Monday, December 29, 2008

Vietnam Day 5

We're on day 5 here in Nha Trang and today it just poured all day. We left our hotel only once to cross the street and buy lots of junk food at the supermarket. We rented a dvd player from the hotel and some movies and tried to watch movies all afternoon. Unfortunately the only movies the hotel has to watch are bootleg DVDs. First we watched Van Hellsing and enjoyed it, but we decided to have a Harry Potter marathon because one of the bootleg DVDs (somehow) had all 5 movies on it. We discovered when we put it into the DVD player that it was dubbed into Vietnamese. But... really, I hate to call it dubbing, because they didn't take off the original voices, just loudly talked over them. There were no voice actors, but just a woman reading the script over the actors speaking. Oh, and the icing on the cake was that there were also subtitles in Vietnamese. So why did they bother "dubbing" anyway? The hotel didn't have any other movies that we could all agree on so we just channel surfed for a while. We watched the Simpsons, Mythbusters and bits and pieces of plenty of other shows and movies. While today kind of sucked, it was relaxing and we ate lots of food we can't find in Korea. Like Cheeseits, Orangina and Dortitos.

The past few days haven't been all bad though. Yesterday, since it was raining again, we decided to go on a "city tour". What this actually was was a taxi ride to all the things worth seeing in this city. First stop was Long Son Pagoda. This temple had some gigantic statues of Buddha. Very cool. Next stop was the Po Nagar towers which were constructed by the Champa durring thier reign in Vietnam about a thousand years ago. I don't know much about the Champa, but they were Hindu and worshiped Shiva and Vishnu. It is sort of amazing to think that those towers have been there for 1000 years. While we were there it appeared that they were undergoing some sort of restoration project. Also amazing is the fact that it is also an active shrine. We saw many worshipers (but probably more tourists) making offerings in front of the statues inside the towers.

We made a few more stops on our city tour, though nothing really noteworthy, especially in the rain. Our last stop was Thap Ba Hot Spring. Here you could soak in a mud bath, then in hot mineral water outdoor tubs, then float around in hot and cold swimming pools full of mineral water. We didn't really realize how intense this place was going to be and our tour only left us an hour and a half here. This gave us plenty of time to mud bathe and sit in our mineral water hot tub, but we were wishing for a lot more time to swim in the giant swimming pools and take advanatage of all the other amenities available there. We were going to go back again today, but since the pools are all outside and it was pouring, we just couldn't bring ourselves to go.

Anyway, we came back to the tourist area where our hotel is and found some "lunch" (not sure if you can call it lunch when you eat it at 4 o'clock). After we went to the beach because the weather had finally cleared (eg it stoped raining) and had a drink on the beach. Yea, it was overpriced for Vietnam, but when else are you going to get a coctail for 4.50.... on the beach? We headed back to our rooms, read our books for a while then met up at 9 or so, ate again and went to a bar for a little while. We still had and early night, we were back at our hotel by 12:30. The nightlife here just can't compete with Seoul. We're too spoiled.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


So, I'm now on Christmas vacation and three of my friends and have gone south to Vietnam. I want to write as much as I can about Vietnam as I can here before I forget everything. I was sort of lazy about my trip to Taipei over Chusok break.

We flew out of Incheon airport and we landed in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) a little over 5 hours later. We flew on Vietnam Airlines and had no troubles. The meal was decent, the movies were decent and everyone had thier own screen on the back of the chair in front of them. This is how I rate airlines. Food and movies. They also had free newspapers, but they were all Korean and Vietnamese. We arrived at Ho Chi Mihn City and promplty made our way over to the domestic terminal and hopped another flight to Nha Trang. 45 minutes later we were looking at the beach.

We came to Vietnam mainly because my friends wanted beach. I've always wanted to see Vietnam, although the beach wasn't my top priority, I wasn't going to complain. We compromised and at the end of the trip we're going to spend 2 1/2 days in Ho Chi Minh City before we head back to Seoul.

