Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So...2 months back in Canada during the summer were great. Good to see family and friends again, take in the sunshine and work up in Whsitler and listen to just a ton of great live music.

But...alas, September and fall was fast approaching and you know what that means. Get the &^#@ out of dodge. There were a few options but in the end the next destination and town for the Young family to stir up was to be Istanbul, Turkey.

Decision made on Aug24th, booked on the 25th, out of the country on the 1st. BUT...why transfer in Europe and come right here, school doesnt't start till the 8th. Transfer in Amsterdam, yah, we can spend a night and couple days 'relaxin' there.

Poor Jerry (dad) dropped off the rest of the teaching gypsies at YVR and we met up with another teaching friend we knew from Northern China (Paulette) at the airport. So, there we are, myself, Dushon/Scott (bro), Lynne (mom), and Paulette ready to (hopefully) enbrace a new langauge, culture and people in the not so far east.

Check the vid me and Lynne made -

Arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam in the early morn and setoff to find a hotel and a place to drop off bags. Dushon somehow still had a pretty good sense of direction around downtown Amsterdam even though I don't even want to imagine the condition he left last time through on his Europe trip.

Found us a place, dropped the bags, grabbed a shower and then next mission an Amsterdam Cafe. We came across a nice lil place called The Joker. Paulette is a born n bred BC women so she was more than happy to treat us broke (alcholic chronic) English teachers to a few g's. Upstairs, rollin, smokin and chillin was pretty sweet. It's built up so much and really from the BC days it wasn't anything mind boggling (the goods or the whole idea) just the fact that it's legal and sittin down with mom and a big spliff.

The weather was pretty miserable and we did as much trekking through the old alleys and along the cannels as possible but none of us were really dressed for the cool and rainy weather. Luckily there were more cafes along the road for us to 'dry off' in!

I was leadin for awhile and saw what looked like a cool old school and hip street that I decided to peruse. half way down i realize the hip look came from the red amber lights emenating from the side shops. look left, right, everywhere, ahhh girls in lingerie and less!!! as i did in Seoul i managed to unknowingly stumble into the red light district. guess i have a good sense of.....

The red light district (if i can say this) seemed to had more tradition and culture to it than the one in Seoul, but i think the one in Seoul was in square blocks more busy/full. didnt see shows in either place but had fun walkin and playin with the pimps and ladies.

Couldn't sleep as jet lag was in full effect but we also still had the remnants from the 3 cafes to finish before our mid-mornin flight the next day so we stayed up all night chillin and watchin some Dutch TV.

Took a wicked walk round the bay area and along some cannels by myself at dawn which was the best part of the trip for me.

A man is just a man,

Filled of faults and weakness,

For a young Jerusalem all alone and speechless.

Nighttime, nobody's home, roam streets in darkness.

I feel I'm just a man, flesh and bones, homeless.

- Matis Yahu

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Only one pic on Blogger. Too long ago. For more pics check out Facebook.
Ati-Atihan Festival -
All Photos --


These are the Chocolate Mountains on Bohol Island in the Philippines, named this because there are more than 1200 hills in the area that turn brown in the fall and look like scoops of chocolate ice cream. (still green in our picture)

We arrived in Manila with no real plans. We just knew the air tickets were really cheap from Xiamen, China (550rmb or $75 CAD) to Manila, so let’s go. Our friend Ken came from Canada to visit in China, but we only had 6 days there before the Phils so he thought he better come along too. So Ken, the boys, Colin and Scott, Jerry and I all jumped on the plane and here we are. Initially we thought we would only stay in the Phils with the boys for 2 weeks and then move on, but…. We love it so much it will be 6 weeks here instead! In fact, I like it so much I’m thinking it might be a good place to come back and teach next year. It’s great because the majority of people here (except village people) speak English. It makes it so much easier to travel and live than in China. (the teaching would be to Koreans who come here to study) Secondly, I love the people here. They have non-stop smiles, not just for tourists, but for each other. I’ve seen the very poor and still they are happy, smiling and participating in social fun. I think because the country is made up of thousands of islands there is lots of fish and seafood and people have enough food. As well they have a large family and community for support and socializing.

We started by arriving in Manila, hearing about a huge festival held on an island further north called Palay. It is the Mardi Gras of the Phils. We arrived in Iloilo. It was a bit off a culture shock. The main methods of transportation in the Phils are Jeepneys, which are like an elongated jeeps with an open back door for people to jump in and out. The back has 2 long benches and when it’s really packed a third bench can run down the middle. It can hold lots of people, especially if they are all Filipino. The roof has racks for holding… tires, bags of rice, people, goats, chickens, bamboo, beds, sofas…basically anything that needs moving!
The other common transportation is the tricycle which is a motorcycle with a sidecar attached.

