A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: JuliaG

Sing Sing Sing

sunny 17 °C

Last week was our school sports day / festival which was great fun. Lots of classes dressed up in funny costumes for the day, there were classes dressed as old korean women, a class wearing patient uniforms and by far the best was a class wearing animal costumes. I don't think you'd get teenagers wearing these sorts of 'uncool' costumes at home but the students here seemed to love it.

Anyway the sports day was very different to home, the only similarity was the relay race. Other 'sports' they did (if you want to call them that) included a hula hoop game, passing a basketball from person to person, tug of war and a Korean game where the majority of students in one class get on their hands and knees, then a few other students run over their backs. So as I said a tad different to our sports days.

After the sports were over, the festival kicked off and first up was none other than.........wait for it..........me and 3 other teachers from school. The four of us got up in front of all our students and sang 'Sing, Sing, Sing' accompanied by the school orchestra. I was only asked to take part the day before and we all only started practicing our made-up dance moves the night before so it definitely wasn't a top notch performance but it was great fun. I'd say we sounded 'OK', thank god you couldn't really hear us and I don't want to think about my dancing (although I think there is a video of it) After we'd finished, the compare made each of the 4 of us pick one student from the crowd and each teacher/student pair had to do a dance-off on their own. To my surprise, me and my student won!

Anyway, the rest of the festival was fantastic. There was a mixture of students singing and dancing but the highlight of the day was definitely the High School boys that came to show us their 'bodyguard' moves. Apparently their high school specialises in training boys to become bodyguards which I think it pretty cool (lol - I sound like a teenager). Now the scene when they were leaving was hilarious, loads of 2nd and 3rd grade girls were crowded around their van screaming their heads off and when one of the boys talked to them they got so excited and screamed even louder. It was so funny. Teenage girls will be teenage girls (although I don't remember my friends and I being like that but then we were the 'vain' group in school so probably didn't want to lool uncool - ha, what a laugh).

I've uploaded loads of pics, check out my lovely neon pink jumper (which my teachers loved, I think it's hideous).

Well, bye for now

J

Posted by JuliaG 23:13 Archived in South Korea Tagged events Comments (0)

Some musings from school

overcast 15 °C

Recently I was teaching my 1st grade students how to talk about the future using 'will'. I asked them to draw a picture of what they think women/people will wear in the future; here's a few of the more humourous answers -

- women will have an air bag around their chest for safety and 'fashion' (hmmm, interesting idea)

- women will have an F cup chest (and when they said this they accommpanied their answer with hand gestures around the breast area. Now remember I only teach girls, I'd expect this answer from boys)

- people will wear adult nappies - hmmmm, nice!!

- girls will wear t-panties which I guess are thongs (again, I teach only girls, I really should start to worry about them, they're only 13!!)

In another lesson I taught my 3rd graders (i.e. 15 year olds) on what is the most important thing to you, one student told me and I quote 'The most important thing to me is an experience husband'. hmmmm, I was dying to ask her what she meant but she got really embarrassed and I didn't want to make her any redder, so I left it at that. I can only assume what she meant.

Posted by JuliaG 23:00 Archived in South Korea Tagged educational Comments (0)

Out and About in Korea

sunny 27 °C

Well Brett arrived a few weeks ago and we packed in a lot of things while he was here. Stop number one on his first weekend was of course the infamous norae bang so Brett could show off his singing talents (well, I lie, I wanted to show mine off as well - haha). We all sang or at least we tried to and practiced the old air guitar, Val especially loved jamming this (as she always does). After the norae bang, we hit a near-by club where we danced the night away to some K-Pop. It was a great night all round.

Another place we visited was the jimjibang (can you remember what that is?). Just to remind you it's a public spa which is very popular in Korea. It's the one where you strip off to your birthday suit and go for a bathe with other people (this part of the spa isn't mixed gender). After you've had a quick bathe you put on special clothes and head into the main spa which is mixed gender. The main part of the spa has about 12 different rooms to visit ranging from an ice room, to a water room to a hot stone room. There's also an outdoor area where you can get a foot massage by walking over special stones covered in water heated to 40 degrees. It was quite relaxing. If you look at my photos you'll see Brett and I wearing some ever so stylish headwear - not. These 'hats' are made out of your own sweaty towel and loads of people wear them in the jimjibang. A lady in one of the spa rooms showed me how to make one and I'm sure Brett will get a hard time from his friends for wearing one. They're not the most stylish looking things I've seen.

