Thursday, 29 July 2010

Trip to Valley of Flowers (Part 4)

According to the lonely Planet, which has become the bible for many of us in India (me included), there are approximately 300 different species of flowers that can be found in the Valley of Flowers. So after having climbed up another 4 even more dangerous km of rocky mountain paths, over the last 13 km climbed yesterday; I expected to see some magical scenery or some sort. But if India has taught me anything; its that I should never have high hopes, because I would most likely be deceived and disappointed. So going back a bit, past the ticket booth check point of last blog, I had to walk another 3 dangerous km up before actually entering the valley. Because it was uphill it took me sometime. But this allowed for the skies to clear up. From a distance I was able to see the valley. It looked magnificent. It was a vast field of green (the largest I have seen in India up to then) surrounded by towering gray mountains with threads of waterfall flowing down their surfaces and then across the valley. Filled with awe, I expected this feeling to continue as I pass through the valley expecting to see exotic flowers of all shapes and sizes. So at the beginning of the valley there was a map showing the paths to take. There were no distances marked down (Distances were only marked on stones along the paths) so I simply decided to walk the longest route, to increase my chances of encountering these wondrous flowers. On the first km or so I wasn't too surprised to be only seeing the same few flowers that I have seen since my entrance of the Valley of flowers, past the ticket booth. So I kept walking. 2 km later; nothing much. 3 km later; some bushy vegetation... but nothing much. I finally came to a stop near the 4 km mark. Over the last few km that I have walked since I have entered the valley, I have been only seeing the same 20-30 different species of flowers over and over again. Out of those ones, there was only one flower that I found quite exotic and interesting, the others were quite generic. The valley itself was breath taking, don't get me wrong, but it just didnt match up to descriptions that I have been hearing and reading about. There just wasn't enough flowers to see.
So having spent around 2 hours in the valley I finally came back out. With another 4 hours or so I got back down to Govindghat. Got myself a better room for the night to make sure that my cold would go away and got on the first bus next morning back to Rishikesh.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Trip to The Valley of Flower (Part 3)

So after 5 and a half hour of hiking with only one break in the middle, I finally reached Govinddam. Exhausted and out of breath I quickly got a cheap room and collapsed on the bed. But then I realized that I hadn't eaten anything all day, so I dragged my ass back out to the nearest restaurant and ordered some plain rice (good for the tummy). So from as early as the early afternoon, I locked myself in my room trying to rest until the next day, when I could go out again. The Valley of Flowers was another 4KM uphill from the town, but I simply couldn't walk it that day. It was a very painful and boring rest. There was absolutely nothing to do up in the town and yet I couldnt go anywhere because the distances were too far. And once again it was hard for me to sleep because of that small fever that I had, as well as the cold weather up in the mountains that I was unprepared for. Fortunately, that night, the sikhs that I met on the hike up, brought me to their temple to enjoy a hot cup of chai with them.

July 15
After maximum of 2 hours of good sleep, most of which I got in the early morning, I headed out for the valley at 7 AM. But During that time, it was still very hazy and rainy so I had to stop and take shelter under a shop, where for the first time I decided to buy a poncho. It was hard to even see the trees at a distance, let alone the mountains. It was just waves an waves of rain bearing mist rolling over from the top of the mountains and then down into the valley. By 8AM the rain got lighter, but it was still as misty as ever. So I still headed out hoping that things would clear up. 1KM later I reached the ticket booth to the Valley of flowers. They were charging me 600 rupees! That's nearly as expensive as visiting the Taj Mahal, which costs 750 Rupees for foreigners (but i got in free that day :D). I considered not going because it was still too foggy to enjoy the scenery. But then again I felt stupid for climbing all this way up for nothing. It would be like going to Agra but not visit the Taj Mahal because it's too expensive. So I payed the bum, got in and hoped to see my money's worth...

Too lazy to write, go see part 4

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Trip to The Valley of Flowers (Part 2)

So finally after the endless bus ride I ended up in Govindghat on the evening of the 13. At this point I still wasnt too sure what I was getting in to. So I was shocked to find out that this city was all ran by Sikhs. Everystore sold Sikh attires, items, trinkets etc. They all played Punjabi music. And all the pilgrims around me were Sikhs (and my were there a lot of them!) I later found out that at the top of the mountain there was another Sikh temple called Hem Kund where all the pilgrims were going. It's apparently on of the highest pilgramage hotspot at an altitude of around 4300M. Anyhow, after finishing my tour of the town, I got settled in a cheap hotel and had dinner. It was at the latest 7PM, but with nothing to do, I tried going to bed early. Unfortunately the noise and the party outside didnt stop till maybe half past midnight and started again the next day at 5 in the morning. Wost of all is that, on that night I had the chills, which was the start of the small fever that I had.