As you can see the Filipinos are better at fitting onto/into a tricycle than us !
You can see the empty spot by Jerry for me…but I had to jump out to get the photo!
Loading up the drums, ready for the festival to begin.

All of the same things can be carried on this tricycle that can be put on the Jeepney! The tricycles are noisy and put out a lot of pollution which are the things I don’t like about the Phils. I like the tricycles, just not what they produce for noise and fumes. We’ve been having fun piling into the tricycles and now have the seating arrangement perfected for the best ride.

The Kalibo festival was crazy and so much fun! Have not danced so much in years. Basically the Phils is made up of many different tribes, speaking different dialects as well as Tagalog and most English too. Each tribe or neighborhood creates their own dance and costume for the competitions.

The huge and numerous drums begin at 7 am and the street dancing begins
carrying on all day and night until about 4 am, then all begins again the next day. They welcome visitors and pull you into the crowd to join them.
It is the tradition to wipe charcoal on your face and body before dancing. Large burned woks are upside down along the street so people can take off the black soot from the bottom to smear on your face and body.(so..ok…you have to be there to appreciate this one) Some people cover their whole body in the charcoal.

If it wasn’t a festival and I ran into some of the people on the street I would be afraid. After all, the head hunting days here aren’t that long ago. (Apparently today they use guns for tribal wars, tourists aren’t at risk and they use animals for the sacrifices and mount their heads on their sticks instead of people’s heads… this isn’t all areas …according to some Filiponos I’ve talked to)

One of the dance highlights was the snake dance. Basically it is like the western train dance where you hold on to the person shoulders in front of you and make a long dancing line. The difference was this was 100’s of ‘snakes’ and thousands of people so sometimes you moved fast, others you were squished and ducking other ‘snakes’ of people. It managed to keep us amused for 2 nights for hours on end! They love the golden oldies songs here so it was a trip down memory lane too.

Many of the elders still have the elaborate tattoos of the past and in the villages wear traditional clothing instead of western clothing. The clothing choice of the middle class in the cities is basketball shorts and jerseys Every area has a basketball hoop, albeit some are very rustic. Filipinos at the beach usually swim in their clothes rather than swim suits. The culture is a very interesting combination of conservative sexual thinking in their dress and public attitudes, yet the jokes conversations and innuendos are very sexually vivid. Some places the dancing has also been this way. Of course the villages and small towns are the most conservative. One town had a sign at the tourist center which stated “Tourists must dress appropriately in the town and there is no kissing or petting allowed.” I questioned our tour guide about this. He said men cannot be without a shirt in the town, only in their homes. Women shouldn’t wear spaghetti straps or short shorts. He said as a guide it is difficult for him because often couples ask him to take their picture in a scenic spot and then they kiss in the picture. He must ask them not to do that in this town. This was after he took us on an unexpected spelunking trip through some beautiful caves. The nickname of the caves were the ‘Pornographic Caves” where he was eagerly pointing out all of the vividly sexual formations within the caves. I asked him not to corrupt my poor boy’s mind. Now, the interesting thing is that we thought we were mountain trekking for the day and didn’t realize the caves were there. Usually people wear their swim suits because in some parts you have to get your ‘navel wet’ as he said. … we didn’t want to miss the caves, but we didn’t have a change of clothes with us because ewe left our bags in the next town. He agreed we could just take off our clothes in the cave as long as no other people were there. So, I imagine this 27 year old guide had a few stories to tell about us that night at the bar!

The last week the boys were with us we headed to North Luzon north of Manila.

There we headed up into the mountains into the northern provinces. Once we crossed the border into the Mountain Province, the roads became dirt with many washed out places and ruts. One person we met said the province didn’t vote for the current government leader so no money was given to the province and people, instead it lined the pockets of the government leaders. The roads were dramatic and harrowing.

Often there was only a foot to spare to the edge with hundreds of feet dropping off on the side. Sometimes the bus top would barely clear the rock overhangs we went under, so much for the luxury bus.... “…air conditioning …”of course…they said. Well, it was hot and to make matters worse Ken was riding in the front seat, the rest of us were scattered throughout the bus. Ken kept complaining about the lack of A/C to the driver and then the driver’s helper would turn on the fan up to High to keep him happy…unknown to Ken every time he said something…the fan sucked up all the dust from the dirt road and blew it right through the A/C vents into everyone’s faces. Soon there was a routine, everyone would hear the big guy up front start to complain and then grab something to cover their heads and mouths. By the time we got to the first rest stop we were all filthy, looking as though someone had dumped brown talc powder over our heads… and feeling a little peeved at Ken.

