Thursday, 22 July 2010


Sat down at my desk to do some work when I realised that my keyboard was out of place and there was debris on my desk. 'Wtf,' I thought, 'I bet some nosey geek has been on my computer'. So, after typing in my password and whacking on some Nirvana, I noticed that the monitor was now a 20 inch flat screen... God knows how I graduated university. My parents are very proud, you know.

In other news, I go to the Philippines on holiday next Tuesday (27th July). Time flies. It feels like only yesterday I was frantically trying to buy plane tickets online and finding myself constantly rejected (by the website..). I go onto Hong Kong on August 4th and I'll be back in good ol' Incheon on the 8th. Cannot wait :)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Camp Casey

I've been seeing Sarah now for around 2 months so inevitably I met a couple of her friends. A married couple, it turns out, are her best friends here in Korea and so we've hung out a bit over weekends, had dinners etc and got to know each other as much as you can really over a two month period. One of em - the husband - is in the U.S. army and is based up in Camp Casey near Soyosan way north on Seoul Line 1. He and his wife are leaving to go back to the USA within the next few weeks so Sarah wanted to see him off at Camp Casey before he left. First question I asked was 'As a Brit, can I just wander onto a U.S. army base? What I mean is can I plleaasee come??'. Answer was 'Yes, but you have to have him with you at all times to "supervise", as is the same with all visitors'. Second question was 'Can I A) hold a gun, and B) see helicopters and tanks?'. Answer?: 'Yes, to the choppers and tanks. Hell no, to the gun'. So, good news and bad news then.

So, Saturday morning came and we took the 2 and bit hour journey from my place in Incheon to Camp Casey. It looked really nondescript from the outside - very much unlike the U.S. embassy in London, which looked like it belonged more in the middle of a war zone than opposite a nice park with a 'dungeon themed' pub nearby. I'm not sure whether I should really describe much about Camp Casey really in case I'm breaching some kind of 'security code' or something. But basically they have a Popeyes, which do the most amazing 'biscuits' (scones with a slightly different recipe) and chicken; a Starbucks; a place where we had an awesome 'Philly Cheese Steak', which consists of plenty of cheese, plenty of steak, plenty of onions and green peppers.. in a roll; a bowling alley; a cinema; and a Taco Bell. It was glorious, to be honest. But, for an army base, it didn't seem like much 'army-ing' was going on. Mind you, it was a weekend and people go off post etc. Also there was an awful lot of bellies around.. like if there was a war they would whip out their guns only to find that they're clogged with chicken batter. Still, I felt weaksauce.

We stayed in a nice 'American style' hotel, which basically meant that they had carpet, and then set off on the Sunday after a nice chicken tender and biscuit breakfast. Not quite continental, but I think I got my '5-a-day' in OK.

Me and Sarah bowling away on the Base. My arm still hurts :/ The price you pay for victory, I guess.

Don't think I mentioned that it was like a monsoon out, did I? Well, it was like a monsoon out, and we all got very wet. My umbrella also leaked, which didn't help. And the road to all the cool tanks was flooded so we couldn't walk close to them :'(

Just noticed that Sarah got a half-strike from a split... nice :)

This is me (plus brolly) and Sarah (plus snazzy jacket) in front of an inactive tank they had lying around. Our friend described the history of 'KEEP UP THE FIRE!' but I've forgotten it :/ Something to do with covering fire or something? Not sure.

Well, that was my awesome weekend on U.S. soil :)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Fun times at school

Seeing as they finished their English exam yesterday I thought it might be a good chance for them to just veg out this week and either enjoy or (more likely) fall asleep during a showing of Shrek. Good plan eh? Oh, wait, this is Korea. Literally one minute before class I get a message from my co-teacher saying that the vice-principal has said 'no DVDs'. Right, so I have 30 seconds to think of a 45 minute 'fun' lesson. I thought to myself, "my so called 'well planned' lessons aren't even that fun, so wtf am I going to do now?". This thought took up about 15 seconds of my prep-time. So I shuffled into class and pretended to be messing with the computer while I thought of something. "Right", I pondered, "maybe some kind of hangman gig? Or maybe bingo? Basic, but it might soak up some minutes...". So I bust out the 'Korean bingo' game that my girlfriend, Sarah, taught me.

