MontanaRon

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

Month: September 2012

Korean Thanksgiving Break

Since Typhoon Sanba, we’ve had some really glorious weather, with mostly clear skies and mild temperatures, though the humidity is still a bit high. These nice days come just in time for the three day Chuseok (chew-sock) holiday, Korea’s Thanksgiving. This year the three days span Sept. 29 through October 1st. In addition, Oct. 3rd is another national holiday, Foundation Day, celebrating the legendary founding of the Korean nation in 2333 b.c.e. Effectively, then, we’ll have about 5 days off, but I do have a couple of classes on Tuesday evening. I have a full schedule tomorrow, but I expect more than a few students will leave campus early to go to their hometowns, trying to avoid the huge amount of traffic that comes with the holiday.

Anyway, the weather is supposed to remain nice, and I hope to take full advantage of the time off. I haven’t been down to the Expo site lately, so I intend to see what changes have taken place in the past few weeks. I also want to try to ride my bicycle out to the petro-chemical complex here in Yeosu. I visited a Buddhist temple out that way this past spring, and the complexity and surreal nature of the pipes and tanks and other infrastructure struck me as being an excellent area for some great photo opportunities. It’s a long ride, but probably worth the effort.

I’ll try to get some more photos of this summer’s Expo posted soon, and I have a back log of some other shots that I also want to get up, so, as always, more later.

Typhoon Sanba Departs

Yup, it looks like the worst is over. We got lots of wind and rain; between 9 a.m. and 11 o’clock we got close to 4 inches of rain, 2 inches an hour. That’s quite a rate and we’ve gotten 155 millimeters (6+ inches) since midnight. The rain has abated, but it’s supposed to be very windy for most of the afternoon. I haven’t heard any damage reports from the rest of the city, and let’s hope that the folks in the countryside are OK.

Here are a few more videos that I took from my office around 10:15 this morning. Shortly after, I ran, mostly, back to my apartment. I had an umbrella with me, but it was useless in the wind, so I got drenched, but nothing worse than that. I’ll put up another update later if I hear of any other news about Sanba.

Another Sanba Update

Really raining quite hard and very windy, of course. I’ll withdraw my remark about the university being irresponsible because they just canceled all classes beginning with the 10 o’clock class. Now, I just have to figure out how to get back to my apartment without getting drenched or smacked by debris. The KMA is showing that Yeosu has had a bit more than 2 inches of rain from midnight to 9 a.m., but that total will definitely go up in the next few hours. Here’s a video I took earlier this morning from the dormitory. Gotta finish this post right now, as the lights are flickering, so power could go out at any time.

Sanba Update 2

It’s Monday morning about 9 o’clock and we’re getting some heavy rain and high winds, probably gusting around 65 mph. The typhoon is still a bit off shore, but will make landfall soon to the east of us. What’s really ridiculous is that our classes were not canceled! Totally irresponsible, if you ask me. If someone gets nailed by flying debris, the university and the Language Center shouldn’t be surprised to get hit by a big lawsuit. I took a video earlier this morning, and it should be ready to post in a little while. I’ll get it up during my next break between classes.

Yeosu and Typhoon Sanba Update 1

Just a quick update on the latest news of the approach of Typhoon Sanba to the Korean Peninsula and especially to Yeosu.

Not much has changed about the forecast except that Sanba is now expected to be about a Category 1 Typhoon when it makes landfall here, and I do mean here. Right now it looks like it will come ashore about 30 miles west of Yeosu around mid-morning or early afternoon on Monday, though we’ll start feeling the effects long before that.

Here’s the most recent Korean Meteorological Administration map of the track of Sanba. Notice that little dot on the south coast of the Peninsula? Yup, that’s Yeosu.

Path of Typhoon Sanba

Path of Typhoon Sanba

Doing some quick reading, I found that a special typhoon alert will be issued for the entire country by Monday, with officials expecting this to be the most dangerous and devastating storm since Typhoon Maemi back in 2003.

