A Travellerspoint blog

Taiwan

Taipei, Fulong, Toroko, Taipei; Ah the stories!

semi-overcast 33 °C

As a foreword, we are truly happy with all the comments and interest that has been generated around this blog. Thank you to everyone, and we miss you all very much! As for this particular blog – no it’s not a computer glitch in the dates, this blog only brings us up to September 26th, despite the fact that its mid-October when its making its debut. To our defense we have been literally and figuratively trying to survive! However all those exciting details will have to wait till next time, for this blog is about the adventures of Taiwan!

To start, Korean’s celebrate Thanksgiving in mid to late September, and they call it Chuseok. (As an aside, Happy belated Thanksgiving to you all!) This very popular holiday gives families five days to get together, which was apparent from the stories of people spending close to 12 hours in a car to visit loved-ones on the other side of the country. Astonishing since South Korea can fit inside of Lake Ontario. Nevertheless, for us it meant an early and unexpected vacation opportunity!

The story to Taiwan is an exciting one which brings us in the midst of many exciting and ‘testing’ moments throughout our vacation. And it starts with Michael going to the store to pick up some last minutes supplies (damn airlines and their 100ml rules, it kills backpackers!). Inadvertently this led to running into some friends at the local mini-stop, which escalated into beers and finally eating some street meat that even to this day, makes him sick to see it. To spare much of the gruesome details, this led to a case of mild food poisoning that decided to make anything he eat become ‘unsettled’. Which was evident in the apartment before he left, on the bus to the airport, and oh yes (this is where the ‘testing’ part of Monique and Steph’s friendship comes in) twice on the plane strapped in at takeoff!

Once on stable ground we all felt a little better, and with a nice relaxing limo ride into capital city Taipei we were ready for anything. Well almost anything. We went directly to a hotel we booked online for the first night. And thinking like travelers we booked the cheapest room possible in a relatively nice hotel. It has all the amenities including a great breakfast buffet which later on one of us unintentionally skipped out on the bill for. However, this is not to most deceptive thing we did while visiting this lovely establishment. It turned out that our room was no larger then what one unfortunate university student in residence would dwell in. You have all seen them! A single bed made for a half of a person and enough floor space so that someone had the opportunity of sleeping on the ground. And this is what we later did. Cram all three of us into this little room, but not before we had an opportunity to go out to the town!

We went straight to the centre of Taipei where we first recharged on a lovely curie dinner and mapped out what it was we wanted to see. Afterwards we went to Longshan Temple which was a beautiful exhibit of culture in amongst a gritty part of town. The initial courtyard showcased two waterfalls with lots of greenery which juxtaposed the vibrant red, gold, and blue from the temple.
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Once inside we were delighted to stumble across a traditional ceremony which involved hundreds of people chanting a hymn while marching around with incense in honour of ancestors that have passed. The centre of the temple is a building where men and women dressed in black robes perform or lead the chant. Off the stage or garden is a large brass pot which upon praying for your ancestors, you would place the incense into it. The panoramic photo shows exactly this.
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Behind this is a series of other structures where three separate rooms host three goddesses; the center one being the goddess of journey, who is commonly visited by even the non-spiritual backpacker who hopes for pleasant journeys.
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Afterward we walked around the less attractive area surrounding this temple. The first market we came across was a narrow dark alley that had everything from the live and decapitated chickens, to the innards of any other animal you may never want to eat. So removed from anything you have ever seen that only a photo could describe it, yet so discussing and offensive we couldn’t take a photo to begin with. Catch 22 we suppose, thus no photos.

