Monday, December 24, 2007

Oh Korea

"The South Korean government now supports more than 40 treatment programs to deal with video game and Internet addiction."

"A South Korean man has died after reportedly playing an online computer game for 50 hours with few breaks."

"Every second household in South Korea has a broadband connection to the internet."

I think you guessed that children here play on their computer way to much. They even have professional video game players that are actually nationally famous. This post isn't about this but it might help you understand why I thought this next story was really funny.

Our text book follows the seasons. Right around christmas the video's on the cd started having snow and christmas songs in them. In one of the video's there are three kids talking about making a snowman after a heavy snow storm. While talking one of the boys (Bill) gets hit in the face by a snow ball by another kid (Joon). Joon starts laughing as anyone would and then you see his face turn to a fearful look. The other three are now chasing him with the base of the previous mentioned snow man over their heads. The children laughed and I did too. After the video I asked them, "What happened to Bill in this video?" Most of the kis in the other classes were able to say at least part of the right answer which was, "Joon hit bill in the face with a snowball." In one of my classes, a lower level one at that, everyone is silent for about 20 seconds. Right after that there were some words being thrown out such as "throw" and "snow ball." One kid even shouted out "Jay-kuh I love you." Although it's a good answer it isn't the right one. Out of no where, this kid who never speaks, or even looks up jumps up as excited as I have ever seen him and shouts out, "SNOW BALL HEAD SHOT!" Immediately I had a flash back to my teenage days of playing counter strike online with friends. When you shoot someone in the face the computer games spits out the phrase "HEAD SHOT." I couldn't help but start laughing, the rest of the class (even the kid) joined in too. Who said video games never taught anyone anything?

Video games for the most part are def. unhealthy for children in America. Lets talk about something a little better for good living. This past Sunday I went hiking with some friends. We climbed Apsan. Ap=Forward, San=Mountain. So combine the two and you get Forward Mountain...I hope. It is a mountain on the South rim of Daegu. We met downtown and made our way over. A buddy of mine brought his dog, a 3 year old bull terrier. Very cute animal, but a funny looking face. We got to the mountain and hiked up. It was a little more than a mile, but parts of it were very steep. All in all not too hard. The puppy was having a blast. He let her off the leash and she ran up the mountain and waiting until we got closer then jetted away again. It was really warm and was a great day to hike. We made it to the top after about 1 1/2. I realized then why it was a famous mountain. There were a number of different viewing places you could hike around to, but from every one of them you got an amazing panoramic view of the entire city of Daegu. You could see everything. At the top we met this Korean kid who's english was pretty kick ass. He started talking to us and introduced his twin brothers. Nice kids, and obviously he was excited to speak English. We were being nice of course since we are all teachers, then he went away and came back with some home made Gim Bop that his mother and father brought along on the hike. Gim bop is Korean sushi. It was really good, and we ate a lot. I gave him one of my nutri-grain bars but by his face I knew he didn't like it. They tagged along with us till the end of the hike and then left after getting someone's e-mail address. After the hike it was only appropriate to go to a Jim Jill Bong with the crew so we did. Mad relaxing. If you guys don't know what a Jim Jill Bong is read my past post about it. Pretty close to the beginning of when I got here. After that, went to downtown and got some good food, took a bus back watched a movie and passed out. GREAT day.

This will be my last post for at least until January 13th because I will be on vacation. I'll be in India and Thailand until the 13th. I can't wait, I leave Friday. For now I must leave you! I have to go dress up as Santa Claus for my Hapkido peoples. I'm the only white person they know so it's only appropriate. After that it's downtown for an ugly sweater x-mas party. Trust me, I bought an ugly fucking sweater. Got it for 2 bucks that is how ugly it is. Take care ladies and gentlemen, i'll have A LOT to write about when I get back.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Gu Crew Saw It Through

#1) I spent 100 bucks at costco on food. Never spent that much money on much of anything before, it was a weird reality. Chips and salsa, pretzels (co-workers never had them before), PB & J (co-workers ALSO never had before), honey nut cheerios and some sick mac and cheese. I got more than that but I'm not about to try and remember after the weekend I just had.


It was an escape from Daegu this time. The location: Busan. The mission: To "take it by storm." Personally I think the person who came up with that name is playing a little too much facebook risk but it was a catchy name none the less. This last week was a little long and a little long. It was actually the last full week that the public school teachers have. I'll explain later. Friday night was a simple night out. Some dinner, some drinks, some bullshitting...all the usual. We were all trying to save our strength for saturday. The idea was to go to Busan to watch and friend's band play at one of the local foreigner clubs. I had no objection to going because 1) the band is pretty entertaining and 2) Busan is awesome. You can't not like a beach town. Yes...a double negative. We took the KTX train saturday afternoon and got to Busan. Right out of the gates we checked out the fish market which was just as ridiculous as last time I saw it. How often do you get to see live eel's pulled out of a tank, a spike shoved thorough their heads, and then this seemingly harmless older Korean woman gut it, skin it, and chop it, all the while the thing is still squirming. Even after it's in bits it's still twitching and struggling. The most ridiculous part is when they deliver it to a table and people eat it straight up. This was a fish market with literally hundreds of little tents set up that sell the exact same thing. I have NO idea how any of them make money. While walking down the strip you see interesting things, such as a half of a pig's head...I even almost stepped on a live octopus that was trying to make a run from the bucket it was being kept in. No worries though, the lady that was supposed to be tending to the bucket ran it down and threw it back in. It was quite interesting.

