MontanaRon

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

Month: November 2013

That Time of Year, Again

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.

birthday cake candles

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.

Leaving Yeosu

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.

SantaRon

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.

Santa Ron

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.

A Hike Above the Expo

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

Expo Overview from Jasan Park

Here’s the present-day hotel from a short way up the trail.

Traditional Korean hotel

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.

Tomb_MG_7652

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.

Guardian_7653

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.

Harbor_7651

ExpoHike_7666

Expo 2012 site from Mt. Marae

Expo Overview

Yeosu from Mt. Marae

Yeosu

Yeosu from Mt. Marae

Yeosu

Yeosu Harbor

Yeosu Harbor

Expo site from Mt. Marae

Expo from Mt. Marae

Yeosu Harbor

Yeosu Harbor

Expo Overview

Expo overview

Once you reach the ridgeline, awesome views of Manseongni Beach, north of the Expo site, open up.

Manseongni Beach

Manseongni Beach

So, it was a nice hike on a beautiful fall day. If you’re ever in Yeosu, give Mt. Marae a shot.

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