July 14
I got out at 8AM, seeing that I couldnt sleep through the noise anymore, and started my ascent to Govinddam. I didnt take any breakfast either for the fear that it might come spewing back out from my other end midway through my hike. But regardless, with/without breakfast; sick/not sick; that was probably the most painful hike I had ever done in my life. Even at midpoint I felt like collapsing from fatigue. And near the end, I just coudn't take more than 10 steps without needing to stop and catch my breath again. It was completely exhausting! But at least I met two other Sikh pilgrims that joined me for most of the way. Ohhh... I just noticed that I never described the route that I had to take:
-Its a 13 KM hike uphill
-Altitude of around 3500M
-Paths are covered of donkey shit
-Some parts paved, other are jus muddy beatten paths
-Endless zig zags up the hill
-But at least has stalls that vend refreshments.
I didnt really have a chance to enjoy the scenery much on my way up, because I had to concentrate on the road or else I would stub my toe (which I did plentiful). Also I had to avoid the donkey shit which made me want to puke a good couple of times. But by gods, when I got to the top and in to the vallley,I sure did take advantage of the view and the beautiful scenery...

More will come on Part 3

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Trip to The Valley of Flowers (July 13-16)

So for the last 4 days of absence, I was up north in the Himalayas visiting a place called The Valley of Flowers. Well actually I only spent 2 days in the mountains themselves, and on the 13th and 16th I was just cramped in the bus trying to reach my destination. But don’t get me wrong; though each trip took 10 strenuous long hours, these bus rides were far from any ordinary bumpy ride in a cage on wheels. These were the scariest bus rides ever! They even got me nautious at times. The whole adventure was so very demanding for the body. But lets just start from the beginning.

On the 13 I caught a bus from Rishikesh at 4:30AM bound for Govindghat, which is the city at the base of the mountain of the Valley of Flowers. From there you had to walk 13KM uphill to the town of Govinddham before you can reach the Valley of Flowers which was another 4KM away. So I was expecting a long and boring ride on the bus where I could catch up on the sleep that I missed on the night before. But the beautiful scenery and the death defying ride just kept me awake the whole time.
The bus was travelling on roads coasting the sides of the mountains which jus climbed higher and higher in altitude. If you look outside of the bus, you can see that the ledge jus cuts straight down to your iminent death... Also, all along the roads, there were clear evidence that there were landslides and rockslides that occured frequently. At every twist and turn you had the feeling that the bus would tip over and tumble down the mountain. I later found out that there were incidents where some busses never made it. The lanes were so narrow that the bus always had to yield for incomming traffic. But when you look away at the distance, you can see the beautiful valleys, waterfalls, towns in the mountains, rice fields and the river which was the calming and soothing part of the ride. So 13 hours later I finally reached Govindghat.

I'll update this later on my part 2

Friday, 16 July 2010

July 13 2010

RECAP

Since the 10th of July, after having seen the Taj Mahal in Agra, I was already tired of all the Big Cities, as well as sight seeing in India. I was especially tired of all the tuk-tuk and rickshaw drivers bugging me and deceiving me (talking about deception, did I tell the story about Delhi’s National Indian Zoo?). That is why I decided to go up north to Rishikesh earlier than planned. (Rishikesh is known to be the world’s capital for Yoga. And its suppose to be really zen and serene up there, which it is! Its just mountains and rivers up here!) Originally, I was to stay in Agra for another day so that I can go visit the Futepur Shikri, which is just another palace/ fort an hour away from Agra. But I knew that it would only take up a maximum of 4 hours of my day; leaving me with the other half of the day with absolutely nothing to do. Also, it probably would of ended up costing me up to 500 rupies. So I weighted out my options and decided to instead book my train ticket back to Mumbai for the 21 (The day before I take my plane home!) and jumped on the next bus to rishikesh. Unfortunately the bus for Rishikesh only left at 2:30 pm and I got there at 12 pm. According to lonely planet, the bus should only take 10 hours to get from Agra to Rishikesh. But my trip ended up taking about 12 hours, thus ending in me sleeping outside the hotel as mentioned on the last blog.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

July 12 2010 12:00 PM

I'm in Rishikesh! Time to sit back and relax! Ohhh, and I slept outside of my new hotel last night for a good 2 hours before being able to check-in this morning at 5...