We filled in him on the problem with the fan…of course he was about the only clean person left on the bus. When I slapped my leg a huge cloud of dust rose from my pants. So when he got in he said to the driver…”look, just tell me if the A/C doesn’t work and I will leave you alone. Everyone cringed when they heard him talking to the driver again…but now he was content and just sat back and enjoyed the heat. We did remind him he could be home in the snow, rain and cold! So we arrived to a mountain city to explore.

The buses drive into the river after for a much needed ‘car wash’.

The Filipinos there are much more traditional than other places and have a little different culture than on other islands and of course each one has their own local dialect to speak. We enjoyed going to the villages and learning about their traditions. For example, in the mountains, weddings are held outside and a water buffalo is sacrificed for the wedding food. The woman’s family must supply the food.

Then the horns are mounted on the walls of the building in remembrance of each of wedding couples. There were fire pits where the men would meet, Each rock of the fire pit is a symbol of victory over a neighboring tribe.)

The elder council, to decide things about village life, they still have their own methods of enforcing tribal rules/laws that are different than the usual Philippine laws. They used to sacrifice and hunt human heads, but now use pigs and chickens. There was also a hut where all unmarried women must move and live together once they reached puberty and became women. Women often were married by their teens.

One night in another nearby town we had asked about getting a massage. The owner of the guest house called in a woman for us. Well, the 4 guys all looked at each other and shook their heads no…I also felt this, but then tried to rise above her appearance and just enjoy a nice massage. Ok…I admit, she looked liked one tough cookie…I felt she could break me in two…she came up to my room and she did shed her big jacket, but never her wool toque (winter knitted cap) She turned out to be very nice and gave a decent massage too. However, it was difficult to relax when part way through a pig was squealing for a long time. She explained that the funeral we had seen on the streets earlier had been going on 10 days and nights and every night at midnight the family must sacrifice a pig. The pig’s squealing was when it was tied upside down to the pole and paraded down the street. It was killed in the middle of the town and a big fire was made for cooking it right in the middle of the street. Apparently the man who died was rich so the funeral had to last many days and the family had to feed the town every day. The masseuse invited me to go and join her, the food was free and I was welcome to join, but somehow I had no appetite for pork.

We hiked for the day through the terraces.

It was beautiful, the view was great and I really liked meeting and watching the local hill people.

They live a very simple and isolated lifestyle. They sleep inside, work and cook outside underneath their houses. The wealthier ones have tin roofs like this one, the more poor have a thatched roof.

Colin - Yup, it was an amazing trip. A little of everything, white beaches, mountain treks, partying, dancing, great people and of course all with the familia.

We had to do another jumping shot at the waterfall!

We visited a school up in the mountainside village. It was very simple, but I was surprised at how nice the classrooms were.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

After a loooooooong break from Bloggin its time to get back into the writing and offering of random pics and pieces of mind.

I'm gonna 1st post stories and pics that my mom (Lynne) wrote from our trip in the Phils in Jan 08. (Which i promised on my emails but never followed-up on)

After that, China, Korea and Asia are a thing of the past. (for now)

This time the Life and Times has sailed a bit shorter east, the stop (minus a stop in Holland) this time around. ISTANBUL, TURKEY.

Be in touch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Grand Finale: The Last Big Night and a Recovery Day

Well, after the DJ Festival, which did prove to be the best night of the week, what rae we to do to follow that up?

What better way to spend a Saturday night than in Hongdei (bigegst University and party area_ in Tin Pan. TinPan is, ummm, an interesting place not really comparable to anything at home, but a little like a Blues meets Hit Bar for those Harbin people. It's abuot half foreigners, half Korean. The majority of forigners are North American, but there are still plenty of English,Chinese, Indian, and pretty much anywhere you can think of. The thing I like about this place is that the people are approachable.

One of the biggesgt turn-offs to me in Korea is the unaproachable people. Don't get me wrong, if you do say hi to many Koreans they will say hi back, and if you are lost or have a problem many will be more than genrous enough to help you. What I'm talking about is in most pubs/restaurants/bars Koreans not only don't talk to foreigners, but also other Koreans. Rarely will a group of people meet and inter-mingle with other groups. So, when going out for a night, it can be hard with only two people to find people willing to, shall we say, shoot the shit. TinPan is quite the opposite, whether male/female, Korean/Foreigner, people will come UP TO YOU and talk.
It's also nice and cheap. So, instead of repeated runs ro the bar, we do the asian thing. A bottle of liqs at our table. This night we chose....

