Thank you for reading my report and I hope you will tell me what you thought of it.
|Log entries 1 - 10 of 15 ||Page:
Jan 21, 2007 11:00 PM The Wedding
Getting married in the Philippines is quite different from getting married in Canada.
The bride wore a wedding gown and veil my son wore a Philippine long white shirt over black pants. The guest dressed casual. There were flowers and balloons every where.
If you don't live their someone who does has to become your godparents. The people who own South Sea Divers at Puerto Galera became my son's godparents. They walked him down the aisle and catered a lunch for 100 guests.
Then they went back to Aneth's house where 3 blocks on the street where she lived were blocked off. People who lived there, the wedding guests, friends and family all came there bringing food and drinks.
They ate, danced and sang for 2 nights and one day.
Jan 15, 2007 11:00 PM How They Met
My son and Aneth met while he was diving. Now that he is married he has 6 new brother-in-laws and 16 half brothers-in-law and 14 half sisters-in-law.
When we meet we will look like a very small family!
Jan 10, 2007 11:00 PM I Wish I was In Manilla
I wish I was in Manilla in the Philippines today. It is the capital city and has one of the largest populations in the world.
I don't want to go to attent the Malatarlak Festival, that begins on Feb. 13th and see the children dressed in grass costumes that have black spots painted on them.
I don't want to see the dancing to ethnic instruments made of bamboo.
I don't want to play golf, go fishing, dive or sit on a beach.
I want to be there because on Feb. 13, 2007 my son is getting married.
I hope that during this year we can visit his in-laws, there, and go back to Seoul to see them.
May 30, 2002 10:00 PM North Hanguk
I was in North Korea after Kim II-sun was President of the Republic and when his son Kim Jong-il took over from him.
First he allowed the North and South Koreans to meet for an hour at the demilitarization line. Then he let them cross the line and stay for ½ day, (they had to be back before the sun set).
He allowed Tour Companies to take tourist in for a few day visit of his country. We were not allowed to take pictures.
We took our son with us and we went with Nine Dragons Tours and stayed in the tourist zone called Haegeumgang and would not be allowed to leave that area. We were not allowed to drive, bring in magazines, newspapers or cell phones.
Before we left our son brought us an ice cream sundae. It has ice on the bottom then the ice cream is on top of that and they fresh fruit is on the top.
The coach picked us up at the Sheraton in Seoul and we drove for about 30 minutes to the DMZ and crossed the Bridge Of No Return.
May 30, 2002 10:00 PM Crossing The Border and Then...
North Korean Boarder Guards don't speak English. Our Guide handed him a list of who was on the coach and had us line up in the order that our name was on the list.
They looked at our passports and visas and then looked at us. I'm sure it was only a few minutes, but it seemed like a very long time, before he nodded we could get back on the coach
We drove through a village called ''The Peace Village'', (Kichong-dong), by the North Koreans. We could hear the loud speakers broadcasting, (our son told us), propaganda.
The Tourist Zone is in the Kumgang San, (Diamond Mountains). It took us less than 30 minutes to reach it. Along the way there were armed soldiers everywhere.
We saw small villages, where the very thin people were dressed in drab clothing. In the distance we could see the tall topped mountains, and not so green valleys. In the fields we saw the paddy fields and oxen pulling plows. And every where there were huge picturers of Kim Jong-il, (the son of Kim Il, who founded North Korea).
We had to go through a barbed wire fence to get into the Zone. Once we crossed into the Zone we could see there was a three story wooden hotel that was on the top of a mountain.
The Reunification Highway was full of bumps and I thought I was going to throw up.
Within the Zone there is a Duty Free Shop, a Casino, a Shopping Center and a Food Court. The pictures in this review are from postcards I bought at the Gift Shop.
We didn't trust the water, so we thought we would eat all of our meals at the hotel. The restaurant was a buffet. If you eat here you have to know how to use long metal chop sticks and cut your food with a long spoon. Every mouthful I took I felt I was taking food from the North Koreans.
We stayed at the Minsok Guest House. It is rated as a 3 star hotel. It is a traditional hotel where we couldn't wear shoes inside.
I asked for their address and they wouldn't tell us. Our Guide said, "It's on an island in the middle of a river".