We were picked up at the airport by our hotel and they drove us along the highway that goes along the beautiful coastline to our hotel. We checked in (everything was already paid for through a bank transfer we made in Korea) and went to our rooms. We had to forfeit our passports, but they will keep them for us in thier safe. I feel a little safer that way... I think... But that is standard procedure at all Vietnamese hotels.

We settled ourselves in our rooms and then headed out in search of food. We found a small restarurant that served both western and Vietnamese food (as most restaruants seem to in this tourist/beach town) and while prices are slightly higher than I had expected, they are still much cheaper than Korea and much much cheaper than in the US. The exchange rate is a little complicated to think about for me though. It's 17,000 Dong= $1.00. Or should I be thinking of 1,000 Won= 13,000 Dong? Either way it's rather cumbersome math.

The single most depressing part of this vacation so far has been the weather. We came here to soak up the sun, but we really haven't seen the sun yet, and we've been here for 2 1/2 days. The forcast for the rest of the week doesn't look very promising either. But.. we've been trying to make the best of it. We went to the beach yesterday and today. Today we stayed almost the entire day, and I already have the sunburn to prove it. I think I need to start following the Korean's lead and cover myself up from head to toe at the beach. I don't really need a tan. Especially not in Korea where the whiter your skin the more attractive you are.

Today we saw a huge group of Koreans here at the beach. They are unmistakable, even if I hadn't heard them talking. Something about the noises they make when the waves hit them, the way they travel in packs, and how the boys wear long shorts in the water and the girls wear long sleeves (if they even go in the water).

There are many nationalities here in Nha Trang. We've encountered very few Americans, but plenty of Australians and folks from the UK. I've heard some other European languages too, such as French and German. There were some other languages that I wasn't quite able to pin down. Behind us on the plane was a Japanese family too. It's kind of cool to see so many nationalities. I know there are plenty of other nationalities in Seoul, but since my school only hires Americans and Canadians I have very few friends from elsewhere.

As for Vietnam itself I am absolutly astounded by how traditional many of the people still are. Whenever you see photos of Vietnam, they are always wearing those pointy straw hats. I thought that was just something farmers in the rice paddies wore, and that today in modern times they would have shed thier straw hats for baseball caps or something. But not at all. Everywhere I look people are wearing those hats. I think maybe they keep off the rain, a sort of umbrella that you don't have to hold in your hand. Also, in my hotel, along with many stores and restaruant, you see small buddhist shrines with burning incense. So interesting.

I will post soon about Vietnamese vendors, because I think that they deserve their own post. I haven't taken many photos yet, but I hope to get some good ones soon!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shopping Underground

Some of the best shopping to be had in this city is found in various subway stations and underground shopping areas. Last weekend we shopped around for hours in the shopping area by the entrance to Gangnam Station. My friends stocked up on jewelry and "hair bling" as we call it (See second photo). I found two turtlenecks for 4,900 each. They were exactly what I've been looking for and for just the price I've been looking for too.

You can find all types of stores in the underground markets. Cell phone booths are quite common, and so are shoe and costume jewelry sellers. Inside Anguk station, I found more artsy type stores, since its a neighborhood famous for boutiques and galleries. Any price range of clothes can be found from ultra cheap to fairly expensive. Make up stores are also common too. Basically, anything that you can think of, you can find in an underground market. No trip to Seoul is complete without shopping in one!

Friday, December 19, 2008

You know you've been in Korea too long when.....

Some people wonder why I don't walk around with headphones in my ears all the time like everyone else in the world. It's mostly because the thoughts in my head can entertain me much better than music can. I'm not sure if anyone else would be so amused by these thoughts, but that ok with me. Today I started thinking to myself of all the little things that have become normal to me here, and thought I should make a list. Maybe this is way overdone, but it's still fun for me. So here is my list.

You know you've been in Korea too long when:

1) You can rate restaurants by how good their kim chi is.

