Autumn in Yeosu is, in my opinion, not as outstanding as in some other areas of South Korea, such as Mt. Seorak or Jiri Mountain. In no way is it anywhere near as spectacular as in the northeastern part of the United States, with its glorious maples, or in the western part of the nation, with aspen groves golden against the snow-covered peaks of the Rockies. Still, there are some very nice areas, especially around the university campus.
The season is almost over now, but there are a few groves of resistance to the inevitable. Like dowagers in tattered gowns, a few trees still stand out against the greenery of the pines, gradually shedding their rust-colored leaves, hurried along by the brisk breezes that we seem to get everyday. But, the glory days have fled in advance of the approaching winter, my least favorite season.
So, in memory of the fine autumn days that we had, here are a few snippets for your enjoyment. More later.
Here are several from around campus.
Students enjoying a walk
Looking Toward Horang Mountain
Campus Autumn 2
Campus Autumn 3
Campus Autumn 1
Campus Autumn 4
And a few from Odongdo (Odong Island) and Jasan Park, near the Expo site.
Bamboo Grove on Odongdo
Odongdo from near Jasan Park
Flowers in Jasan Park
Admiral Yi Sun-shin Monument at Jasan Park
Enjoying the Autumn Colors at Jasan Park
Autumn at Jasan Park
Anti-aircraft Replica at UN Memorial at Jasan Park
Yup, it’s the time of year for a couple of things. First, Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends in the States and to all Americans wherever you happen to be. For me, it’s just another day, a regular working day, no less. I won’t be cooking up anything special; I’m having pork cutlets, mashed potatoes and some baked beans (cooked on the stove). I don’t have an oven, so roasting a turkey or chicken is out of the question; I content myself with memories of past Thanksgivings. I can smell the turkey roasting in the kitchen right now, and I remember the smell of the pumpkin pie being baked the evening before. Mmmmm, are you all enjoying the aromas, too? Getting ready to sit down to a nice feast, and watch a football game afterward? Maybe later playing some board games with the kids? Whatever you do, have a great day!
Let’s see, what am I thankful for? I guess I’m thankful for making it through another year. By that I mean my ??th birthday, coincidentally, falls on Thanksgiving this year (or vice-versa), as it does every 7 years or so. Whoopee! Party time! Break out the good Scotch and light the cake! Well, I was gonna light the candles, but I’m afraid of starting another out-of-control conflagration. (See here and here.) I had to quit adding candles about here and was afraid to light them up.
Also, taking all of the candles back out so that I could eat a thousand or so calories of goo just wasn’t worth it, so I threw the whole mess out. Happy Birthday, MontanaRon and Happy Thanksgiving to all. More later.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been busy job hunting. Yes, I’m leaving Chonnam University here in Yeosu at the end of February for various reasons that I won’t go into now. No, I haven’t been fired and, no, nothing earth-shaking has been going on. I’ll write another post later and fill everyone in on the details, more or less.
I’ve sent out more than a few applications, and, as a matter of fact, I had an interview yesterday with the good folks at Hanseo University up in Seosan, a smallish city about an hour-and-a-half bus ride south-west from Seoul. However, from Yeosu I had to take the bus to Seoul and then another bus to Hanseo Uni. That’s about 11 hours round-trip normally, but because there was some road construction and the inevitable traffic jam in Seoul, it took 13 hours. I didn’t want to stay overnight in Seoul, so it was a long trip up and back.
I think the interview went OK, but there’s a lot of competition for English-teaching jobs in Korea, so I’ll have to sweat it out for a while until I find out if I got the position. I’ll let you know more about this whole thing later. In the meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping for a good outcome.
Today, Saturday, we had to work several hours to fulfill with our contractual obligations, so we had a fun day with our special Vision English classes. As happened last year at this time, I was asked to be Santa Claus in one of the activities we did. Huh!? Well, our students had to go around to various places on campus in a scavenger hunt activity, find the relevant teacher, and complete the English language tasks that were assigned. For SantaRon (yours truly), the students had to tell me two presents they wanted for Christmas and one present they didn’t want, and they had to give me reasons for wanting and not wanting the gifts. We also had some sports activities in the afternoon, which were interrupted by rain.
Not withstanding the fact that a normal day off was taken away, everyone seemed to have a good time, including me. But Santa wasn’t impressed.
Where’s the Action
Anyway, it was all kinda fun, despite the rain and Santa’s boredom. It’s still raining quite heavy right now with more to come later, but Santa’s kind of happy to be high and dry in his apartment, wondering where Rudolph is hangin’ out, and dreading another Christmas run. Ho-ho-ho. More later.
