Archive for the ‘Busan’ Category

155 km in six weeks. I’m taking a break.

September 7, 2014

If you love the content here, you’ll find, well, different content, but also by me and more frequently, at Creativiti Project.

 

Through the spring, I hiked pretty consistently on the hill- locally called a mountain, but tiny – with my dog and pumped a little iron along the way.  I love the little ‘health clubs’ on the paths.  I got my chin up reps up to more than 20 in four sets.  Not great, but a great improvement.

In the summer, I went to Gangwondo and met some friends and taught some biology.  I also took advantage of the surprisingly cool temps and great running track to work on 75 km in three weeks.  When I returned home, I set a new goal – 80 km in three weeks – and have just completed it.

I like the time frame.  It is easy to see the end point and stay motivated.  I can also, and definitely will this time, take a break between three-week periods.  I need the break.  At halfway of the second set, I was ahead of schedule but as the second week finished, I experienced great cramps in my right leg.  As they eased, I had cramps in my left leg.  Throughout the six weeks, my right Achilles tendon has been aching.

There was a point in the fourth week that I felt great.  A stoplight would change and I was a distance away from the crosswalk and I would float effortlessly to the crosswalk and across.  It felt wonderful.

For the last ten days, though, the only feeling has been grim determination to finish in any way.  At the beginning, I watched my stats as my time decreased even as the distance increased.  Greater distances felt better and better. At the end, I have had to restrain myself.  Late last week, I went a little too fast -not fast at all, but too fast, and had to stop at 2.7 km of what should have been 5.4 or more kilometres.  This week, I have managed a steady 8-9 kph while in the second week (of six) I was faster than 10 kph.

This is Sunday of a long weekend.  Chuseok.  After Chuseok, I will set a new three week goal. The three days off should allow me to recover.  I hope.

90km?

Haeundae Bicycle Service Center

April 16, 2014

At the Haps, I learned of the Haeundae Bicycle Service Center.  I love the idea and hope it does well.  Now to get my son and I out there to ride.

Ship leaking oil near DaDaePo

February 17, 2014

From Busan Haps:

BUSAN, South Korea —  An accident involving an oil supplier and an 80,000 ton cargo ship has caused a huge quantity of oil to leak into waters about 2.8 miles northwest of Busan Saeng-do, with  237 kiloliters of Bunker C oil has leaked into the sea.

The amount of the leaked oil is one-and-a-half times more than that of the recent Yeosu accident. The oil has spread 4.5 kilometers south from the scene of the accident.

 

There is more at Yonhap. And Daum media.

I have learned elsewhere that the Coast Guard has more than 60 ships onsite.  The Korean Navy, Busan Fire Dept, private environment cleanup groups and other groups also have ships and boats onsite. When the recent Yeosu oil spill first occurred, it was deemed to be easily manageable and only a small fleet was sent to work on it. Then, it was found to be larger than previously reported and more ships and personnel were sent but the oil had had time to spread. This time, the response was much greater. Coast Guard vessels from as far away as Sokcho responded to this spill.

Domesticated, feral, and wild animals

March 21, 2013

2 updates at the end of the post

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Original:

Why do we have pets? I grew up constantly having an animal companion. We almost continuously had a dog and cat, but also for short periods, a turtle, a salamander, newts, a hamster, a guinea pig, and/or goldfish. The ideal home for me would be one like Farley Mowat’s.   I don’t know if I could properly or with-scientific-references defend the idea that pets are good for their owners. I definitely believe this is the case, though.
Is it good for the pets themselves? This time my affirmation is less confident. Michael Pollan offers the great success of chicken and other fowl as part of his support for eating meat. If we didn’t eat meat, chicken would likely be extinct.
Ted Kerasote might offer an opposing view in his book Merle’s Door, an account of his attempts to offer his dog as much freedom as possible and how pets thrive when they aren’t treated as modern-day pets. The life of a modern pet is long periods of boredom mixed with attempts to be stimulated by their owners.
As part of this long introduction, let me ask a different and more specific question, one that I cannot answer. Should we have pet cats?
I love cats; there is one sitting at ease just outside my doorway, and my son would need therapy if I got rid of it. The negative points are more important to my post today so let me focus on the positives first. They entertain and comfort us. Some kill pests. They are little burden and bring great joy.
This post is not about the sadness that comes with the inevitable death of a beloved pet. This is a serious concern and my son is already asking questions about lifespans and death.
No, this post is principly about feral cats and secondarily about wildlife mortality caused by pet and feral cats.