Once we had a chance at eating at one of these fine establishments / throwing back some beers / be treated like kings to being there in the first place, we decided to move on. And since the night was no upon us, we thought of no more fitting place then ‘Snake Alley’. This was similar to the previous area with a little more class.
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To put things in perspective to the previous spectacle, it’s common to see a snake show where a snake would be fed a live rabbit and then after digesting it, the snake would be cut open and the blood from its liver would be extracted and drank as a powerful aphrodisiac. Yeah! See the snake!
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And now the aphrodisiac.
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This whole experience was quickly rewarded with Taiwanese foot massages for Monique and Steph, which was a wonderfully let slightly painful experience. This was also accompanied with a new desert called snow ice, which was little ‘flakes’ of ice cream that was highly perplexing as to why it would not fuse together, yet very tasty.
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As the night progressed Michael set off to the hotel having flashback of the snake and the airplane ride over, while Monique and Steph set off to downtown for a night out. Only to be dropped off in the middle of a deserted night scene, which as they progressed deeper and deeper and became more desolate then where they first started. After finding the first cab they decided to call it a night and go back to the hotel so the three of us could plan the rest of our trip.

In the morning we were up early and off to the north-east region of Taiwan. The first train ride took us out to fairly large city called Keelung. After arriving we scouted out the region and determined that this area was much similar to Taipei, and lacked a certain quality that we were looking for.
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So we decided to catch an empty train farther down the east coast to a destination called Fulong. Upon arrival we sought out to find accommodations. We were directed to a place called Budget Hotel. And after a long circular walk, and finally being led there by a local we had arrived. The place was modest, but exactly what we needed since we had previously been sleeping on the floor, despite it having an eerie assimilation to motel room featured in the movie “Vacancy” (couple stays in a motel, find a movie that turns out to be of other people being killed in the same motel room, blood guts, etc.)

Once free of our belongings we headed down to the beach. It was a truly gorgeous beach that had some locals doing water sports while others were hanging out. However to our surprise the beach was predominately deserted.
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(Sorry photo just staring to get the hang of photostich)

One figures climate is a relative thing, and what still seemed like a nice yet slightly overcast day to us, was like going to Wassaga Beach in October to them. Nevertheless Monique and Michael were able to make the most of it. We both were able to put our feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and later we found a fantastic beach bar that featured half priced Heineken’s and some of the most chilled out jazz music heard to date.
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Needless to say some good time was spent absorbing the waves, sounds and sun. Later that night we set off to get some dinner and find out what there was to do in this very quiet village. The severity of how small the town was would be quickly summarized when some English speaking locals laughed at us when we asked were the good bars were. They replied that the local Seven-11 was the ‘spot’ where people hung out, and that everything else was closed. We then spent a fair proportion of the night hanging out as the three of use having some drinks and working out the next leg of our adventure before we decided to call it a night.

The next morning we were off father south down the east coast to a very scenic region of the country called Toroko Gorge. Despite the train being deserted of tourist (indicating we had made the wrong choice) we were absolutely delighted with both the mountainous scenery on the way down the east coast, and the city of Hualien which was home for the next day. Once we found a place to spend the night we set on to discover the sights of Toroko Gorge which was about 30 minutes away.

One again the story of Taiwan is one of trials and tribulations, and the concept of taking a civilized bus tour to Toroko Gorge was not in Michael’s plans. Michael’s perception (which could not be persuaded) was to convince a local shop to rent mopeds to us, and then drive to gorge together on a more adventurous journey, unobstructed from souvenir shops and what not. After some broken English debates with a series of shop owners we had our mopeds! However the conditions were that the only two drivers could be the two individuals with their Canadian driver’s license on them. One of which was Steph, who has not ridden a bicycle in her lifetime. The magnitude of panic on Steph’s face while straddling a running moped was indescribable. Even more panic stricken, was the shop owner when he over heard Michael’s comforting words of wisdom “just give gas and hold on”. This adventure was being quickly dismantled by the moped owner, who was unwilling to hear Michael’s persistent arguments of how Monique would be an adequate drivre (absent of the driver’s license). In spite of this he allowed Monique to do a test run around the very congested city block with Michael on the back, upon which he let us set off on our adventure as planned.

