Tag Archives: Busan

Roh Moo-Hyun

Since I have received a few emails from family and friends with concern after news of former South Korean President Roh Moo-Ryun’s suicide, I feel compelled to blog on this topic.  Especially since his suicide was to have been reported internationally as having occurred in my Korean hometown, Busan (it is the closest large city to the cliff President Roh jumped off of). 

I am in no position to comment on his politics or his successes/failures as a leader, but in conversations I have had with Korean people, President Roh was certainly a person that seemed to spark people.  He was known as a clean politician as well, a reputation that certainly took a knock when allegations of he and his wife receiving roughly $6 million in bribes from a business man in Korea. 
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Kenny Rogers Noraebong

I have been sitting on this story for too long.  Its not as though the tale surrounding my White Day (March 14, analogous to our Valetine’s Day) was real salacious, but it took me sometime to get the picture I needed to tell the story. 

Also, this beginning with this post, I am going to try and get more posts up, with many more little things about life here as, I have find myself out of the house way more than I ever planned during my stay in Korea.  I guess the primary reason for this is that I have been very, very active in pursuing a busy social life and as a result, I am out most every night.  However, the reason for my aggressive social pursuits is directly related to my work life over the past few weeks.  Things at my school have been less than ideal and as a result, I have found myself working harder and being more stressed at the job and my aggressive social pursuits serve adequately as a solid diversion. 
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Getting Clean

A big recreational activity in South Korea is a visit to the bath house.  The culture surrounding spas and public bath houses in Korea differs greatly from that of the United States.  Back home, such places usually conjure perverse and bizarre ideas and images.  Here in Korea though, the baths are as common a place to go and hang out as a pool or tennis club are.  While they are obviously single sex, father’s bring their sons and cousins and everyone has a good time with it.  One of my students at school even used a spa trip as the primary subject of his weekend journal entry.     

Friday, I took my first trip to the baths, meeting two teachers from school at Heosimcheong Spa (supposedly the largest hot spring fed spa in all of Asia) to see what these crazy Koreans do while getting clean in public.  By the way, there’s little going on in the way of pictures in this post, for pretty obvious reasons. 
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Busan KTF Magic Wings

I came to Korea to play in the Korean Basketball League.  The teaching job is just an easy to get an E2 Visa with which I can get some access to the KBL.  Not really, but I did go to my first KBL game, watching the Busan KTF Magic Wings host the Seoul SK Knights.

Full Photo Album here, but please read on below
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Metrocards are for Losers

The title is a strong statement, but my current public transit pass here in Busan (pictured above) bests NYC’s Metrocard a few times over.  Yes, that glittercoin looking thing with the hole in the middle and the Korean Characters around the edge is my train and bus pass.  Why, you ask, is this so much better than what I have seen offered in other cities around the world?
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Six Months

Friends, for all those who I have not told, I recently finalized plans to teach English in Busan, South Korea for the next six months (and being paid millions of Won to do it), beginning January 31.  I have not spent more than three weeks or so outside of the greater New York metropolitan area, so moving to the Far East will be quite the experience for me.

I’d prefer to spend the days prior to my departure watching basketball, Aussie Open tennis and researching all of the crazy weird food options I’ll have the chance to sample in Korea, but there are many things that one must do before he leaves the country.

Personally, these things include getting Visa Paperwork done with the South Korean Consulate, dropping more paperwork off at the Portuguese Consulate per my Portuguese Citizenship application and finalizing law school applications for my potential fall entry into law school.

Most consuming though has been packing.  Six months is a time that I haven’t yet wrapped around my head.  I don’t think its a really long time, but I don’t know what “stuff” I need in those two pieces of luggage (<50 pounds) and one carry-on bag (<25 pounds) that I am entitled to board the Korean Air plane with.

Seventeen pairs of boxer briefs, fifteen A-Shirts (aka wifebeaters), twenty pairs of socks are packed right now, but I need to add pants, shirts, shorts, shoes, belts and a few other accessory type items.

The toughest part of clothes selection will be determining which items are pack-worthy and which would just be a waste.  For example, I’d like to pack a pair of bright green Adidas adicolor Kermit the Frog shoes, which are really sick, but are ridiculousy needless and impractical.  I can’t wear them to work or to excersise and they are too loud to wear all the time when going out.  So I will probably have to make the tough call on those.

Besides tough calls, packing has also made me aware of essential items that I lack.  Thus far, I realized through the pack that I don’t have a watch, a second suitcase without a hole in it, a CD-wallet, a digital camera (at least as of now I can’t find my own) and a few books that I’d like to bring along for the trip.  A few things to get between now and Friday.

In the coming months, I’ll be writing about more interesting than packing and dropping off notarized documents to consulates.  Living in Korea should be a trip and then some and I hope to have a fair collection of stories and pictures to share with family and friends.  More to come…..Technorati Tags: , , ,