Jack Daniels. Sure it seems like alot, but with 6 people drinking on it, it managed to dissapear within about 20 minutes. The dance floor is usually well and packed (sometimes too full) and by the end of the night it's not uncommon to find people up and the tables and chairs dancing the night away.

If you get bored of the same old bar happenings (as most do) you are till in the middle of a big Uni area and the options are countless. I'v found myself out at teh nearby park chililng out, at another pub, or even just chilling on the side of the street meeting randoms as they walk by.

Here is my buddy Ariel having some fun with Sungku outside TinPan.

Richie wanted some too, but got a different treatment.

So, obviously had a great night AGAIN. Met lots of people and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Only thing left to do is get home. How we get home depends entirely on how much we've, shall we say, given'r. An early night, between 1-4 means a 20,000 won taxi home (not bad $20 for a 30-40 minute drive), or if we manage to stay up to the early morn, it's the good old subway home.

You see quite the characters on the subway obviously as it's early early Sunday morning. Lokos at this guy, what happened to him. Hehe

Yes, that would be Ryan. It's his 2nd subway sprawl of the week and he's getting used to it. It's an interesting mix the drunks with the early morning time-to-go-to-church'ers. But we usually are pretty, ummm, quiet shall we say.

Last Day

After a good nights sleep it's up and ready to go for the last day. Ryan and I met a Korean girl in Harbin last summer who was hopnig to meet up so we headed downtown to say hi. Grabbed some yummy friend chicken (Koreans are well known for their little batter and crispy fried chicken) and listened as Ryan and her chatted on in Chinese.

After the food, we headed to Insa-Dong. It's the main tourist attraction geared toward traditional Korean goods and memorabilia. It's always busy and although most of the stuff I don't care for, there are always lots of people watching to do. As you can see, it can get a 'lil busy:

A look down the main drag at Insa-Dong

There are always people givin out free hugs.

After walking around a couple blocks and having enough of the busy area, we searched and found Jongyesa (Jongye Temple). It's the bigegst and oldest Buddhist temple in Seoul and Buddha's birthday was just around the corner. The sky was filled with small lanterns and there were big animal lanterns which were to be put on floats scattered around the temple grounds. There is a good site with pics here. The following Sunday was a huge 2 hour Buddhist parade, which unfortunately we didn't have our camera for.

After the temple we headed down to City Hall Square where it was the ending ceremonies of the HiSeoul Festival. If was great luck that the boys had decided to come to Korea in perfect timing to catch as much of the festival as they could. It was only a 25 minute walk from where we were, so we decided to walk it. Ryan was imnpressed by the millenium building, a major landmark of central Seoul.

We enjoyed the last sunset in downtown with the heavy fog on a nice shade of yellow before we got to the festival grounds. The ending festival had plenty of seats and we were hoping for more B-Boy shows or fun dances, although it ended up being classical music.

Supposedly some famous Korea classical muscician. We lasted about 20 minutes and then decided, hey, Spiderman 3 just came out. That would be much more fun. So, off we went.

We had to wait a little before the movie. And without and Sortsplex across the street to keep us busy beforehand, Ryan (Skins) decided to provide us with some of his own entertainment.

The movie itself was pretty good. A nice relaxing way to spend the last night.

We headed off to home tired from the week, but good and exciting. Why? Well, this had only been the first week of a two-week asian tour for Richie. I wasn't planning on letting him do it along. So, where to next. Where else but a Dushonville. Tomorrow morning, we're off to Xiamen, China. The stories have only begun.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 5

So Thursday is one of my more busy days of the week (I have 2 hours of kindy in the morning before my other 5 hours of class) so Sungku took the boys out for a tour of Olympic Park. I've never been myself and since it was a lovely day, they figured they should get a little exercise and fresh air so they can make it through the weekend.

What's 0-2-4?
Olympic Park was created for the 1988 Seoul Olmpics and they've kept it in good condition and even made continued improvements in the recent months. Concerts and events are often held in the area, uncluding the recenty Korean phenom, B-Boy Dancing.

Other interests of the park include all kinds of crazy art stuatues and displays from all over the world. Some nice forested area and one of the only places in Seoul to get some peace and quiet.

Night 5

I got home just about the same time as the rest of them did. Grabbed a quick dinner at home and started on the beers. In the recent months me and a group of friends have been having poker nights here in Seoul and using the 100 won coins as chips. I got Richie to bring me over my set from home, so tonight, it's poker time.