I’d been wanting to hike up the mountain just behind the Expo for quite some time, so a few weekends ago I finally decided to give it a go. Maraesan (Marae mountain) stands at 385 meters high (1263 feet), but it isn’t that steep of a hike to the top, as I was to find out. First, though, I had to find a trail. Just about every hill and mountain around here has numerous paths going to the top, so it wasn’t too difficult to find one to Marae. I assumed I could stumble across one if I went behind the traditional Korean hotel just up the hill from the Expo. Sure enough, I found one, so up I went. Here’s a shot of the mountain, and the traditional hotel, which was under construction when I took this photo, is almost smack dab in the middle of the scene, just up and to the left of the Big O. (Click on the photo a couple of times to enlarge it.)
Expo Overview from Jasan Park
Here’s the present-day hotel from a short way up the trail.
Traditional Korean Hotel
The trail forked into three just a short way from the start, and the first two I tried seemed to be dead ends just a short way along, so I finally opted for the third one, which took off to the right, the direction I needed to go. Not too far along, it started to dwindle and it eventually came out into a large field of quite old burial mounds and wandered into smaller ones. Eventually, it petered out altogether, but I decided to bushwhack towards the bulk of the mountain; I assumed I would eventually stumble onto another trail. Well, after hacking my way through copious amounts of thick spider webs and bleeding slightly from a razor-like thorn bush, I began to think that this wasn’t such a hot idea.
Here’s a close-up of one of the tomb guardians. There was no one else around and all was silent. Being a fan of the Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, I could imagine being in the Barrow Downs, hoping not to awaken any tomb wights.
I could almost see the top of the small hill that I was on, so I thrashed my way up, thinking that I could probably spot a better route at the top. I broke through the brush and, surprise, came out to a broad, well-used trail! It must have been one of the supposed dead ends that I didn’t use. (On the way back, I found out that it was.)
The rest of the hike to the top of Marae was pretty ho-hum with but a few steep stretches, but with plenty of clearings to catch the increasingly beautiful views of Yeosu and the harbor. Here are several more photos I took as I made my way higher.
Expo from Mt. Marae
Once you reach the ridgeline, awesome views of Manseongni Beach, north of the Expo site, open up.
So, it was a nice hike on a beautiful fall day. If you’re ever in Yeosu, give Mt. Marae a shot.
Slowly, but surely, new recreation venues are being added to the Expo grounds. I was out there during the Chuseok holiday during the day and again a few Saturdays ago. As I’ve mentioned before, the Big O show goes off nightly, and I was surprised at the long line of people who had bought tickets to watch it and were waiting to enter the amphitheater. On that evening, at least, there were some large crowds taking advantage of the site.
In addition to a few outdoor food vendors who’ve set up shop on the long Ocean Plaza walkway, there are a few indoor restaurants that have opened at the Expo Digital Gallery. There’s a mini-mart, a small Japanese noodle shop, a coffee shop, and two Korean food restaurants. You can also get international fare at the food court in the aquarium. For some reason it was closed the night we were there, so it may have some odd operating hours.
Other new additions include a small pirate-themed children’s play area and a rather tacky (in my opinion) putting green. I think a decent mini-golf course would be a much nicer addition, if the powers-that-be are thinking of adding more areas of that type.
There’s also a small area near the Big O where you can rent a kayak, and, in that same area, you can ride a zip line, as evidenced by the poster below. It wasn’t operating the first day I noticed the poster, but a few weeks later it was being used quite a bit. It’s only about a very slow 25-30 second ride from one side of the small lagoon to the other, near the aquarium. It didn’t look all that exciting, but I would guess people are paying a hefty price to ride it. I’ll have to try to find out what the going rate is; anything more than $5 would, in my opinion, be a ripoff.
Zip Line Poster
Zip lining Above the Kayakers
Kayaking Near Big-O
I wouldn’t recommend this (being a former Montana outdoor guy), but, in another new addition, you can set up “camp” near the MVL Hotel. This is “camping” Korean style–densely packed tents set up in a gravel parking lot. No trees, but I guess you’re right on the ocean, if that’s any advantage. This is more like apartment living, except there’s no one above you. In this highly urbanized country, this is about as close to the “great outdoors” as many Koreans will get. I think I’ll pass on this one.
Camping at the Expo
Although the area is, usually, attracting large numbers of people, the crowd is nowhere near what it was for the Expo. Because of that, it’s easy to get some photos that would have been difficult to get last summer. Here are a couple of the Theme Pavilion, sans people.
Theme Pavilion Entrance
I can’t make up my mind which of these two I like better.
Theme Pavilion Detail
Theme Pavilion Detail 2
Here’s another area that was empty on this particular day, which was one of the Chuseok celebration days.