Jeju Island
So Jeju Island is an island just off the South-west coast of Korea and the number one place for Koreans to visit. It's especially popular with honeymooners. The island is known for its dormant volcanoes, beautiful beaches and slower pace of life. Although the island has become more commercialised over the last few years with more hotels popping up along the sea front you can still see many signs of traditional rural life as you travel inland and there are some beautiful sites to see. Anyway, seeing as Brett was here and I had some time off school I decided to book a trip.

The trip didn't start off the best as the hotel we stayed at definitely wasn't 4 star like it said on the website, more like a 2 star. Our room absolutely stank of smoke so I asked to change rooms which after some pushing we managed to do and for the first time in Korea I have to say the people were quite unfriendly. However, I didn't let this affect the weekend. After we got settled we headed out for dinner. Now seeing as it was the Chuseok holiday (i.e. Korean Thanksgiving) many places were closed but we managed to find one restaurant open. I'm not exactly sure what we ate (before you ask, it wasn't dog) but it did involve picking meat which I think was pork off some very large bones. It sounds quite disgusting but it was actually quite tasty.

Well, for those of you that know me, you'll know I had 'a list' of places to visit (there's nothing wrong with lists), the first being Love Land which is the only sexually themed park in Korea. This park has many a risque statue or as some migh say soft porn statues and memorabilia. Now there is a story behind the formation of the park. As legend has it, the park was built to honour a lost love. Apparently a young couple who wanted to be 'together' in the physical sense were kept apart as they were not married. Anyway, sadly the girl died before they ever had the chance to take their relationship to the next level. So to honour her memory, her beau decided to build this park full of some racy statues. Now, I was told this story by someone else and after having looked online and having found no trace of it, I do believe it to be an old wives tale, although this story is much more interesting than the real one and I bet it gets the tourists in. The real story is the park was built by a group of graduates in 2002 (obviously some very sexually frustrated grads). It definitely was good for a giggle and the laughs of some older Korean women could be heard throughout the park. You can check out my photos to get a better sense of what I'm talking about. I particularly liked the door handle to the women's toliets ; )

Posted by JuliaG 22:59 Archived in South Korea Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Stay away

sunny 29 °C

Oh, life is tough in Korea. After having 5 ½ weeks off for summer, my school told me I had to go into quarantine when I got back from Thailand for one week just to make sure I didn’t have swine flu. What, you mean I have to take another week off, well, if I must then I must. I literally spent the week pottering around, going to be beach and relaxing. No complaints here.

Posted by JuliaG 19:46 Archived in South Korea Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

At last a new blog entry

My Thai Adventures

sunny 30 °C

Hmmm, so where do I start? I have to admit I have been procrastinating over updating my blog but I’m getting the finger out and fill you in on my antics for this last while.

So, I think my last update was back in the summer before my holiday to Thailand, so I’ll start there.

Well, my summer vacation was longer than expected as my summer camp was cancelled due to an apparent case of swine flu in the area. Damn, what a shame? Life is tough getting 5 1/2 weeks off while still getting paid. Anyway, given this I decided to take myself off to Thailand for just over 2 weeks (I couldn’t really go for longer due to silly Korean policies). So, the first week I was on my own as my right-hand women, Miss Valerie Anne Fox had to work but she joined me for the 2nd week. So, off I trotted on my tod to Bangkok which was the first stop on my trip. I have to admit I was rather nervous going there as I’d been told I’d see lots of disfigured people wondering the streets and whilst this was slightly true it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Anyway, I did the usual tourist things – exploring the Koh San road for a bargain, taking a tuck-tuck around the city, seeing a few temples and also taking a boat trip around some of the canals which was fascinating. I saw some really poverty stricken places just off the canal which were pretty shocking. I wouldn’t even describe the places I saw as houses as they were more like shacks on stilts over the water which looked like they were about to collapse. It’s hard to imagine people living in them but yet they do. The canal water was so dirty but I did see one young guy taking a leisurely swim – I didn’t join him!! It was definitely an experience. Anyway, after feeling culturally enriched after my day trip I decided to see Bangkok by night, so off to the Koh San road I went. Seeing as I was on my own I wondered up the street looking for fellow solo travelers. I did feel like a bit of an odd ball strolling by the bars checking them out for single people but hey desperate times calls for desperate measures. I was luckily enough to meet an American girl and I ended up hanging out with her and some friends for the rest of the night. It was obviously a good night as I slept through my alarm clock and was woken up by the hotel reception ringing my room telling me my taxi had arrived to take me to the airport. I definitely didn’t look the best when I eventually got to the airport, 20 minutes before my flight left – oh, the stress!!