BUT all should be good now!

July 10, 2010 6:00 AM

Yes!! I finally got my luggages back! After having gone through several incompetent agents over these last few days; I finally managed to find a female representative that was able to sort everything out for me under 20 minutes! I am pretty sure that all those other bastards before her just disregarded my complaints and demands. They say Yes, Yes, Yes, I know, I know, I know, ok, ok, ok; but nothing actually gets done. They told me the day before that I would receive my luggages on that very evening; which did not end up happening. So when I called them again yesterday morning, from what they were trying to tell me, it seemed as if my luggages were still in the same situation as they were the day I got here: lost. It was also as if my calls had never been made because they kept asking for the same informations over and over again. The level of efficiency and competency of these workers is atrocious! I called them 5 times yesterday morning asking for the precise location of my luggages but all I got was the assurance that they were somewhere in Jaipur. I believe that the top-down management in India is the source of the problem. The orders given by the person at the top gets diluted at each level of the hierarchy, resulting in poor services and poor quality the bottom line. Since, there is lack of awareness; the people at top don’t necessarily know what the people at the bottom are doing because each follow their own system. Also, the middle and lower management positions seem as if they really don’t give a shit about whether a job gets done properly or not. Money and well being seems to be their only concern. So at the end of the day, pretty much everything becomes a free for all last minute rush to get things done; just like the preparations for the common wealth games as well as the delivery of my laggages.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

July 7th 2010

So I have a bit of time b4 leaving to Jaipur, so I decided to drop by the internet cafe one last time to update my blog.

Anyways, last night I finally took a somewhat of a half assed shower. Before that I haven't really showered at all... Yup. That makes 3 days that I went through in Delhi without showering. But! But! But! Its not because I was too lazy to shower or due to the fact that I didn't like the facilities... well actually I didn't like the facilities BUT I would have showered in them anyways. It is actually because I have no change of clothes or towels... Now why is that you may ask yourself? Well this story actually dates from my arrival to India.

Just as what happened on the time I got off at Hong Kong airport; they informed me that the airlines have lost my luggage. But this time I wasnt the only one. There were a lot of other people yelling and complaining at the airline's representatives (The airline which I would not name but simply note that it is Indian and that it is composed of 2 words, one of which is King and the other is Fisher). Now, when I was in HK that wasnt much of a problem, as I had somewhat of an permanent address where my luggage could be sent to, as well a cell phone number where they can reach me. But in India I knew that I was gonna stay in Mumbai for only 1 day b4 leaving for another city, which made things much more complicated. So at the beginning I kept telling them to send it to Jaipur because that's where I planned to go next. However what I didnt know, is that I had to book the train tickets at least 24 hours in advance. So when I went to buy the train tickets the next day; there were no seats left to Jaipur. Therefore I was left with no other option than to buy the ticket for the next train to Delhi which left that evening at ten to 6.

When I got to Delhi, I simply thought that I might as well call them once I get to my new hotel and ask them to send my luggages to the new location. But when I saw the Main Bazaar, where my hotel was located... I promptly reconsidered my options. My hotel was literally located between the cracks of a wall. We passed it 2 times without even noticing that it was actually a hallway where we can pass through. I had a feeling that there was no possible way for anyone to find this location, let alone send stuff here without it being damaged or stolen. So I decided to put it off until I get to a better Hotel in Jaipur.

So thats all for now... I havnt really proofread my blog; ill do it when I have time :D. Till Jaipur then!

Monday, 5 July 2010

July 6 2010

July 6, 2010 6:10 AM
Traveling in New Delhi with Holly and Tom

Well I’ve almost got picked pocketed by 2 brats off the streets on my way back, after walking Holly and Tom off to the train station. Since the main bazaar was so narrow due to constructions, they tried to get me when I was letting a car pass by. One of the damn brat even knew how to say some stuff in Japanese and Korean. Luckily I felt it and told them off.