The drive to Toroko Gorge was just as eventful. The three of us quickly discovered that we had broken several traffic violations in the first five minutes, and that cars and trucks had no problem equally violating our personal space around us as lines on the road were merely regarded ‘suggested places’ you should drive. Upon arriving at the foot of the gorge we had become aware that our moped decision would be a rewarding experience. To set the scene, Toroko Gorge is a valley in between two mountains where as rain rolls down the mountain side it picks up soil and sand sediment and then is swept down the Toroko River. This murky water rushes down the river and acts as a ‘sandblaster’ on the walls of the gorge, and consequently exposes the natural marble beneath. Creating scenery with beautiful mountains and a river that is literally lined with beautifully coloured marble rock walls. We took the mopeds along the road that was carved into the side of the mountain and were able to stop and see some beautiful sights. Sharing this road with tour buses and the occasional rock or mud slide from a previous rain storm was a little bit scary.
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(Again, photo stich went a little nuts on us, but it allows one to understand Toroko)
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After driving into the gorge for sometime we decided to stop at an elegant hotel and sit down and have some dinner at the restaurant. The food was terrific, however when we got out, we noticed it had started to rain. At which point one finds it fitting to explain that before we set off into the gorge we stopped at the tourist information building to get some idea of what to see. And we were specifically told that due to the rainfall hiking trails were closed and we were advised to be careful. As we stepped out of the hotel and saw a deserted parking lot, we only then knew that the severity of this message must have been lost in translation, because there was not a car or bus in sight. Just two lonely mopeds and a heck of a journey back to the hotel. With blinding rain, water covered twisted roads that edge a steep drop and had the occasional debris on them; our hands were white-knuckled. Monique deserves utmost recognition for showing a strong personality by being able to face the dangerous situation on a moped by herself ,despite the eminent risk.

We finally made it back to the hotel and spent some restful time drying off. After which we poked out to see which kind of night life may exist in a small town on a Monday night. After wondering around and getting some suggestions from a group of locals we ended up at a small venue that was hosting a live band. This unlikely discovery was a good one with cheap beer and a Taiwanese band that was breaking out all the classic rock hits. Upon having a couple more drinks we began to schmooze with some local patrons, and were able to experience some good company and the culture which we sought out for.
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The next day came quickly for us and it was time for us to make the journey back towards Taipei in order to catch our flight the following day. After packing up our soaked clothes we headed to the train station. Once we got there we discovered that it was incredibility busy. Noted before this was Thanksgiving, and with twice as many people traveling and half the trains we were potentially stranded. It turns out someone was looking out for us because minutes before we showed up at the ticket booth, they decided to run an extra train. We managed to get tickets for this train that left in two hours, but it wasn’t until we need to kill time did we decided to investigate it further. It turned out that it was a train with no assigned seating which meant first comes– first served. Equipped with this information we knew we had to get on this train and fast. We burned up some more time just relaxing and eating but then we decided to go to that platform to get an early spot. And again faith was on our side. Not a minute after arriving far too earlier for the train, it decided to roll up – and we were not the only ones who knew about the urgency of getting onto it quickly. The last seconds are much of a blur, but it involves as much as 20 people at each door pushing frantically in to get a seat. …. And we were the lucky ones! The train ride was three and a half hours and it was packed. We stopped at every stop between Toroko and Taipei, and it became more packed the father we went. This did not stop until the conductor squeezed by all the standing or people sitting on luggage to sick notes on the doors saying that no more room in this car.
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The country side was nice to see. Taiwan is a very diverse nation and away from its capital exist mostly poorer areas, which remains inserting to see the total compilation of a nation. The picture below captures this elegantly with one of the less prominent towns we passed through in the foreground, while the Taipei tower rests in the background with the sunset.
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Once back in Taipei we decided to stay in the more exclusive region of town. With department stores with all the common designer names and restaurants lining the streets, we were out to make our last night grand. We started with an exquisite Thai Dinner followed by some drinks at a common establishment called “Brass Monkey”. Michael broke away for a bit and went downtown to discover the ‘camera’ district. After an unsuccessful journey the three of us were reunited for an evening of gallivanting over the city.
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The next day we used up to sight see in Taipei. The Taipei tower or ‘Taipei 101’ is to date the world’s largest building (until 2008 when Dubai will take that prize). Coming from Canada and seeing the CN Tower frequently, it was daunting to see that Taipei 101 makes the CN Tower look like a toothpick. This was an impressive work of architecture that has the equivalent of two or three Eaton Centers as its base with any major designer store inside. Protruding from which is a structure that looks like stacked oriental gift boxes that measures in at a massive 508 meter (1,650 feet) tall building with almost 400 square meters (4,400 sq. ft.) of floor space per floor, right up to the 101th floor! An impressive structure that we didn’t have the chance to go up in, but non the less is a landmark from anywhere in the city.
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Finally we split up once again before our flight. Monique and Steph sought after full body massages that entailed a women three times their size digging her elbows into all of their muscles. Which was a little painful during the process, however they felt like butter afterwards. Michael on the other hand returned to a district that was lined with camera stores that feed of haggling tourist to end up purchasing a new camera (no not another one lost, upgrading to some new equipment; please forward any suggestions on proper use to him).