For breakfast we had soup called Pibimpap, (a watery cereal), rice, bread, plum jam and hot coffee, (Koreans don't drink much tea),
For lunch and dinner an Om Mun Nim that was made on a grill. There was monk fish, sesame beef,(Pulgogi), Bar-b-qued pork ribs( Kalbi), oyster porridge, (a soup), fried chicken and an assorted vegetarian dumplings,(Mandu). There were always some side dishes,( Banchan), Kimche, (pickled cabbage), spinach, (Shigumch'i Namul), potato pancakes, pickled radish and fried sweet potatoes. After each meal we were given cans of ginger drinks, (to keep our stomach healthy). We like the variety of Soju, (Korean rice wine). Most are served cold and some are served hot. I remember what happened to me with the hot wine, (in South Korea), so I only drank the cold. I drank more than I ate because I kept remembering the thin North Koreans. Thank goodness they didn't serve us dog meat, (they eat it in the north but not in the south).
When we were on tour and couldn't make it back to the hotel they packed us a boxed lunch.
The mountains were higher than the ones in the south and we couldn't see the top of some of them because of the clouds.
We saw the Ryugyong Hotel that was suppose to be the highest building in Asia. It was not finished. Our Guide told us "the hotel's name comes from one of the historic names for Pyongyang, (Ryugyong), or "capital of willows".
One afternoon we took the land tour that took us into the mountains so we could have a hot spring bath at the Hyundai enclave. The water was so hot we almost scalded our self. Once we got use to the water, it did sooth our muscles. Where ever we look was a hermitage.
We only saw the outside of the Sin-Gye Sah Pagoda. We could hear the chanting, and our son translated it for us, ''Twelve thousand peaks, each of a different height. Look, Sir, as the sun rises, the highest one blushes first.'' We were allowed to walk along the trails to the top of one mountain, (1,000 meters high).
The soldiers followed us every where. Most of the forests have been stripped and that was a shame, because there were very few trees. Higher up we did see some fabulous huge bonsai plants. Then we saw a few hares, wild dogs, moles and a wild boar.
We drove past a white sandy beach and a lake. We did see a lot of birds, (gulls, ducks, eagles and a some swans, a few were black), on the lake.
We went inside a cave and saw colored drawings of bears, mice, pigs and tigers. One mouse looked like a Walt Disney drawing of Mickey Mouse!
There was an old railroad track with a lot of containers on it, and were told that the people who worked there were from China, and lived in a camp out side of the Zone. T
One night we went to see the Pyongyang Circus and Acrobatic display, (called a Gyove), before we went back to the Zone for dinner. For a moment I thought I was back in China, where every performer was so perfect.
Someone brought a deck of cards and we played poker.
We tried a North Korean game that is like Rock, Paper or Scissors.
We took a half day cruise on the Seolbongho, Cruise Ship. I'm glad it stayed close to the shore, because it was quite rickety! We left from the small port of Sokcho where we could see the fisherman casting their nets, and the women pearl divers, (hay-nyaw, meaning sea woman), diving below us. There were a variety of fish, a some cranes and a few seals.
Their industries are developing military products, machines, electric power, food processing, and mining for their natural resources, which are coal, copper, gold, graphite, lead, salt, tungsten, and zinc.
They now have decided to focus on tourism so they can have foreign currency. They raise pigs and chickens, grow corn, rice, potatoes and soybeans, but because of the soil erosion, the land they can grow in is shrinking. The water is polluted and there are a lot of air and water-borne diseases. You need a number of vaccinations or you will get sick.
They never took us to see their capital city, Pyongyang.
* I have a Memory Book of all my trips that I put notes in, pictures and postcards.
* I am very upset with the North Hanguk, (Korea), doing nuclear tests. I wish the best for my son and both Hanguks
Then we went back to South Hanguk, (Korea).
Apr 29, 2001 10:00 PM Heath & Going Home
The water is safe to drink. This means you can use ice in your drinks, have milk products, and eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
The drivers all suffer from a terrible disease I call road rage. Be very careful crossing streets or driving a car.
See your doctor or health clinic, as there are many vaccinations you will need before you leave on your trip.
We flew on JAL across the Korean Straits to Fukuoku, Japan to connect to our flight out of Tokyo.
We hope to visit Seoul next year because our son now teaches at a Cyber University there.
