MontanaRon

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

Category: Yeosu (page 2 of 21)

End of the Semester

Well, it’s that time of the year. I’m pretty busy with end-of-the-semester exams, grading and paperwork, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that I’m taking off for Thailand and Laos on June 14th, returning on July 7th, a nice 3-week vacation of fun in the sun, I hope.

That’ll be a change of pace from the past few days, when we were drenched with 6 inches of rain from noon Monday until early Tuesday morning. Things are still pretty wet, and the students are attending and participating in the university’s annual 3-day festival down on the soaked, muddy grounds just below the campus. Just lucky it didn’t start Monday!

I’ve been going to the Expo site almost every weekend to check out any changes to the area, and I’m happy to report that a small Japanese restaurant, a mini-mart and a couple of outdoor food stands have opened. Hopefully, this is the beginning of bigger and better things for the area.

I’ll try to get some more posts and photos up before I go on vacation, but, as tardy as I’ve been lately (sorry ’bout that), I’m not gonna promise anything. But, I’ll try. More later.

Yeosu’s Turtle Ship Festival

Starting with a parade and fireworks this evening, the Turtle Ship Festival, held every year in conjunction with Children’s Day (Sunday, this year) will run through Monday. I’ve posted about it before, but I’ve never been able to take in the parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Hopefully, I’ll get down there this evening to see that, and I’ll be watching some of the other events over the next few days. So, if you’re going to be in Yeosu this weekend, be sure to take in the festival. Most of the events will be held near Jinnamgwan at the Jongpo Ocean Park Walkway. See you there!

Yeosu Expo Grounds Reopen!

Yes, at long last, the Expo site has reopened for the general public. I was just down there today, along with a few thousand other folks, and I was very happy to walk around the grounds. It brought back a lot of fond memories of the Expo’s three-month run last summer.

I’d guess that only about half the area is open, and there are no facilities, like restaurants or coffee shops, open yet. I hope, and expect, that will change. The area around the Big-O was closed off to the public, and about a dozen or so workers were laboring over the fountains in front of the Big-O. One of the large banners at the main entrance seems to indicate that the area will be free from April 20th to May 10th. On May 11th, the Big-O will also open again, and there will, maybe, be an admission fee. I don’t know how much that’ll be or whether there will even be an admission charge (my Korean is quite awful).

Today, though, the Expo Digital Gallery was up and running, the various fountains were entertaining kids of all ages, and the Sky Tower was operating (2,000 won — about two bucks — for a trip up the elevator to the observation deck).

It was a beautiful day made even better by the limited opening. I’m really looking forward to what the summer will bring to the area. More later.

Yeosu’s Harbor Market

Taking a leisurely stroll through Yeosu’s harbor market is a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon. Though it’s not a huge market, like Seoul’s Namdaemun or Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market, it still offers plenty of shopping opportunities for food, clothing and other items, and opportunities to get slightly lost in a small maze of alleyways.

I took such a walk a few weekends ago just to while away some time, but also to try my hand at taking photos without aiming or setting up the shot. I held my compact camera in my right hand down by my side, with the lens pointing forward, and just started snapping photos straight ahead and left and right, by swiveling my hand ever so slightly. (I did take a few shots in the “normal” way, camera held to my face and aiming.)

I shot over 120 photos, some not too bad and others basically garbage. Here are some of the better ones. I liked doing this because people tend to freeze up and get very camera shy when I pull out the large camera. This way is pretty surreptitious, so people don’t seem to notice that this odd foreigner is taking photos. It also gives a different point of view of the various market scenes.

I also messed around with processing a few of the shots in black and white, to give them an “old-timie” feel. Kind of fun, but it took a while to cull out the bad shots and work on the better ones. My little compact camera doesn’t do too well in low-light situations, so I had to utilize a high ISO setting of 800, which led to a lot of digital noise in the shots. I think I got rid of most of it, but, like I stated, this was kind of an experiment, a fun couple of hours shooting at the market.

Clothes vendor

Clothes Vendor

Hardware

Hardware

Fish for sale #3

Fish for Sale #3

Fish for sale #2

Fish for Sale #2

Fish for sale #1

Fish for Sale #1

Seafood for Sale

Seafood for Sale

Covered Market

Covered Market

Covered Market

Covered Market

Market Guys

Market Guys

Seafood Vendor

Seafood Vendor

Seafood Vendors

Seafood Vendors

Market Lady

Market Lady 1

I looked around for Paul and Ringo, but, alas, they were nowhere in sight.

