Saturday, July 23, 2005

Good Times!

Last week, Kim, Andrea, and I went out with our summer intensive class. I really like this class. They are talkative and fun. It turned out that Cathie's birthday was a couple of days later, so it gave us one more reason to party (like we really needed one, lol). We went out for sumgyup-sal, hit a hof for some beer, and finally ended up at Santa Claus. It was a very good night.

Photo op. Andrea, James, Yeo-il, Ho-jun, and Cathie.

Let the festivities begin!

Yeo-il, Cathie, and Kim. It was Cathie's brthday that weekend. She's a whopping 21 years old. God, I feel old.



The party continues. I can't remember the name of the hof. Left to right: Ho-jun, Andrea, your's truly, Yeo-il, Cathie, and Kim.

Yeo-il, James, and Andrea at Santa's.

Ho Jun

James trying in vain to figure out how to take a photo with his cell phone.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It seems I'm a pompous foreigner

Sitting in a bar, drunk off one's ass is not the best time to talk to a young, idealistic woman who thinks you're arrogant.

Tonight I was taken to task by a 22 year old Canadian who thought that most of the foreigners in Korea were pompous. The person I talked to has been in Korea for 9 months. Obviously I don't know more than she does about Korea or Korean culture.

I had an issue with the fact that, first, she sounded like she was spouting the last thing she read from whatever college professor taught her last. Naturally I argued with her and tried to take her to task for her lack of experiencein Korea and what I perceived to be her own arrogance.

I lost any and all arguments when I asked her what I had just said, and she quoted me verbatim. Because she sounded like a parrot of whatever professor or text she had read, I stopped listening shortly after she opened her mouth (or at least I listened enough to argue with her). The problem with this is that after I asked her what I had said, she asked me what she had said. I couldn't answer. I had to concede.

Note to self: a) Don't argue with people when you're blind ass drunk. b) If you're gonna argue with such people when you think they are ridiculous, make sure you can refute their arguments word for word.

The worst part is that she reminded me of my ex-wife. I never won any of those arguments either...sigh.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Back Home and Back to Work...sigh.

I'm back in Korea after two weeks in Taiwan. It is always hard to re-adjust to working after a vacation and today was no exception. Alas, one day down, six weeks to go.

Taiwan was overall a really good time. I spent about five days in Taichung, which I have to say, I liked a hell of a lot more than Taipei. It's pretty laid-back, and the locals are generally more friendly. You can make a good analogy that Taichung is to Taipei as Daejeon is to Seoul. I met lots of cool people there and enjoyed the nightlife. There are lot's of good bars in Taichung: PJ's, FM, La Bodega, The Circle, and 89K (live music), to name a few (yes, I pub crawled my way through both cities).

[Good bars in Taipei: Shannon's, The Brass Monkey, and one other that I can't remember the name of to save my life.]

Rebecca set me up with her best friend Cecilia, who lives in Taichung with her family. Cecilia is a very nice woman who was very helpful in showing me around the city while I waited for Rebecca to come down from Taipei to meet us. I also talked to a lot of westerners who gave me a good amount of info about living in Taiwan. One thing I noticed is that the foreigners in Taiwan are less transient and stay longer than the foreigners in Korea. I think I only met two or three people who had been living there for less than 3-4 years. Many of the folks I talked to had been there over 10 years. If I decide to move to Taiwan next year, I'll head down to Taichung.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took while I was there.

Welcome to Taiwan. Leave your baggies at home.

Front Gate. CKS Memorial.

Obligatory tourist pose. Chaing Kai Shek Memorial.

Chaing Kai Shek

Changing of the guard CKS Memorial.

Changing of the guard CKS Memorial.

The boardwalk at Dang Shui

Strange noodle and tofu concoction. Eating was an adventure.

Friendly Taipei? This is actually a film shoot outside my hotel, but I couldn't resist the opportunity.

Who knew? On the window of the restaurant at the top of the Shin Kong building.

Chaing Kai Shek Memorial from atop the Shin Kong Department store.

Building 101, the tallest building in the world. You'd think they could of come up with a more original name.

Bizarre cabbie in Taipei. The picture is one he drew of a customer who was mean or rude to him. This guy had literally dozens of these drawings which he put on the windows of his cab and changed everytime a new customer got in. He did this to warn the people in the drawings to stay away from his cab.

Cherry, the half crazed bartender at Shannon's Taipei. Shannon's is a pretty cool Irish Pub in the Nanjing E. Rd. section of Taipei. Cold beer and good grub.

Scooters everywhere!

More scooters

Longshan Temple, Taipei. This temple is a busy, working Buddhist temple in the middle of Taipei's urban sprawl. I didn't take any pictures inside because there were dozens of people in the midst of prayer. It's a very ornate place.

Inside Longshan Temple

Gardens inside the walls of the temple

Outside Longshan Temple.

Rebecca and her sister-in-law Vicky.

Taichung at night.

A sad attempt at being arty.

Taichung and surrounding mountains.

Rebecca and me in Taichung.

Random Buddhist temple in Taichung. These places are everywhere, and you find them in all sorts of odd places. This one is across the street from a Circle K convenience store.

Classrooms at Tong Hai Universtiy.

Tong Hai University campus. This campus was stunning.