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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!

Spring in Yeosu

As usual, spring time in Yeosu is, quite simply, gorgeous. It’s a city that features flowers of all colors, amazing green hues in the trees and, at times, deep blue skies. Following are a few shots that I took while walking around campus when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Most of the blossoms have fallen, but right now various other flowers are dominant.

Our English Tour Guide class took a field trip this past Saturday to several areas around town, including an achingly beautiful temple up in the mountains. I haven’t processed those photos yet, but they’ll be forthcoming soon.

I’ve also been down to the Expo Site and everything appears to be up and ready to go. There was a kind of mini-rehearsal on one of my visits, when a few thousand Yeosu citizens were invited to tour the facilities. This Saturday, May 5th, is the first full-scale dress rehearsal with around 100,000 folks visiting the site–I’ll be among them.

I also tried to get some night shots of the Expo, but heavy fog prevented any long-range photos, though I think I got a few interesting shots from around the area. I’ll try to get some of those up also.

Sorry for the delay between posts, but, except for a few days of heavy rains, the weather has been fantastic. I’d rather get out and enjoy it than spend the hours inside. 😉

OK, here are the campus shots. I will definitely have some others up soon!

Spring flowers in Yeosu

One Campus View of Spring

Yeosu Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms 1

Cherry Blossoms in Yeosu

Another Cherry Blossom Shot

Magnolia flowers

Magnolia Blossoms

Magnolia flowers

More Magnolia Blossoms

Campus Rest Area

Rest Area Near the Dorms

Azalea blossom

Azalea Blossom

Camellia Blossom

Camellia Blossom

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit under the weather the last several days, coughing and sneezing, feverish and chilly at times, and a bit lethargic (lazy?). So, apologies for the lengthy delay between posts.

As I stated in my previous entry, I did manage to take in the Azalea Festival at Yeongchuisan (san = mountain) here in Yeosu last Saturday. Unfortunately, we caught it about a week too early, so it was a bit of a flop. There were some sparse regions of azaleas, resplendent in their pink blossoms, but the vast fields that spring up at this time of year were sadly absent. Like I said, we were a week too early.

Still, it was a beautiful day, with clear, blue skies, warm temperatures, and little wind. Corrie, another English teacher at the university, Anne, one of our Korean students, and I started our climb up the mountain about 10 in the morning. I thought we’d have to take a gentle hike to the azalea fields, but it turned out to be somewhat of a steep trek — not grueling, but a good workout. Was it worth it, considering the lack of the flowers? Sure, more than worth it. Here’s a few photos from the day.

One of the trails up the mountain, the one we took, starts from the enormous petro-chemical area of Yeosu. Many Koreans make the trek, so we weren’t alone. Here we go, soon passed by these guys as we took several breaks on the way up to catch our breaths and rest our aching leg muscles.

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Hiking to the azalea fields

Up we went, hoping for a bedazzling pink flower show, joined by many azalea acolytes. Quite a few tour buses drop off aficionados of the local flora, so the mountain does get crowded.

Yeosu Azalea Festival

Hikers going up to the Azalea Festival

Yeosu Azalea Festival

More people ahead of us

Unfortunately, the azaleas weren’t out on this part of the mountain. There were more blooming at the university, as a matter of fact. We could have just walked around there to see plenty of flowers, but it was worth going up Youngchuisan despite that. However, off to our left on a ridge below us, they were in full regalia. Corrie and I thought about going down to see them, but it was a LONG way down, so, a LONG way back up. There was a road there, but, unfortunately, it wandered off toward the farther mountains, away from Ann’s car. We had a good view of the flowers, despite our distance from their fields.

Azalea flowers at the festival

Field of flowers at the festival

Flowers at the Azalea Festival

Another view of the flowers

Eventually, we made it to one of the peaks. We saw another one about a kilometer from us and several dozen meters above, but we decided not to make that hike; the trail was packed and we were eager to take a snack break. Here’s Corrie, on the left, and Ann at the top of our little world.