One of the biggest worries is about the heavy rainfall that is expected. According to the Korea Herald, “Jeju Island and the southern [that’s us] and eastern coasts, in particular, are projected to see heavy rain of more than 50 millimeters per hour and strong winds measuring 50 meters per second between Sunday afternoon and dawn Tuesday . . .

Yikes, that’s a lot of rain and it’s predicted to start coming down heavily beginning tomorrow afternoon and into Monday morning. I’ll keep updating as the situation warrants.

Yet Another Typhoon–Sanba

Yes, another typhoon, Sanba, is heading our way, the third one in about 3 weeks. The other two kind of fizzled out as they hit cooler water near Korea, so Yeosu wasn’t terribly pummeled. Sanba, however, looks like a real doozy, as it’s already been afforded super typhoon status and may be as high as a category 3 storm as it blows ashore next Monday, probably. Here’s a look at the latest predicted track from Weather Underground.

The path of Super Typhoon Sanba

Predicted path of Sanba

If it actually stays on this track, it will come very near Yeosu. The original computer model predicted that Sanba would come ashore directly on top of Yeosu, but that has been modified a bit. Still, as of this morning, we’re pretty much in the cross hairs of this monster storm. As you can see from the graphic if you click on it, maximum winds are at 170 miles per hour and gusting up to 205 mph. That’s really stunning! Let’s hope everyone stays safe in the next few days. I’ll keep you up to date as this thing approaches. More later.

Yeosu Expo 2012-Turkey Cultural Performance

There were any number of great cultural performances during the Yeosu Expo 2012, including the high-energy African and traditional Korean percussion groups. Probably the most beautiful and sublime performance I watched, however, was the Turkish Dance performance, the famous “Whirling Dervishes” of the Mevlevi Order of the Sufi sect of Islam.

From the Whirling Dervishes website is this description of the dance:

In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”

 

There’s a lot more information on that site about the dance and on Wikipedia about the Mevlevi Order. As you can see in the first photo, this particular group is the Konya Turkish Tasawwuf Music Ensemble, whose website is here. Of course, if you do a search, you’ll find much more information about this beautiful dance.

Following are a caravan’s worth of photos; I loved this performance so much that I just have to post all of these (18) shots. After the photos is a short (about one minute) video that I took of the dance. Enjoy!

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

At the Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Dancer and Musicians

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Ensemble

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Sheikh

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Dancers and the Sheikh

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The End-Reflection

Yeosu Expo 2012–Post-Expo Usage

There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen to the Expo site, now that the Expo itself has finished. I’ve heard that it will be transformed into an ocean-oriented tourist site, that shopping malls will be installed and that international restaurants will pop up (as I wrote in a previous post). Before and during the Expo, I was told by various “people in the know” that most of the buildings at the site would be torn down, except for the aquarium and a few other “permanent” structures. So far, nothing has been destroyed, as you can see from the picture below that I took when I was at the site on August 28th. The insides of the pavilions, especially the individual international pavilions, are being gutted, but everything else is mainly untouched.

The Yeosu Expo site on August 28, 2012

Expo Site on August 28, 2012

While I was bicycling past the area a few weekends ago, I noticed that the fountain in front of the Big O was being set off, probably, I thought, to keep the salt water from encrusting and plugging up the underwater mechanisms that enable the fountain to work. One of my colleagues told me that she ran into one of the American technicians who work on the fountain, and he said that the Big O and the fountain would reopen to the public in October. That’s great news! It would be a shame to let the whole area go to waste and ruin, especially in light of the fact that one of the themes of the Expo was sustainability. Hopefully, the site will see a lot of use in the future. I’ll take another ride down there this coming weekend to see if any recent major changes have occurred, and I’ll try to stay on top of any rumors and official news about the ultimate fate of the site.

By the way, the aftermath of Typhoon Tembin was pretty much a no-show here in Yeosu. We had a bit more than in inch of rain (26 mm) and some fairly brisk winds, but no damage that I heard of. Some parts of Korea to the south (Jeju Island) and the west of us got quite a bit of rain, up to 12 inches on Jeju. Hopefully, that’s the end of typhoon season in Korea. More later.

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