According to National Geographic News, last week,

” Ted Williams, then editor-at-large for Audubon Magazine, advocated for trapping and euthanizing feral cats due to their rampant hunting of birds and their reputation for carrying diseases like toxoplasmosis.”
More from the article:
Over 80 million pet cats reside in U.S. homes and as many as 80 million more free-roaming cats survive outside.

To David Ringer, director of media relations for the Audubon Society, the dust-up shows “that we all need to work together on effective strategies that will address the very serious harm cats inflict on birds and other wildlife and that are also truly humane toward cats,” he told National Geographic by email.

“Cats do a great deal of damage to birds and other wildlife, and it needs to be addressed, but Audubon absolutely rejects the idea of individuals harming or poisoning cats.”

From the comments, I find myself agreeing most with Pete McLean who argues against protection all cats at all costs. “The entire argument is a stupid juvenile argument from lovers of stuffed toys.”
The article discusses some methods of feral cat population control. Apparently, Tylenol is unusually toxic to cats and could be used as a relatively specific poison that wouldn’t do much harm to other animals. Another proposed method is neutering or spaying.
Before going into my opinions, let me quote articles from South Korea that I discussed three years ago.  There I quoted from a touchingly sensitive article in Yonhap News.

 “Controversy over treatment of cats often makes headlines. In 2006, residents of a Seoul apartment culled scores of stray cats by driving them into the basement of their building and cementing over all exit holes.

Last year, the local government of Geomun Island off the southwestern coast moved to cull hundreds of feral cats overpopulating the fishing region, a controversial decision that was changed at the last minute to neutering them.”

Alright, first, the problem is not merely feral cats; happily domesticated cats are mixed in too. Tylenol might specifically kill cats but it will not further specify only feral cats. Feral cats are not the only predators of urban wildlife either. In all the time we had a cat, it typically wanted out in the evening and in again in the morning, often trying to bring the night’s kill in with it. And these were well-fed cats who needed to kill only as much as most North American human hunters.
I guess neutering or spaying would work in the long term even though new feral cats and fully potent domesticated cats are often entering the equation. I wonder if proponents of spaying would insist on a human-sort of tubal ligation so that the cats could continue to enjoy the attempts to procreate? In this case, clearly neutering males would be seen as equally evil: vasectomies all round!
I gotta say, I am for a humane cull. I would prefer it if humans could adopt every last feral cat -which are unlikely to make good pets -but an entirely reasonable, though distant, second best option involves poison, live traps leading to identification and killing (feral cats) or releasing (actual wildlife) or return and fines (loose domestic cats). I would even go so far as to train the killers (I don’t want use the euphemism of harvester or collector) to kill onsite with cheap, scalable techniques. There is no more reason to have an expensively trained trained vet use (expensive?) injected poisons with cats than there is with chickens, pigs or cattle.
At the same time, cat owners, be responsible and care for and give away your pets properly. That last paragraph was hard to write and I don’t want my little friend to ever suffer like that.

 

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UPDATE 1:
Ted Williams lost his job for posting concern over the number of feral cats and how to reduce that number.  Well, he lost his job briefly.  I don’t know if this is an apology (or that he needed to apologize) or simply a better explanation than he included in his article.  Here is an excerpt:

 “In my recent op-ed I reported that a common over-the-counter drug, an effective and selective poison for feral cats, had not been registered for this use because of pressure from feral-cat advocacy groups.”

“While the statement was not inaccurate, it was unwise because readers might construe it as a suggestion to go out and start poisoning feral cats. What’s more, the statement could be, indeed was, manipulated by feral-cat advocates into something I didn’t write or intend.”

Update 2:

Scientific American has an article that relates more to my commentary than Mr Williams’ predicament.  3,000 feral cats have been culled to protect an endangered species of bilby.

Unfortunately, the sanctuary is located in a relatively remote region of Currawinya National Park. Flooding in the park not only makes the sanctuary occasionally unreachable by humans, it also apparently damaged the fence last June, allowing several cats to make their way into the enclosure, with devastating results. “We estimated we could have had around 150 newborn bilbies inside that fence, and [the cats have] cleared the lot out,” Frank Manthey, co-founder of the Save the Bilby Fund, told the Australian network news show 7.30.