A cleansing experience
So, my next stop was Koh Samui where I just stayed for one night before I headed to Koh Phangan for my 3 1/2 detox at ‘The Santuary’. Yes, that’s right people no food, only clay shakes, herbal pills and tasteless, liquidized veggie broth for 3 days – yummie. The clay shakes weren’t the tastiest drink in the world which is probably why we were told to drink them quickly, plus the longer you left it sitting in your glass the more it began to congeal. It’s surprising how you really don’t get hungry during your fast. The shakes really fill you up plus we filled our days with yoga, visits to the spa as well as a spot of sunbathing. The only side effect I experienced during the detox was a banging headache on day 2 but that’s was it. Oh and I nearly forgot the best part of the detox, the colonic!!. I have to say I was skeptical at first about getting the colonic but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’ll spare you all the details but I definitely felt ‘cleansed’ afterwards and would do it again. Not painful at all ; ) And contrary to what some people might think, the people I met there were all quite normal. Most of us were detox novices but there were a few people who had been there before. It’s funny how as time progressed we all became much more comfortable talking about our bowel movements - very strange indeed but very educational. If anyone has any questions just drop me an email and I’ll be happy help. Dr. Julia is happy to share my wealth of knowledge on the subject.

Now I did say most people were normal, that is all except one moon cadet I was lucky enough to meet whilst sitting in the restaurant (obviously not eating). So, this guy wasn’t doing the detox he was just visiting The Sanctuary as part of this 7 year vacation (lol – clue number one is he wasn’t all quite there). As I sat with him he placed his crystals on the table and began to look into space. Anyway I tried being sociable but I seriously think he was on another planet. When I asked him a question, he stared at me for about 30 seconds and then answered. When we did start talking, he began telling me about planets and nuclear fissions and how he watched planes disappear from the sky just off the coast of Byron Bay. When I asked him if he would go back to live in Oz which is where he is from, his reply was (and apologies for the language) ‘I f***ing hate Australia, they put me in a bubble for 15 years and made me stay there’. Hmmmmm, so I gathered the answer to my question was ‘no’. I didn’t really know what to say to him after this, I think I sat there dumb-struck; I mean, what can you say? The hatred in his voice was so strong he looked like he was about to cry. Anyway, after this outburst I decided to make an excuse and told him I was off to the spa. I really wish I’d had a dictaphone to tape our chat as it was so strange and beyond my understanding that I can’t remember half of what he said. He was such a moon cadet!!

Some more sun, sea and sand
So, after my detox I headed back to Koh Samui where I met Val. For the next week we lazed about the beach and soaked in the sun, played on jet-skis, pottered around the markets and went on a snorkeling trip was by-far a highlight for me. Apparently the marine life in and around the Thai islands is some of the best you’ll see which I would have to agree with. The variety of fish and coral below the sea surface were so beautiful and the colours where so vibrant I could have spent all day in the sea. Mum, Dad – it was a bit different to what we used to see when we went on our snorkeling trips off the west coast of Ireland plus the water was just a tad warmer (lol).

Another highlight of the trip was of course the food – delicious papaya salads, stir-fries and of course pad thai. Val was definitely a happy camper as we would go into restaurants where they would have a full page of vegetarian dishes. Unlike Korea she didn’t have the constant concern that she would find some form of fish/meat secretly hiding at the bottom of her bowl (Korean’s don’t really understand the term vegetarian so it’s a constant worry for her when we eat out).

Anyway, I’ve waffled on enough about my antics in and about the Thai islands. Loved every minute of it and for those for those of you that have even considered a colonic, I say go for it, you won't be disapointed.

Posted by JuliaG 17:19 Archived in Thailand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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