Crosswalk

Crosswalk

Outdoor Market Area

Outdoor Market Area

Vendors

At the Yeosu Market 3889

Strawberries

Strawberries

Vegetables

Vegetables

Gochujang (hot pepper)

Gochujang (hot pepper)

Various grains

Grain

Pillows

Pillow

Korean Cabbage

Korean Cabbage

Colorful Boots

Colorful Boots

P.S. Did you find the Beatles reference? Not too hard to spot. I’ll have some more Yeosu photos to post later, since I’ve been out and about a lot lately, what with the warm spring weather we’ve had.

Demise of Yeosu Expo Site?

What to do with the Expo site? An article from the JoongAng Daily entitled “Yeosu businesses fight to stay afloat months after the Expo” explores the issue. The article notes that the Yeosu city government wants to open the site by April 20th, but it doesn’t indicate what the area will be used for.

The worrying thing, as the article points out, is that the Yeosu Expo site will become an albatross around Yeosu’s neck, much as the Daejeon Expo site of 1993 has become for that city. To forestall the economic liability that the Expo site could become, the city government is trying to get private investors to buy the area, while local folks want the government to run the facility. However, the local government seems to refuse that idea:

The government’s firm stance on the plan comes from its bitter experience in dealing with the Daejeon Expo complex. What was once used as an amusement park and science-related tour facility after hosting the 1993 World Expo could not avoid mounting debts. It was eventually ordered by the Ministry of Safety and Public Administration to go into liquidation in 2008.

Daejeon, home to the 1993 World Expo, still suffers financial strain due to its failure to effectively manage the facilities that were built for the event.

Let’s hope that all parties involved can get this worked out; it’s a beautiful site on the harbor which has a lot of potential. But, of course, it seems that none of the entities that planned for the Expo looked this far into the post-Expo future.

In an article on the Huffington Post, “The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs,” artist Ives Maes is quoted: “Everyone works in a frenzy to complete structures for a fair, and then they walk away when it’s over. We need to remember these buildings and these moments in time.” Hopefully, this doesn’t mean the demise of the Yeosu Expo site, a sad fate that the area doesn’t deserve.

Korean News

There have been a couple of big, recent news items that you may or may not have heard about. In a nationwide attack, several bank sites and TV broadcasting sites were hacked today, including NongHyup bank, where I do all my banking, including online bill payments back to the states. I checked it out a little earlier, but it doesn’t look like my account was affected. Of course, amid all the tension with North Korea, suspicion has fallen on that country being responsible for the attacks. You can read about it here if you haven’t already seen it on the news.

Locally, however, a tragic, accidental explosion took the lives of 7 workers and injured 13 others last Thursday evening at one of the petro-chemical plants in Yeosu. Apparently, welding work was being done on a supposedly empty and fume-free tank when the explosion occurred. Strangely, I’ve seen very little coverage of this in the international news community. Was it on CNN International? I didn’t see any coverage, but I may have missed it. Anyway, you can read more here. My sympathies, of course, go to all the families affected by this calamity.

Stay safe everyone, wherever you’re at. More later.

Mountain Hike

Wow, long time, no see! There are various reasons for that, as usual. The spring semester has started here at the university, and we’re using new textbooks for one of the classes. Writing lesson plans for that class seems to be consuming a huge amount of my free time. We’re also having some gorgeous spring weather, so I’ve been spending a lot of time outside.

A few weeks ago, a couple of other teachers and I hiked to the top of one of the nearby hills, a walk I’ve made before, which you can read about here. It’s about a 30- to 45-minute hike through dense trees and vegetation, so there’s not much of a view going up. At the top, however, the view of Yeosu is spectacular. I took this panoramic shot, stitching together 8 individual photos into this single view. Click on the photo below a couple of times to get the large view.

Panoramic view of Yeosu ocean

Panoramic View of Yeosu Ocean

Although it was a bit on the chilly side and somewhat breezy, there was abundant sunshine, and it felt like true spring was just around the corner. Here, Rob and Corrie ham it up at the summit.

