Hike-Ho Hike-Ho

Once again the rain is coming down in Korea. Sadly, due to the cost of the warning messages I got all last year (see here for more), I did not have prior warning of this.  However, the weekend that was more than makes up for this positively Irish weather.

11214334_10205580114796503_3788995163751014237_nFriday saw us take a severely indulgent trip to the “Urban Camping Barbecue” in KyungSung (right next to Monk bar for those of you Busanites looking). This place serve everything the way you would if you were camping. That is if you were camping in a premium spot with easy access to water and refrigerated alcohol, of which we drank too much. Luckily we had Costco pizza and hotdogs to clear up any nasty hangover the following day.

The true highlight of the weekend though was certainly our 5 hour hike on Sunday. We met George and Ciera, an old friend we will miss as he’s headed home and a new friend we will miss just as much, at 10 and took the subway (line 1, orange) to Oncheongjang. From here we took the cable car up to the Geumjeong mountain (click here for Lonely Planet instructions).

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Hips, Hops, and Haps of Hong Kong

So You Want to Come to Korea? Part 1: A Boatload of Documents

After 8 months here in the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’, 8 months spent recommending it to anyone who’d listen for longer than a second, I’ve decided it might be time to let you know how to get here. Hopefully those 8-10 second recommendations have piqued at least some curiosity!

I hope do do a few posts in this series about coming to Korea, the first of which is about the documents you’ll need to get here, or at least get a visa application to do so. Please note that this guide is most applicable for the Irish out there and those looking for a basic guide to getting yourselves together enough to make it to Korea.

So, tell me what documents I need Emmet!!!

Continue reading

Friday Feeling: Good Things for Those Who Wait… However Impatiently

Last month I was very happy to hear from Mother Dearest that she had sent a care package, unfortunately I was less happy when, after 3 and a half weeks I was still waiting upon it… It seems I have considerably less patience than I previously thought. Perhaps my patience is all spent trying to convey the idea that the letter i does not make the long e sound all the time. Today, though after all my waiting, and an awkward almost phonecall to the post office to find out where my DVDs were!

20141121_1506454

An Post you beautiful son of a gun!

Hooooray! Mammy you beauty! The package was hiding a very unexpected gift “because they fit in the parcel”: a pair of trousers. No longer will I be Emmet-teacher with only 3 pairs of pants. So my good fortune came around just as I was tiring of waiting for it!

20141121_1510160

Perhaps the 80 tea bags caught some customs officer’s eye…Joke’s on you, sucker, it’s not opium!

All in all, I feel great this evening, and I think I now finally understand what the great philosopher Mel B meant when she said she wanted to “zig-a-zig-a”!

The Weekend on Wednesday

Halfway there folks, it’s finally Wednesday! Although, that said, it’s also already Wednesday and it’s taken me until now to get myself in gear to post the pictures from last weekend’s adventure.

Having had a lazy Saturday going to the “pictures”, as they say in dear old Ireland, to see Gone Girl, we decided to use Sunday to visit the Children’s park for the first time, as we mistook the Citizen’s park for it last time (here’s the scoop on that).

Front Gate

“Reports show Rubik’s Cubes, Hello Kitty, Pooh Bear and Disney are among the best-selling toys. Which should we use in the statue ma’am?” “Yes!”

Continue reading

Friday Feeling: Matchbox Living

Welcome readers to a new kind of post here: Friday Feeling. Every Friday I’ll post a video that encapsulates the mood of the day/week, accompanied by a short explanation of the choice. Hope you enjoy.

Today, I’m once again feeling ever so slightly sleepy thanks to my very considerate neighbors and their yappy puppy. The latter of which is locked into their boiler room in the evening, a pity it isn’t the former. Added to the yapping last night, was the argument of my maritally challenged neighbors on the same floor who have a weekly row when hubby stumbles home too full of soju and doesn’t remember the door code.

In the end though, I did get to sleep and slept well as my late working hours allow me time to sleep in. Just one more day before the movie marathon I have planned.

Here’s to the weekend folks!

Scene Unseen: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Thailand!

First off, apologies for the somewhat prolonged silence on my blog, I’ve been having too much fun (and not enough sleep) to keep up lately, but I promise I will try harder in future. I know how much the world needs one more travel blog!

What I have been doing with my time is exploring more of Korea than I thought existed, and so I’ll enlighten you by sharing my experience of the Korea we don’t usually get to see.

Come on get to the point Emmet, I ain’t got all day! Ok, ok, reader here it is: Bijindo Island Korea:

1411267926760[1]

Continue reading

Seoul Day 1: Stress and the City

It may have taken me just over four months, but I’ve finally done it, I have visited Seoul for longer than the minimum amount of time required to get from one airport to the other. I’m going to file this success away with other small triumphs, like never having worn odd socks while living here (that however is another story). Visiting Seoul has been one of those things that just kept getting put on the back-burner, sometimes it was too expensive, other times it was just inconvenient, but this time I was hell-bent on getting there and so J had no choice but to accompany or be left behind like a Busan bumpkin.

Busan to Seoul bus tickets

Thanks to my co-workers getting bus tickets to Seoul was less of a hassle

It was thus that we rose bright and early on Saturday morning and leapt onto the bus bound for the capital of the Neon Republic. I may have been ever so slightly naive about just how long 4 and a half hours on a bus could be and so I did burn off most of my excitement in the first two hours and ended up mired in enthusiastic, yet sleepy limbo for the remainder of the journey. Luckily for me though, the rest stop about an hour before our destination put the spring back in my step and I was once again ready for our trip to the big smoke.

Continue reading

This Means WAR!

Many of us Westerners here in Korea have no idea of the events or timescale of the Korean war prior to our arrival, myself very much included. As such I’ve decided to bring together some of the main points of the war into a series of posts, largely by condensing Wikipedia articles.

When I last left off, we had seen US and Soviet troops pull out of the newly established republics of North and South Korea, leaving behind them an uneasy division along the 38th parallel, as well as unrest among communist parties in South Korea.

As the withdrawal of troops occurred in the Summer of 1949, I must backtrack slightly to the Spring, specifically March, when Kim Il-sung approached Stalin for support in order to reclaim the southern part of the peninsula. However, due to the presence of US troops and instability in China’s communist rule, Stalin declined to support the war.

Following the withdrawal of forces, the detonation of the first Soviet nuclear bomb and the lack of intervention by the US when communism won out in China, Stalin decided the time was ripe for the North to invade. With one proviso, that Mao, the then leader in China, should send reinforcements to the North’s aid should they be required. China, being in quite a fix while trying to find its feet, needed the Soviet support and had little choice but to back Kim Il-sung’s military campaign.

Looks similar to today’s effigies of the Supreme Leader. Mao was the victor in the Chinese Civil War

Continue reading