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

Month: April 2012

Spring in Yeosu

As usual, spring time in Yeosu is, quite simply, gorgeous. It’s a city that features flowers of all colors, amazing green hues in the trees and, at times, deep blue skies. Following are a few shots that I took while walking around campus when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Most of the blossoms have fallen, but right now various other flowers are dominant.

Our English Tour Guide class took a field trip this past Saturday to several areas around town, including an achingly beautiful temple up in the mountains. I haven’t processed those photos yet, but they’ll be forthcoming soon.

I’ve also been down to the Expo Site and everything appears to be up and ready to go. There was a kind of mini-rehearsal on one of my visits, when a few thousand Yeosu citizens were invited to tour the facilities. This Saturday, May 5th, is the first full-scale dress rehearsal with around 100,000 folks visiting the site–I’ll be among them.

I also tried to get some night shots of the Expo, but heavy fog prevented any long-range photos, though I think I got a few interesting shots from around the area. I’ll try to get some of those up also.

Sorry for the delay between posts, but, except for a few days of heavy rains, the weather has been fantastic. I’d rather get out and enjoy it than spend the hours inside. 😉

OK, here are the campus shots. I will definitely have some others up soon!

Spring flowers in Yeosu

One Campus View of Spring

Yeosu Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms 1

Cherry Blossoms in Yeosu

Another Cherry Blossom Shot

Magnolia flowers

Magnolia Blossoms

Magnolia flowers

More Magnolia Blossoms

Campus Rest Area

Rest Area Near the Dorms

Azalea blossom

Azalea Blossom

Camellia Blossom

Camellia Blossom

Yeosu Expo 2012 Preview and a Few Links

I’m really stoked! There’s going to be a special preview day of the 2012 Expo on May 5th, which is Children’s Day here in South Korea. The Expo is selling advance tickets for only 3,000 Korean won, which is a bit less than $3.00 and quite a bit under the regular daily ticket price of 35,000 won that will be charged when the Expo officially opens on May 12th. Proceeds from the special preview will go to UNESCO’s Children’s Fund.

Expo officials put 110,000 preview tickets on sale, and, as of Tuesday morning, when I bought my ticket, there were 24,800 remaining. So, the number of people at the Expo site that day will probably total around the daily average for the three months running time of the event.

Many of the other English teachers at the university also bought tickets, and I think were all excited about spending some time at the site. I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos and, of course, post here about the day.

However, not all the news about the Expo is good. Here’s an article from the Korean Times entitled Expectations for Yeosu Expo in which concerns are raised about attendance at the Expo.

 According to press reports, domestic ticket sales remain at about 425,000, only 14 percent of the organizer’s goal of 3 million. Overseas sales targeted 500,000 but only 37,000 tickets have been sold so far. The organizing committee says this week a contract to sell 100,000 tickets to China will be finalized.

Hopefully, as the event draws nearer, interest and excitement will pick up.

Here are a few more links to recent news about the Expo.

First are some links to news of various countries’ pavilions and exhibits.

Singapore — Singapore unveils concept for Yeosu Expo

United States — USA Pavilion to Showcase Diversity, Wonder and Solutions . . .

Norway — Norway to offer wind energy tech during Expo

Romania — Romania will participate at the international Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea

Germany — Germany to show futuristic marine tech at Yeosu Expo

Switzerland — S Korea gets a bite off the old Swiss glacier

Algeria — Algerie Poste issues stamp on Yeosu International Expo 2012

Australia — Australia to participate in 2012 Yeosu Expo

Philippines — PH joining exposition in Korea

Turkey — The Turkey Wind will Blow in South Korea in 2012

And, here are a boat load of other links, some interesting, some perhaps not, to various news items about the Expo. I’ve collected these from here and there over the past few months; they’re in order from oldest to newest.