Afterwards we were reunited to close the chapter of Taipei. We took a cab to the airport and spent the majority of the time in the airplane and bus back to our city in Korea just adsorbing the last five days. Taipei was a wonderful experience and despite the challenges, was a delightful trip. We leave you hear with some random photos and our wishes to all of you (where ever in the world you may be joining us from). Stay tuned for more from back home as we have already lived up some interesting stories! Cheers!

Posted by koreaeh 20:25 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

The second one!

Sorry it took so long!

sunny 32 °C

I know many of you have been asking us where the next blog is, and it has finally arrived. Sorry about the delayed posting however we have been very busy with teaching, it is report card time and it is beyond hectic. Not only that they have decided to introduce online essays to the students, which means we have to correct them online with this new system that barely works. It takes about 10 minutes to correct one essay when normally by hand it would only take 2 minutes. When you have 12-14 essays per class it adds up quick. The alternative is we are getting paid 3000won (approx $3.00) per essay. Some days though, we’re not sure that 3000 is worth the hassle.

Although teaching has been hectic it seems we have still found time to do some touristy things and well party of course! Since the last blog we have visited one of Korea’s Royal Palaces. On our way to the palace at the Gyeongbokgung Subway station we came across a “Pullomun” which is a marble gate (this one is an imitation of the real one of course) and the legend suggest “That once one passes through the gate, he would not be old forever” So of course Michael runs through as fast as he can to prevent the day he will become a bald man. IMG_1763.jpg

Then we headed on our journey to the Gyeonbokgung Palace. This palace was established in 1395 as the residence for the founder of the dynasty. It is the most representative remaining example of the Joseon Dynasty architecture. We arrived to the palace just as the “changing of the guards” was taking place and much like the stereotypical England guards these ones also do not smile and wear funny outfits. Monique attempted to take a picture with them; however I was deterred by their extremely sharp looking swords and other weapons.
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The inside of the palace is huge; it has several rooms each of which is designated for a specific person. The king has two houses for himself, as does the queen, and they have one house that they meet up at together. Other houses, the first picture below, is where they have meetings and decide on important matters. The second photo is where they hold celebrations and it was built to look like it is a floating house. The third photo is the queen’s house and to enter we had to take of our shoes as a sign of respect.
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While we were at the palace we also visited the Korean National Folk Museum which showcased everything and anything Korean. The entrance of the museum is surrounded by stone piles which were prayed to for the prosperity and abundance of crops and to protect villager by warding off evil spirits, ghosts and diseases.
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From there we headed out to a traditional Korean restaurant in the middle of nowhere. When we walked in we thought they were so shocked to see foreigners that they asked one of the guest who spoke a little bit of English to serve us. They were so happy we were there they just kept bringing us more things and they even went out of their way to find us forks for the chopstick challenged folk.

