Archive for January, 2013

2012 fall hiking

January 25, 2013

There are a few hikes already from this time period on the blog, but here are three I missed reporting on.

On November 10, My son and I went hiking in Jinyoung, a village that is within Kimhae city limits.

keumbyeongsan1

His school organized the trip so it is one of the few that he has been eager to do.  Here is one of his friends.keumbyeongsan2

Love those East Sea Maples!keumbyeongsan3

Next, another trip to Seokbulsa on November 13  Two coworkers and I visited the fortress on Keumjeongsan, then hiked to Seokbulsa.

Yes, we took a cable car most of the way up the mountain to the fortress, but in our defense, we did hike nearly down to sea level before climbing back up to Seokbulsa.

seokbulsa-geomjang fortress1

I like the way the forest has grown around the walls.  Indefensible yes, but also beautiful.seokbulsa-geomjang fortress2

My two friends posing at a reconstructed gate.
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I missed photographing this stone building at the temple last time, so I am glad to rectify the omission now.seokbulsa-geomjang fortress4

Looking into, and out of, the narrow canyon.
seokbulsa-geomjang fortress5 seokbulsa-geomjang fortress6

And finally, Baekyangsan, December 13

As a linking (rhetorical or narrative, not internetical) device, let me start by looking across a valley to the beginning of another hike I have done.  We are looking at Dongseo University and the previous hike went southerly to Hadan subway station.

 

baekyangsan1

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Patrick is now hiking across Portugal and has his own blog on the trip.

baekyangsan3As you can see, we had wonderfully clear skies for our walk.

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Again with the narrative linking.  At the base of the blade of rock in the middle of the picture is Seokbulsa, described here and, well, here in this post.

We finished near Gupo market and found many animals for sale, most were alive.

baekyangsan5

In Canada I was, and will be, a canoeist.  Perhaps I will also try to hike more.  Here, hiking is nearly as required as eating kimchi or visiting a Buddhist temple.  I will miss the mountains when I leave.

 

 

I saw the completion of the 4-rivers project.

January 22, 2013

I’m leaving soon.  I depart on January 31 and don’t know if I will be back.  As I wrote on Facebook (names removed),

“My work these past three years -and also at Kwandong before that, has been great but I am returning to Canada next year. I can’t say for how long.

The Little Guy’s English is barely sufficient for day to day conversations with me and falling far behind his Canadian cohort so we (TLG and I; my wife will remain in Korea) are moving to my mother’s home in Penetang for at least one year. TLG will attend school and I will look for some kind of work. If I find useful and valuable work, my wife will emigrate and join us. If not, we will return to Korea to work I love and have shown an aptitude for but with the real concern about what high school will be for TLG- and any Korean child.”

I am not ready to talk about Canada, but that will come.

I am ready to talk about my long stay here and how connected I feel to Korea, even if only as a foreigner.   Case in point, my views on the Four Rivers Project.  I started blogging only a year before Presidential candidate Lee Myungbak proposed a crazy project, then withdrew it in favor of the Four Rivers Restoration Project.  I was here during his transition and throughout the Four Rivers work.  I also learned about flooding (one thing his project was designed to reduce) caused by North Korea.  Although I am not at all satisfied with the result of the project, I feel a strange satisfaction in my deep understanding of it.  I’ve been here long enough, and been aware long enough, to have real opinions on the subject.  I remain impressed with the bike trails built along the rivers and experience a thrill when I see the “Andong, 380km” sign near my home at the mouth of the Nakdong River.

For the record, I still have no opinion on who owns Dokdo.  I don’t know how long I would have to stay in the country for that to happen (Hans Island is, however, clearly Canadian).

I feel so connected to farming in Korea.  Even though I am unable to plan or schedule when or what crops should be planted, I have been involved in that work for several years.  I don’t love rice like my wife does, but I know it grows.  I don’t know how hot my in-laws’ peppers are but I know how productive the plants are and hot to recognize a pepper from a leaf at a metres’ distance.

I even sorta understand why Korean lifeguards are so cautious about letting people swim here.  Full understanding is beyond me, but I have seen so many non-swimmers launch themselves in tubes into deep water that I would be equally draconian in running a beach.  I now only grimace when I see a two-metre deep pool only filled to 1.4 metres so non-swimmers are safe.

Maybe I am leaving just in time.  Everytime I see a car or truck running a red light, I plot about bringing a realistic doll to the intersection and tossing it in front of a red-light-running vehicle.  I have held back because I can imagine the result of a car swerving wildly to avoid the ‘baby’ and because I don’t have such a doll handy.  I’ll leave it to you to guess which influence is greater.

I don’t know if I will write a ‘_-things I love in Korea” or a “__ things I hate in Korea”.  With my current blogging regimen it will be July before they finish. Still, I should take some time to review my time here and my future plans at such an obvious demarkation point. What better place to put my private thoughts then on a public blog?


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