Corrie and Ann at the Azalea Festival

Corrie and Ann

Despite the lack of azaleas on this weekend, I was fascinated by the area. The scenery was exhilirating, but the intricacies of the myriad petro-chemical plants enthralled me. Ann had to drive through several kilometers of the area to reach the mountain, and the road winds its way through the tanks and pipes and weirdness of these industries. The architecture of the area is monstrous and its pull on me is undeniable; I’m going to go back there on my bicycle or motorbike later in the summer and photograph this alien landscape.

Here are a couple of shots of the area, showing the new bridges linking the Yeosu Peninsula with the port of Gwangyang. Before the bridges were built, travel time from Yeosu to Gwangyang was probably a couple of hours, but now the journey has been cut at least in half. The bridges aren’t open yet, but they should be ready to go before the Expo opens.

Bridges to Gwangyang from Yeosu

New bridges from Yeosu to Gwangyang

New bridge from Yeosu to Gwangyang

New bridge from Yeosu to Gwangyang

The weather, as you can see, has been gorgeous lately. I also did a photo walk around campus this past Wednesday morning, an election-day holiday in Korea, and took lots of photos of the wonderful spring colors in the area this time of year. I promise I’ll try to get those up soon. More later.

Bicycle Ride to Jang-deung Beach, Yeosu Peninsula

Spring seems to be fully here, with the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom, and azaleas, camellias and other flowers brightening the landscape. As a matter of fact, there’s an annual azalea festival at Yeongchuisan (san = mountain) this coming weekend that I’m going to visit.

So, despite 3 inches of rain last Friday, I decided to take a bicycle trip Saturday down to Jang-deung beach here on the Yeosu Peninsula. My riding companions were a couple of the new teachers, Rob, a Scotsman, and Trevor, from Canada. Now, both of these guys are much younger than I (who isn’t?) and in much better shape (insert another rhetorical question here). Trevor, especially, is quite the athlete; he’s a dedicated football (soccer) player, rides his bicycle all over the place, jogs, plays tennis and who knows what else. Rob’s no slouch either. When they suggested the ride, I was all gung-ho. Even though it looked like a fairly long trek and that it would be my first time out on my bike in almost 6 months, I thought I’d be ok. Wrong! It turned out to be a 36-mile (60 km) round trip. I haven’t ridden that far in about 20 years. Plus, it was mostly up and down hills, hills which I mostly pushed my bike up (or maybe it was pushing me). I probably spent more time pushing than riding. And, as I said, it was the first time on the bike in quite a while, so my muscles were sorely taxed by the end of the ride. I’m still recuperating.

However, it was fun for the most part and the scenery was pretty nice. We made it to the beach and stopped at a small restaurant on the way back and had some delicious fish stew. By that time, though, anything would have tasted wonderful. I just wanna thank the young studs for waiting for me at the top of all those hills. At least they didn’t have to carry me back! Here are some photos of the ride.

First, here’s a map of the peninsula. The university, from where we started, is circled in red at the upper right and the beach is at the left center. Click for a larger image.

Here we’re getting prepared to start the trip from our dormitory. That’s Trevor on the left and Rob, already on his bike. My trusty steed is in the foreground.

Preparing for the bicycle trip

Beginning the bike trip

There are many small fishing towns and harbors sprinkling the coast. We all thought that it would be great to live in one of them as long as we didn’t have far to commute to and from work.

Yeosu fishing village

Fishing Village

There are, of course, many beautiful spots along the coast. Here’s a small sample.

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

South Coast View

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

South Coast Shoreline of Yeosu Peninsula

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

Yeosu Peninsula South Coast View

South coast of Yeosu Peninsula

Yeosu Peninsula South Coast View

The above photo is actually the beginning of Jang-deung beach, which is out of sight at the bottom of the photo. Here’s a shot of the beach.

Jang-deung Beach

Jang-deung Beach

And, here’s a view from the end of the beach. As usual, it’s pretty hazy along the coast looking toward the sun.