Maybe some people will say, why go all the way across the world to play poker, but then they mustn't be poker players who know how sociable the game is. And definetly not Langley poker players, who manage to spend more of the Liqs than they do the game and use it as a pre-drinking activity rather than the old school drinking games.

So, had a good few people over and went at 'er. Ottowa Jeff took the loot, but being the kind, get-rid-of-your-money-as fast-as-you-can type of person, he gave it to teh Chinese boys who were complaining of the high costs in Korea. Course this also could have been due to Skins' crying all game about us playing the not 'strict tourny' rules and not wanting to lose his money.

Anyways, we made it out to Iteawon later in the night. Checked out some FA Cup (Man U vs Chelsea), wrote a whole bunch of Duhsons on pub walls, danced a little, ate a lot, and had a good time.

Day 6

As always, another work day for me. But work was the last thing on my mind as this Friday night was the much anticipated DJ Festival. I had had 3 4-person tents and tickets all pre-bought a month in advance and this was to be the pinnacle of the whole week.

On the way to the Festival

Even on my one hour break I went home to continue my prep (mostly consisting of pre-mixing my juice/tonic/lemon/lots of gin). After a good hike to get there, we finally found the place at about 930ish and Sungku was coooking some meat on the BBQ.

Iranian friend Sinisha

She showed my the empty bottle of rum, the beers, and the garbage splayed everywhere from an already hammered group of Langley boys at a campout. I knew they arrived back after I heard some "Ole, Ole, Ole' chant over the edge of the headge and a whole bunch of 사랑해요's (I love you). Indeed, they were at a state which I know led to such debauchery as fighting/puking/losing cell phones/wallets/ and whatever else a careless alchoholic can find the energy to muster up.

The night was awesome. We continued BBQ'ing and meeting random other people also camping out. There were 3 stages about a 5 minute walk from our tents. One main stage with about 1000 people at it, and two smaller stages with anywher from 50-300 at diferent points in teh night. We also found a group of hippies baning away on the bongos in a little sand playground. Very cool cause they were all squatting or splayed in and around all the jungle gym.
I wish I got more pics of the whole event, but Richie was smart enough not to bring his camera and Sungku's was acting all funnny that night. Some good pics can be found here though. Its a facebook photo album so log into Facebook first.
I remember at one point dancing at the side of the mass of people on the main stage with my English buddy Rich. He hadn;t met my bro yet and since most of our group had gone back to the tent area we thought we would snake our way through the crowd. It didn't take us long to spot him. Why. It's a Dushon. Within 2 minutes we see a group of about 6 Korean girls all dancing with big smiles on their face...across from them...a dushon with arms flailing and an even bigger smile on his face.

We met some good people that night. One guy is now my new Korean tutur. Another guy Jeff has brought out to soccer games. I've met a few foreigners at the clubs since, and Richie had a little fun in one of our tents with a nice little lady.

I think I passed out like 4 or so in the morning. I woke up at 930 with Sungku tugging on my shirt saying we had to pack up and be out of the tents by 1000. So, out I rolled and tried to wake up the rest of the crew. I found Dushon like this:

I was told he passed out outside the tents on the ground with only that blanket. We were all in pretty rough shape and planned to head towards home for some rest. 'Course nearing home we decide the day would be wasted the minute we stepped in the door, and we just happened to be passing the beach area of the Han River so, hey, why not go get some Z'z on the beach.

It was only a hope. Turns out the Korean food festival is going on right outside the subway station and, guess what, we hadn't had breaky. So, bring on more meat, some traditional Korean bibimbap (mixed vegies and rice) and yes, of course, the traditional Korean rice wine.

Me, Jeff and Sungku had a bit of a rest on the grass for a bit while the other guys went on the search for a littel more drink to bring to us. After an hour or so we figured we should go find them, they might be lost. Well. Not quite They had made it back to our original table and had ordered not one bottle of rice wine, but 3. They had also managed to start Chinese Gan-bei'ing (bottoms up) and were once again, in another blurred state. Dushon was passed out on the table within 30 minutes of that and Sungku and Ryan had to take him home. Me, Richie and Ariel were the men who had to stay behind to do the evil deed. Finish of the liqs.
Made it home, and out it was. But no, not for the whole night. Just a little power nap before another go at 'er again. That'll be the next and final Korean post.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Night 5 (I think)

Well, since this was all about a month ago now, some of the days and nights are blurring together. This is another good night. Richie had manged to get a number from a girl one of the first nights he was in Seoul. The three boys headed off to Apgujeong (the richest part of Korea) to meet her and a friend she was bringing out.

