During the warmer months, a lot of the teaching community here will flock to the beach areas on weekends. When winter approaches, this slows down and night traffic turns back toward the inner city regions such as the Kyungsung, PNU and Seomyeon areas. These days I rarely go out during the week, but like to spend the weekends out somewhere.
Here's the Gwangan bridge at night, which is always lit up until past midnight. It actually has two levels on it for traffic flowing in opposite directions. Anthony just moved into an apartment near here, so we'll return to this area of the city shortly.
Here are some creative English teachers forming a human structure on the beach. They tried to get a person on the third level but appeared to be lacking the gymnastical expertise. If there is such a term. The bar we were drinking at is approximately 50 metres from this site.
A little while ago, I went with Heather's family to a temple out of town. Most temples in Korea are very similar, but this one is a little different.
This statue guards the entrance with his groove. The idea of statues like this is that they are supposed to intimidate bad spirits away from the temple. I wish I had a stomach like that.
Amongst the greenery were other stone carvings which were quite nice. On tops of mountains and things here, you can find a lot of piles of rocks that have been placed by people. I recently found out that such rock-piles are called cairns - in English, and dolmudogi in Korean. There's a city in Australia called Cairns.
I wonder if they have any cairns there.
One of the famous stone pagodas. The top spire is typical of buddhist imagery and has even been incorporated into the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. Spires symbolise the aspirations of man to reach higher states.
I saw a documentary on Discovery channel, you see.
Here's Heather and her father snapping some photos. Heather's father is pretty nice and tries to talk to me from time to time. I used to understand around 5% of what he says, but now I understand around 15%. When he smiles and asks a questions, I smile and say yes.
Under the hands of the statue was a wasp, oblivious to our clamouring and busy building a nest. I guess we're not the only ones just trying to get by in the world.
Rubbing the belly of happy stone buddhas is supposed to bring good luck. Sometimes I rub my own tummy these days because it's gotten a lot bigger than I remember. I've put on around 5 kilos since coming to Korea.
And it's also good luck if you pour water over this buddha. I don't believe in any of that stuff, but I still poured water over him. Because you know... well, you never know.
Ji-Ae is Heather's four year old niece who can generally be found running around and being adorable. She used to avoid me when I first met her, but now she talks to me a lot. In Korean, of course. We can actually have moderately long conversations with each other.
She says that I talk funny.
"Lee-shee samcheon, don isseo!"
"Cousin Lee, I have money!"
She's very active and is always trying to get people to play games with her. In this photo, she was trying to get the camera from me.
Here we are in the car. Ji-ye took this photo of us with her outstretched hand. Pretty good for a four year old, eh?
But this was her first attempt. I taught her the importance of keeping a certain distance from the camera. Maybe one day she'll be a great photographer.
And here are her subsequent photos of Heather and me on the same car trip. Every time I make a face like this, Ji-Ae giggles. So I often find myself doing them a lot.
After that we went to a nice restaurant in the area called Mulle-Banga, which means 'Water Wheel'.
The place was pretty packed and specialised in samgyetang and agujjim (ginseng chicken and fish stew). The food was excellent and the fish was fresh from the river.
Unfortunately I didn't get to take any photos of the food, because Ji-Ae took a liking to my camera. After taking a lot of photos, she somehow discovered the time-delay function with flash. She would sit the camera on the table, press the button and wait for the excitement of being blinded. So after around a hundred of these photos, the camera battery went dead. Apart from the food though, there wasn't much else to take photos of that day.
On the right of this photo is Amy, who works for Geoje April (one of our schools in the centre of the city). This scene was from her recent house warming party. Amy's boyfriend, Ian, was actually a reader of this blog prior to this gathering, which was the first time we met. It's nice to know that there are people out there who read it.
Our apartment is a popular drop-in centre for teachers in the area. That's because we're fairly centrally located and have ready access to beer. Sometimes we play poker and eat chicken, other times we sit and talk about games like Dota.
Which happens to be a very cool game.
Anthony was living with us for a few weeks while his new place was getting lined up. He recently moved in and the wait was worth it. His apartment is right next to the water at Gwangali beach, one of the most popular locations in the city.
Heather's old high school friend helped him move. He doesn't speak any English but has helped us before with his very handy mini-truck. It's good to know Koreans in Korea.
Anthony was pretty excited on the day that he moved in. Here's a video of him and us on the first day.
Here's Heather and Anthony discussing the pressing issues of the world. We had a mini house-warming party that night, which consisted of OB Beer (which they don't sell in Seomyeon for some reason) and onion chips.
And this is the view out of Anthony's window, showing Gwangali bridge. It's more impressive during the day. We'll return here for some day-time shots in the next blog post.
Anthony is very enthusiastic about things in general and likes to exercise constantly. His apartment is right on the beach, allowing him to run around on the sand in the morning and do Anthony-type things. He bought a surfboard here a while ago and it broke, so he bought a new one on the same day. "This one is unbreakable!" he told me when he showed me. Why didn't he just buy an unbreakable one to begin with?
Only Anthony would know.
See you next time!