Apr 27, 2001 10:00 PM Time To Say Good Bye
Busan/Pusan has a population of over 3,830,000.
The Westin Chosun Beach Hotel is on Haeundae Beach. It was built on an area of 1,323 square kilometers.
It has a nice location right across the street from a bus stop, with several other restaurants, (and hotels), a short walk down the street.
We went to eat lunch at Thank G-d It’s Fridays. That night we had dinner at the hotel.
We ate breakfast in the hotel because they have a wonderful breakfast buffet. You can get western style breakfast foods, for instance, with an omelet station and pastries similar to what you might find in Canada but there is also a huge variety of Asian and Korean foods that you can get a taste of, without having to order only one thing that you might end up hating.
We went to see Geumgang Park (a huge fortress on top of a mountain). Beomeosa is a fabulous 7th-century temple.
The Russian Market is the best place to buy leather. It is a very dangerous place at night, so we went in the afternoon when it opened.
The downtown markets were more expensive than the open air markets in Taegu, so we just browsed through them.
We went to see the Cemetery for the foreign military who died in the Korean War.
We saw the largest suspension bridge in the world being built (they were hoping it would be finished for the FIFA Games).
There were a lot of five-star hotels around us, and we walked through them. That is why I think the Westin Chosun Beach Hotel is the best place to stay in Buson.
Other than that, we walked along the beach during the day and sat on it at night and watched a fabulous firework display.
Busan is also a departure point for Cheju-do Island and to Japan.
Every time I think of the airport, I start to laugh. In the ladies bathroom, when you enter, you will always see a few comfortable chairs, a table, and an ashtray, (Korean ladies don't smoke in public).
There are always a few women to go into the toilet stalls to clean them when you are finished.
When you go into the stall, you push a button, and a plastic wrap that covers the toilet bowl turns around. Now you know that you can sit down on the seat.
When you sit down on the seat you hear, (coming from inside the bowl), "Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Welcome to South Korea," three times. By then, I imagine they feel you have finished doing what you when in there for!
The first time it happened to me, the cleaning ladies sang along and I was laughing so hard I couldn't go to the bathroom! When you stand up, the toilet flushes by itself.
If you like a bit of atmosphere or spicy and local Korean food, this is the place. The interior is perhaps not the Westerner's style, but for Koreans it is the food that matters. The place has been visited by a large number of Korean stars who have left their framed signatures on the walls. The specialty is barbecue pork and Korean kimchi (cabbage pickles), then stir-frying the leftovers with rice and seaweed. Enjoy it with shots of Korean soju, (rice liquor). I recommend having it with your friends so some one can order a taxi to take you all home.
Apr 26, 2001 10:00 PM Gyeonju Area
We left a day early so we could say at the Gyeonju Hilton Hotel on Pomunlake. It is 4 miles east of Kyonju City.
It is part of a resort area . There is a golf course, an amusement park (for children), and there is shopping in the Shilla Village.
We were only staying here one night, so we didn't bother to unpack. We washed our hands and faces and went down to have lunch.
As the meal was placed before me, I felt nauseous. My stomach began to cramp and I thought I was going to have a spastic colon attack. I told them I would see them in the room.
By the time they arrived, I had thrown up twice and was lying on the bed. They wanted to cancel the tour, but I insisted I would be all right. I showed them a card by the phone that said there was a doctor in the hotel 24 hours a day. As soon as they left, I was in the bathroom again where I threw up all over the floor. When that finally stopped, I cleaned up the floor with a bath towel. I went and got a pillow and a blanket from the bed and took them into the bathroom.
I pulled over the wastebasket from under the make-up table and lay down on the bathroom floor for about 10 minutes. Then it began again.
Luckily, there was a phone in the bathroom. I stood up and pulled the receiver onto the floor and I phoned the doctor. A lady at the front desk told me that it was the doctor’s day off. I asked her to call a doctor from the city, but she told me there wasn't one.
I then asked her to call an ambulance to take me to a hospital. She told me that there was no need for that because the hotel limousine would take me.
At this point, I had visions of making such a mess in that limousine that I refused. I told her I had to hang up because I was getting ill again.
Five minutes later I heard a knock on the door. I asked who was there and was told it was the hotel's assistant manager. He had brought a wheelchair to take me down by a back elevator to the waiting limousine.
