Wow – What a month January has been. In just one month I was able to:
– Go on a weekend skiing trip with Bec, Kristina and Corey. We had an awesome time, where Corey learnt to ski and I…. tried. Still, it was good fun, and everyone had a great time. That night we had a great ‘home-cooked’ meal of Samgupsal and Ramyeon noodles, and then they all went out for a bit of karaoke! I was too tired and went to bed early, but they reported that good time were had by all. We ended the two days of skiing at a (warm) waterpark at the ski resort.
Technically North Korea also does tours to the DMZ, but I think it’s limited to high-ranking members of the North Korean military and their families.
– Go on a tour of the DMZ with my co-worker and her sister, and learn about the war between South and North Korea. A great tour. Very commercialized, but after having done that tour, I was a lot more worried about the situation. No matter what it actually is, the US soldiers guiding the tours truly believe there is a threat from the North. I would recommend everyone who visits South Korea to do the tour. Technically North Korea also does tours to the DMZ, but I think it’s limited to high-ranking members of the North Korean military and their families.
– Walk around Suwon fortress, an amazingly restored fortress wall and
palace. You can walk along the 5km wall and learn about its history.
It was built in the late 1700’s. The story goes that the King’s son
was a bit of a psychopath and decided to murder a bunch of people, so
the King ordered his son to commit suicide. The son said no, so the
father locked his son in a rice chest (and the son then died inside
the rice chest). The Kings grandson (i.e. the Psychopath’s son) took
his father to Suwon and built him a fortress to house and honour the
remains. I’m not sure if he’s still inside the rice chest.
– Go to a jimjibang for the 2nd time. I love jimjibangs, the Korean
bath houses. Who wouldn’t want to soak in a bath of 40 degree water
for an hour. The only problem, really, is that you can’t take your
favourite book and a bottle (errr, I mean glass) of wine in with you.
First you shower, then you can choose to sauna, bathe or steam
yourself for as long as you want. They also have restaurants, cafes
and sleeping areas inside the bath house, so you could easily just
live there. FOREVER!
– Go to Samcheok to visit the Penis Park (yes, a park full of giant
penis statues) and the Hwanseon Caves, the largest caves in Korea and
one of the largest in Asia. It was absolutely incredible and we spent
over an hour in there walking around. I went with a big group of
friends and we spent the night in a ‘pension’, basically a hut with a
heated floor, were everyone gets a couple of blankets and sleeps on
the floor. I would really recommend the caves – definitely one of the
highlights of my time here in Korea!
All that combined with a full time job (8 hours per day), plus an hour
of yoga 4 times a week, plus 2 hours of Korean study twice a week.
Also, I do online courses through Coursea and Future Learn. If you’re
interested in learning about something new, I highly recommend it! My
favourite courses at the moment are one about dinosaurs and one about
three dialogues of Plato. There are also courses on history, health
and science. They are also 100% free and very easy to access – it’s
just that you need enough internet to stream the video lectures.
Coursera also has an app.
I am also eating-out way too much because the food here is AMAZING and
cheap. My kimbap (basically the korean version of a sushi roll) lady
knows the takeaway orders of most of my co-workers, and when I walk in
just before I head into work (I start at 1pm), she’ll ask ‘Cham chi
kimbap – hana?’, – ‘One tuna kimbap?’. I’ll nod my head and reply
‘Ne’, and she’ll move over to the prep station and start rolling a new
one from scratch.
This weekend looks promising as well! I’m going to catch up with two
friends later today for dinner and a movie (Jupiter Ascending), then
tomorrow we go shopping (Ikea and Costco). Should be interesting going
to a Korean Ikea!