O yeah! By the way Holly and Tom are my 2 British friends that I’ve met on my trip from Mumbai to New Delhi. Ever since we got to New Delhi, we’ve been traveling together. I’m so glad that I’ve met them cause I wouldn’t how to handle all the stress of the city all by myself. Everywhere we went, we were being deceived and tricked. Everything costed more for foreigners! Being able to split the cost of traveling with two other people was a lot more comforting. But honestly with no jokes, its nearly impossible to ask for directions without being brought to a “Tourist office” where it’s once again a network of scammers who get commission from bringing you around to other places than your destination. Its impossible to trust anyone! We went to many temples, palaces and forts of which the names escape me right now, but were splendid anyways (pictures will be posted only once I’m back).

Delhi is a lot better than Mumbai. You can tell that the infrastructures are a lot more modern and up to date. However there are still heavy amounts of dust in the air due to the constructions that they are undertaking in order to prepare for the commonwealth game. We’ve passed by a half finished stadium next to the Connaught place (Central area in New Delhi I believe) where the games are supposed to take place. Apparently they only have 3 months to finish it. But from what we saw; they had only had the metal frameworks and the foundation in place. There is no way that they can finish that in time, unless they are to make the estrades the same as the cheap baseball field ones.

Today, there are still a couple of places that I would like to visit such as the Lotus temple, though I believe that it is way too far out. Then tomorrow I’ll be leaving for Jaipur to catch up with Tom and Holly. Till Jaipur then!

July 3rd 2010

Date and time of this blog: July 3rd 2010, 7 PM.

I am currently on the train to New Dehli. There are magnificent sceneries outside of the train but unfortunately my spot does not allow me for taking good pictures. So let me paint it out: The dark clouds that drenched me in rain earlier in the day still fill the sky. As the night approaches closer, the view outside is of a somber rainy paysage with hills in the background, lonely palm trees and short leafy trees shadowing over the mid-ground and flooded marshes rising all the way to the foreground. It’s a bit reminiscent of the rural Thailand that I saw on my way down to Pattaya; except for the dark and flooded deserty scenery.

Anyhow… IM IN INDIA! And boy is it scary. Mumbai is far less developed than I thought it to be! Infrastructures such as roads, rails, service centers and irrigation systems are so backwater. Only a puny part of the city is clustered of high-rise buildings and with no super mall, let alone any mall in view. Trash everywhere! People litter freely, though I would understand why. But it was hard for me to grasp the reality at the beginning.

The first thing that shocked me was the Mumbai airport. It was so small! It had a simple design, it wasn’t very spacious and it lacked color. Out of the airport; it was completely the 3rd world. Only Rickshaws and old 19 hundred type taxis filled the streets. Half of the streets were beaten up dirt paths. With all the cars so tightly packed and spewing out exhaust; it was impossible to breath. There were no rules for traffic. It was every man for themselves. On the roadsides were cell like shops and residences stacked on each other in a valley like format with the road at the center. Then I realized that what I saw from the planes’ bird eye view truly represented the city. The slums are the reality and Bollywood is the fantasy.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Thailand Last Day

So today is my last day in Thailand... I'm actually staying in to prepare for my trip to India.

At the beginning I found Thailand to be a very scary place. The old Bangkok where I started my journey was very cramped and dirty. Most of the buildings were just small time manufacturers/ producers of the secondary sector. So you had many random junk products such as pipes, tubes, motor parts, rubber parts, cables, etc. being produced in a small and dim lighted garage. The people didn't seem that clean either. Their clothes were all are dirtied from the dust and dirt floating around that place that just adheres to the clothes because of the humidity. Temples reigned over the area, along with markets, bazaars and street vendors. I thought that was all there was to see in Bangkok until I visited the downtown area. Now I find that Bangkok look more like HK, except for the Tuk Tuks and the networks of scammers. At the center of it all, is always the capitalistic empire of sky-rises and shopping malls, with a large range of poverty at the outskirts of the city.

Also, I find that Bangkok is like a sponge; It absorbs all the foreign influences. Unlike Korea, which is much more nationalistic and rejects western cultures (western products or FDI), in Thailand you can find products and restaurants originating from many other countries. From Japan, there are many Japanese restaurants, Japanese nick nack shops and large amount of Japanese porn (Street vendors all sell japanese porn in Bundle loads). From Hong Kong, there are so many noodle shops, bbq pork and bbq duck vendors. From Korea you got the KOREAN MUSIC! YES INDEED, they have commercials with BIG BANG playing all the time in the skyrails. Korean and Japanese pop culture here is big! Probably just as popular as their local Thai pop culture. Mc Donalds, burger kings and KFC are plentiful here. OHHH and the Mc Donalds here have PINEAPPLE PIES AND SPINACH PIES!! Pineapple pies are good! Spinach pies... didn't try.