I crawled to the door and opened it and told him it was impossible for me to go. He asked me if I was staying at the hotel alone, and I told him that my husband and son were with me, but they were taking a tour.
He wanted to phone the tour company, but I just had the time to tell him they were in a taxi before I got sick again and ran into the bathroom.
When I came out, he insisted that I go to the hospital. I said, "No", as I asked him to leave.
Four hours later, my husband and son arrived back to see the manager sitting on a chair outside of our room. He told them what had happened.
By then, there was nothing liquid left inside of me. I was so cold that I pulled the pillow and the blanket outside of the bathroom and onto the carpet.
My son flew into the room, yelling at me, and I was too weak to tell him where to go. He and the manager carried me out into the hall and put me in a wheelchair.
A driver drove us to the hospital and the manager followed in his personal car (my son was worried that his Korean wasn't good enough to explain medical things).
The road to the hospital was very bumpy, and I wanted to die. My son was talking on his cell phone to his friend who was a doctor in Dae-gu. His friend phoned the emergency ward, and when we arrived, there were two doctors and three nurses waiting out side.
When they rolled me into the large empty emergency room, I took one look around and began to laugh. My son had told his friend that I had bumped my head in the morning and he had relayed this information the doctors here. When I began to laugh, they thought I had become crazy and asked for the doctor who was in charge of head injuries to come down and see me.
If someone had listened to me, they would have known I was laughing because the emergency ward looked like the medical tent in the television show Mash.
I was there for five hours having every test they could think of. I had four bags of glucose because I was so dehydrated.
I began to feel better and saw that my husband was sitting in a chair by my bed. He still had his coat on and his head was on the bed. I reached over and felt his head. He had a fever. I tried to call a doctor, but he stopped me.
Finally, we were allowed to leave. When we got outside, I looked back to see a large hospital.
I was told I could not eat or drink for 12 hours. Our son insisted that he and his Father should have something to eat. My husband refused.
I was in bed and I could hear our son read the menu out loud to tempt his father to eat. Whatever he said, my husband said, "No".
I began to laugh again, and they wanted to know why. I told them that what was happening was a reversal of when my son wouldn't eat.
My husband finally agreed to eat French fries and ice cream.
Apr 24, 2001 10:00 PM Cheju-do Island
On Cheju-do Island I felt the entire island was a folk village. Cheju Island is south of the Korean peninsula. We flew there on Asian Airline from Tague and arrived in about an hour.
Our son rented a car so he could take us to the places he likes on the island. We were only here for the weekend and he knew that because the island is so big he would be able to show it to us better than if we took a tour. (Even doing it this way, I think we saw about half the island).
The island is at the top of a mountain called Mt. Halla. Most of the mountain is below sea level. There are active volcanoes everywhere (I almost stepped on one that was at ground level).
The resorts are at the south and west end of the island, but we wouldn’t let him pay for an expensive resort and decided to stay closer to the airport in Cheju City (inland from the north coast).
I am not sure how many mountains I climbed or the number of waterfalls I saw, but I can tell you it seemed like we were in a never-ending rainforest.
The first day we went to the folk village. As we walked through the front gate, folk performers greeted us. They played percussion instruments and wore white costumes and hats. Our son told us that this was a farmer’s ceremonial performance with some religious influences.
We saw a wonderful garden in front of us. It was filled with life-sized animals that were made from flowers and greenery. I could have stayed there forever playing with the elephant and giraffes.
In addition to the normal things that happen at the village, an international conference was being held there. Naturally, I went to see the Canadian exhibit and was surprised to find one large picture of the map of Canada and another of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, (RCMP or Mounties). I wrote my Member of Parliament when I got home to tell them their exhibit was an embarrassment and if you can’t do something right, don’t do it at all. (I got a nice thank-you note back...ha ha).
It was a very hot day, but we decided to walk through the village and use the train to get back to the gate. (It circles the village.)
There are 4 villages:
1) The mountain village. The people who live in the mountain village were hunters and cattle-breeders. The buildings in this village were more modest than the buildings of the hillside villages.
2) The hill-country village had more spacious homes and there was a school to teach children about Confucius.
3) The fishing village had a display of a woman diver’s house.