2) You, too, stare at the foreigners.

3) Cheese ramyon (pronounced chizuh)is a meal to you. It goes by many names: Lunch, Dinner, comfort food, hang over food and food to eat when you're sick (clears those sinuses right out).

4) The thought of going back to the states and having to eat Top Ramen again is slightly depressing. Mostly because there is no spice.

5) You think eating cake with chopsticks is normal.

6) You think eating rice with chopsticks is slightly awkward.

7) The thought of paying tips again when you go home depresses you.

8) You check the exchange rate every day.

9) You're accustomed to speaking to people in one word sentences. Then when someone replies back in near perfect English, you feel like a dumbass.

10) You can't make a complete sentence in Korean, but you know every swear in the book. You may or may not shout them out loud on the street and watch the reactions you get from ajossis.

11) You are healthy about as often as you are sick at home.

12) When you use wooden chopsticks they feel abnormally light to you.

13) You add Uh or Ee to the end of words when you talk to people in the hopes they will understand you better. It works about 50% of the time.

14) You don't look up movie times or even what is playing in the theaters. You show up and watch whatever is playing in your language. Then you realize that A) 90% of what comes out of Hollywood is crap and B) This is why you didn't go to the movie theater once a week at home.

15) You've realized that octopus is unappetizing, not because of the taste, but just because of the fact that it is octopus. It really doesn't have much taste on it's own, and if cooked right isn't even that chewy. Remember to embrace the octopus.

16) You are glad you don't have a car.

17) You are an expert at dodging motorcycles on the sidewalks.

18) When you bump into people by accident, you fight the urge to apologize. You realize that, no matter what language you say sorry in, you're going to be looked at strangely.

19) You proudly drink your beer in chairs outside the Family Mart and wish public drinking was acceptable in the US...

20) ... Until you have had the misfortune of meeting up with too many soju drunk ajossis. Then you start hating drinking culture in Korea and wish you had found a country where alcoholism wasn't mandatory for men over 30.

21) You're willing to strip down naked and bathe with others of the same sex. Jjimjilbang is amazing.

22) You forget that at home you couldn't stick out your hand and get a taxi in 30 seconds.

23) You also forget that at home you needed something called a designated driver. No, not because you're driving home drunk here, but because who has a car to drive anyway??

24) You go to the doctor for whatever small malady that afflicts you. And the doctor's visit + the AIDS cocktail of drugs they prescribe you for your cold costs less than a bottle of aspirin at home.

25) You've started to forget how to cook because eating out is so cheap.

26) One of your top goals in learning Korean is to master calling for delivery. (It's actually a really good goal to set for yourself. Not only does it give you a skill, but it means you have some serious Korean skills if you can understand that phone conversation with a stranger). You may or may not have a pile of take out menus that you've collected from your apartment door, waiting for that miraculous day to arrive.

27) You've forgotten the actual definition of the word "service".

28) You can almost half the price of whatever you're buying in Dongdaemun.

29) Your ability to speak in complete, coherent sentences has gone way down.

30) You have a love/ hate relationship with Itaewon. It's sleazy, grimy, and not Korean at all. Yet... it's the only place you truly fit in.

I may add more later, but I think this is enough for now. Please, feel free to comment and add your own or comment on these.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Newest Studio Ghibli Film! ^.^

So, lately I've been seeing these movie posters around Seoul for a new animation movie that looked quite stereotypically like Studio Ghibli's work. I just looked it up and found out that this is the newest release. The movie is called Ponyo On A Cliff (US release title) and while Disney has made no official statements about the cast, various sites, including say that Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will be producing, while the voice cast may include stars such as Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, Fankie Jonas, Noah Cyrys and Cloris Leachman. I'm glad Disney always pulls out all the stops on Miazaki's films.

Wikipedia has a short summary of the movie, and it seems to be a story about a mermaid or fish girl who becomes human against her father's wishes. Seems sort of similar to The Little Mermaid, but It was made by Miazaki, so it has to be amazing. People have been comparing it to Totoro.

