Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What about Bob?


Some of you may not know this, but I have another roommate besides Steve here in Korea.

Meet Bob.

Bob is our friend who, amazingly, only visits when the lamp is on. He only lives on our living room ceiling, but pays a third of the rent (a good deal for us, not for him!) He's a bit fat and has very unique hair...

Go on, say "hi" to our roommate - Bob!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Temporary Dark Knight Frustration

The Dark Knight opens today in Vancouver...
... But NOT in Seoul!

The new Batman movie opens in South Korea on August 7th, which just happens to be my birthday. Now I know how to spend my 30th birthday, but having to wait three weeks isn't much of a birthday present!

Why do is it that some movies open all at the same time around the world, and others open at staggered times? Dark Knight: US July 18, UK July 28, Korea August 7, France August 13, Germany August 21st...

The sad thing is that by the time it opens in Korea, everyone will have already seen in on a pirated DVD copy. Not me though! As a fan, I will wait and see it in the theaters (and maybe in IMAX!) 20 days and counting...

Now, what can I do while I am waiting?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gettin' Dirty at the Boryeong Mud Festival

Welcome to the 11th annual Boryeong Mud Festival here in Korea!

Yup, mud.

Continuing my "Dirty Festivals" travel experiences, I spent last Saturday covered in mud and loving it. This mud festival follows on the heals of last summer's La Tomatina Festival, where I partook in the world's largest tomato fight! Tomatoes, mud .... what's next?

Steve and I arrived in sunny Boryeong after a smooth 3 hour bus ride from rainy Seoul. The nearby beach (Daecheong) was where the fun was. This beautiful beach and the three or four streets inland become packed with both foreigners and Koreans every year for one week in July.

Coming from Vancouver, I've been missing the Ocean. Upon seeing the sea, we dove in and went for a swim. This was my first time in the Yellow Sea (Korea's West Sea)! One more sea to add to the list...

After cleaning off in the ocean, it was time to get dirty. Up the beach, hundreds of half-naked people stand around tables applying the warm, smooth grey mud to their bodies using their hands and paintbrushes. It was time to become "one of them..."

After experiencing the mud activities (mud slide, mud wrestling, mud pit, mud foot massage, mud jail, mud concerts, mud excetera... all too muddy to take photos, as you can imagine!), we spent the rest of the evening eating, drinking, and letting off fireworks on the beach. The night culminated in an amazing display of fireworks.

All in all, an amazing and messy experience! I highly recommend you check out the Boryeong Mud Festival and get dirty!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to Stay Cool in the Seoul Heat

(My house in Seoul, Korea)


1 pm. I finish teaching my level 1 English class here in my air-conditioned institute. I take the elevator down to the first floor, walk through the lobby to the glass doors and open them. The torrent of heat hits me instantly, riping off my flesh and searing my clothes to my burning body.

It's July in Seoul. 29 degrees Celsius with intense humidity. It feels almost as hot as last summer in Seville, Spain, where it was 40 C and Greg and I had to walk 20 mins to our hostel with full heavy backpacks on. I almost died then, and according to most of my Korean friends, I might also die this summer.

Not wanting to die, I have compiled a list of Things Koreans Do To Stay Cool in the Seoul Summer:

  1. Buy an air-conditioner. Yeah, Steve and I were thinking of buying one, but not only are they not good for the environment, they are expensive. The used shop sells a small air-conditioner for 300,000 won - er... $300. Not quite worth it for one air-conditioner for only two months of HEAT. We'd also fight over who's room gets the cold air!
  2. Buy a fan. Aha! That we did! Yesterday, we each bought an electric oscillating stand-up fan (mine was $35). I cannot convey the bliss I am experiencing siting in front of the fan and feeling the blown air cool the sweat of my face...
  3. Buy a hand fan. I could and I might, but I haven't yet. I used to have a small battery fan I used while traveling Europe many years ago... hmmm, I miss that fan.
  4. Eat ice cream. On almost every corner here in my area of Seoul - Sinchon, there are corner stores (7-11, By The Way, Mini-Mart, and countless other family-run ones). Each one sells a wide variety of delicious ice cream, which I have been gluttonously indulging in.
  5. Go to the beach. The nearest beach in one hour away on the outskirts of Seoul near the airport - Inchon. I have yet to go there. My favorite beach is 4 hours away in Busan, on the south coast of Korea. Beautiful. I'll probably go back there in August.
  6. Go to a mud festival. Specifically, the Boryeong Mud Festival happening this weekend! I am planing on checking it out this weekend, so I'll let you know how it goes. The cooling high-quality mud with refresh this cooked human....
  7. Live at work. YBM, my school, is completely air-conditioned and cold. If I brought in blankets, I could theoretically live there indefinitely! Think about it - no commuting to work!
So there we go. How I am going to stay cool in the hot summer Seoul heat.

Oh, one more point I forgot: Live at the movie theater - and watch The Dark Knight, opening next week! Definitely my most anticipated movie this summer. Make sure you catch it! "I am Batman."