Instructions are each student draws a grid however big the teacher tells them, lets say 4x4, and they have to think of 16 things in a given category. I chose 'brands', which took them forever! I was like 'do you kids just not watch TV or go shopping?'.. then I realised I was looking at Korean children whose sole purpose is to either study, read manga, or improve their skills at online games. Might've had more luck if I chose manga titles, which I will in the next lesson, or Starcraft build orders... Anyway, some kid managed to wangle two candies out of me by conveniently winning on his turn and then another kid guessed 'BRAZIL' correctly on the hangman game I busted out in the last 5 minutes. By the way, Korean kids don't really guess letters... they just guess one or two letters at the beginning then start throwing out whole words. For example, for _ _ A _ _ _ one girl guessed 'America'... It wasn't an advanced class.

This was second grade. Next up: my mental first grade class who stand on chairs and chant my name when I enter, who don't seem to know any English except 'give me candy', and who get so excited at the prospect of candy that they shout 'wrong!!' and jump up with their hand up screaming 'me! me!' when their classmates answer a question... even though the answer is right. And I've just said it's right.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Jumping straight into it.

After putting off going to Busan with my girlfriend (Sarah, 24, Alabama, USA) for the past couple of weeks due to various reasons, we decided to travel the 200-odd miles to Busan using the super-fast KTX train. At 300 km/h max speed, the KTX really is the only way to travel to Busan... unless you fancy the bus. We took the KTX, though, seeing as Sarah doesn't get off work 'til late. From Seoul station to Busan station it took close to 3 hours, which wasn't too bad.. got a bit of shut-eye on the way there. Saying that, I got woken up by some screaming kid who really wasn't being considerate... but other than that it was a nice smooth trip :) oh, actually, on the way back someone decided to bring a small container full of fish (or something that smelled strongly of fish) and chucked it on the overhead shelf.. and a woman sitting across the aisle from me brought a bag of kimchi with her, which smelled... and we were having so much fun in Busan that we actually forgot to eat so we were starving... can't fault the KTX though :P

When we got there, Busan was great! Slightly overcast but sweltering hot (I got sunburnt again..). Shorts weather, but I wish I had flip flops (tip: buy flip flops if your hitting Busan cos it's just plain uncomfortable otherwise). I'm not gonna sit here and describe all the beers we drank and the streets we wandered down, so here are some pictures :P louder than words, an all that.

This is me in the tunnel they have through the main tank in Busan aquarium. It's full of nurse sharks, which looked terrifying because they were bearing their teeth; huge groupers, which were really ugly but the same size as the nurse sharks, which instantly made me think of some kind of fight between the two mainly because I saw a video clip of an octopus killing a shark the day before and I wanted to see the grouper-nurse shark equivalent (I watched them more closely after that thought); and large schools of shiny fish.

Can't remember where this was taken, but Sarah and I are in the jaws of a huge shark (fake though :'( ).
We took a boat ride out into Busan's surrounding waters on a little tour and it got sooo cold. It was such a bumpy ride that I'm surprised we managed to keep our stomachs intact let alone take this picture :P but it was a great ride, to be honest. Busan is beautiful.

We visited a coastal temple on the Saturday, which was, again, beautiful. The view was great, the temple was nice, and authentic too because there were plenty of people about praying and that while we took pictures. I'm pretty sure I wasn't being disrespectful when I couldn't be bothered to switch my flash off but I'm sure I'll be forgiven somewhere down the line.

Another one of us at the temple.
This is me next to the - guess what!! - KTX :P It's a double ended train, which we didn't know at the time, and we were confused for a few seconds as to why the train was setting off in the opposite direction. Divs.

Other things happened like the amazing curry place Sarah took me too... argh, it was like heaven. It challenges some of the places in the UK, I tell ya. 'Ganga' it's called, if anyone reading this is planning a trip to Busan, and it's right by Haeundae beach below the TGI Friday's. 40 minute wait to get in, but I could've waited longer, to be honest..

And that was Busan :) Check my facebook for more pictures if you want.
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