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

Tag: environment (Page 2 of 2)

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!

Colds . . . and Colder

I mentioned in a previous post that I was feeling a bit under the weather, but whatever the minor ailment was, it has passed. I didn’t do anything special, so I feel lucky that I didn’t get an early season cold. However, I was looking around for non-medicinal cold remedies, just in case. (I hate taking medicine, like pills, cough syrups and the like.)

One treatment that I’ve tried before with mixed results is using Korean citron “marmalade” and using it in hot water with a generous tablespoon of honey. It may not always work, but it sure tastes delicious and is quite soothing on cold winter days.

A not-so-appetizing treatment I found on consists of this:

Pour a little warm water into a dish and add a level teaspoon of your sodium bicarbonate. Stir it well and then immerse your nose and surrounding parts of your face into it. Slowly breathe the water up your nose until it reaches the point where it begins to overflow into your mouth. Then expel it and rinse your mouth out.

Be careful not to add more than a teaspoonful to the water, and that the dish is of a size that enables you to fit your face into. If the mixture is too strong it will sting your nose for a while. A little trial and error will tell you how warm the water should be, which is warm enough but not hot.

Do this three times a day, and it should see off even the heaviest of colds well ahead of time.

No doubt. It’ll probably cure hiccups, snoring, and leprosy, too.

From a website entitled comes this one:

Place your hat on the table and drink well from a large bottle of whisky until you see two hats.
Get into bed and stay there.

He also lists some Texas Cold Remedies that involve cow dung and weasel skins. Take a gander if you dare.

And how about cough drops. From comes this: Most interesting about the evolution of cough drops was the fact that by the 19th century drugs were added to the candies. Among the first such drugs were opiates such as morphine and heroin . It might not have fixed what ailed them, but users of the candy were probably so buzzed high they didn’t care. The cough drop manufacturers eventually turned to slightly less narcotized ingredients such as codeine, the staple of most cough medicine today.

Have you got an unusual cold remedy? Leave a comment to let everyone know what kind of winter cure you use.

On another “cold” note, the temperatures in Montana are getting cold early, it seems. Great Falls has a forecast of -5 F. (about -20 C.) for Monday. Have fun, global warming deniers. (Even though Dr. Jeff Masters on his Weather Underground blog points out that the year to date is the warmest on record.) 😎 More later.

Something’s Burning

I mentioned in a previous post about the fires that are set in order to burn off the dead undergrowth this time of year. Here’s a couple of photos of the smoke from a few fires that were started just outside the camp. The first image was taken through my bathroom window, and, with the large cloud of smoke, it’s a good thing the wind was blowing away from us.


The second photo is from my balcony. Though the smoke is not as bad, the wind is blowing toward us, so the field was beginning to get a bit hazy.


You can see how dense the smoke can get, but in reality, the size and the intensity of the flames are quite small. I walked outside the fence and took a look at the area of one of the burns the day after, and most of the larger, living stalks (1-2 feet tall) of whatever kind of plant they are, were barely singed.

There’s sometimes so much smoke coming off these burns that you’d think the blazes must be huge. They’re not. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire–but not much.

Apparently, there was a small oil spill near Boca Chica last week, causing the closure of the beach for a short period. It wasn’t too serious, and the Weekend Office beach was open this past weekend. I read today that the shipper was fined 7 million pesos (about $210,000) for the cost of cleaning up the spill.

Also last week, the Dominican Republic was host to a summit of Latin American nations. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, as well as his counterparts from Ecuador and Colombia were present, and they shook hands and made up over the recent spat about Colombia’s incursion into Ecuador. A couple of the Venezuelan players told me that Chavez and some of the other leaders were staying at Hamaca Resort [NOTE: Now called the Be Live Experience] in Boca Chica. I looked around for some sign of them on Saturday to try to get some photos, but I saw nothing, so I assume they had already returned to their home countries.

Nai seems to be doing better, but he’s still weak. When I called him this morning (early evening in Laos), he was out walking around, albeit with the aid of Pui, his brother. I, however, am just now getting over a bug of some kind that I picked up last Monday or so. I even cancelled last Wednesday’s classes because I felt so badly, and I’m still not 100%. Thus, my running program has sure gone to heck, though I did manage to survive a 45-minute jog this morning. More later.

