Friday, January 17, 2003

Amy and I have had a busy few weeks, now that we've started Hapkido we're up everyday at 7:00am and off to train for an hour. We've learned all kinds of flips, rolls, punches and kicks so far. The first week was tough, I found muscles I didn't even know I had were hurting. Getting up early means long days, but I'm really enjoying it so far. You all better watch out, I'm going to come back to Canada a lethal fighting machine.

This past weekend, I went out for my friend Will's birthday on Friday night. We hit various drinking establishments in Ulsan and found one that served flavored beer. Not a pretty sight - let me tell you, mint flavored beer is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Saturday, Amy and I headed down to Pusan, which is about an hour from Ulsan. Pusan is Korea's second largest city and, strangely, is a city teeming with Russians. Most of the shop signs are all in Korean and Cyrillic which made for a weird combination. The goal of our trip was to buy a digital camera, and after some shopping around and haggling we settled on pretty decent unit. After a decent lunch to recharge our batteries, we headed to check out Pusan Tower which is located in Yandusan Park. The tower was built in 1973 and stands 120 meters above the Pusan landscape (think mini-CN Tower). You can take an elevator right to the top and look out at the whole city. We arrived right as the sun was setting, so it was quite a spectacular sight.

We both really enjoyed Pusan and I think we may head back this weekend to check out some more of the city.

Sunday, Amy and I and our friend Christine went to see the latest 007 movie, Die Another Day. An excellent movie that was even more realistic, given the current geopolitical climate in the Koreas. Kim Jong Il (North Korea's own Dr. Evil), with all of his recent nuclear saber rattling, is not hugely popular these days. I'm not sure of his game, but the reality is that the South Koreans have lived with the threat from the North for the last 50 years (the capital Seoul is only 25kms from the DMZ) so it barely registers as a concern to most people here. Hardly the 'crisis' that CNN is making it out to be.

That being said, Die Another Day is causing a lot of controversy here, with many calling for a general boycott of the film because of the way it portrays Koreans in a negative light. Personally, I think that's a load of rubbish, and that the Koreans have become hypersensitive to the way the world sees them. It's one thing to be proud of your country, but Korean nationalism seems to run rampant, and at times it can be quite frustrating being a foreigner here.

I mean, it's only a movie, and no one takes Bond movies seriously anyway. I don't remember huge cries of outrage from little people when Nick Nack ('Da Plane, 'Da Plane) was the baddie in The Man with the Golden Gun.


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