I’m feeling lazy and uninspired today… so here’s some pictures I took around town today. The first few are up at Odo Beach (where I rode to with Broc) and the rest are taken from the roof of my apartment building during a firework show!
The crew… clean and happy!
First to get covered!
I got pretty dirty…
…and pretty submerged!
It was fun =)
And my team kicked butt!
Yup… we’re that awesome!
This is a little something I’ve been working on for the past week or so. Growing up on a lake in the Pacific Northwest has instilled in me a love for all things water. I love swimming, floating, riding, and frolicking in water – whether it be fresh or salt. I particularly love the sea. I love the sound of waves on the shore, the taste of salt, the power present in each wave. It’s something that never ceases to thrill me and make me feel alive, regardless what corner of the globe I’m in. So here’s this, a bit of writing about a moment spent with the sea:
The wave breaks with a muted crash; a liquid crescendo peaking then fading to a quiet murmur until the next begins. The water is cold and sparkles in the light of the setting sun. Vibrant blues and greens curl into a pure white foam that rushes to shore with each surge of the sea. I sit on the edge of a rock – a pitted and rugged remnant of a volcano’s fury – and slip my feet into the ocean’s embrace. A contented sigh slips between my lips.
The next wave comes and the water sloshes up my calves. Bits of kelp whip past my legs, forward and back, subject to the fickle whims of the waves. A solitary crab tumbles past, legs and claws flailing wildly in a futile effort to gain purchase in the endlessly shifting sand. As it rights itself and seeks shelter under the abandoned shell of a moon snail, I feel the tug of a smile on my face.
The wind gusts, whipping through my hair and across my skin. Its cool caress is soft, yet insistent – my skin prickling at its touch. Above me, an osprey pinwheels in the sky, keen eyes searching the translucent shallows below. With a screech, it folds its wings and drops; plummeting with reckless abandon to snatch a gleaming, wriggling perch from the water. The raptor beats its wings once, twice, and takes to the skies with the ocean’s bounty – droplets of water flicking this way and that as they catch stray rays of sun like diamonds scattered to the wind. I let myself stare in open wonder at the sight.
I take my feet from the water, clasp my knees to my chest, and breathe in deep; the smell of the sea filling my senses. It smells of salt, sand, and life itself; mingled into a cocktail that is like a balm to the soul. The sun is beginning its quickening descent past the line of the mountains, lighting the cloud-dotted sky in brilliant hues of purple, orange, and blood red. It seems only moments before it is reduced to a burning sliver of fire, then only a memory. But not for long. I sit with the confidence that it will break over the horizon behind me with the advent of the coming day, as this world maintains its elegant spin through the heavens in an eternal cycle. The cycle of life: always turning, always beautiful, never the same. One more day, one more sunrise, one more wave. I smile and dip my feet back into the water. One more time.
First things first. I want to say, once and for all, that no one should ever, EVER, have to wake up when it is still dark. Everybody clear on that one? Good.
That being said, doing so can result in some pretty cool experiences. Like, for example, hopping on scooters/motorcycles with some very good friends and riding out to Homigot (호미곶) to watch a beautiful sunrise. Despite being half-asleep, it was a great time.
Sometimes a place you visit makes you realize how majestic this world is. When you stand on the peak of a mountain and feel the cool mist of clouds wafting across your skin. When you look out over a rugged and savage vista and, for just a moment, you feel like an eagle priviliged to look down upon Nature in all her glory. Or when your fingers trace the stone and touch the root of a tree burrowed stubbornly into an inhospitable surface; reaffirming your belief that life is brave and wild and tenacious in its will to survive. Some places just make you feel alive. I found a place like that this weekend at Seoraksan (설악산) National Park.
My friends and I had a really cool experience last weekend in the form of a city council sponsored beach volleyball tournament. My friend Mike did most of the organizing, city hall pitched in over $1000 worth of prizes, Handong University and the military provided food… it was an awesome time! It was so cool to feel so supported and welcomed by the city. They even designated our hangout spot by the beach as the “Pohang Global Zone”. Oh, and the mayor was there to christen it and give a speech. We even ended up on the news!! You can see me at several points in the video, try and find me!