Space Camp

For a few days this week, I was focused on the heavens. On Tuesday, the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis flew overhead, both easily visible to the naked eye, with the ISS particularly bright–brighter than any star, except our sun, of course, at about -2.5 magnitude, according to Heavens Above. The Shuttle was about 20 degrees ahead of the ISS, after separating from it the day before. The previous evening, the two were supposed to have been very close together, forming a more spectacular, tight, naked-eye duo soaring in tandem across the evening sky. However, at that time their altitude above the horizon was too low to be seen at my location. It was still a great sight on Tuesday, with the two artificial “stars” taking about six minutes to make their way from north to south, though they were only visible at the camp for, I estimated, about 4 minutes.

The following night, Wednesday, was the equally awesome total lunar eclipse. The event started about 9:45 p.m., my time, with totality lasting from 11 p.m. to midnight. I stayed up watching reddish-orange Luna until about 11:30, way past my normal bedtime. I slept in the next morning, forgoing my usual jog. I took some photos, but none of them turned out very well. The one below is probably the best of the lot. The bright “star” at the bottom of the photo, just to the left of an imaginary line drawn straight down from the moon, is Saturn.


Speaking of jogging, I went beyond my previous longest time last Saturday by clocking in at an hour and 23 minutes, 14 laps around the warning tracks of the four fields. I’m nearing my short-term goal of jogging for an hour and a half, and now I’m looking at, hopefully, being able to do 2 hours, non-stop, by July. That’s about 20 laps, and it sounds approachable. It’s good to see some results of the morning run and of other exercising I’ve been doing–my weight is now in the low 190s. (I can hear you snickering out there–that’s pounds, not kilograms!)

I should be able to get some photographs of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, now that burning season is here. It’s the time of year when the surrounding farmers and landowners start burning their old scrub brush, filling the air with smoke and particles, which scatter and reflect the sunlight (something like that, anyway) much more than cleaner air does. That’s another reason to go jogging in the early morning–there’s not as much smoke in the air, though there is a faint gray haze over the camp as the sun rises, and the “campfire” smell is always present.

Who’s lieing–Clemens or McNamee? I suspect they both are, but I don’t really care. The baseball season is upon us–the season when all of the Red Sox dreams of dynasty fade into harsh reality under the Yankee onslaught. Why? There’s a a new manager (Girardi), a potentially lethal crop of young, home-grown pitchers, and it’s the last year the team will play in The Old Stadium, before moving across the street to the new Yankee Stadium next year. The All Star Game will be played at the old ballpark this year, as will the World Series. The ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle and Co., though they’ll be making the short journey to the new ballpark, will make their presence felt throughout this final year in The House That Ruth Built. Contrary to Boston fans’ desperate hope that the Yanks are down and out, there are going to be many championships to come for the Bombers–more now, and many more later.

More on the Big ‘Quake

Here’s an interesting article about December’s big quake–it might give you an idea of just how big it was.

Another note about my potential job. All of these jobs sponsored by the State Department and administered by SIT are in Muslim areas or countries. It is an effort, begun in 1989, to improve America’s image in such areas, to show a “softer, gentler” side. A BBC article, “U.S. could win over Muslim world,” talks about just such an approach.

Haze and Butt Head

It was very hazy a few days ago, looking much like the smoke-enshrouded skies of Montana during fire season. I don’t know whether it was water vapor, an actual forest fire somewhere else in Korea, or Chinese dust, though there were no dust alerts issued that day. Speaking of forest fires, Montana and other western states can expect more drought, according to this article. In Andong, the forecast is calling for rain today. What better day for a wedding? Two of our former office staff are marrying at noon. I’ll post some photos later.

View from my office on Apr. 29

Now, I’ve been accused of having my head up my butt, but never up someone else’s.

This photo is from last summer’s kids’ camp. They were playing a popular game called, I think, “Horse,” wherein two of them hook up, as above, and the rest of the gang jump on their backs, one by one, to see how many they can hold before the “horse” collapses. I captured this shot from my 5th floor office.

Earthquake, Sickness

It’s 6:12 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and I just felt the apartment building shake for about 5 seconds. That probably means there was another earthquake close by, perhaps in Japan. I’ll have to remember to check the news reports later.

UPDATE Yes, it was a 5.8 magnitude quake, as reported here.

I’ve been sick with a cold for the past week–can’t seem to shake the thing, though I’m feeling a little better this morning, not counting the 15 minutes of coughing that occurs when I first get out of bed. I wanted to get out last Sunday and take some photos of the beautiful cherry tree blossoms, but I stayed home instead.