Anyway, while there is no release date, it would seem that they are shooting for a 2009 release date. There's no reason why it should take more than a year to release it in the US. It's too bad I probably won't be home to see it in the theaters.... booo... oh well. I'm excited either way.

Feel free to check out the Japanese trailer. To get subs, click the up arrow in the bottom right hand corner:

A doctors visit in Korea

So, I caught a cold. Yet another cold. This is the fourth cold I've had since October.. I think that works out to be a cold every other week almost. I don't know if I've ever been so sick so much in my life. Is it the children? Is it the air pollution? Is it the Yellow Dust? Is it living in a city with so many people? Maybe some bad mix of those factors... who knows.

Anyway, every time I get sick, everyone tells me to go to the doctor. Now, this just seems silly to me. Would I ever go to the doctor for a cold at home in the States? Never. Too expencive and too much of a hassle. But, I was feeling so miserable that I finally conceded and went.

In the same building as my school, there is an ear nose and throat doctor. Most doctors offices seem to have specialties here, I don't think people necessarily have a primary physician... or maybe they do.. I'm not sure. Anyway, on my first attempt to go, I brought a Korean friend with me, but when we got there at 2:00 there were about 8 people ahead of me in line. They told me I could put my name in, but I had class in 50 minutes, and I wouldn't be able to wait that long. Luckily, one of my friends offered to teach my second class of the day so that I could try again.

The second time was much more successful. I walked in, the office was empty. All I needed to show was my Alien Registration Card and give them my phone number and address. They shuffled me straight in to see the doctor. There was no assistant asking me 100 questions that have nothing to do with my cold (I think my last physical included questions like: do you wear your seat belt? and do you get enough sleep at night?). I had no Korean with me to translate, but the doctor knew enough English to get by, and I used the little Korean I know for medical stuff. She took my temperature, looked in my ears, nose and throat. She asked me a few questions, and as she asked these questions, she typed in her computer various prescriptions for each of my symptoms.

The best (and incidentally the worst) thing she did for me was give me a nebulizer, since I have asthma and I was having a little trouble breathing. It was a big, strong dose and I could breath wonderfully afterwards. I haven't used one of those machines since I was little. Unfortuantly, My body always has some bad side affects to asthma medication. I get shakes when I take my inhaler, and this was like the shakes x 20 because it was such a high dosage.

After the nebulizer treatment, I went back to the front desk, where the receptionist charged me a whopping 3,500 Won (aprox $2.71 USD) and handed me my typed up perscription to bring to the pharmacy downstairs. I barely made it down the stairs in all my shaking (why didn't I think to take the elevator?) and I went to the pharmacy, which is also in my building. I gave the woman at the pharmacy my perscription, and she had it filled, and placed in little packagaes that I should take for morning, and evening. The grand total for these pills was another 5,200 Won. I sort of feel like I have an aids coctail, since I need to take 6 pills at a time. Mixing all these medicines makes me a little nervous, but so far, I haven't had any problems.

So, in the end, I went to the doctor and the pharmacy and only spent 8,700 won. Even better, is the fact that the whole process took only half an hour: from seeing the doctor, to getting nebulizing treatment, to going to the pharmacy and getting back to my desk at SLP. AMAZING. Why can't our medical system be so good in the U.S.???

Granted, I know this is only one experience, I guess I can't speak for the system as a whole. But really.... I pay very little out of my paycheck, and doctors visits and prescription drugs are so inexpencive. Why can't our medical system be so good in the U.S.???

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foreign or not so foreign?

Sometimes I don't understand this country. I walk down the street, and while, yes, I am surrounded by Koreans on all sides, there are plenty of foreigners about too. While transferring from line 4 to line 2 at Dongdaemun Stadium on Saturday, I decided to count the numbers of foreigners that I saw. I counted 4 in the span of about 4 or 5 mins. If you include myself in that number, that's 5 foreigners (not all white people). So, on average, that would equal one foreigner per minute while Koreans are in busy areas. So why do they stare?? It's usually the men who stare, usually over the age for 35.