Jang-deung Beach view

Another view from Jang-deung Beach

Rob and Trevor, showing no ill effects of the ride, mock my exhaustion. I took this shot just before I was put into the ambulance. :smile:

Rob and Trevor

Rob and Trevor

If you take a look at the map again, you can see that just to the east of Jang-deung there’s a small island called Baekyado (pronounced dough = island). Connecting the island to the mainland is this pretty little bridge. Quite a few of the islands are accessible by bridge, though many more require a ferry boat ride. Rob and Trevor are taking one of the ferries to another island this Saturday. I really wanted to go, but, like I stated earlier, I’m still recuperating and the rash I got on my, ummm, . . . well, you can guess where . . . is still bothering me, so no bike ride this weekend. The more sedate azalea festival beckons.

Baegya Island Bridge and Harbor

Baegya Island Bridge and Harbor

Our total trip time was about 7 hours, but that include dawdling on the way (the young guys waiting for the old guy to catch up) and stopping at the restaurant. I’m really looking forward to doing some other bike trips, especially later in the year when the bicycle muscles in my legs are in better shape. As always, then, more later.

More May Photos

The rainy, gray days continue, so I still haven’t been out with the camera lately. This seems like the worst summer of the three that I’ve spent here in Yeosu. I think I can count on one hand the number of sunny days in July and August. It was supposed to rain all afternoon today, but checking the weather radar, it appears that no rain is heading our way. (Typical bad forecast by the KMA.) Despite overcast skies, I think I’ll go down to the Expo 2012 site later this afternoon and take a few shots.

In the meantime, here are some more photos from last May. Some of these I’ve played around with in Photoshop, so click for a larger version to see how I’ve enhanced them (or screwed them up). :smile:

The western part of the peninsula is quite beautiful, but I don’t get out there that often; I don’t ride my motorbike around in town (too dangerous, I think) and it’s kind of far out for much more than the very occasional bicycle ride. Here are a couple shots of the area.

This one was taken a bit closer to the city, near the Soho Yacht Marina.

The tall ship trainer heads out to sea with a boat load of passengers to take in the yacht regatta that’s occurring farther out. Check out the guy up on the mast. All of the photos in this post were taken with my compact camera, so I didn’t have the Canon DSLR with it’s long telephoto lens. If you look closely, you can barely make out the small boats in the distance.

Here’s a different kind of ship, unladen, perhaps going across the bay to Gwang-yang to pick up a load of steel.

Finally, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom then, so here’s another one that I “photoshopped,” pink cherry blossoms in all their glory. As always, click on any of the photos for a large version. More later.

Another Yellow Dust Photo

I had about an hour until my next class, so I walked to a vantage point and took a photo of one of the downtown areas of Yeosu. Contrast it with the same view I took yesterday afternoon. Of course, the angle of the sunlight emphasizes the dust in this photo, but it’s still pretty bad.

Also, to give some perspective to the roundabout photo I posted yesterday, here’s a shot from a further distance.

OK, that’s probably it for the dust photos, unless it gets a whole lot worse. Hopefully, it’ll start to clear up as the day goes along.

Yellow Dust Season

Yes, it’s that time of year when the prevailing winds blow sand from the Gobi desert onto the Korean peninsula. “The yellow dust season runs from March to June, with the heaviest dust concentrations typically coming in late April and early May,” according to an article on the Stars and Stripes website. The article also states that experts are predicting a light dust season. Well, except for today.

The peninsula is in the middle of a dust alert for today and on into tomorrow morning, with the highest stage alert expected to be issued as dust clouds continue to be blown over the area. You can read this Yonhap News Agency report about the dust.

It’s been pretty hazy all day here in Yeosu, so, after jogging this morning and sucking in a lot of the dust (and being sandblasted by the high winds that have blown most of the day), I did a little walking around campus this afternoon to take a few photos.

Here’s a shot of Horangsan (san = mountain) from street level and one from a 5th floor outside stairway on one of the campus buildings.