I, of course, was working again, but me and Sungku headed out there and met them at a pub where they'd been for a good while now. They had all had a good number of beers and tequila shots by the time we got there. Richie and the girl were pretty, ummm, close should I say, and the other boys were semi-irate at the other girl for leaving.

First of all, they let me know how expensive Seoul was to eat at. Before they told me anything more, I told them they let 2 Korean girls pick where to eat in Apgujeong. Bad move. Koran girls love to spend money on (what I call) nothing more than mediocre. They had Japanese food and of course the girls didn't even budge to get cash for the 80$ meal. Not good when you convert it to Chinese Yuan for two of the guys.

The boys with the 'other' girl

As well, the boys told the girls their real ages. Skins and Scott being 23 and Richie 24. Both girls were 25. Right away, the girls friend she brought changed her attitude and said she didn't like young guys who were in mature and no experiences. It wasn't that, that got the guys going, but her saying she has to leave at 10 o'clock or her parents will be angry with her. She just cut the guys off for being too young, and no she says she has a CURFEW. In Korea, a curfew if normal when you live with your parents (and especially when you are a girl). My gf had to be home at 12 most nights and she was 28!!!

Anyways, we continued with the 2000 ($2) won tequila shots and beer. It was a nice pub with a wicked name. Will be back again I hope.

Skins is happy at the " What Sub' Pub

From right: Me, Sungku, Richie, Richies girl (name who knows)

From there we headed out and across the street to another 안주(side dish with drinks) house where you get to choose three random side dishes for $12. Cheap beer and soju are also involved. There we continued to fog our brains while entwining another table in our despair. The two China boys had been speaking Chinese lots since nobody (they thought) understood them. 'Course one of the girls understood, they noticed, and they were over at their table within the minute. A relatively quiet group of Koreans, but we were bouncing back and forth between tables and making their night more lively than they expected.

Skins scaring a random Korean guy.

Another occasion was on the subway when they were speaking Chinese, about what else, a pretty girl on the train. After a couple of minutes of talking, once again they realize an older women had a huge smile on her face and her ears looked like they were burning. They gave an uh-oh, and asked her if she spoke Chinese. She did, and they talked with her a bit about it. She was actually friendly and talked with them... I think if it was an older Korean women who understood them, she would have been outraged and angry and not given them a 2nd chance to chat.

Suungku and her friend Justine (Scott was fixed Justine would be his future wife)

Back to the night. The 안주 bars can be a bit quiet, so once we noticed our eyes were closing it was off we went. There are two main bars in the area and we sat at the intersection contemplating which to try. We chose the right, and Sungku talked to them about which was better to get in. They said it's all the same ownership so you can go in both for one cover price (about $10). So, we head in to find the place absolutely empty. There were about 6 people in the bar, but I think they were all paid to be in there and dance. We left the bar and Richie and Dushon broke into a 'strike a pose' dance as I have called it. Take a look...

We were quite disappointed. We got our one free drink with cover, jumped around by ourselves on the dance floor and then decided to check out the other place (expecting it to be about the same.) We got into the other place, turned the corner and boom, like 20 people in line to check their coats. The place was 300 people or so and the drinks were even cheaper. Not sure why the bouncer didn't just ell us to go there in the first place, but oh well, they're bouncers. We gav'er well that night. Danced, drank, chatted, and what not. The other guys were torched as they started long before me. Dushon was trying to walk up the stairs, missed, and his foot went right the the hold between steps. Fell over, and took another Korean with him. Up comes the bouncer. He;s thinking, oh well, it was fun, but I'm gonna get kicked out. The bouncer says "Hey, I like your style, let me buy you a drink." Scott's a little confused, but says, sure and off they go.

We managed to get home OK. Although in the end my first guess was true. We were in the ritzy area of town, and the boys had no luck talking, or even dancing with anyone without getting a snubbed nose or a back in the face. All in all, another good night in the books.

Almost done with the Korean week. Only 1 more to come. Colin

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 4

We started our first day all together heading to Sejong University where Sungku graduated. I have been going there once a week for some Korean tutoring and since my new tutor is a cute girl, the boys decided they'd like to come too.

Unfortunately, I didn't warn her they were coming and saying she is shy is an understatement. Course our hung over states didn't help, and we decided to just et some grub instead. Ryan and Scott didn;t even touch their food, but managed half way through breaky to go have a smoke and came back in 15 mins later with a pitcher (1.6 L) of Cass Red (6.9% beer).

Anyways, after the meal she had some excuse or other to get away from us as fast as possible. Sungku was feeling sick so she went home, and the four LBC boys were left to meander around on a sullen gray day.