After lunch we decided to walk the streets and we came across the Japanese Pavilion of Remains. Now it’s not what we saw here that made this stop interesting, it was the random old lady who insisted she be our tour guide because she spoke English. However she didn’t really speak English that well and half the time we had no clue what she was saying. The other half she was forcing us to sit here, stand here and insisted on touching us a lot. You can tell in the photo below Stephanie looks a little scared of this nice lady.
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The Pavilion had a lot of the same houses that the palace did, one different thing was the several Kimchi cellars that this place had. Kimchi is the disgusting spicy cabbage thing Koreans’ eat at every meal. The Pavilion also had a live band from Ecuador playing, which the old lady forced us to sit and listen too, very interesting music to say the least.
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The next weekend is when we did some partying. On Friday night we went out to a bar called “Monkey Beach” with our co-workers and some random people we met in the elevator. This is where we were introduced to the Soju buckets and if you remember from the previous blog Soju is some potent stuff. This time they mixed in a little juice to kill the sting. The Soju buckets led to creating a dance floor with one of our co-workers in a bar that dancing doesn’t really happen at. But we all know how much Monique loves to dance!
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This is also the evening that we met our new Korean friends (through the random elevator guy named Josh). We ended up getting kicked out of the bar at 4am and as usual Michael invited the party home with us. This party had an extra special guest, Josh’s Shitzhou “Pingu”. We were all having a blast having with some more drinks, listening to music and talking. Michael passed out around 6am leaving me to party on. Then Juno, one of our new Korean friends, had to use the washroom. Well after being in there for 30 minutes Monique assumed something was going on. It turns out that he clogged the toilet and he did not want to make a bad impression on us ( very important in the Korean culture) so instead of leaving the toilet plugged he reached into the toilet with his bear arm and unplugged the “mess” with his hands. Meanwhile we are all sitting in the living room and to top the night off Pingu decides to take a dump on our kitchen floor.
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So at 7:30 in the morning the boys and Stephanie finally check out and as I am sure you can imagine Monique is dreading the clean up. Monique walked into the washroom to find a pool on the floor of water, toilet paper, dog shit and the best part, Juno’s socks in the corner of the floor soaking wet!

Believe it or not that was only Friday night, even though we went to bed in the wee hours of the morning, we still managed to get out and party on Saturday night too. We went to a district called “Itaewon” which is packed with foreigners and pretty much feels like were back at home at any old bar. The streets are littered with drunken people and the cops are everywhere, but they had enough time to stop and take a picture with Monique! Saturday night was random we went to several different bars including a salsa bar, an 80’s club, and a typical bump and grind club.
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After our big weekend the week was pretty quiet until about Thursday. The company we worked for wanted to take us out for an introduction dinner, so everyone who works at our campus went out to a delicious Mexican restaurant. The best part of this restaurant is that you can order beer cannons, they are about 5 feet high, filled with beer and they bring them to your table and you can fill your glass as you please. One thing we are learning quickly is that the Korean’s know how to drink.
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Another thing about Korean’s is that they love to give gifts. One of Michael’s student’s mothers saw a video of Michael that her child had taken. The next day the student told Michael that her mom thought he was really handsome. Then the following day Michael received a cake from this student’s mother, it was delivered to our staff room...hmm I wonder what she expects in return?!?!