Korea is the Special Events Capital of Asia in 2012

Top Ten Things to Do in Korea

Around the World with Yeosu Expo Passport

Yeosu Expo, a must-visit destination

Expo 2012 pulls Yeosu ahead

South Korea’s little Yeosu prepares for Expo 2012

Chinese snatching up tickets for Yeosu Expo

High-concentration ozone possible during Yeosu expo

6.5m tall Robot “Navi” Unveiled at Yeosu Expo

More train services for Yeosu Expo

Yeosu Expo Launches Landmark Stage and Screen

Yeosu Expo to feature diverse exhibits, performances

Expo 2012 aims to boost tourism in Yeosu

Countdown to Yeosu Expo begins

Yeosu to makes waves with expo

Major Facilities at the EXPO 2012 Yeosu Korea

The Expo site is looking awesome. Like I said, I’m really excited about being able to actually walk around the area on May 5th. From the look of things from outside the construction lines, it’s gonna be great. Hopefully, enough people will attend to make the effort pay for itself. In any case, I think it will prove to be worthwhile.

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit under the weather the last several days, coughing and sneezing, feverish and chilly at times, and a bit lethargic (lazy?). So, apologies for the lengthy delay between posts.

As I stated in my previous entry, I did manage to take in the Azalea Festival at Yeongchuisan (san = mountain) here in Yeosu last Saturday. Unfortunately, we caught it about a week too early, so it was a bit of a flop. There were some sparse regions of azaleas, resplendent in their pink blossoms, but the vast fields that spring up at this time of year were sadly absent. Like I said, we were a week too early.

Still, it was a beautiful day, with clear, blue skies, warm temperatures, and little wind. Corrie, another English teacher at the university, Anne, one of our Korean students, and I started our climb up the mountain about 10 in the morning. I thought we’d have to take a gentle hike to the azalea fields, but it turned out to be somewhat of a steep trek — not grueling, but a good workout. Was it worth it, considering the lack of the flowers? Sure, more than worth it. Here’s a few photos from the day.

One of the trails up the mountain, the one we took, starts from the enormous petro-chemical area of Yeosu. Many Koreans make the trek, so we weren’t alone. Here we go, soon passed by these guys as we took several breaks on the way up to catch our breaths and rest our aching leg muscles.

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Hiking to the azalea fields

Up we went, hoping for a bedazzling pink flower show, joined by many azalea acolytes. Quite a few tour buses drop off aficionados of the local flora, so the mountain does get crowded.

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Hikers going up to the Azalea Festival

Yeosu Azalea Festival

More people ahead of us

Unfortunately, the azaleas weren’t out on this part of the mountain. There were more blooming at the university, as a matter of fact. We could have just walked around there to see plenty of flowers, but it was worth going up Youngchuisan despite that. However, off to our left on a ridge below us, they were in full regalia. Corrie and I thought about going down to see them, but it was a LONG way down, so, a LONG way back up. There was a road there, but, unfortunately, it wandered off toward the farther mountains, away from Ann’s car. We had a good view of the flowers, despite our distance from their fields.

Azalea flowers at the festival

Field of flowers at the festival

Flowers at the Azalea Festival

Another view of the flowers

Eventually, we made it to one of the peaks. We saw another one about a kilometer from us and several dozen meters above, but we decided not to make that hike; the trail was packed and we were eager to take a snack break. Here’s Corrie, on the left, and Ann at the top of our little world.

Corrie and Ann at the Azalea Festival

Corrie and Ann

Despite the lack of azaleas on this weekend, I was fascinated by the area. The scenery was exhilirating, but the intricacies of the myriad petro-chemical plants enthralled me. Ann had to drive through several kilometers of the area to reach the mountain, and the road winds its way through the tanks and pipes and weirdness of these industries. The architecture of the area is monstrous and its pull on me is undeniable; I’m going to go back there on my bicycle or motorbike later in the summer and photograph this alien landscape.

Here are a couple of shots of the area, showing the new bridges linking the Yeosu Peninsula with the port of Gwangyang. Before the bridges were built, travel time from Yeosu to Gwangyang was probably a couple of hours, but now the journey has been cut at least in half. The bridges aren’t open yet, but they should be ready to go before the Expo opens.

Bridges to Gwangyang from Yeosu

New bridges from Yeosu to Gwangyang

New bridge from Yeosu to Gwangyang

New bridge from Yeosu to Gwangyang

The weather, as you can see, has been gorgeous lately. I also did a photo walk around campus this past Wednesday morning, an election-day holiday in Korea, and took lots of photos of the wonderful spring colors in the area this time of year. I promise I’ll try to get those up soon. More later.

Bicycle Ride to Jang-deung Beach, Yeosu Peninsula

Spring seems to be fully here, with the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom, and azaleas, camellias and other flowers brightening the landscape. As a matter of fact, there’s an annual azalea festival at Yeongchuisan (san = mountain) this coming weekend that I’m going to visit.

