Thursday, December 19, 2002

Well, Amy and I have finished our first week in Korea. School is going well and we're getting more aquainted with the city. Amy and I went down and checked out Ulsan's train station and bus station over the weekend. I think the plan is once we get some money rolling in we're going to go and do some travelling around Korea. The train to Seoul takes about 4.5 hours and cost about 30 bucks. There's also a fast Catamaran ferry to Japan that takes about 3 hours.

While downtown, we also went and checked out the huge Lotte department store which has a massive Ferris wheel on the roof. Unfortunately, it was out of order because of the recent typhoon that has made it a little structurally unsound, but they are fixing it now. Shopping in Korea is a little interesting, but you'd be amazed how far you can get just with mumbling and pointing. It's also a little draining with the incessant music that they insist on blaring from every corner.

So I think that we're adapting slowly, picking up bits and pieces of Korean as we go. I learned to say left and right this week (wengcho and orungcho) and the all important "May I have one beer, please." (Matchu han-pyung chuseyo).

Amy, Ambrosia and her friend Sarah and I all headed out to the bar on Friday and Saturday night. Saturday we went out with the Korean teachers that we work with after they had come over for a spaghetti party. We hit Ulsan's old downtown to a popular bar here called Asshole. Great name, and the bartenders there, Jo Jo and Chris, are very friendly and kept us amuzed all evening.

Sunday, the four of us went out to the huge Hyundai compound to meet up for the Ulsan hash run. Driving past the acres and acres of petro-chemical refineries, I was reminded of scenes from a James Bond movie. There were also row upon rows of parked cars ready to be loaded into ships bound for the US and other parts of the world. When we get our digital camera, I will have to take a picture to show everyone because it is really something you have to see to believe. The meeting point was across the road from the Hyundai ship yards, where they build these massive container, freighter and cruise ships. The whole operation is huge and really puts Vancouver's little port to shame.

The hash group is made up of a lot of foreigners, mainly Brits and Scandanvians who work on the ships. They are an older group, with lots of their kids participating with in the run, but are all very nice. They invited us to use the Hyundai Foreigner's Compound there at any time, and they have a gym, squash courts and swimming pool which will no doubt come in handy once the hot and humid Korean summer is upon us.

The run was excellent and wound it's way through the hills that surround Ulsan. Lots of nice viewpoints that look out over the ocean, where we could see lots of marine traffic heading in and out of the port at Ulsan. The whole run took about two hours and was followed by the down-downs (for those of you unfamiliar with Hashing, the down-downs are when you have to chug a beer after the run, usually for some sort of infraction or if you are a hash virgin, which we were). It was a lot of fun, and after the run we headed back to the clubhouse for more beer and some soup.

Anyway, we're off to work today. Hope all is well. More to come soon.


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