Now for the last night that will make it into this blog. During the day we had gone into Itaewon (the foreigner central area) to pay for our plane tickets to Taiwan. We wondered around and checked random things out. In Itaewon they even have stores that are made specifically for foreigners and have a lot of the odd foods we cannot find in the normal Korean grocery stores. One of the items we had been searching for since we arrived here was sour cream and finally the foreign market had some. After Itaewon we headed back home and our Korean friends came over again. This once again led to a lot of randomness and drinking. Hooseok brought over some beer and squid with him, now if you can imagine the most fowl smelling dried fish smell in the world, then this is what it smelled like. Monique on the other hand was content eating her beer and popcorn, which the Korean’s tried and thought was disgusting with the amount of seasoning Monique puts on her popcorn.
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The night continued and once again we randomly met Josh at the mini stop drinking. We all decided to head over to a “Nora Bang” aka Karaoke room. As usual Stephanie hogged the microphone and sang her little heart out. The Karaoke rooms have any song you can imagine, even “It’s Raining Men” one of Stephanie’s favourites. After the Nora bang we headed back to the Mini Stop (the convenience store outside our apartment where you can drink on the patio) and had some more drinks. This continued until 7am again at which point someone in the apartments above were so annoyed with us they through a bucket of water at us from their windows. Little did they know that did not stop us, it just made us louder. Eventually at around 8am the night ended and we crawled back to our apartments.
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Josh is giving beer back to our friend at the mini-stop to 'hold onto it' for us for an hour!
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Well this is it for now, but you can all look forward to another blog coming very soon about out trip to Taiwan. Feel free to comment on the blog and send the web address to anyone who might be interested.

We miss you all and hope all is well with you,
Monique and Michael

Posted by koreaeh 20:35 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Adventures in Korea part 1

Insane

semi-overcast 42 °C

Well with much anticipation our blog!
It took a while to set it up, and I am sorry to our friends & family who thought we had forgotten about you, but we have gone through a lot in the week that we have been here!

To start, we took a 14 hour flight – and the answer is ‘yeah’, its long! At 6 hours we all thought enough was enough, and we were looking out the window for land. We did see it, but it was still the great north we all love to call Canada! Our flight headed towards the North Pole and then dipped down over Alaska towards Korea. At this point we were not even half way and already had cabin fever! To add insult to injury Steph, Monique and Michael were strategically placed in different places of the plane, not able to enjoy Michael’s great company! (ok this blog is clearly written by me this time!)

Anyways, we landed and they let us through customs with out 2 tons of luggage and Yes Youngdo, our employer was waiting at the arrival section with signs and smiles! The dozen of new teachers were divided into different busses and taken to our campuses. We were all tired and tried very hard to keep awake to see the city, but at this point we had been up for about 26 hours and were stuck in traffic.

Our were eyes opened and it 1) had gotten dark 2) 3 hours and about 150 km had pasted and we where home! Our apartment was amazing! For a country that has 22.3 million people in the “greater Seoul district”, we had a penthouse! An apartment or “office-tel” with a second floor, modest kitchen, and all the amenities including heated floors!
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The first day was rough, because we were very tired, have limited food and have to go to orientation. Orientation was great! We had a Korean guide show us to our campus, around the facility, set up our bank accounts, introduce us to everyone… and then….. tell us that we need alien residency cards and give us a map of how to get there. …. …. It was a two hour subway ride, 20 minute walk, and a very VERY confusing experience! Not to mention they took our passports and said they were keeping them!

Once we came home from this adventure we felt like we could conquer anything! Well almost anything… You see we walked from our place to campus, and then were put in a cab from campus to the subway to get to the immigration office. However when we got back to the subway, we had no idea where we lived. And to boot, their streets don’t have any names! And I am not talking like they are in Korean so we can’t read them… I’m talking like U2, ‘streets with NO names!’ There are too many so the Koreans never bothered to name them! Even our address translates to “renaissance building – near subway stop Yatap, in the city of something” They don’t even bother to number the buildings! For instance, business cards all have maps on them because they simply need a map to find everything because the concept of 1) street names 2) sequential numbering is far to complex to comprehend!
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Anyways, back to the point. So Monique and Michael are walking in a new neighbourhood, lost, and everything looks the same! All six story buildings with more neon lighting on one building then Spadina Streets has it in total! But, Monique as she commonly has to do, had to go pee! So our adventure of looking for our home turns to looking for a restaurant with a washroom. Without-a-lie, the first building we accidentally stepped into looking for a washroom, was our apartment building!

