Monday, September 01, 2003

Sorry for the terrible tardiness of this update... I've neglected my duty for far too long.

So what's been keeping me from sending out my thoughts. Well, rather a lot really. I had a terrific break in Thailand over the end of July and beginning of August. Flew into Phuket and spent some time there and in Ko Samui. Thailand was a real eye opener having spent so much time in Korea. A visit to a truly tourist-friendly country, where English was spoken virtually everywhere was refreshing to say the least. I spent some time scuba diving in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman sea and generally just lounged on the beach and relaxed. I was there with my friend Mike Wiebe who had joined me from Canada and we had a great time catching up on news and soaking up the Thai sun. The food there was delicious and I'm pleased to report, no kimchi in sight. Thank god for that. Have a look at some of my pics online.

The nine days sped quickly past and then it was time to return to Korea. I think it was a bit of culture shock once again to come back here. Back in Ulsan, we dove headfirst into our summer English camp, which meant for long days teaching. We taught from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, plus a couple fileld trips on a few weekends. Overall, I think we were all a bit burnt out from the experience - there's only so many times you can teach pronouns, conjunctions and verb tenses before you want to garot yourself. We were all very happy when they finally finished last week.

In the midst of all that we moved house as well. Our previous residence had been sold in auction a few months earlier and the new owner had evicted all the tenants in the building. Strangely, the eviction laws here are a little strange.... apparently you can ask your tenants to leave, but you have no power to enforce it. Basically, as a tenant you can take as long as you want/need to find new accomodation. Anyway, we moved closer to our school in a neighbourhood of Ulsan that is closer to the university and also to the World Cup soccer Stadium. Overall we are happy with our new digs, but sad to say goodbye to our old place which had been home to us since we arrived.

The weather here has been unseasonably wet, far different than the hot and dry temperatures in BC. I have been reading about the forest fires there online, no chance of that here - everything is sodden. I guess the rainy season has extended into August (it usually stops in July) but the good thing is there have been no typhoons yet this year.

That being said, it is still hot and muggy and generally quite unpleasant. The sky is filled with swarming dragonflies and butterflies and you nearly go deaf walking down the street to the incessant shrill of the cicadas. It feels like we're living in a jungle.

Weekends have been spent mostly just trying to get out the city and try to find some relief from the heat and humidity. We found a beautiful waterfall about an hour outside of town and spent one weekend swimming and cliff jumping much to the delight and amusement of the Koreans gathered there as well. Koreans, in general, don't swim in water past their knees. We've also travelled out to some of the local beaches, but beaches here in the summer time are packed to unbelievable levels. Walls of people and umbrellas and a swarm of black haired heads paddling in the water. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Amy and I are gearing up for a trip to Beijing over the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holiday which gives us a 5 day stretch off work through the first week of September. Should be an action packed adventure including stops in the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall. I promise to write more once I return.


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