I know I was suppose to talk about the Paragon Mall, but I rather do it through facebook, with pictures backing it up.

Well till India People! So scared! Bwahahhahahaha

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Thailand Day 5

Today is the 5th day that I am in Thailand. Time to recap on the things that I didn't talk about.

I spent a day and a half down in Pattaya. To get there I had to take a Van suggested to me by the host at the hostel. First time to ride on the back of scooter in the middle of Bangkok... thought I was gonna die. Then took the ever so cheaply van (only 120 baht/ compared to the 100 baht i payed the Tuk Tuk to go a simple mile) to get down to pattaya... thought I was gonna get tricked and get chopped up by the side of the road. SCARED SHITLESS all along the ride. But I finally got down to Pattaya with all my limbs attached.

First thing I noticed: THRONGS of white old dudes with their Thai partners... Dirty or awkward as it may sound... There is actually an interesting story to all of it. I found out a lot about Pattaya and the system that works there, through a dinner that I had with 2 very experienced and knowledgeable expats living there. Pattaya is a very interesting scene in the midst of Thailand. I want to do more research on it when I have the time. But there is so much that I found out so far... come have dinner or coffee with me some time, and I would not mind discussing it with anyone.

So from this one end of Thailand I came back to Bangkok to visit the commercial an business district of Thailand. THE PARAGON!!! Is what I shall be talking about on my next blog. This MEGA MALL made me feel so insignificant...

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Bangkok Day1 Revised

So what happened on day 1?

It was a very eventful and tiring day. Lets start from what i liked.
-Take out drinks in plastic bags!!! Bwahhaha imagine drinking coke from a bag with a straw (though i never tried).
-Cheap food only 30 Baht for fishball noodles; which is around 1 canadian dollar
-Cheap breaverages too, all less than 30 Baht

What i didn't like.
-Impossible to find a satisfying meal! At the right price of course...
-OMG so dehydrating! Find myself buying drinks at 711 4-6 times a day
-EVERYTHING ON THE MAP IS FURTHER THAN IT LOOKS!
-Never know what is real or not, lies or truths (DAMN TOOK TOOKS)

Now for the story of how i have been taken for a fool all day!

Usually I like exploring everything on my own independently; away from external influences or suggestions. So that day I took my map and the trusty compass that I bought back in my Busan trip to visit the city.

So starting from around 8 AM, I walked through the streets of Bangkok finding all the touristic attractions displayed. Unfortunately the touristic maps of Bangkok are non-representative of the actual streets. So many smaller streets have been omitted, making the city seem smaller than it actually is. So in reality I had to walk so much more to reach from one landmark to another, which got me lost so many times.

Then, By around 12 o clock at another visit to a random temple, that's when I fell into "THEIR" trap. In the temple that I visited there was a man lighting incense and praying in front of a buddah. Me being the visitor that I was, walked around admiring all the golden beauties of the temple. That's when the man smiled at me and said "You're a foreigner aren't you; you know this temple, mainly the locals people visit it." My first reaction: WOW THIS GUY SPEAKS GOOD ENGLISH! So then we got into a conversation, cause he said that I look thai (And many Korean said I looked Korean). He asked me where I was from; I told him montreal. And what shocked me even more was that he knew where montreal was and was aware that people speak in french there. Then he told me that he lives in LA and he was here on vacation and visiting family. AND ALL OF IT SOUNDED SO LEGIT! Usually i'm very weary of strangers but his story checked out! He sounded like a relatively educated man, which made me accord more time talking with him.