So, despite 3 inches of rain last Friday, I decided to take a bicycle trip Saturday down to Jang-deung beach here on the Yeosu Peninsula. My riding companions were a couple of the new teachers, Rob, a Scotsman, and Trevor, from Canada. Now, both of these guys are much younger than I (who isn’t?) and in much better shape (insert another rhetorical question here). Trevor, especially, is quite the athlete; he’s a dedicated football (soccer) player, rides his bicycle all over the place, jogs, plays tennis and who knows what else. Rob’s no slouch either. When they suggested the ride, I was all gung-ho. Even though it looked like a fairly long trek and that it would be my first time out on my bike in almost 6 months, I thought I’d be ok. Wrong! It turned out to be a 36-mile (60 km) round trip. I haven’t ridden that far in about 20 years. Plus, it was mostly up and down hills, hills which I mostly pushed my bike up (or maybe it was pushing me). I probably spent more time pushing than riding. And, as I said, it was the first time on the bike in quite a while, so my muscles were sorely taxed by the end of the ride. I’m still recuperating.

However, it was fun for the most part and the scenery was pretty nice. We made it to the beach and stopped at a small restaurant on the way back and had some delicious fish stew. By that time, though, anything would have tasted wonderful. I just wanna thank the young studs for waiting for me at the top of all those hills. At least they didn’t have to carry me back! Here are some photos of the ride.

First, here’s a map of the peninsula. The university, from where we started, is circled in red at the upper right and the beach is at the left center. Click for a larger image.

Here we’re getting prepared to start the trip from our dormitory. That’s Trevor on the left and Rob, already on his bike. My trusty steed is in the foreground.

Preparing for the bicycle trip

Beginning the bike trip

There are many small fishing towns and harbors sprinkling the coast. We all thought that it would be great to live in one of them as long as we didn’t have far to commute to and from work.

Yeosu fishing village

Fishing Village

There are, of course, many beautiful spots along the coast. Here’s a small sample.

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

South Coast View

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

South Coast Shoreline of Yeosu Peninsula

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

Yeosu Peninsula South Coast View

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

Yeosu Peninsula South Coast View

The above photo is actually the beginning of Jang-deung beach, which is out of sight at the bottom of the photo. Here’s a shot of the beach.

Jang-deung Beach

Jang-deung Beach

And, here’s a view from the end of the beach. As usual, it’s pretty hazy along the coast looking toward the sun.

Jang-deung Beach view

Another view from Jang-deung Beach

Rob and Trevor, showing no ill effects of the ride, mock my exhaustion. I took this shot just before I was put into the ambulance. 🙂

Rob and Trevor

Rob and Trevor

If you take a look at the map again, you can see that just to the east of Jang-deung there’s a small island called Baekyado (pronounced dough = island). Connecting the island to the mainland is this pretty little bridge. Quite a few of the islands are accessible by bridge, though many more require a ferry boat ride. Rob and Trevor are taking one of the ferries to another island this Saturday. I really wanted to go, but, like I stated earlier, I’m still recuperating and the rash I got on my, ummm, . . . well, you can guess where . . . is still bothering me, so no bike ride this weekend. The more sedate azalea festival beckons.

Baegya Island Bridge and Harbor

Baegya Island Bridge and Harbor

Our total trip time was about 7 hours, but that include dawdling on the way (the young guys waiting for the old guy to catch up) and stopping at the restaurant. I’m really looking forward to doing some other bike trips, especially later in the year when the bicycle muscles in my legs are in better shape. As always, then, more later.

Yeosu Expo 2012 Panorama

Just a quick post today of a panoramic shot of the Yeosu Expo area, taken from the causeway on Odong Island. It’s a series of 11 shots that I “stitched” together in Canon’s Photostitch software. It’s not as sharp as can be, since there was a fairly stiff wind blowing at times. I might go to Odong again this weekend, but will try to get there early in the morning, when the sun will be at my back.

You should definitely click on the small photo a couple of times to get a close up view, but, be warned–the final size is almost 2 megabytes, so it might take some time to load! (But I think it’s worth it.)

Panoramic photo of Yeosu Expo 2012

Panoramic photo of Yeosu Expo 2012

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