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Korea!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mud.
Get into it.

Last week my co-teacher showed a movie the last 20 minutes in class. Which I'm more than fine with, but I was also more than confused by the movie selection. It was a Japanese animated movie (Japanimation?). So they were speaking Japanese. And the subtitles were in Korean. In English class. Please, someone tell me how that at all is beneficial in an English class. I mean, I feel bad enough showing an English movie with Korean subtitles...

I was on the subway on the way home from Cheonon. The subway car was probably almost half full. This Korean man frantically runs down the subway train. He stops and turns to me and says, "Handuh-pone?" I say, "Handuh-pone upsoyo." ["Cell phone?" ..."I have no cell phone."] He points to my backpack and says again, "Handuh-pone?" I again say, "Handuh-pone upsoyo!" He then gets frantic again and runs off the train. WTF? A few things confused me about this encounter. 1)He chose the one non-Korean in the entire car to approach to ask for a phone...and it's not like he even spoke English. 2)There were at least 5 Koreans within 10 feet of us who had cell phones out and were tooling around on them (playing games, texting, whatever it is people with cell phones do). So why he approached and asked me for a cell phone, I have no idea. Whatever.

I thought it was funny that Jaclyn and Will (and some other people) were in North Korea the weekend after the NoKos test fired their missiles. Generally, Americans aren't allowed in NoKo, but there are some tours you can go on to go there. Although you only get to go hike this mountain, not go into actual cities. And they make a make-shift passport that you have to wear (they can't stamp your actual passport or else you'll have to pay a big fine when you go through US customs). I guess it was pretty interesting--they have North Koreans watching your every move when you're there. It cost $450. Which I thought was a little steep, especially since it's only hiking on a mountain and not really going into NoKo. Plus, technically I have been in NoKo...at the DMZ on the NoKo side of that one building. Even though that's even less NoKo than the mountain. Whatever. Here's a movie clip/news clip that I just saw on CNN.com today. It's a lady doing a report from the DMZ talking a little about it. You should watch it. It's pretty interesting and you can see what I saw: News Clip from DMZ.

There are a few places in Korea that are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. I've been to most of them (A few things in Gyeongju, Suwon Fortress, a palace in Seoul, a Buddhist temple in Seoul). I was looking at the UNESCO sites in Japan and I think I'll go to quite a few of them. I was curious as to how many UNESCO World Heritage sites the United States has. Since, you know, we're not that old. Apparently there are 2 categories of sites--I can't remember the official category names, but it's something like cultural and natural, or something. We have 13, I think. All but 2 or 3 of them are national parks. One is the building the Declaration of Independence was signed in (which I think is kind of weird) and another is the Statue of Liberty. Also, there are a few Native American building sites down in Arizona/New Mexico. Hopi buildings, perhaps? Anasazi? Did we go to those? I think we did...

So, the 9th Annual Boryeong Mud Festival was pretty fun. It was on Daecheon Beach. Which is southwest of here. It's on the Yellow Sea. It was rainy the whole weekend, but I guess that doesn't matter much for a mud festival, right? It wasn't as muddy as I thought it'd be. I thought it'd be a giant mud pit. But it was pretty much a beach. With containers of mud that you could paint onto yourself. And some mud games. But I got nice and muddy. I played a mud bungee game, which was fun and messy but it ended up scraping my knees and elbows up pretty bad. Then we swam a bit in the Yellow Sea. There were some pretty big waves, so it was fun. Now I've been in both the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea, as the Koreans call it).


On the train on the way home there was some really pretty scenery. It was rainy, but we went by some rice paddies that were super green. There were mountains in the distance with lots of mist and clouds around them. We tried taking some pictures, but they don't do it justice because they were taken out of a moving train with water on the windows.



The more I learn about Oprah, the more I like her.

1 Comments:

  • What's with things in the Orient being named after Yellow? For instance, the Yellow River? Is there a lot of sulfur there? (Or, if you're British, sulphur?)

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 7/20/2006 8:51 AM  

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