So after the Small talk he asked me did i know that it was a special week in Thailand because of Buddah's birthday? Me remembering vaguely that my Thai teacher told us that the week of Buddah's birthday in korea was different because it was before the one in Thailand (Singapore as well) reinforced my feeling of legitimacy of his informations. Then he showed me things to do on my map, and called the special "GOUVERNMENT SPONSORED TOOK TOOK" that would take me around to few of the temples and the low cost of 10 Baht. Obviously this Took Took driver was part of THIER network of scammers (I took a picture with the Took Took man. If u guys ever see him, spit in his face for me). He then first took me to a "popular temple" which was closed then appologised to me cause he "didnt know". Then it was the shopping places. Then to the closed temples again and then shopping again. But they do it in a way that keep you convinced the whole time that it was a "Gouvernment sponsored" thing and that it was legit. The driver keeps telling me that he gets gaz cupons whenever he brings me these specific places; making me understand the motives under which he brings me to those shops. And at the every now and then temples, there is conveniently another english speaking Thai (or pretend Philippino tourist) that shares his/her story (one of them told me that his brother works in Toronto); keeping you in their game (they tell you about the legitimacy of the stores that you are being brought to).

I always questioned the legitimacy of it all, but only snapped out of it and came to the fact that I was being led along the whole time only at the before last temple I visited. I was at another closed temple when I the "Toronto Brother guy" sitting down, twith 3 empty bottles of water right beside him. And then I realised, "shit he has been sitting here all day talking to foreigners..."

Bangkok Day 2

WOW SO MUCH TO SAY!

First of all, I must apologize for not having updated my blog at all in the last 3 months or so. I was actually concentrated in my studies at school. And that's no lie.

Proof? Hows about 3 A+, 1 B+ and 1 more grade to has yet to be posted. Yahhhhhh that's right!! Hehe but truth be told; exchange in Korea is the easiest. The fact that your a foreigner, and your english is better than the teachers' would automatically guaranty a grade above B+ regardless of the effort you put in.

ANYHOW! That is already the past, cause now i'm in BANGKOK!

Lets start from day 1.
Plane from Incheon - Shanghai and then Shanghai - Bangkok. Lucked out! The flight from Shanghai to Bangkok was overbooked, so they upgraded me to business class. Saturday june 26 12:50 AM, I arrive to BKK airport. Not wanting to pay for taxi, I stayed at the airport until 6 in the morning where I took a bus into town. During that time I was doing my research on the tourist attractions in Bankok. Total hours of sleep: 1-2 hours. By 7 or so I finally reached my hostel, but could not check in to my room, cause I had to wait for other people to check out first. So then I left half the baggages in the hostel and went out looking for breakfast, but then ended up walking the whole day and only came back to the dorm at 6 pm

What happened between I must write on another blog, or else it would be too long on this one.

THUS CONTINUE TO NEXT BLOG IF U WANT TO FIND OUT

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Friday, 19 March 2010

I like this song

Finally!! Found a good song i like here!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3faWjpS3oC8

Friday, 12 March 2010

Entry 9, Video blog 5

So today was end of my second week at Inha. It felt as if 3 weeks has passed tough because we've been going out drinking so very often during the week; that each night out felt like a drunken friday night out. Anyhow, to finish off this week we were given a hell of a windy day. But as one of my germand friend would put it; a windy day is a sign of a warmer tomorrow. And by the end of the day that hope for a warmer tomorow was reassured, as the sun finaly pear out from behind the heavy dust and fog; offering a short yet nostalgic evening sunset before hiding behind the mountains again. It reminded me of my childhood days, going to "the pit" in the summer time with my neighbour just to watch the golden sun slowly melt away behind the scenery. HERE IS VIDEO BLOG WHICH IS UNRELATED
videoP.S. I know that I repeat a lot. Next video blog will be on A Specific Event.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Entry 8: INHA University

Well, now that I am living in the dorms, making video blogs may not seem possible. It has been 3 days since school started. Adaptation is not easy. Though this school offers classes in English; all administrative affairs are handled in Korean. If it wasn’t for my buddy, I would not have been able to handle any of the paper work. So thanks to him I finally managed to create an online banking account with HANA BANK, however due to the fact that my computer is unable to connect to Internet here, I have yet to transfer any money to this new account. I will ask my roommate to use his computer for such important matters tomorrow. Other than that, I am faced with the same problem as did many exchange students have faced before me; and that is getting the appropriate course that are going to be credited towards my major. Nothing is easy and , that’s why I must eat more appropriately to keep focus. I have just bought some multi-vitamins just incase, and looking to buy some protein powder.
Thats it for now...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Week 2, Day 2 Sokcho

So this morning during breakfast time, I met an Australian that's taking a year off from work to travel and sight see. It so happened that we were going out to the same place that morning (Mt. Seoraksan), so we decided to travel together: and boy was that a good idea cause the mountain paths were quite treacherous with the amount of snow there was.