A Quiet Expo
Empty roads, too, on that day.
Empty Expo Road
There are still a couple of boats docked near the MVL Hotel. During the Expo, tours were held on both of them. One of the boats is just a regular large ship (I guess), while the other is a Maritime Police boat. I haven’t noticed any tours going on at either of them, but perhaps my timing has been bad. Here’s a close-up of the anchor on the regular boat, and the second is of the Maritime Police boat.
Anchor on Expo Tour Boat
Maritime Police Boat
The Big-O is starting to show some signs of wear at its base, but it’s still standing tall.
Base of the Big-O
There have also been several concerts held at the site, so I’m very happy to see that this marvelous (for Yeosu) area is getting used (except for the putting green and the camp area). I’ll keep checking it out every so often and keep you posted about anything new and exciting or new and not-so-exciting.
Also, a fitting end to the day, from my dorm apartment. More later.
Sunset in Yeosu
P.S. – Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that my apartment didn’t get “flooded” from the typhoon. I don’t think the wind was blowing from the wrong direction, the rain wasn’t as heavy as forecast, and the storm raced through the area, its peak lasting only a few hours. Lucky me!
As forecast, Typhoon Danas is racing north-east ward through the Korea Strait separating Korea and Japan. It’s somewhat south of us, so we’re only feeling the fringe here in Yeosu. The KMA forecasts anywhere from 3-4 inches of rain (an inch and a half, so far), and winds close to 40 mph in Yeosu. Right now the rain is coming down pretty good, but so far the winds haven’t hit. Supposedly that’ll happen in a few hours, with the heaviest rain coming then.
That’s all OK, except for the fact that I’m teaching classes tonight. And that’s bad because when the wind picks up to that speed and it’s raining heavily, the rain gets blown through my windows, into the sill and then overflows into my apartment. It’s happened numerous times in the past, but, mostly, I’ve been around to keep up with the water. I’ll have to rig something up before I go to class, towels to sop up the water in the window sill and pans to catch the drip from the towels. As extra insurance, I’ve picked up everything off the floor and put stuff onto my bed and the sofa. Hopefully, it’ll all work out well.
I mentioned before that I couldn’t find any info on typhoons hitting Korea this late in the season. Here’s an article from the Korea Herald that states this is the first time since 1998 we’ve had an October typhoon, and it’s only the fourth that’s been recorded since 1950. And, there have been reports on CNN weather that there is another possible system forming in the Pacific near the Philippines that could target our area later on. I’ll keep an eye on it.
As I posted before, Typhoon Fitow left us alone, but Typhoon Danas (to experience, to feel, which we probably will), formerly Tropical Depression 23, is heading our way. Below is the latest forecast from Weather Underground. It isn’t going to smack right into Yeosu, but we’ll probably get a lot of rain and some wind. It looks like Tuesday will be the day of greatest impact, and I hope it’s out of here by Wednesday, which is Hangul Day (hahn-gool, approximately) in South Korea. What is Hangul Day? It’s National Alphabet Day, believe it or not, commemorating the invention of the Korean alphabet. Pretty cool, eh? The Korean alphabet is extremely easy to learn. I picked it up after only a few days in the country, back in 2003 in Andong. Yup, I could walk along the streets or ride the bus, gazing out the window, and I was able to read almost all of the signs. I could read them, not understand them. Anyway, I hope Wednesday turns out to be a nice one.
Yeah, it looks like Typhoon Fitow is not going to give us a visit, but instead is going into China as it turns toward the west. Here’s the latest Weather Underground chart:
Just behind it, though, is Tropical Depression 23, and the early forecast shows it coming our way. Well, the early forecast for Fitow showed the same, so, because of the capricious nature of these storms, TD 23 may very well end up somewhere else.
For now, though, we’re having some gorgeous weather. I may have to unleash the bicycle tomorrow and let it take me where it may. More later.
Wow, just when I thought the typhoon season in Korea was over, here comes one steaming toward us from the south. Fitow (a Micronesian word for a type of fragrant flower) is still a tropical storm, but is predicted to eventually become a category 3 typhoon. According to the Weather Underground map below, it would reach us some time this weekend if it continues on the predicted path. It looks like it might come ashore west of Yeosu as a cat. 1 typhoon.
Well, why not mess up another weekend? Last week, we had gorgeous weather, but last Saturday was depressingly cloudy all day and it rained most of Sunday. So, it looks like another ruined weekend. Still, it’s interesting that a typhoon might reach us at this late date in the season. I did a quick search on historical typhoons in Korea and I couldn’t find any typhoon that hit during the month of October. In fact, the latest ones I could find happened in the middle of September, so this appears to be very unusual. I’ll keep you posted.