After that we took a cab to the hotel and dropped our bags off. Got some dinner at TGIF and then took another cab to the university area that the band was playing. I was at this bar the last time I was in Busan and it was a lot of fun. Add music and a lot more friends that I know and it was THAT much better. For some reason a lot of people ended up without shirts on and jumping around. Sadly to say there were no girls involved but whatever, man love is entirely o.k once in a while. People were even swinging from the rafters. During the bands break the guitarist was still up there and I had an urge to rock out after hearing all these songs. I went up to him and asked him if he knew "what I got" by Sublime. Of course he did and of course we did. It was just me and him at first and then the lead singer of the band ended up on the drums...Just a blast. An all around moment if you will. After the bar we walked a block to a club. Again, people went skins and eventually a lot of people were without shirts. Drinking, dancing, singing...SICK. Went back to the hotel area around 4 and got some eats at a 24 hr korean place. It was mad good event though my buddy was falling asleep in between every other bite of food. It's no surprise that I had to slap him about 50 times through the meal but he finished and we got back. I got it on video so it's o.k.

This morning got off to a slow start but the idea was to play football on the beach. About 4 of our group bitched out and went home early, but the rest of us had a nice 5 on 5 game of football. We had a crowd of people watching us from the get go. Like regular rock stars, except not. Since my foot is messed up from sparring I was QB for my team for most of the time. This is where the shout out comes. ZACK G. 4 TD'S BY MEANS OF JAKE "THE ROCKET" LEDERMAN. It would have been like 8 td's if scott hasn't been training. HAHAHA. Hell I even scored w/ a qb sneak.

After the game it was back to the train station. While waiting for the train with two other dudes we somehow ended up being approached by this older guy and his wife. It was only polite to offer him something to drink (soju)...then it was only polite to have his wife go and buy beer for us while we killed the bottle. A very nice train ride back. Over all, I made it there and back just fine and had a jolly old time. THE GU CREW SAW IT THROUGH. Busan by storm, 2007. Han ban duh? Word.

A number of fabulous things are happening in the week to come. This week was the last real week. Wed. is the presidential election so no school. It also means that the ridiculous songs and speaker trucks that drive around blasting crazy things will go away. The week after is christmas so no school one day...and after that is my vacation and INDIA AND THAILAND. So 2 4 day work weeks and an ill vacation. Who ever said making money was hard? HA!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

India Auto Rickshaw Spectacular

Some of you have been informed already about my upcoming adventure. Dec. 29th I will be leaving for India to participate in the 2007 CEAT Autorickshaw charity race. My friend from orientation, Art, and myself are leaving from Seoul (the capital of Korea) on the 29th at 1050 in the morning. We land in Thailand at 4:45 pm and have a one night lay over there. It will be nice cause i'll get to see a little of Bangkok. We leave the next morning at 1055am and land in Chennai India 1245pm. We are getting picked up from the airport by transportation provided by the event. When we get there the fun begins. This race is a team event. Each team recieves a Tuk Tuk, or Autorickshaw, that they will use for the duration of the event. The Auto rickshaw is basically a motorcycle taxi. One wheel in the front, two in the back and bench seat behind the drivers seat all enclosed with a roof. Forget the doors here. They vary in size but basically on the smaller side. It's gonna be funny Art is about 6' 2". I'll take plenty of pictures of him squeezing in. Some are in better shape than others but they are all basically guaranteed to break at least once in the event. But hey, getting them fixed is all part of the fun. Since they are really popular in India there is no shortage of repair men. Even the smallest town has at least one specialist. THE RACE: It is a 10 day, 600+ mile race down the South East coast of India. It starts in Chennai and we work our way down the coast. We race in every type of terrain India has to offer. From deserted roads to thick jungles, from busy paved city streets to dirt roads in a monsoon. The race is tour de France style so we start at a checkpoint and end at another one for the day. That night we all get dinner and hang out until the next morning. The people with the best time at the end of the race win. Let me say right away I don't give 5 shits about winning, the experience in itself is rewarding enough for me. We will be seeing places that many tourists have never been. I plan on stopping many times when ever we want to get out and look around. My team name is The Hanuman-iacs. It was Art's idea and a very good one at that. Hanuman is a monkey god in India. He went around India in his time and caused all sorts of trouble, he is very popular among the Indian people. It should help us out especially in the smaller towns. Adding iacs to the end to make maniacs was just as necessary as taking showers. It made it THAT much better. When we get there first thing is to go through the check in process. Right after that we learn how to actually drive the thing. Since I drive a bike I think it will be easier for me than others but all in all it shouldn't be too hard. Basic gears and clutch so we should be good to go. Next we get to paint our rickshaw. It should be obvious that we are going to paint a big picture of a monkey on the thing. I requested orange base paint so we can be seen better but I don't know if that will work out. Either way, there will be painting. After the first day of learning how to drive we all hang out together, the next morning the race starts. I can't explain how excited I am about this whole thing so I won't even try. I bought a video camera specifically to film the event so i'll make some DVD's and put stuff on my facebook. I'll have this footage when I get home so if ya'll wanna see what's good it'll be there. After we finish the race it will be January 9th...yes new years will be celebrated in India...IN A COCONUT GROVE! Off the hoooook. We fly out of India on the 10th (hopefully with tailor made suits and jewlery cause it's maaad cheap) and land in Bangkok later that night. We are going to an Island right off the coast. Art lived there for 6 months while teaching so he knows the area. We got a little cabin literally on the beach and i'm gonna chill there until the 13th when I fly out. I can't wait. Jealous?

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Sorry i've been slowing down with the posts. Just getting busy again...and what i'm not busy i'm lazy. But I should be writing more tomorrow. Some things to look forward to. My India Autorickshaw race is coming up, my co-workers birthday was wed night, and I had my first hapkido sparing match at practice. Tonight is a friends birthday party...yeah happy birthday amelia and maybe there will be something to write about there. Keep reading, probably write tomorrow.