Weather on the other had was fantastic. I was traveling with just my hoodie on and I even found that unbearable. The climb up the mountain was quite a work out.The existing paths were just heaps of snow that was compacted by the travelers that passed before us. One wrong step off track and your leg would sink a good feet or two. However the nasty part of this, is that the beaten path was at the same height as the uncompacted snow so it was never a wise choice to make a new path. I managed to only get my socks a little wet on the way up, but on the way down it was a completely different story. At most times i was on all 4 to get up the mountain; this tells you how steep most of the paths were. Therefore on the way down, it was nearly impossible to get a grip on any land, so we ended up sliding down the mountain 50% of the time. And thats how i got my socks and shoes soaked.

O and i forgot to mention, on our way up, we met 2 americans that were from the same hostel. Hence we decided to all go out for dinner that night.

Pictures should be posted soon, you guys should be able to see them in a few days.

Week 2, traveling to Sokcho

So with still 5 days left ahead of me and with nothing to do, (seeing that I pretty much finished exploring Seoul) I decided to head off to Gangwando to climb Seoraksan, the 3rd biggest mountain in korea. Obviously I have done a fair amount of research beforehand. So currently I am in Sokcho right now, the closest city that brings us to the mountain. This city is great during the summer for its nice beaches and its fantastic landscapes. Though going to beach during the wintertime is not the best idea, the hot springs provide a great alternative to sit back and relax. Unfortunately the hostel over here is not as great as the Mr. Sea’s. This place looks deserted.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

7th Day

So this time I decided to write out a blog instead. This allows me to be more descriptive with the things ive seen and experienced.

1 week since I have arrived to korea.

So far i have befriend almost all the visitors that have entered the hostel. MR. SEA, who is the landlord/owner of the hostel has been a backpacker as well back in the days. However, His english isn't all that great being that he has never had a chance to leave Korea to study english. So most of the time I would be there to help out and strike conversations with the newcomers. People come and go very often, some worth remembering their names, while others you just acknowledge their presence. So many people with so many stories! It's truly hard to remember the corresponding reasons that brought each person here, but keeping track of to whom I've told my story to is even harder. Out of all the people i have met, there is only one here that stand's out like a clown in a jungle.
And that is the Israeli.

This person is very funny in a weird sens. He was born and raised in Israel, however he decided to leave for Japan just for the women there (He bluntly gave me that response). On his laptop and phone, he showed me all these cute pictures of him and Japanese girls he met. The reason why he is in Korea, is that he had to renew his visa to enter Japan (In like most of the cases of the new arrivals). Ever since he has arrived in Korea all he did was complain and longed for his return to Japan. He is the person I see the most often in this hostel, and the person I know that is staying the longest. We get together fine, just a couple of days ago we went out for an early walk to visit temples. He is currently sick right now; so tomorrow we are going to the hospital with him to get him checked out.

Other than that, I've done a couple of activities with MR. SEA as well. Like I said before on my previous video blog, on the second day I was already having drinks with Mr. Sea and his friends. Though I didn't understand what they were saying, I still felt that I was in a delightful environment.I also watched and learned how Mr. Sea prepares dinner. They have uber huge tubs of kimchi that they keep in the fridge!!!! Tubs of Sunchang Gochujang (hot pepper paste) as well! That night he was preparing Kimchi soup and bulgogi

In the kimchi soup, he puts kimchi, some minced meat (porc), onions and some powder, probably chicken or porc flavouring. So that looked rather simple to make. For the Bulgogi, I have no clue... either ways, its hard to find the right meat for it and especially at a cheap price. So this wouldn't be a plate I would be cooking for myself.

Finally today we went to the fishmarket, i'll upload a few pictures here later and probably blog about it. Either ways, it was a long corridor of vendors all selling the same few articles. There were mainly 4 different types of fish that nearly everyone sold. So in the end we bought some oysters, 2 fishes and some shrimps and ate them :D. There was actually a restaurant at the fish market that prepares the seafood that you freshly bought. The fishes that we bought were skinned alive as we payed and was put on a plate for us to eat as sushi in the restaurant. First time eating fish that fresh!!!! And it was amazing! Great texture and feel to the meat.

Well gonna have to cut it short now, its late and batt running super low
Keep you updated

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Before Departure

ZOMGGGGG Its hard to create video blog...
Keep forgetting things to say, but here is first test...

video