I did make it to Wonju Saturday, however, to visit Andy, one of our former teachers. He gave me a tour of his campus and told me to put in an application, since a position may be opening up soon. The way it sounds, it’s an ideal university, so I’ll turn in a resume package. I also heard from IPA in Saudi Arabia and they sound pretty positive about at least giving me an interview. I think the Wonju position is now at the top of my list. Second, I’ll go through a Korean recruiter to try to find another job like it, hopefully near Seoul. Next is a State Department funded Masters Graduate Fellowship program, placing candidates in Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere. Third, I would work a job in Laos or Thailand, no matter that the pay in those countries would be very low. Finally, I’d go with a middle-East job. So many options. More later.


Just a few minutes ago I noticed some of my plants and the cord that opens my curtain swaying, and my fan, standing on the floor, rattling. I thought “earthquake somewhere.” Sure enough, there is a report that a magnitude 7 quake has hit in southern Japan. No damage here, but it is interesting that you can feel these things this far away.

I put in another online application yesterday, this one to United Arab Emirates’ Higher Colleges of Technology. I’ll probably send in a few more to Middle East institutions and another for a worldwide fellowship sponsored by an organization in the U.S., with openings in Africa and Indonesia that I am interested in. I’ll also keep my options open in Korea; there are plenty of good jobs here,too. I am also becoming more and more interested in the Lao-American College in Vientiane, Laos. One of the new teachers at ANU is Eugene, and he spent a year teaching there recently. He tells me that the pay is not very good, but the experience is very worthwhile. I might pop in while I’m visiting Nai this summer.

The weather is very nice today, so I think I’ll sign off, grab the bicycle and give it a spin. More later.

Wedding and Fire on the Mountain

Last weekend, my taekwando master, Mr. Kim, was married in one of the local wedding halls. The ceremony, typical, I’m told, of Korean weddings, might resemble Las Vegas–glitz and surrealism. The happy couple was transported down the side wall of the room in an open-sided booth that emitted dry-ice smoke. The couple departed the booth at the back of the room and then proceeded up to the main “altar” at the front of the room. It’s not really an altar, since this is not a religious ceremony. In marching to the front, to the strains of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, they passed under a couple of fake swords wielded by two lady aides, dressed in mock military uniforms, which reminded me of Busby Berkeley musicals of the ’30s. The room itself is very ornate. Outside the building (no photos yet) are several neon palm trees, green-, yellow-, and red-colored, I believe, that are quite a spectacle at night. I’ll try to get some photos of these to post. After the ceremony, those giving money to the couple (no merchandise given, just money) are allowed to gorge themselves on a pretty decent Korean buffet a couple of floors above the wedding ceremony area. Overall, quite interesting, if kitschy.

Wedding5 (89k image)

Wedding5 (89k image)

I was bicycling around town last night, shooting some night photos using my new tripod, when I spotted what looked like a full-blown forest fire on one of the hills surrounding Andong. I watched as the fire swept through the tops of some trees, causing crown fires. I was probably several kilometers away, so I didn’t get a great view, but it definitely reminded me of some of the fires I’ve seen in western Montana. I couldn’t get any great photos (wish I’d had the big camera with its telephoto lens with me), but there is one here and a few more on the photo page.

Fire in Andong

Fire on the Mountain

I paid for my ticket to Thailand (about $300 roundtrip), but I’m still waiting to receive it in the mail. I’m told that the travel agent doesn’t send it until just before I’m supposed to leave. We’ll see what happens, but I hope I get it soon. I’m leaving on June 28th and returning on July 21st. At least, I think I’m returning–maybe I’ll love Thailand so much that I’ll just stay and become a beach bum 🙂


I was in my first earthquake today, the first that I can remember feeling. I was sitting at the computer about 7:20 pm when I heard a loud boom and then I felt some movement and noticed that the computer monitor was rocking slightly from side to side. It lasted a few seconds and I wondered whether it was the ventilation unit on top of the building kicking in or whether it actually was a quake. I looked outside, but no one walking in the streets or standing on the balcony of the hospital next door seemed too concerned. A couple of the other teachers noticed it also. We took a walk downtown to do some shopping and on returning I checked Google. Sure enough, we experienced a 5.9 magnitude quake. The peninsula is somewhat prone to earthquakes, but is not nearly as bad off as Japan. It was an interesting experience. I’ll keep my eyes and ears peeled for more news.

Newer posts »

© 2023 MontanaRon

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