Best wishes to everyone for a healthy and prosperous 2014. It’s only 11 hours until midnight in Korea, so we get to start celebrating a bit earlier than most of the rest of the world. Me, old fuddy-duddy that I am (NOT), I’ll get to bed early. New Year’s Eve just doesn’t excite me like it used to. I suppose the bars in Yeosu will be packed with celebrants, and the police will be out in force. In Korea, unlike in the U.S., it’s legal for police to set up checkpoints and randomly pull drivers over without due cause to give them a breath-a-lyzer test. My guess is that it cuts down on drunk driving, but I don’t have any official stats to back that assumption up. In about 30 minutes I’m going to take a walk to E-mart, a national Walmart-like super store, a couple miles from the uni. I’ll keep an eye out for any checkpoints and take some photos if I can.
Again, Happy New Year to all!
I was jogging on the university soccer field yesterday around noon when a couple of fighter jets came shrieking by at a relatively low altitude right overhead. There are no military air bases near Yeosu, so I don’t know where they’re stationed; it’s a small enough country that they could have been from anywhere. We don’t see too many of these guys buzzing us, but when they do come around I always wonder–is this the big one? Have the neighbors up north finally decided to go nuts? So, after they zoomed by, I listened for civil defense sirens. Nothing, naturally. I probably would have heard explosions going off in the petro-chemical industrial park just over the mountains from the university. No, I’m not that paranoid. Most of us expats and most South Koreans don’t take the North’s blustering very seriously. Just occasionally, though, my imagination takes off.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice and . . .
One of my favorite times of the year is here, that time between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. It always brings back great memories of the past, all the way back, of course, to childhood days. Despite the stress of the holidays, I hope everyone has a great holiday season.
Of course, one of the things I don’t care for at this time of year is the winter weather in the northern latitudes; e.g., Korea and Montana. Right now it’s not too bad in Yeosu, with temperatures a bit over 40 degrees F. (6 C.) It’s been getting down to a little below freezing at night, and, of course, we get our usual share of howling winds that contribute to a much colder wind chill temperature.
In a vain attempt to stave off winter, I kept my header summer photos up a bit longer than usual, but you’ll notice that I changed them to the wintry scenes that I usually have up. Those scenes show a lot of snow, something that we don’t get in Yeosu, thankfully.
Anyway, again, Season’s Greetings to everyone. Good health and cheer to all.
At last, today marks the end of the semester, the end of assessments, the end of all the paperwork involved that’s been required for the past couple of weeks. I have one more class at 2 o’clock (just 30 minutes from now), a short class in which I’ll show the students their final scores for the class and have them sign off that everything is correct. Then, it’s the start of a three-week vacation for the English teachers!
I’m not going anywhere; just gonna hang out in Yeosu, try to stay warm (i.e., stay in my apartment). It wouldn’t be so bad, but the wind seems to always be a bit more than a stiff breeze. We had a few lonely flakes of snow earlier today, but a friend in Seoul reported that they had 8 inches up there overnight. Better them than us.
I don’t usually take many photos this time of year, so maybe I’ll go back and sift through some that I took earlier this summer and spring and maybe post them here. Stay tuned.
Autumn in Yeosu is, in my opinion, not as outstanding as in some other areas of South Korea, such as Mt. Seorak or Jiri Mountain. In no way is it anywhere near as spectacular as in the northeastern part of the United States, with its glorious maples, or in the western part of the nation, with aspen groves golden against the snow-covered peaks of the Rockies. Still, there are some very nice areas, especially around the university campus.
The season is almost over now, but there are a few groves of resistance to the inevitable. Like dowagers in tattered gowns, a few trees still stand out against the greenery of the pines, gradually shedding their rust-colored leaves, hurried along by the brisk breezes that we seem to get everyday. But, the glory days have fled in advance of the approaching winter, my least favorite season.
So, in memory of the fine autumn days that we had, here are a few snippets for your enjoyment. More later.
Here are several from around campus.
Students enjoying a walk
Looking Toward Horang Mountain
Campus Autumn 2
Campus Autumn 3
Campus Autumn 1
Campus Autumn 4
And a few from Odongdo (Odong Island) and Jasan Park, near the Expo site.
Bamboo Grove on Odongdo
Odongdo from near Jasan Park
Flowers in Jasan Park
Admiral Yi Sun-shin Monument at Jasan Park
Enjoying the Autumn Colors at Jasan Park
Autumn at Jasan Park
Anti-aircraft Replica at UN Memorial at Jasan Park