Feb 18 2010

Seoul 63 Building

Wow!  I am realizing that it has been quite some time since I have posted anything on my blog.  I plan to update it now and work to keep it updated with events as they happen.  I do however have several past events that I must publish soon; so look for them in the near future.

Seoul 63 Building

I visited the 63 Building in Seoul, in August, with Hallie (Canada) and Frank (USA-New York).  Frank had just arrived in S. Korea so this was his first excursion and the first time we hung out.  Hallie arrived a month earlier yet due to our busy schedule this is our first time hanging out also.  We had lots of fun sightseeing.

The 63 Building is amazing and have many nice attractions.  We visited the Aquarium, Art Gallery and the Observation Deck.  The photos are from all three places.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed seeing the real attraction.

If you are interested in finding out more about the 63 Building you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/63_Building.

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Jul 22 2009

Busan at its best

Tony

Tony

Well I am back with more of my boring life.  But some of you have requested that I share it with you so here it is.

I had the worst and best time on my excursion to Busan.  Busan is on the Southeast Coast of South Korea.  It is the second largest cities and a great place for tourist from all over the world.  It was my plan to meet a group of English teachers there and spend the Fourth of July on the beach.  However all of that changed really quickly, yet I am not quite sure why.

I arrived in Busan about 30 minutes after the other teachers, due to us living in different cities and departing at different times.  Once arriving I made contact with the person planning the event and was giving direction to the hotel (Hotel X).  He also informed me that he along with the rest of the group had gone to a bar for some drinks and asked me to join them there.  I declined mainly because I was tired and wanted to relax and have a bit to eat.

Once at the hotel I checked into my room only to find that it did not meet my comfort level. I will limit my comments about the room because I do not desire that you get the idea that all rooms in Korea are bad, this was a somewhat isolated case.   I requested a refund but was denied due to the time limit place on refund for rooms.

I was in the room for a little over an hour.  I finally had to make myself move from the one spot that I was stuck in.  I felt as if I could not move about the room.  Ok, you are dragging it out of me!  Ok, here it is: there was a bug on the floor the size of a mouse and still kicking when I opened the door to the bathroom.  Needless to say it freaked me out, it did not scare me but I was more uncomfortable after that.  So once down stairs I informed the desk clerk about the bug and he apologized and I went out with the intent to find a room.

I went to several hotel in the area and found that most were worst or as bad as the one booked for me.  I came across a building that at first looks to be an office building, yet up close I found it to be The Tokyo Inn.  When I walked in the shinny marble tile caught my attention and I knew that it was my new home for the night.  I ask the front desk clerk if I could see one of the rooms before booking and she informed me that it was not policy to show the room before booking, but to be assured that the rooms look just as the photos on the brochure.  I took her word for it and went back to the hotel and gathered my thing and moved out and yes still without a refund and with the bug still in the room.  I did however leave instruction with the desk clerk to give the room to one of the teachers that I was to meet there once they returned back to the hotel.

I contacted the event organizer (we’ll call him Mr. J) and informed him of the whole situation surrounding the condition of the room and my desire to sleep some place more comfortable.  He understood and agreed to have one of the guys use the room.  A few of the guys were sharing rooms to conserve on spending.  I requested my own room mainly because I did not know the people that I was meeting and to have my desired level of privacy and as you know privacy come at a price. I had to pay for two hotels just to get a good night’s rest.

Now once at the hotel I felt that my morning was getting better; it was now about 2am.  I checked into the room and found it to be smaller than the other room but it was immaculate and no critters running around.  I text Mr. J to inform him of my new sleeping arrangements and gave the room number and the location of the hotel.  We exchanged a few more texts and I fell off to sleep.  I awoke that morning at 9am and remembered that I had to check out by 10am.  I showered and got dressed and started my day.

I went back to Hotel X to make contact with Mr. J to find out what the daily events would look like.  I knocked on the door when Mr. J opened the door I found them still in rest mode.  I inquired about the events of the day and Mr. J said that they were still sleeping and about to get up soon.  I said ok and told him that I would be out and about and would seek them out.  I went back outside, now torn between them being asleep and me being alone in a strange city.  I made a decision to make the best of my day.  I walked for a bit and took some photos of the surrounding area near the hotel and the train station.

