An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: October 2009

Out and About

Except for quite a bit of haze, it was a beautiful day in Yeosu, so I took the motorbike out for one of my infrequent rides, another one along the coast. I’m extremely careful about riding the ‘bike–I don’t want to emulate my friend Nai in Laos, A.K.A., Mr. Accident-Prone. The back roads along the sea are very wide and have very light traffic, so there’s not a big problem with other vehicles. Also, I’m quite wary of any other obstacles, like potholes, wet spots, and other potential disasters-in-waiting. Here are a few photos of my ride today and I’ll post some more soon.

The first one is of what I call Sindeok Beach East. I posted a couple photos of this area on Sept. 27th from one side of the small peninsula that juts out into the sea. This is a smaller, more beautiful beach (in my opinion) that is just a short scramble over the rocks. Along the left side of the photo, near the top, you can see one of the buildings on the other part of the beach.

East Sindeok Beach


A kilometer or so farther along the coast road is the very small fishing village of Soji, if my memory serves me correctly, and if I read the sign, in Korean, correctly. Very lovely, peaceful area only a few kilometers outside of the city.

Soji Fishing Village


I’ll try to get some more shots posted in the next few days, and I hope to get out to a few other areas, so stay tuned. More later.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my mom. Getting younger every day.

Motorbikes and Chili Burns

Ahhhh, it’s that time of the year when we English teachers get a week off: no more classes until the 26th. I’m going to Seoul sometime next week to stock up on stuff that I can’t get in Yeosu, but other than that I’m just gonna hang out here, hopefully take a lot of photos and definitely take in the Yankee post-season games.

I hate to even mention that the Yanks are playing well: I’m afraid I’ll put a jinx on them. I just finished watching the first game against the Angels and they looked great. As I said earlier in the season, they seem like a special team, with a group chemistry not unlike that of the great Yankee teams of the late 90s. I hope they can go all the way to take their 27th World Series title.

Well, motorbike guy has done it again. The 4th or 5th time in a couple of years. Yup, my Laos friend Nai had ANOTHER accident riding his unworthy steed. He’s in the hospital in Vientiane after suffering a back and face injury while wrecking on his way to the market in his village. He told me that it had been raining and the road conditions were bad, which I can believe, having traveled on the slippery, muddy, pothole-laden road that runs through his village. It’s almost inevitable that you’re going to lose your balance in these conditions. He did. He has paid the price again. I phoned him today and he’s recuperating in the hospital in Vientiane. I told him that the next time I return to Laos, I’m going to take the ‘bike and toss it in the Mekong. Sheesh.

The weather in Yeosu is definitely starting to remind me that winter is not that far away, with the nights turning chilly, the wind kicking up and the leaves on the trees putting on their autumn show. We’ve actually had gorgeous weather during the day lately–sharp blue skies and mild temperatures. But the nights, and the trees, have been telling a different tale. It’s definitely fall.

This evening sure feels like a harbinger of my least favorite season, so I’m making a big batch of chili. I cut up some spicy, green, Korean chili peppers earlier to add to my somewhat culturally mixed concoction, but I made the mistake of rubbing my eyelid with my hand. For about 10 minutes I thought the burn was going to go straight through to my eyeball! 😯

Tip: Wash hands after preparing chili peppers.

Laos News (On the Good Side)

There were a couple of nice things that happened in Laos this past Sunday. First, Nai told me that his village was having a big celebration that night for a couple of reasons. The Laos soccer team, in an exhibition match prior to the upcoming South East Asia games, knocked off the Thai team 3-0 in Vientiane, which, of course, boosted the smaller impoverished nation’s national pride. The games will be held in Vientiane, marking the first time ever that the event will take place in Laos. They are not without controversy, however, as you can read here and here.

That same day, the rowers in his village powered the winning boat in the Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, thus adding to the celebration. It was also the end of Buddhist Lent, which is detailed here in a nice story that includes a description of the launching of candle-lit banana leaf boats on the Mekong, a ceremony I hope to see in the future. All in all, it was a big day in the village, and there was a big party that evening at the temple next to Nai’s house to cap it off.

Korea had its recent celebrations, too, with the 3-day Chuseok holiday. Yesterday, a few of my students loaded me up with traditional food, including delicious songpyeon rice cakes, fruit and other goodies left over from their celebration. I won’t have to buy groceries for a week!

Since I previously posted moonrise over Yeosu, here’s a sunrise shot I took a few weeks ago from almost the same location. More later.

Sunrise Over Yeosu


Laos Update and a Few Night Shots

Unfortunately, there were some deaths in Laos caused by Typhoon Ketsana, at least 16 according to this report. Tonight, Nai told me that Laos TV news reported that 20 had died. In addition, a new typhoon, Parma, is now ripping through the Philippines. Only yesterday, the tracking map on some weather sites appeared to me that it might continue on into Viet Nam and, perhaps, Cambodia and Laos. Now, however, it appears it’s going to swing north-east into the Pacific.

I took a few nighttime photos of Yeosu from my office this evening. The first one below shows the nearly-full moon rising just after sundown.

Moon Over Yeosu


The following shot is an experimental effort in color enhancement. I thought the various yellow, orange, blue and purple hues contrasted nicely, so I played around a bit in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to give them a bit of “whoomp.” It looks much better when you click on the link below the photo. Enjoy. More later.

Nighttime in Yeosu


Ketsana Laos Update

I talked to Nai last night and he said that there was a lot of rain in Vientiane, but not so much that there was any flooding. Most of the really heavy stuff fell in southern Laos. Unrelated to Ketsana, of course, but it rained all night here, to the tune of close to a couple inches. However, for the rest of the Chuseok holiday, it’s supposed to be pretty nice; in fact, the rain just now stopped. Looking for sunshine soon, so I hope to get out and take some photos this weekend.

The dorms are very quiet, as most of the Korean students have gone home for the holiday. There are several dozen Chinese students staying in the dorm next to the one where my apartment is at, but I think there are probably only us teachers in our dorm. Nice–no late night/early morning thumps and thuds on my ceiling from the apartment above me. More later.

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