Needless to say, now we feel more equipped to handle Seoul! We had gone shopping for food and things for the apartment. Monique mastered how to cook her staple food, popcorn, in a pan! (1st time was painful because she took a couple kernels to the eye) And well Michael learned that although his favourite staple, milk, tasted like goat pee; he found out rice beer tastes about the same!

Later that week Steph, Monique and Michael set off to do some touristy things on the weekend. We ended up going to the ‘Dongdaemun Market” which is one of the largest wholesale and retail markets in Korea. This spans several city blocks and has everything you may ever want for 50% less then what you may ever want to pay for it! We learned that Kimchi, the traditional Korean side dish is really cabbage gone horribly bad and then covered up with really hot spices. And most entertaining, couples wear matching outfits and the male will often carry a woman’s purse as a gesture. Nice, but unusual the first time you see two people wearing matching (and I kid you not) Beatty Ford shirts with a guy carrying his own man purse and his girlfriend’s purse.IMG_1723.jpg

What we have learned is that the Korean culture is very accommodating. We were in the subway and Mr. Yoe (as we later learned) approached us and asked us if we were English. Since the three of us were very guilty of this crime, we said “yes”. Subsequently Monique ended up correcting an essay he had been carrying around with him about degenerating joints and other medical terms. However, after this kind gesture, Mr. Yoe had not only helped us with getting Subway cards (which had been a previous dilemma), but also took the subway in the wrong direction to talk to us about how if we ever needed anything to call him! A 65 year old retiree gave us his cell phone number and said what ever time of day, if you need a translator, call me!!

Well back to what we are suppose to be doing here… teaching… It has been great! We had 3 days of orientation, and then the classes started! The kids here are a whole different breed, of hard working. They go to class from 8-4 and then come see us! This is what they (or their parents) do for fun! Put them through English / Sports / Music / Art lessons after school! We have all reluctantly given them so much homework, mostly because their parents demand it! Monique experienced this first hand when a student in the class came up to her and said “Oh, Teacher teacher, you are so beautiful!!!”……. “No homework?” Followed by a good laugh, and then a thorough explanation of the homework.
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Our campus...
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Our coworkers...

The social scene has been one of the greatest parts so far. Foremost, people don’t cook here. In most buildings, the fist two floors are restaurants. Everyone goes out to eat! Some of our early experiences with restaurants will be perhaps the more priceless. Example one. When you go to a restaurant and order too much food and spend 12,000 won, DON’T ask for a doggy bag. The reason is this; doggy bags are pain in the ass, especially when 12,000 won, is 10 dollars! Second lesson!! And anyone thinking of traveling the region should know THIS!!! SOJU, despite what people tell you about being a nice drink with dinner, is really 250ml of a clear substance that tastes like vodka, and is 10% stronger in alcohol content!

As for last nights experiences… We went to a very foreigner populated place called “Hongdae”. First bar of choice… “Ho Bar” No!!! Not a strip joint! A cool little franchise that takes Polaroid photos of everyone who comes in and puts it on the wall. Where we sat there were photos from 2005. It sounds like nothing, but think of all the people who come through a bar in a year’s time! Second interesting fact! You can order a 26er of Jack Daniel’s from the bar and two Korean chaps will sit down and drink this together… straight… and be fine! Or should you choose to go to any other of the million bars in the area, you can put your name on it and they will store the bottle for you until next time you come back!!! Yeah, like a booze bank!!! This is really hard to believe because beers are $1.25 each and a 26er of Jacks is $10.00. In fact, we ordered a popular bar combo! 6 beers and a plate of nachos for $25.00! Like a happy meal at McDonalds!
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Well we leave you here! Here are some photos! We hope to write soon! And please feel free to leave your comments along the way! We love the input! Oh and please forward this link (or a hard copy of this to our non-internet-friendly family members) to anyone who wants to keep up with the adventures within South Korea!!

Posted by koreaeh 07:28 Archived in South Korea Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

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