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Saturday, May 21, 2005

CISS Trip '05 - The Amazing Race?

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I've always clung on to the principle that the luckiest, most thankful person is not the one who has everything and still wishes for something more; but someone who has very little but treasures them like no one has before. For me, having something worth keeping is far more meaningful than having everything and taking it for granted...
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Yes kids, I'm BAAACCK..! It's kinda hard to keep a sober mind when Linkin Park's still jamming tunes in your head...
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Again, I apologize if my absence led to the irritations of others *yeah I wish!*. The last week was a roller-coaster ride nonetheless; as if this whole experience wasn't a heck of a ride neither. The last few days I've spent along with another 30 international students of GIST on CISS's field trip across South Korea - Ulsan, Wolsong, Gyeongju and Pohang. Yup, four cities in two days, clocking hundreds of kilometres and hours of extreme sleeping in the bus. I have to say that it was a trip worth going on, and that it has indeed opened my eyes to the world and a whole new domain of thinking and perceivements towards life.
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It's rather hard to explain and describe the entire trip as a whole - too many stuff to talk about, so much things to express...
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19th May 2005
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We departed from GIST dead early on Thursday morning, and our initial journey headed us to Ulsan for Hyundai's automotive factory. The journey took around three hours - stopping at one of those RnR's for lunch upon arrival. The factory was HUGE! I'm still under debate that the whole circumference of the factory site took up around 40% of Ulsan city, and that Ulsan is a much bigger city compared to Gwangju! I mean, it's kinda like the Hyundai factory is another self-sufficient city. The facilities were great, and we had the opportunity to visit on foot the car manufacturing factory which assembles the Getz, Tucson, and Coupe. Of course, no camera's allowed but everthing was like eye-candy. The tour ended with a tour of their own port, and seeing all those cars (I swear there's almost like thousands at the site!) I wondered if they'd notice if we took one home...:-) We parted from the factory with smiles as Hyundai gave us this nice souvenir bags with one of their Tucson model cars and their brochures. Nice!
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Our next destination was the Wolsong Nuclear Plant Site. This was another new thing for me, as in Malaysia there's nothing of its kind. The journey from Ulsan city took another hour, and as we pass through the gates of the heavily guarded plant, we were amazed by what we saw. Great place, and the tour brought us into the control centre of the whole plant (there were four plants all together) where all the operations took place. We also saw the fuel rods generating radioactive energy - looks like your average chain gun. The tour ended with the introduction of their fish culturing centre. Yup, you might be wondering why they have em' there. The thing is, disposal of all those hot water used to cool the reactor daily involves killing thousands of sea creatures and every day they compensate this by releasing their culture fishes into the sea. Rather environmentally friendly don't you think?
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We departed from Wolsong into the quiet town of Gyeongju, located a brief hour from Wolsong. There we had the opportunity to spend the night at this authentic and exquisite lodge based on traditional ancient Korean homes - one of very little ones still existing in modern day South Korea. Very nice, and very comfy I might add. We had our dinner at a seafood restaurant nearby and spent the night walking at the lake-park facing the restaurant. It was a cold night and I was suffering from this painful headache so it wasn't all splendid on my behalf. Around 11pm we had a small seafood BBQ in front of the lodge, where the caretaker was so nice to treat us to the delicacies of shrimp, clamps and snails. Yup, snails - kinda more Fear Factor oriented, this BBQ experience. I refuse to comment on how it tasted.
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Anyways later that night we had the opportunity to spend the rest of the day hanging-out in our lodge just talking and playing games and reminiscing the pictures taken earlier as a group. It really was kinda like an ice-breaker for most of us, having more warmly opening up to the other international students in GIST. I think we slept around 3-4am.
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I'll talk about the next day later. All this typing makes me hungry nonetheless. I promise I'll update you on this, because it'll involve more experiences; including me, Zack and Cik KB praying on grass and soil, a trip to a Buddhist temple and even a steel factory. Stay tuned!
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-JeP

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