Children's Big Park was just across the street so we headed over as I know there are some animals and fountains to see there at least. The China Boys were enthralled with the little Korean kids running all around and of course they said how much cuter they were than Chinese kids. 'Course everywhere I go people always say the kids look better than at home. Guess it's jsut whats new and different always looks better.

The boys also enjoyed the Korean midle school girls. I never really saw many school uniforms in China, so their eyes were buggin when they realized most girls wore plaid skirts and ties to school here in Korea. Of course they had to get a pic.

The park was quite fun and we got a godo chuckle out of the animals. This next vid is hilarious to us, but not sure if you'll quite get the same kick out of it. Just listen to the words at the start. LOL.

Not sure if there were any don't feed the animal signs, but the Koreans didn't listen anyways. Here are some monkeys that kept us amused for probably a solid half hour.

Considering the lousy day, we made the most of it. I had to take off and go back to work...yah, somebody still has to pay the big Korean bills.

I directed the boys to a downtown area where they could see some traditional stuff, as well as some, not so traditional girls. Late in the day they said they managed to get out fo teh subway, but stopped and chilled at the Family Mart (Korea's 7-11) drinking water and coffee for a couple of hours, then headed right home.

The first time he's been behind the wheel in a long time.

They did enjoy the construction south of the Han River. Coming from Langley, where you never see a see 20 in a 2 block radius is quite the sight.

Sim City Korea

Be back again, soon. Colin

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 3

Well...after a few hours sleep it was time to roll out of bed. For what. Well a Canucks playoff hockey game of course. I found a site where I can watch live hockey right from CBC. In the end maybe I would have rather not watched it, but hey, at least the Dallas series ended right.

I had to work in the early afternoon so Scott and Richie headed off into Seoul for the day. They were planning on going to a underwater bridge (10 cm's underwater) where you could walk across the mighty Han River and feel like your walking on water.

They manged to order some noodles by themselves at a little basement restaurant. From the picture I figured out they had eaten Japanese U-Dong.

From their accounts, they managed to see the bridge, but was most easily distracted from a peculiar traditional looking boat.

This may have been a traditional boat in the past, but now, due to Korea's recent craze it had been turned into a soccer boat.

Richie was in heaven, Scott, well...he enjoyed himself at least (although probably stepping on/running over at least a couple of kids).

I met back up with Scott and Richie right away after work as the final member of the reunion was arriving at the bus station. Skins (Ryan) arrived easliy and I met him just as he got off the bus.

Seoul Subway Platform

Like father like son

We sat down at the closest little food tent and got ourselves a round of brews to celebrate the final arrival.

Not too sure what happened in the evening, I think lots of stories and drinks at my place and a good sleep to get ready for the next day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 2

It couldn't have been better timing for the boys to come visit Korea as it was the Hi-Seoul Festival all week long. Day 2 (Sunday the 28th) there was an International Food Festival in downtown Seoul and we were gonna be there.

We got off a subway station early and had some troubles finding the food fair, but no worries, it's downtown Seoul, we were well entertained by the Korean belly dancers, the free juice and the beuatiful Cheongyecheon (a newly renovated stream running through the middle of town).

We were quite happy when we finally found the food fair as we hadn't really eaten breakfast yet and were ready to try something new. We tried some breads and spices from Sudan, some falafels from Isreal, some spring rolls from Combodia and some kind of friend rice from Kazhakstan (sorry no pics of any of the food). The german beer line was too long so we decided to go next door to the drink stand without any lineup...the Russian Vodka.

The Russian in his mid-twenties talked to us a bit and when he found out we were Canadian started giving us trouble about this past years Olympics. 'Course me and Richie didn't take that likely so we just reminded him about the past howevermany juniors, Crosby over Ovechkin, and of course the '78 Summit Series. We had a good laugh and he gave us another free shot for 'The Great One'.

Just across from the food was a big grass area and stage with dancers and performers. Korea has some of the best B-Boy dance talent in the world and I throroughly enjoyed their little routine up in the spotlight.

We met up with one of Sungku's friends 복희 (Bok-Hui) and watched the ending of the food fair with dances and songs from each country.

Night 2

After the show ended we headed for Seoul Station where we were planning on meeting the one and only Dushon (my brother) in about an hour. Just as I was met in China for the first time, we met him with an open beer and open arms.

We headed right for my most visited night stop in Korea, Konkuk University (known in Kora as KonDei). We went for again, another of my favourite meals, 닭갈비 (tack-galbi) or chicken breast with cabbage, sweet potato, onions and spicy pepper sauce all friend up in front of you.