I walked back towards the hotel and sat on a bench in the park and noticed some buses lined up with people boarding.  I became curious and walked over and spoke to a taxi driver about what was going on and he offered to take me to the beach.  I told him that I was waiting for my friends asleep in the hotel.  He did not fight too hard for my business but did suggest the tour bus (www.citytourbusan.com) if I desire to have something to do until they contacted me.  At this time I see a young man board the bus and then I purchased a ticket and boarded the bus.  Once on the bus I took a seat in front of him and struck up a conversation; the events from that point got better.

We talked for a few minutes to get acquainted and he told that he was traveling alone and I asked if he would mind if I tag along and he agreed.  He had been to the city a few times and was ready for more exploring.  He took me around to places that he desired seeing and I was so happy to have someone to hang out with that I did not mind where he took me.  The bus took is to several different places and dropped us off and the next bus picked us up 45 minutes later or for as long as your desired without any extra cost.  The bus dropped us off at our first tour destination and we went to Geumryeonsan water front.   The rock formations are amazing as you can see by the photos. The next destination was Youngdo 75 Square to view more of the seaside.  The next destination was Taejongdae Park located at the southern tip of Youngdo and boasts of costal cliffs and the observatory situated on the tip of rock wall.  On this tour we took a decorative bus around the park.  The places we stopped off to visit were Gumyeongsa Temple, Observation Platform, Taewon Jagalmadang Pebble Beach and Taejongsa Temple.

The places are really beautiful and well kept.  After our few hours together and many photos and being really tired we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel where it all began. We said our goodbyes and parted ways after exchanging email addressed.  I caught the next bus back to Pyeongtaek and he took the subway.  I have not communicated with any of the teachers that I meet there yet not quite sure why, for I tried on numerous occasions to make contact Mr. J.  So overall it was very pleasing to witness a possible bad situation turn out so very well.

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May 16 2009

The Event of the Day

On May 10, 2009 I supported the 4th Mirinae Marathon Race sponsored by The Catholic University of Korea, Saint Vincent Hospital. The purpose of the event was to assist with the preservation of the environment and to save endangered species. The website is not in English but for those that speak Korean it is www.mirinairun.kr. There were assessed to be over forty thousand participants at the event. The Jasan English School in which I work supports the environment and I entered the race with their staff.

I ran in the 5km without the rest of my co-workers due to a slight registration over sight, they all ended up running in the 3km. It was cool considering that when I arrived across the finish line they were all there waiting for me. That is how I got the photo of me crossing the finish line. I think my time was over 25 minutes and I was just happy to finish the race considering how out of shape I am at the moment. I think I did as well as I did, was to the efforts and encouragement of many young Koreans that were in the race and some on the sidelines providing assistance for the runners.

A group of young teen guys talked to me before the race and as I ran they called me by name and asked me to wait for them as I passed. I was very tired and did not mind slowing down to catch a breather. At some point I had to run up a very steep hill and felt as if I was going into traction so I stopped running. There was a Korean man running next to me and when I stopped he stopped also and we talked as we walked quickly up the hill. Upon reaching level ground we started running again. I finally got my second wind and was able to advance ahead of many people that got a quicker start due to the number of people in the 5km event.

It was unfortunately that I got my second wind almost at the end of the run. I shook off all of the tiredness and physical weakness and put forth my best effort to finish the race in good standing. At the finish line I was greeted by a group of Korean as they place a bronze medal around my neck and offered me a bottle of water and a half cucumber. That was the best cucumber that I can ever recall eating. It really hit the spot considering I had not eaten any breakfast before the run. After I got myself in order and regain my energy my group and I went to have lunch.

While walking to the designated luncheon site I met a Korean guy and a Korean couple and we talked a bit and then took a few photos. I received the photos on Wednesday and hope to visit with the guy in Seoul at some point when I get the time.

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