MontanaRon

Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.

Month: January 2010

Yeosu Golf Course Update

About a year ago I wrote about the new golf course being shaped from the hills across from the university campus. Well, it’s tee time! Yes, the course opened recently, and, despite the chilly, windy weather, it’s seen some action. Here’s one of the photos I posted last February of the construction.

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Here’s what the hills across the road look like today, viewed from a slightly different angle.

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Quite a difference. The fairways and greens are looking a bit bedraggled, but I’m sure things will green up once spring arrives, if that ever happens, and there’s probably quite a bit more landscaping to do. As you can see, if you click on the photos a couple of times to get a medium and a large view, there are a number of golfers enjoying the warmer weather of last weekend, when I took these shots. I rarely use my 80-300mm zoom lens, but it comes in handy sometimes. Here’s a closer view of the action.

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And an even closer look–a foursome teeing off.

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Koreans are a hard-working lot and most of the good citizens of Yeosu would be hard pressed to sneak in a round during weekdays. However, those wishing to indulge their golfing desire are not stymied, for this is a night course also.

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I’m not sure the lighting would be enough to track my hooks and shanks, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be driving along on the highway below the course while I’m teeing off. That is, IF I were playing. One of my adult students in my night class is a golf equipment salesman and he told me that a round on the weekend costs 170,000 won, which at the current exchange rate is about $150 or so. I’ll think I’ll take a mulligan . . . er . . . rain check on that. The diagonal row of lights at the top right light up the golf cart path to the other side of the hill, where most of the golf course lies. Hopefully, I’ll have chance to sneak on to visit that part of the links someday.

Anyway, whether this is a good or bad thing for Yeosu and it’s high hopes for Expo 2012, I’ll leave for others to debate. For now, all I can say is . . . FORE!

For Wat It’s Worth

Here are a few more photos of my recent trip to Laos. These are shots taken of a couple of wats–Buddhist temples. I did an early morning walkaround one day while we stayed in Vientiane. Nai was still asleep, and I forgot to ask him later the name of the wat pictured below. I think it’s Wat Sithan Neua. It’s a few blocks up from Fa Ngum Road, downstream of the Inter City Hotel. Anyway, it was a beautiful, clear morning, quite pleasant for just strolling aimlessly. Here’s a shot from outside the temple grounds.

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Here’s some detail of the wall of the main entrance. I’m fascinated by the murals in Buddhist temples, both here in Korea and in Laos and Thailand. This one appears to show some highlights from the Buddha’s life.

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This is one of the entrances into the temple grounds.

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Later that same day, we went to Wat Si Muang to ask for blessings from one of the monks. On the temple grounds are a few vendors who sell incense, candles, flowers and wooden cages of small birds (sparrows?) which will be released later. One of the vendors sells long lengths of candles that are used to measure the length from your outstretched arm to your chest and the length around your head. The thin, flexible candles are folded at these lengths. Later, when the monk gives the blessing, he burns these candles. Nai, I and another unknown Lao fellow were blessed by a young monk. As we sat on the floor in front of him, the monk took a spool of string and wrapped it around the three of us and chanted for about five minutes, asking for Buddha’s blessing. Afterwards, Nai burned the incense and laid the flowers at an outdoor altar, where he also released the birds, about 6 of them in all. I’m sure they were happy to get out of the cramped cage and regain their freedom. I wonder how many of them are caught again. All in all, it’s a very peaceful, spiritual ceremony.

Inside the main temple, in an alcove beyond where we received the monk’s blessing, there is this jade (emerald?) buddha. It’s another area where people pray and offer incense and flowers. There were no worshippers in here at the time, so I took the opportunity to snap this shot.

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That’ll do it for my Laos photos. The cold weather in this neck of the woods is supposed to lessen next week, so hopefully I’ll get off my lazy, but warm, duff and get some shots of Yeosu. More later.

Lao Photos-Food

As promised, here are some photos from my recent trip to Laos. I guess we can call this the food-themed post. If you ever make it to Vientiane, one pleasurable thing to do is to eat at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the Mekong and watch the sun slip below the Thailand horizon across the river. It’s quite laid back, though you’re right next to the main road along the Mekong, Fa Ngum Road. Along here you’ll find the Inter (City) Hotel and the Bor Penn Yang rooftop bar, from where I took the first photo below. There’s also a lot of construction going on; apparently, the authorities are building some flood protection devices, as well as creating a new park in this area. The first photo shows some of this construction. This is near quitting time, so a few of the restaurants set up some of their seating on a portion of the construction area that won’t be used again until the next morning. As you can see, you can sit at a table or sit down on floor mats, Lao style.

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The menus in these eateries are quite extensive, featuring Lao, Thai and some Western food. Here’s a shot of a variety of fresh food waiting to be used in some mouth-watering delight.

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Nai is preparing to wolf down a plate of Mekong clams.

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My favorite dish is grilled Mekong river fish. Here are a couple of the restaurant workers (sons of the owner, I think) grilling a variety of fish, prawns, meat, chicken and other goodies. Ahhh, cripes, I wish I were there right now, out of this cold weather, chowing down on grilled fish, stir fried rice and spicy papaya salad.

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And, of course, the aforementioned sunset.

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I’ll get some more photos up soon, but this week marks the beginning of my 4-week schedule from hell, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post again There will definitely be more later.

Back in Action

Yes, I’m back in frigid, windy Yeosu, not enjoying the change from the warm weather of the previous three weeks. I returned on Sunday feeling a little under the weather–I seem to always pick up a bug at the end of my stay in Laos. That and getting started with classes again have kept me from posting anything since my return.

My schedule right now has me working three classes in the morning from 9 to 12 and one in the evening from 6:30 to 7:30. Not bad, but it’s going to get a lot busier next week and for the following three. Then, I’ll have two additional classes in the afternoon, from 1 to 3. In all, that’s 30 contact hours a week, a bit of a killer sked. To make things worse, all the classes are different levels, so that means 6 different lesson plans every day, a real back-breaker. Oh, well, at least it’s some more overtime pay. After four weeks, the two afternoon classes finish, so I’ll be back to the four-a-day schedule.

So, I’m not sure how much posting I’ll be able to do in the upcoming month or so, but I’ll try to get some Laos photos on here soon. Can’t promise much as far as daily postings, but I’ll certainly post something at least on the weekends. More later.

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