Rob and Corrie

Rob and Corrie

There were a few trails back down on the other side of the mountain, but we couldn’t decide whether to take a trail to the top of the next rise or a trail down to the valley and then on to the ocean. Rob and I played rock-paper-scissors to decide, and I was the valley route competitor. I won, so we hiked down to the valley floor. Scattered throughout the hills of Yeosu, and, I assume, the entirety of South Korea, are these little pagoda picnic/shelter areas. Rob and Corrie are enjoying the view from this one.

Yeosu Mountain Pagoda

Mountain Pagoda

On the way down we got a great view of the bay, as did a busload of company employees enjoying the day.

Ocean view

Ocean View

Finally, at the ocean, we stopped at one of the local cafes and had a small lunch. All in all, it was a great early spring day.

The next post will be about my recent stroll through the Yeosu outdoor market. See you then!

Yet Another Yeosu Expo Update

I took a walk around the Expo site last Sunday, and, basically, nothing has changed since the last time I was down there. No more demolition has occurred, and it looks like everything that’s remaining will stay there. The only noticeable difference is that all the rubbish, debris, steel beams and whatnot has been removed and the site looks nice and neat and tidy, as if it were ready to open.

The only rumor I’ve heard lately is that the Big O is going to be revamped, due to some damage that it took from one of the typhoons that swept through here last August and September. Also, due to its disuse, the salt water has clogged up the plumbing system, so that’s going to be repaired also. Evidently, then, the Big O is going to be used, but to what extent I haven’t heard.

As I stated before, the Aquarium is open and seems to be attracting a good number of visitors. Hopefully, the rest of the site will open by this summer. I’ll try to round up some more “rumors” and keep you posted. More later.

Resolutions

Well, it seems that my New Year’s resolution to update this blog more often has gone by the wayside! But, really, there just isn’t anything happening. Everyone survived our kids’ camp last week and now it’s back to normal work time. I’ve had a few people tell me that I must be leading an exotic or adventurous life, but the truth is that, for the most part, it can be boring, especially with the tedium of the daily work routine. That’s what’s happening now–nothing, really, just routine.

The upshot is that if I don’t have anything to post about, I’ll probably not be posting all that much, especially not to type in a few words explaining that I have nothing to post about. I’ll try to get some old photos up that I haven’t shown before, but regular posting probably won’t happen until the weather gets nicer and I can get out more often. It’s pretty nice today, but it’s really hazy–smoggy, in fact. That might have something to do with Beijing’s crap blowing our way or it might just be Korea’s own home-grown smog.

At times this past week, the sun was bright and the air clear, but it was cold and very windy, conditions in which I avoid going outside as much as possible, except to do a bit of jogging. We’re supposed to get rain overnight and then back to colder weather again, so I’ll sit in my warm apartment and dream of nicer weather to come. More later.

A Long Week

This week’s going to be pretty tough and long for all the English teachers at the University. We’re hosting a kids’ camp today through Friday, with 110 children aged about 10-12 years old, split into 6 classes. The first class begins at 9 a.m. and and the last one finishes around 6:20 p.m., with a break for lunch and a few other short breaks sprinkled in. This is in addition to any other classes we’re teaching. I have another class from 10 to 11 a.m. and an evening class that runs from 7 to 8. Essentially, then, I (and a few of the other teachers) will be in class or prepping from about 8:30 in the morning until 8 at night. That makes for a long day and a long week. At least we get free breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I won’t be eating breakfast with the kids, but I’ll definitely eat lunch and dinner. I’ll only have about 25 minutes for dinner until my 7 o’clock class, so I’ll have to wolf it down and run. We’ll be eating in the dormitory cafeteria, which, ordinarily, would be more like punishment. However, we’ve been informed that “special” food has been ordered up for the camp. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Anyway, yeah, we’ll probably all be relieved when the week is finished, but I think it’ll be OK. We’re not supposed to concentrate on “hard core” English teaching, but, instead, incorporate “fun” activities in the classroom. For example, one of my classes is Food and Cooking, so I’m going to devote one period to making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in class. (I’ll be sure to check if any of the kids are allergic to peanuts.) There’s even a half day (Thursday) devoted to sports activities in the gym. Although I was my junior high class dodge ball king, I can’t really see myself joining in. I will bring a camera and take some shots of the fun and games. More later (if I survive).

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