Friday, December 29, 2006

Chuncheon (춘천)

Because of the floods I changed my travel plans and ended up in Cuncheon. Here there was an island to be visited. I regret now, not hiring a bicycle.

I do not know why, but there seemed to be some reason why I should not go to Chuncheon. There was even a heated argument. I do not get it. I had quite forgotten about it until I got there.

The place was the most like a Australian town I have been (in Korea that is). I do not know why. Maybe it was the clothes, maybe the body language. I cannot put my finger on it. As Seoul was friendly and Busan was hard nosed and gritty, Chuncheon was a bit like an Australian town in it's ambiance. Maybe the word I am looking for is relaxed. Yes I think that that is it. Chuncheon is relaxed, calm and pleasant. I might even dare to say... easy going.

ferry terminal

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jeongdongjin (정동진)

I went there to see the north Korean submarine, but an unforecast storm and the associated flooding meant I never got there. What was interesting was an endless supply of sculptures and of course the two boats up on the hill.

family portriat

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Danyang (단양)

Danyang is a town in the mountains of Chungbuk province.

I spent two nights there. On the first night there was a concert that was to do with a national celebration of the sillia kingdom and was broadcast live on national TV on SBS. The second day I went to Guinsa, over an hour by bus. This will be in another set. Returning to Danyang after lunch, I went to the cave across the river. Back in Danyang there were more celebrations. The three western girls I met in the cave were surprised when the boys were coming up to me in the market and giving hugs. We also were given quite a few freebies of food to sample. I very much enjoyed my time in Danyang.

Some people here were discussing if Melbourne and Adelaide are more cosmopolitan than Sydney. I think I agree with them.


Gyeongju (경주)

fan danceFinally I have finished posting the Gyongju photos and adding comments. It took a long time for this set. I think Gyeongju comes out as my favourite place of the holiday.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Still posting - Busan

I have done a little rearranging of the photos on flickr as there are so many. there are now sets for Seoul and Busan. The latter has a little walk through story. I need to do the same for Seoul.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A tale of two cultures

While traveling to the DMZ, I met Kristina on the bus. She is from the same town as another person I like well and we soon were getting on very well. I find the difference in their outlook and view of the world is refreshing. Unfortunately I did not meet anyone like this for the rest of the trip. But I will stop being so obtuse.

Towards the end of the day at the DMZ we were in the tourist shop, and still on UN land. South Korea is the most militaristic place I have ever been. Everywhere there are young men in military uniforms, mostly off duty from what I could tell. To an extent they worship the military ideal and goal. Where Kristina comes from, this type of behaviour would probably land you in jail, or at least you would be ostracised. So she was just so shocked to see the image I have included below. In her country it would not not be allowed. Whoever was responsible for such outrageous behaviour would cause outrage. More importantly: People would be ashamed.

In a way both views are tragic and result from tumultuous pasts in the last century and a resulting over reaction. For Katrina I find it quite interesting. The libertarians hold much more sway in her city. They are so liberal that the city is pilloried by people in other countries for excessive freedoms. Yet they are horrified at this image. I find myself being on the side of her city and grow weary of the pillorists. Certainly some of the Americans I met, while being otherwise nice people, had that sad conservative Anglo-American view of the world.

We did not every try to explain this to the Koreans. Perhaps it would be unfair. Mostly we would instantly run into language barriers. Subtlety and nuance are the first casualties of a language barrier.

It is not allowed

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What people say in China, Korea and Japan

Everywhere I travelled in China, I herd people say things. Mostly behind me, but sometimes to me. Unfortunately my Chinese is not good enough to fully understand what they were saying. Some things I looked up in the dictionary, but still I think there must be some colloquial meanings. Some of the things I said seemed to have other meanings or emphasis. So here is my understanding (or lack there of) of what was said. I'd appreciate any comments. My romanization may be poor.

Bu Yang or Bu Yong, I was never sure, but they seem to be two different things. Only once did a girl say bu yang to me. Usually they said it after I walked past. I do not think I ever heard a man say it. Bu Yang seems to mean no need. But that does not make sense.

Bu Yao is what I used to say for do not want. But it seems to have a different meaning as after about a week, some people would say, Oh I see... yao-bu-yao de yao. So there must be a different harsher yao. I learned this at school and from the phrase book. So I a left wondering.

Bu dao le - well this seems harsh, but I do not know. People said it some times. Some times they said bu dwei.

There seemed to be some confusion between Au-da-li-a (Australia). People generally knew what I meant, but sometimes I think people who overheard me thought I was saying da-li-a. I have been unable to determine what this may mean and I heard it lot in northern china. Richard though that maybe I was really hearing da-lia-a which is why so late? Anyway, after a while the confusion seemed to be clarified (I do not know how) and life was OK again. I was at one stage considering abandoning saying au-da-li-a in favour of the shorter au-zhou. The latter is the Austrlian continent. They are obviously relatively interchangeable.

So you see, language can be a difficult thing. I never had the troubles in Korea I had in China. I think the Chinese keep on assuming that I know more Chinese than I do. I know the Koreans did. For a while I was never certain if they (the koreans) were speaking to me in Chinese or Korean. This is partly because Sino-korean is so much like Chinese. I had this in Japan the first time I was there. I tend to read the Chinese characters straight into English, but sometimes I will read it into mandarin. In Japan, people also occasionally said things, randomly on the street to me in mandarin Chinese. Usually it surprised me so much that by the time I worked out that I needed to switch languages, got over my surprise and then translated what they had said, they had gone. But they were always nice things that were said.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

North Korea

North Korea
Originally uploaded by yewenyi.

I do not beleive this. Of all the photos I have taken, this one has the most views, by a factor of 5 at the time of writing. Of course, I have not uploaded anywhere near all my photos yet. And what's worse, I did not take this photo, Christina from Hamburg did. I suppose it is something to so with the fact that it is North Korea after all in the background.