My team: Dan, Yully, myself, and Dan. Zjizic took the picture!
This weekend I decided to explore the second largest city in Korea… Busan. Weighing in at over 3,600,000 people in the city alone, it’s much bigger than Pohang but a mere shadow of the sprawling behemoth that is Seoul. There was a big sand festival going on, which was fun to check out. Some of the sand sculptures were pretty impressive. There was also some dancing, taekwondo, and other festival stuff going on. Worth checking out if you’re in the area at the start of June!
Wow, what a weekend! I have the feeling that the majority of my future posts will start out the same way, but I’m not going to complain about that! I started the weekend off by meeting some friends across town for some delicious 닭갈비 or dalkgalbi (chickeny, cheesy, ricey, spicy, and delicious) and then drove back to Bukbu Beach to relax. The beach is super close to my apartment and the place to be at almost any point in the day during spring/summer in Pohang. It’s big, sandy, and bustling with Koreans in full hiking gear and waygooks in shorts and bikinis. It still cracks me up to see the differences in how people view ‘going to the beach’. In the States, you go to the beach with a swimsuit, towel, and sandals. While I’ve seen that off and on here, I see more people wearing jeans or, as I said above, full hiking gear. C’mon people! Frolic in the water, bask in the sun, get sand in uncomfortable places!
That being said, we just went to hang out on Friday night, in typical Korean fashion. We played hacky sack with a glowing chick toy, did some slack-lining, and showed Pohang how the Western world does karaoke. Yup. Karaoke on the beach. It was glorious. At any given point, there was a crowd of Koreans gathered watching the crazy foreigners belting out classics such as: “California Dreamin”, “I Want It That Way”, and “Hound Dog”. I did “Hound Dog” when Annie promised she would sing a Korean song after… which she failed to deliver on. But I sure as heck rocked Hound Dog. Up until now I’d only done noraebangs, which are basically private singing rooms where you can sing with your friends. This was on the boardwalk at the beach. It was nerve-wracking, but awesome at the same time. I had a blast, and even had cries of “One more song!” from some young Korean girls when I finished. Hahaha good times!
I just woke up from a 12 hour recovery sleep after spending all day yesterday making it home from Hong Kong. It took three taxi rides, two flights, one subway trip, one train ride, and one bus ride before I finally made it home. I don’t want to set foot in a vehicle for a long while! But, enough of that. How was Hong Kong, you ask? A mixed bag, says I.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I went. Here are some things that I really liked about Hong Kong:
- Ease of communication. It was so easy to get around in Hong Kong. Since it was a British colony until 1997 and is now one of the largest finance centers in the world, English is a very commonly spoken language. Since I only knew three words in Mandarin (hello, goodbye, thank you), this proved invaluable. Not once did I have communication problems while I was there. Such a nice change from Korea!
- The food. There is such a variety of food in Hong Kong! After eating Korean food for so long, it was a nice change. I will say that, after eating so much Korean food, I didn’t care for authentic Chinese dim sum as much as I did before. I think it has to do with how greasy and friend everything is. Korean food seems much healthier!
- The markets. There are so many trinkets and little shops to peruse and explore! If you’ve been to an open market in a Chinatown, you know a little of what to expect. Vendors packed into spaces like sardines, hawking their wares that start to all look the same after a few minutes of inspection. There are food booths with things hanging from the racks that look like they were beamed here from another planet, or torn from the pages of an H.P. Lovecraft story. And there is CERTAINLY no shortage of exciting smells. The markets are also a place where you can bargain and haggle to your hearts content and, if you’re as loathing of shopping and crowds as I am, end up with a serious case of the shakes in about five minutes. Seriously though, even if you don’t like shopping that much, check it out anyways. It’s worth the experience!
- Awesome transportation system. You can get something called an Octopus Card that makes public transit a breeze. You can use it on buses, trains, subway, ferries, taxis, and even 7/11’s. It’s really inexpensive, easy to use and reload, and eliminates the need to buy tickets from machines/booths. It’s pretty much essential for travel to Hong Kong. You can even return it at the end of your trip to get your card deposit back, as well as any leftover funds you have on it. Talk about convenience!
I’m big in Hong Kong…