Another of Sungku's friends met us and we started to get the night rolling with the one and only Soju and Cass (beer).

After dinner we headed to my local watering whole when there's nothing else to do. Kabooom. Yes, that's the name of the bar... it's a place that's caught in the middle of being a pub and club. There is little to no dancing, music that ranges from K-Pop, to Britney, to Green Day, to Rage and every once in a while they fill the room using a smoke machine.

Anyways, they have my favorite beer and tap and it's pretty cheap at 2.50 a pint. Well, we did'er up well. Another good thing about the place is the guy/girl ratio and there are usually tables full of girls by themselves. Well, this night proved no differerent...and for two boys from the LBC and one from Ottowa it proved to much at once.

Everything was good till near the end....I've met the manager of the place before who speaks pretty good English, and I thought he was pretty cool, but that night he wasn't enjoying the 4 white boys dancing, shouting and having a hell of a good time. He talked to Scott, Richie, and Jeff on seperate occasions about how the girls don't want to talk to them and can they please leave the other people alone.

Well, we managed to talk to pretty much every person in the place (20-30) and the boys managed to get about 4 numbers out of it all. Scott and Richie were talking to these 2 girls for near 2 hours and nobody was acting too out of line so by the end when we're gathered and talking about our stories we realize this guys told them all to pretty much F. off.

Considering our state we let him know what we thought about his 'cock-blocking' and how the girls would not have given us their numbers if they didn't want to talk to us..let alone not just tell us to leave. He tried to give his reasons, but in the end it was three white boys just tearing into this guy about how he's a prick and how he shouldn't try and control who they talk to.

In the end, me and Sungku quited them down and rounded them up and out of the bar with no problems. It was a hell of a good night, and once again, the little troubles only make for better stories in the end. As I taught my class today, all is well that ends well.

More to come. Same Red Milla, same Red Pages.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Well. It's been a while. Not because I've been keeping quiet, but more that I've been crazy busy and have had too little time to write. Well...after one of the most fun months of my is part one of many more to come.

The Setting:

A gathering of 4 of the best friends from Langley, BC.
Me: Colin (Red), currently working in Seoul, Korea
My girlfriend: Sungku, working and living with me in Seoul, Korea
My brother: Scott (Dushon), currently working in sunny Xiamen, China
My friend: Ryan (Skins), currently working in freezing Harbin, China
My friend: Richard (Richie), currently working in Vancouver, Canada

When and Where
Everyone was arriving the last weekend of April and staying in Korea for a week. Me, Scott, Ritchie and Sungku were heading to South China for a week in Xiamen after that. Me and Sungku had to come back but Richie stayed for one more week down South with Scott. Then Richie came back up here ( because of a round trip flight to and from Seoul) for one last week and hurrah.

The What and How....well here we go.....

Night 1:

As everywhere in Asia for a Westerner, things don't flow as easy and smooth as they do for us back home. So, Richie had a nice 30 minute wait wondering where the &*^# I was upon arrival. It was his first time on a plane even so I know he was a bit overwhelmed by everything already. Anyways...found him eventually, and made it to none other than my favourite Korean food right away...돼기갈비 (BBQ Pork Ribs).

Luckily I warned him I have my own methods to fight off jet's called going out until early the next morning, sleeping most of the day, getting up and doing it again, and then it's Monday!

And what better way to do that then the last Friday of every month in Seoul. CLUB NIGHT! This means you pay 15,000 WON (it's about $1 US to 1000 WON) and you get a drink and entry to like 15 clubs. So...we managed to hit up about 10 of them...loose Richie for a few hours in between...make some new friends, and have a very solid first night.

Day 1:

After sleeping 'till about 1ish and waking up to a most beautiful sunny day of about 26 degrees, we thought what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon that at the ballpark. Good thing for us, there are two teams home field about 15 minutes from my house. So three o'clock rolls up, and it's beer and breakfast outside the ball park.

I know many of you are thinking, a ballgame, how boring, I'd rather watch golf. Where not here in Korea, it was wicked. Chanting every single batter, singing, dirt cheap drinks and food and sitting on the winning side of the field made it by far the best baseball game I've ever seen (even beating out the Yankees vs. Red Sox in Yankee Stadium)!!!

The cheerleaders were bad dancers but mighty sexy just as I've seen at every sports contest here in Korea, but the pinnacle was the game ending just as the sun went down and our side cheering away with a song about Busan (our side was the Busan Lotte Giants.)

The other video of the game itself isn't working yet. Will be up soon.

More to come...gotta take a little at a time.