Monday, March 10, 2003

Life in Ulsan has settled into a frustrating holding pattern, waiting for the weather to turn. Spring feels like it's just around the corner, as the days get longer and the evening are shorter. But, the temperature some days still remains frigid and when the wind is blowing South or East down from the Siberian air mass, it's bitterly cold. I read recently about an interesting phenomena in Korea during the transition from winter to spring - supposedly, the weather will follow a fairly predictable seven day cycle known as samhan saon (literally 'three cold, four hot'), where you get 3 cold days and then 4 progressively warmer days. This pattern repeats itself throughout much of March and April and is remarkably consistent from year to year.

Another interesting weather phenomena is just around the corner as well. As the winds shift, they will pick up a fine yellow dust from the Gobi Desert and blanket the Korean pennisula for several weeks in late March. I hear from some of the other expats that the air quality gets so terrible that most people just try to stay inside. Already, we've got our friend Will scrounging a couple of painting masks for us from the Hyundai Shipyard. It may be overkill, but I guess it's best to be prepared!

Anyway, enough ramblings about the weather. Our weekends continue to be busy. Amy, Will and I (or "Layme", "Camel" and "Cando") had our first go at being the hares for last weekend's Hash run. Basically it meant driving to an open spot up the coast from Ulsan and hiking out into the woods - all the while laying a trail of flour behind us, including all kinds of false trails, dead-ends and switchbacks. Hopefully, we would find our way back to where we started. It was an unpleasant day to begin with, grey skies and rain, so trudging up and down through the fields and hills hefting big bags of flour was a challenge. But we enjoyed ourselves as best we could and managed to lay down a pretty decent trail.

Sunday turned out to be a far cry from the day before, it was a beautiful hot and sunny day (enough with the weather comments, already...). There was a good turnout of hashers and our hash was well received, though it turned out to be much shorter than when we had laid it the day before.... Oh well, people seemed to have a good time and we rewarded with the obligatory down-downs at the end of the run - as were Megan and John being that they were hash virgins

Much of the enthusiasm for the shorter hash run was in no doubt due to the large majority of people who were recovering from the Hyundai Foreigner's Compound's annual Mardi Gras party the night before. It was a fun event with lots of masks, beads and of course, beverages consumed by all. We were also treated to some delicious Cajun cooking and it was a relief to have a meal that didn't come with a sidedish of kimchi!

This past weekend was notably understated, and was spent mostly just relaxing. Saturday night however turned out to be yet another chapter in the continuing saga that is "Amazing Soju Adventures" or "Things that happen when you drink Soju." The evening saw us starting with a couple bottles over dinner, which turned into several more bottles as the tableful of Korean guys next to us insisted on buying us more, and finished with a couple more bottles and some drunken crooning at a singing room until 5:30am with the Korean guys from the restaurant. Sunday was mostly spent recovering from the night before, but I did make it out in the afternoon to another ultimate frisbee game.

That's about it from our end now... though next weekend's adventures will likely include a bullfight, so stay tuned!

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