4) At the shaman religious village we saw a shrine, I had my fortune told, and saw a teepee (like the plains Native Canadians built) and the witch doctor’s house. At this point I saw totem poles. Almost the same as the ones we have in British Columbia and the State of Washington. I took a closer look at the Korean men and realized that they looked like our Coastal Indians. I wonder if the Korean people first settled Western Canada and the U.S.A.!
*All the houses were built with the island’s volcanic rocks. The roofs were low and made of thatched reed held by ropes so they would bend and not fall with the heavy winds that blow across the island.
There are a lot of places that sell crafts. Our son bought us two lava statues of two house gods.
In this area there are a number of places to eat. We decided to have a Korean barbecue lunch.
The second morning we got up early and drove to Ilch’ulbong Peak. Our son wanted us to see the sun rise from here (it is called Sunrise Peak). We sat huddled in blankets and watched the sun rise. That’s when we realized that we were in the middle of about 100 rock-shaped peaks that had eroded to make a crater.
We drove to Chungmun and climbed a small mountain to see a waterfall. At the Manjuro Caves, we experienced part of the world’s longest lava-tunnel. We climbed 10 m. to see the unusual San-gumrui Crater. The crater is so large that it must be close to a mile in circumference. Along the way we went from seeing tropical plants at the lower levels to alpine as we began to approach the top.
The beaches were all black lava. Some were rocky and some were like sand. At one beach we saw the pearl divers, who are all women, teaching younger girls how to dive.
We visited a farm to buy some tiny mandarin oranges (I have never seen any this small anywhere else). They were very sweet and each of us ate a branch of oranges ourselves.
Our last visit was the Hyatt Hotel to have dinner and watch the sun set from their large patio. We ate beside a man-made river that had parrots standing “guard” above it and a variety of fish in it.
The reason I said the island was one big folk village is because the people who live here work the land and the sea the way they have done for hundreds of years.
I loved Cheju-do Island, and if we visit South Korea again, I would like to treat our son to a week at one of the resort hotels.
This city was once called Hanbat, and people were living here in the Paleolithic Age. In the third century, the Baekje Dynasty, conquered the Manhan ,(who had lived here since the Bronze Age) and built more buildings along the Hangang River.
Apr 21, 2001 10:00 PM Daejon/Taejon
Daejon/Taejon is in the middle of South Korea. It is Calgary’s, (Canada), twin city. It has over 1 million people. It is 160km south of Seoul and between Seoul and Taegu.
We went there on the new subway system to visit a friend of our son. Our son told us that this subway was opened later than expected because there was an explosion while they were building it.
I was surprised to see that they have their own flag. It has green petals with a Rose of Sharon on it. There are Chinese characters on it. Our son's friend said that it shows the sprit of the citizens that helped make Taejon the center of science and culture.
This area has a lot of farming, and they focus on science in their universities and colleges. Although it is winter, the mountains protect this area, and we could see some plants starting to pop out of the soil.
On the way to their house, I saw a few road signs that had the reverse swastika on it. I wasn't disturbed because I know this is a symbol of India and has a sacred meaning.
We had lunch at their house, (they are from Seattle), and it was nice to have a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. Dessert was a local pear (yuseomg pear) and strawberries.
They took us on a tour to see where the Mathematical Olympiad was held in 2000. The architecture has a theme, and is like the inner court of a traditional Korean home. The roof only covers the seating area.
Expo Park was built in 1993, when the city was host the International Exposition. It now is a science park, and there are a lot of pavilions that display sci-fi simulations. We saw children enjoying the games.
Kumdori Land is an amusement park. We didn't go into it because I don't like to go on the rides.
We enjoyed looking at the buildings and parks that surround the Sung Kyun Kwan University.
We went to the Galleria Dongbaek to see what the latest fashions are. Inside the mall are a grocery store, some fast-food restaurants, and a bookstore where an author was signing books. They had just stared a dance contest (in the middle of the mall) when we left.
Then we went to the outside market, where I bought a few knock-off purses, (for a few dollars). They looked exactly like the ones I saw in the mall.
We went to the post office so we could send a postcard to our grandson who lives in Calgary.
We decided to take the train back to Seoul because it is a new Bullet Train, and we were at the station in 45 minutes.