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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Spring's Sonata...

Here in Korea, I realised my trips to the toilet has been as frequent as my yawns per day...
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sssssOf course, this's due to the extent the weather has on us newcomers. It's beginning to get warmer this point of time, and the locals say that next week temperatures will be just nice. I hope so. All this chilly winds and cold weather really took a turn on my skin and definitely my lips. Oh, and so you notice, I looked a bit chubby in the pictures but I assure you that it's as much caused by my face swelling of cold as me gaining weight. I dunno if that's true, but lately I'm having less and less of snacks and meals that I think there's no way I'll be even chubbier here compared to in Malaysia. Food's rather strict here. No meat, only seafood veges and rice (or rameyeon). To make things more complicated, I can't dine in places where they serve pork. It's becoming more of a nuisance of having to tell my labmates the sole reason why I can't follow them for lunch or dinner at the main cafeteria due to the fact that there they serve pork and therefore the utensils they used had been used to serve pork. So most of the time when they go eat at the main cafeteria I'm stuck in my dorm slurping down some maggi instant noodles.
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Well, anything to survive I presume.
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Have you guys seen my pictures in Damyang? Now that's a really fun trip. Adventurous, because I've never been to any place similar to Damyang in Malaysia. The whole trip costs around 10,000 wons, which I think is really worth it. My labmates were kind enough to arrange everything for me - bus and taxi fares, a seafood-vege lunch, as ticket fares. I love my sweet labmates. It's rather suprising that there still exists these sorta people; the ones who's kindness goes beyond the language and cultural barrier. At least at the moment they're so kind to me, but I guess time will eventually tell. We kicked-off the trip at around 8.30am last Sat morning, and walked to the taxi stand to downtown Gwangju. There we took bus no. 25 straight to Damyang. Oh, and talking about the traffic in Gwangju......my God, you've gotta see it to believe it. Traffic's rival KL, and the busses and taxis - went a step further. The busses behave sorta like taxis, you know, the go-as-fast-as-you-can-brake-as-hard-as-you-could style. Never mind the people tumbling up and down in the bus; that's normal. Think of being in a moving washing machine on spin mode. You'll get what I mean.
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sssssThe taxis - I might as well ride a bike in KL. Not much difference. Hahahha I might be exaggerating here but it kinda felt like that at that moment when you're grabbing the seat as they swerve covering each centimetre they can from adjoining traffic. Well, Sangjin developed a rather interesting way of dealing with this - sleeping. I guess it's ok to sleep in the taxi cause he's taking you where you wanna go; but in the bus, now that's a different story altogether...:-) Anyway, we reached Damyang district and it's kinda like this small town, kampung style cameron highlands ambience; you know? Air's fresh, weather's fine, and the most exciting part - the flowers were blooming!! It's very authentically beautiful, the scenery in typical Korea in spring. We headed to Soswaewon Garden, this garden of mostly Bamboo forests that was once home to an ancient philosopher apprentice who lost interest with the outside world after the death of his master. Having being bummed about his master's death, he secluded himself in an environment where he could spend the rest of his life - alone from the world. So he designed this heaven of a garden, with the flowers and bamboos, and waterfalls...that's really scenic and serene. We had a nice time there.
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sssssNext we headed to the cultural bamboo museum - where Damyang's famous for and there we took a trip down memory lane on historic Korean poems and other stuff. Can't make much of the stuff there cause it was mostly in Korean. But nice, kinda reminds me of how Sabah museum would look like if they maintained it well. Anyways, we had lunch shortly after and Eunhye found this reaaaally big tree that's hundreds of years old. So we had a lunch (Sangjin pronounced it 'lunchie') picnic under the tree, with the breezzing wind and temperate weather - it was nice. On the way home we stopped at many spots, including a pottery house, a primary school, a garlic plantation and even a dam. Even primary schools here have 40-inch TVs in each classrooms! We spent a lot of our time browsing through the streets, and around 4pm we walked to the bus-stop. Waiting for the bus was an agonizing 40 minutes, as it was a very small district far away from the city and busses come across every 30 minutes. But it was okay though.
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sssssWe went home, tired and sleepy. I think I slept like a log that night. Thankfully, that day was efficiently spent and I must thank my labmates for allowing me to tag along. The next day I spent the whole day lounging around Gwangju downtown with the rest of the Malaysian gang.
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That story, later I tell.
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Oh, and I still miss my family and Fifah so much.
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-JeP

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