I won't lie. I don't get stared at too often, or if I do, I am too oblivious to notice. I think probably because, while my hair and skin and eyes are different, by most other dimensions, I fit in with Koreans pretty well. AKA short and small in most places. Actually, I'm shorter than most Koreans. My hair is light, but not blindingly so. My eyes aren't quite Asian, but they are pretty small. See? Here is a photo to prove it! Small eyes, short, petite. I'm even willing to wear ridiculous things on my head. I'm about as Korean as a European descendant can be.

I guess I'm complaining because tonight I had two people in a row blatantly stare at me and I'm slightly peeved. I was sitting out front of the Food 2900 waiting for my friend. One man, who I'd guess was about 55, walked by, looked at me and sort of made a noise. I know that noise well, the ajossis make it all the time, but I can't quite describe it, and I'm not sure what it means. Maybe it's disgust, or maybe it's attraction. But either way, it was most definitely aimed at me and I didn't like it. So, it was dark, so I pulled up my hood and kept my head down reading the menu while I waited. I thought if they couldn't see my hair or face, they wouldn't take a second look. Another man walked by. Much younger this time, maybe only 35 years old. As he walked by he just stared. Then when he was about 6 feet or so past me he just stopped and stared. Maybe he was staring because I was reading a menu completely written in Korean. I'll tell myself that's what it was to make myself feel better. I kind of looked at him and put my hands up in a "what do you want??" position. He kept moving, stopped again then moved on. What's up with that??

At that point, I moved into the restaurant so I didn't have to sit on the stairs and get stared at incessantly. Why do they stare when they are so accustomed to seeing foreigners???

But, I must admit.... I stare at them too. I can't help it. When I see a white face my eyes are just glued. Until they see me and I pretend not to look. Maybe I'm more Korean than I realize.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jongmyo & Changgyeongung

Today we ventured over to Jongmyo, the Royal Ancestral Shrine. I was further delighted by the fact that you get free entrance into Changgyonggung palace when you pay the 1,000 won entrance fee to the park. It's a nice place to walk around, and you can learn a little about burial rituals, but I wouldn't rank this place as a must see if you are only visiting as a tourist with short time to see the best of Seoul. It was a nice place to take photos, since that's my obsession for the week. Especially the palace, because it's not one of the big tourist palaces like Gyongbukgung. There were very few people walking around. That could also be because it was a little chilly out today (3˚C) and windy. Anyway, here are a few photos I took today.

Dishes and utensils to feed the deceased kings. All utensils were dated with an expiration date of sorts. When the utensils had been used for a certain period of time, they were then buried.

A very Korean decoration placed at many of the gates within Jongmyo.

Shrine where the umbilical cords of the royal family are buried in ChanggyeongungNear the front gate in Changgyeongung
For some reason, this structure seemed more interesting than most of the others. Still not sure why.

For more photos, check out my photo blog soon.

Exchange Rate

Check it out folks! The exchange rate is back up to 0.73USD = 1000 KRW. The exchange rate hasn't been this good in over a month. Exchange your cash now while the rate is (relatively speaking) good. That's actually down a cent from earlier today, so do it soon!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Photography Blog

Lately I've been on a photography kick and, while I'm not very good at photography, I'd like to get better. I decided to make a separate blog just for photos (the good photos). I'm looking for critiques, so if anyone likes photography, check this site out and let me know what you think!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


No, not the water that falls from the sky. The Korean pop star also known as 비. My day has been full of Rain for some reason, and I thought it fitting to post about him.

This week in hip hop class we are learning the dance move to a song called Fresh Woman by Rain. Here's a video I found while surfing YouTube. This is basically the exact dance that I'm learning... but... Rain makes it look a little better.

