar by almost five percent
since I left. Can you say whoopee?
SO i've been doing a lot of clothes shopping since I'm temporarily so
I've had to pick up some summer wear as it is beginning to get hot and it
projected to get really hot. I was chatting with this German girl who has
been here a couple of years and, to my dismay, she told me that the summer
gets quite barren as well ( as the winter) due to the intense heat and
of water. Damn, I was just getting used to lush mountains and rice
Rice paddies btw are pretty beautiful if you happen to like swamps ( I
There are miles and miles of terraced, green rice paddies. At night the
sounds of the frogs create quite an intense and beautiful din. They are
terrible breeding grounds for mosquitoes. So far this hasn't bothered me
much as I live in a city on the 13th floor far from rice paddies but I
they get pretty intense and they can carry Japanese encephalitis. I'm
getting innoculated for that as soon as I can find the clinic.
So many things to talk about...I'll try to be short.
I had my first experience with a Korean Sauna this past week. These saunas
are all over the place and Koreans go there about weekly. The one I went
had three saunas, three giant hot tubs, one really cold tub, a cool lounge
where you basically sit around naked and watch tv or talk politics ( I
assume) and various showers and such. All that costs 3300 Won (about 4 $
CAD). For thirty thousand KRW ( about 35 CAD) more you can get the works
which includes an all over body scrub and a massage. Of course I got it.
massage isn't much to write about as it's pretty mechanical...but the
is fantastic. I won't go into the details about the amount of dead skin
was removed but lets just say it was pretty appalling. The guy who was
it seemed to think it was excessive but, hey, I've never had anything like
that done before, whaddya expect?
I went to Yeosu-si (si = city, I think) last weekend for a party with the
expats there. Yeosu is the prettiest city I've seen since I've been here.
Many beaches and many mountains right in the middle of the city as well as
around it. It's a nightmare for finding your way around obviously. It's as
far south as you can go on the mainland and has a cool volcanic sand
The sand is black and gets intensely hot. The Koreans bury themselves up
the neck in this sand and bake themselves in it. It's still too early in
season to try it as the water is still a little chilly...I'm not sure if I
would anyway. Yeosu also has a marina and I'm planning a sailboat rental
cruise the islands in the area in August when it's really damn hot.
Anyway the party was way cool. Craig rents the place for a nominal some
it's a stone's throw from the beach. He could have free accomadations at
university where he works but he's been here some years and has settled in
pretty well with this place. So it was the fire on the beach and BBQ type
a party followed by the inevitable Karaoke (Nori Bang in korea) at his
outdoor patio. The nieghbors were probably unimpressed (finally turned the
karaoke machine off at 4 am and festivities continued until daybreak)
although apparently they thought we sing pretty well.
As for the Nori Bang I'm actually getting pretty good at that. I had to do
solo of ziggy stardust last weekend. I didn't expect it to be a solo but
an old fart here and I don't think many people knew the song well so I
with the tide. Jeepers! I had forgotten how challenging that song is (but
it was OK)!
I also was on an hour long cruise of Mokpo harbour. This was rather
anticlimactic for me. I had high expectations, I think. The best part was
sitting on the bow of the boat/ship thing and watching giant schools of
large, shiny fish parting and jumping about in front of the boat while
drinking a mug of beer and listening to the Breeders at volume. Yes
the fishing has to be good here...there's just so many of the damn things.
I also managed to get to the cultural center which, I'm ashamed to say is
walking distance from my apartment. It's pretty cool and I will be going
back again now that I know it's cool. It has a restaurant where you can
a steak too. It's right next to the maritime museum which is another thing
have to get into....
Oh and I actually got into a canoe this weekend for about fifteen minutes.
I'm so nervy here I guess because the Koreans are so accomadating. We were
sitting having a coffee by the beach waiting for the next boat trip and
along comes these guys in a canoe. So I just think to myself " I'm getting
in that canoe" and I go down and meet them at the water's edge. You can
they weren't really comfortable with the idea especially since I had to
leave one of them on the shore so I could take my little joyride. I just
wasn't taking no for an answer in the politest way possible. It was fine
they were quite amazed that I knew how to, you know, steer the thing. :)
OK so I hope everything is going peachy for all of you.
Take Care and enjoy!!