Here’s a shot of Yeosu looking away from the sun, which makes quite a difference in the perceived clarity. It doesn’t look all that bad in this view.

Now here’s one looking in the direction of the sun. Looks pretty bad!

Finally, a view of the golf course.

And a few other shots. This is one of the many little court areas that are sprinkled around campus, places to sit and relax, shady and flowered.

There’s a roundabout on the main road that runs from one side of the campus to the other. In the middle of it is a large pine tree set in a colorful bed of azaleas.

Do you remember in the previous post that I mentioned a strange walkway below the dorms? Well, here it is. What is it used for? I’ve no idea, since I’ve never seen anyone using it. Hmmm, quite odd. That’s it for now, but I took quite a number of photos last weekend, which I’ll try to show you soon. More later.

A Few More Spring Photos

Yesterday’s photos were all of cherry blossoms, so today I’ll put up a few different ones. Just outside the dorm my apartment is in there is a scrawny, struggling magnolia tree. It’s not very photogenic, but here are a few isolated blossoms, superimposed against the dorm wall that I thought were interesting enough to post. By the way, if any experts look at these and think they’re not magnolia blossoms, please let me know in the comment section–I don’t claim to be very knowledgeable about flora or fauna.

Yeosu is famous for its camellia trees, and there are plenty of them on campus. Here’s just a few of them.

The next one has been slightly Photoshopped. Click for the large version to see what I mean.

Here’s a tree that has shed many of its flowers. The first is a “normal” shot, but the second is a Photoshopped version that I kind of like.

Finally, here’s a view from below the dormitories of the road which runs past the soccer field where I usually jog. The road, which you can’t see, is lined by the cherry blossoms. The red bins next to the green water in the lower right hand corner are . . . hmmm, I don’t know. This is a bit of an unusual area anyway. To the right and above the bins, out of the picture, is a strange walkway that I’ve never seen anyone use. I’ll get a shot of it some day to show you what I mean.

Ok, that’s it for the spring shots around campus. Like I said, I took a long walk to the Expo 2012 area yesterday, and today I let the bicycle out for some exercise and it took me to the Soho Yacht area, so eventually (this week, I hope), I’ll get some photos up that I took on those two outings.

Yeosu University Spring Photos

Spring on campus is beautiful, and during the peak flower season quite a few locals walk or drive to the university just to stroll around the area and soak up all the color and fragrance. Those who are traveling by car or motorbike have to really watch out for pedestrians, who sometimes walk down the middle of the roads while taking photos. As a matter of fact, yours truly does the same thing, but only early in the morning when traffic is light and only after looking both ways first. 😳

So, as promised a “few” days ago, here are some spring photos of beautiful Chonnam National University (Yeosu Campus). If you’re interested, you can compare these with photos from spring of last year.

A couple enjoys a Sunday morning walk under the cherry blossoms.

Remember that I posted about having to move into a new office in another building on campus? Here’s a shot from my window in that office.

And one more, for now. I’ll put up a few more tomorrow, since I’m a bit tired tonight and ready to hit the sack. I took a very long walk to the Expo 2012 area today and snapped off a bunch of photos for a future post–hopefully I’ll get them up in a “few” days. Construction is moving along quite nicely. More later.

Spring Fever

In more ways than one. First, I apologize to all my Loyal Readers for not posting in such a long time. I suppose it’s partly my fault for being so lazy, but the main reason is that I’ve been fighting a ferocious cold for about a week and a half now. I haven’t really felt like doing much of anything except staying in bed. There were a few days that I thought about canceling my classes, but I got through them OK. Most of the other teachers and quite a few of the students have also had the same malady, so my misery had its company.

The last few days, though, I’ve been feeling much better, and just in time, too. We’re at the mid-semester break, with a whole week off–no more classes until April 25th. Very nice. I did manage to get out last Sunday morning and snap off a few photos of the spring blossoms around campus, so I’ll get some of those posted ASAP. Hopefully, then, I’ll be adding entries to the blog at a better rate than I have in the past few weeks. Stay tuned.