Some people have heard of Rain due to Steven Colbert's running feud with him for beating him in Time Magazines top most influential people. To see what happened when Colbert and Rain met, watch this video....

For various other Rain references on the Colbert Report, Click Here and search for Rain. It's worth your time. Trust me.

But, what I don't understand is how Rain made it to #1 of Time Magazine's top 100 most influential.... outside of Asia, who really knows about him? I hadn't even heard of him until this week. When my kids talk about musicians, they usually only talk about Big Bang and Wondergirls. Though, he did star in Speed Racer that was out this summer.... My kids were talking about some character named Rain (oops, not a character, an actor... I thought I was misunderstanding them). Has he done anything else that noteworthy? Americans don't watch Korean dramas too often... (we're too lazy to read subtitles). Any thoughts?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yay for snow!

The only part of winter that makes the season worthwhile finally arrived today! Snow in a measurable quantity fell on Seoul today and I love it. For anyone interested, the temperature currently is 30˚F (-1˚C). I spent the day out today, but I took some photos on my way back to my house.

This is the back alley behind my house. It's a little blurry, but you can see the snow was definitely sticking to the street.

My feet (wearing my hiking shoes that everyone makes fun of) and the snow. It's not a lot of snow, but enough to make me happy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On speaking (or not speaking) Korean

Everyone told me that I would learn Korean so fast once I came here and I was surrounded by the language all the time. This is the common misconception of people who don't live abroad and people who go abroad to actually study a language. I'd like to think that if I really were surrounded by Korean all the time, then I would pick it up very fast, but the reality of my life here is that my actual contact with non-English speaking Koreans is minimal and I have to really put in a lot of effort to grasp even a basic understanding of the language.

At our hagwon, we're not encouraged to learn Korean at all. In fact we're really supposed to keep up the English environment. Sometimes I cheat and let my kids try to teach me a word in Korean, and most of my classes have figured out that I do know some basic Korean because sometimes I'll answer their question, even though they may ask a friend in Korean, or because sometimes if they want to romanize a Korean word I'll ask them to write the hangul and I'll romanize it for them. Certain words stick out in head when I hear them talk. I don't think I'll ever forget words like sonsaengnim (teacher) and yompil (pencil), since I hear them all the time. Sometimes my students will quiz me on my Korean. Usually I don't let them play this little game, A) because it usually means they are trying to get out of doing classwork and B) because I like to let them think that I know more than I do so they don't try to get away with anything in Korean. But, on the rare occasion that I do let them play this game they are always amazed by the fact that I can speak Korean. "Woowww! Teeeeacher!!", then they will keep asking me questions until my ignorance of the language is fully demonstrated.

Even outside of school, though, the skills I do have in Korean are rarely used. We're all experts at ordering food of course... that doesn't take much skill. I do find it incredibly useful to be able to read the hangul since so many Korean food restaurants do not have a bilingual menu. I don't know how so many foreigners get by without even learning the alphabet. My technique for finding what I want on the menu is searching by the last syllable. Rice dishes usually end in the word bap (rice) and noodle dishes usually end in the word myon (noodle). Other words I look out for are jjigae and donkasu... the other foods I usually eat. Ordering is easy because you can just say one of this and one of that... add on chuseyo to the end to make it a full sentence, but not even the Koreans always say that.

When I go out shopping, I get to use my Korean a little more, but in many places they speak a little English... or at least know their numbers. Sadly, because numbers are one thing I'm ok at understanding. I get frustrated when they only speak English, because I hate being treated as a stupid tourist. But, on the flip side, I get frustrated when they don't speak a word of English because I can't understand what they are telling me.

I always get asked where I'm from, and when I answer them back in Korean they kind of jump in surprise. I guess there are so few foreigners that bother to learn, or at least bother to speak it with English speaking shop owners that they are so impressed. Even by saying thank you and hello and good bye gets a wow out of them. I think that they don't understand why foreigners bother to learn Korean, so when someone even puts a little effort into it, they are quite taken aback.

I guess I can understand that. Why would anyone learn Korean? I mean, obviously I want to, but of all the languages in the world its probably one of the least helpful. The Korean peninsula is probably the size of Georgia... maybe a little bigger. Spanish is spoken throughout all of Latin America, not to mention all the immigrants in the US. But more than just that, I think that Spanish is used by many peoples and cultures. Korean is spoken by Koreans. They are more than just a country, they are a nation. I guess it is a nation state by my political geography terms. It's not a world power, like China. It has no "cool" factor like Japanese. Does Korea have any cultural exports? None that I can think of. So... why learn it? Well... the jury is still out on that one for me. The only reason I have is just a personal challenge.

Anyway, I'm going to keep working at it. Maybe some day I'll be able to have a real conversation. That's my goal. I'm getting there. I know past present and future tense and I have some good, useful verbs under my belt. Next I need to start focusing on nouns because I'm severely lacking in that area. I'll keep you updated on my progress...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crazy Korean Cooking

Now you can find instructions on how to cook Korean food on YouTube. Some of these videos are kind of interesting..... but they seem like good instructions... I want to try it sometime.... Here is one of their videos...

Check out their blog: They have all the recipes there too!

외인구당- Waeingudan...

The things I stumble across when I should be going to bed.... This is evidently a Korean program that features Korean speaking foreigners... they give them some quizzes and joke around with them. I watched the first half... I can understand some things, but watching all these non-Koreans speaking Korean so well makes me very jealous... will I ever be able to speak anywhere near that well? I'm getting better at basic conversation... but my listening comprehension skills are terrible, and the nouns and adjectives that I know not nearly sufficient to make much progress... I'll keep working at it... that's all I can do...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More photography... looking for critiques....

I dug up some more photos that I've taken over the years.... I want more critiques! I don't care from who, friends or random people. If you like or don't like these photos, please tell me why!

Dragon roof tiles in a park near Gyongbukgung.

"Art" in Olympic Park

Man selling flour covered candy in the Korean Folk Village in Suwon.
Hi Seoul Festival Fantasy Show

Random man walking somewhere in Seoul.

Woman skiing in Valle Nevado, in the Cordillera de los Andes, Chile.

The roof of Longshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan.
Korean boys playing a traditional board game in the folk village.
Rainbow in Patagonia. The water really is that color... no photoshop involved.
Moon through a telescope lens in Valle del Elquí, Chile.
Clouds rolling in while I was in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A second trip to Gyongbukung: Photography

So, this past weekend I headed to Gyongbukung palace (yes, I know that's redundant) for a field trip with my Korean class. It was a beautiful, but cold and windy day... even a few flakes of snow fell while the sun was shining. I met some cool people and I took a couple good pictures. I wish I were better at photography... I have taken two courses one of which focused heavily on composition... why do I still suck at it???

Any photography critics out there with any critiques?
Ok..... so..... here's a club we found in Hongdae. We stood outside for about a good 2 minutes staring at the name and wondering what orgiastic laical could possibly be and why anyone would actually enter a club called Club Tool. Finally, after contemplating over the word laical for a while, we walked up to the bouncer at the door and asked him what laical meant. Of course he told us he wasn't sure, it was just the name of the club, but we insisted that it made no sense. So he pulled out his handphone dictionary (just about every cell phone in Korea has random funcitons like dictionaries and subway maps... except mine... getto...). Evidently it means secular. I just looked it up on Merriman-Webster too. Here's the definition:
or la·ic \ˈlā-ik\
Late Latin laicus, from Late Greek laïkos, from Greek, of the people, from laos people
: of or relating to the laity : secular
laic noun
la·ical·ly \ˈlā-ə-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Needless to say, we did not enter the Temple of Orgiastic Laical.... but I would really like to know what sort of people do enter the Temple of Orgiastic Laical.......