The fence has since been repaired, but Manthey says the surrounding countryside is still besieged by feral cats and has appealed to the government for help in reducing their numbers. Feral cat populations have actually risen in the past two years, an unintended side effect of government efforts to control dingo populations. Dingoes, which compete with cats and other predators for food, have been poisoned to protect agricultural sheep, but Griffith University researcher Jean-Marc Hero told The Australian last September that this approach gave cats and foxes a chance to fill the ecological gap the dingoes left behind.

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.
seokbulsa-geomjang fortress3

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

baekyangsan2

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.

baekyangsan4

 

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?

strange post to return with, I know

December 30, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t even want to look at how it has been since I last posted here.  In my half-hearted defense, I have posted somewhat more frequently at the Creativiti Project.

 

I do want to keep writing here and I have some big changes in my life coming up; changes which definitely fit with the title of this blog. Further, I need to plan for 2013 and set some goals and what better place to such a personal activity then on a blog read by …some.

 

First though, a short post today with some humourous photos.

My son and I were rollerblading in the apartment’s parking lot and we found a sign that I read at “Ee ba to hae 2000″.  If you have the Hangeul character set, it was “이바토해2000″.  My son says that doesn’t mean anything, but I have photographic evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

funny1

 

 

Just before Christmas, I found this sign.

funny2I read it as “Boo Santa Ol” or in English, “Boo, Santa’s coming.”

In other language humour, I texted a friend and offered to pick up his sons and bring them here to play with my son.  He offered to drive them himself.  Quote: “I will pick them down…”  If we assign real value to the phrase “Pick up” I think we have to accept “Pick down”.

 

The most beautiful temple in …Busan

October 22, 2012

I’m a little busy these days but promised a coworker pictures of Seokbulsa, which might be the most beautiful temple in Korea.  Yeah, the more I think about this, better I feel about this strong claim.

Having made the claim, I need to back away, at least as far as my photography requires.  I do intend to stitch some more photos together to improve some panoramas and these photos are stacked in a gallery so I can’t describe them properly at this time.  Someday (probably), I will do so.

I do need to say the one of the road is meant to explain the shortest route to the temple.  The guides I found as stated start at Exit 2 of mandeok Subway Station and “head toward the older tunnel”.  Perhaps a better suggestion would be to stick to the left side of the road and just go up.  The older tunnel is named, on the road itself, as ‘1 jeh’.

Its a steep hike, but pleasant.

Naengjeong Station to Hadan Station hike

September 22, 2012

 

Well, we didn’t start at Naengjeong Station; we took a local bus to Dongseo University and hiked from there.  On the other hand, we passed Hadan station and walked on, then returned to it so perhaps that balances out.

What a great day for a hike.  My companion Patrick and I started in jackets but did most of the hike in T-shirts.

Here is our trip as displayed on Google:

 

And as displayed on Naver:

I am a Googlephile, but Naver’s depiction is a lot more as I recall the hike. I guess our journey had three parts.  In the first,  we more-or-less maintained our altitude going around Eomgwang Mountain, then climbed and descended to a beautiful place I christen Gudeok Pass village.  On the maps, it was above Gudeok Tunnel.

These rock piles were on both sides of the path, which was near Dongseo University and plenty wide enough for mountain bikes.

 

 

A Gudeok Pass Village, we walked through Gudeok Culture Park.  This was the start of the second part of the trip.

 

Here is the high point of the trip, Gudeok peak at 565 metres.  It was a little challenging to find the place as an aviation-navigation station is on the mountain and some area is fenced off.  To this point, we had mostly been on wide trails, although there was a section from the Culture park to the aviation-navigation road, which was narrow and steep.

 

From Gudeok peak, headed south to Seunghak peak and the path went through a lot of open alpine meadow.

 

 

As we crossed the meadow and from Seunghak Peak, we could we a most unusually sited complex of apartments.  I guess the ground floors would get some some sunlight, perhaps from 11:30 to 12:30, but the cliff-faces around them were higher than the apartments themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I am at the peak of Seunghak and in the background is Gudeok peak.  Mere minutes from the time this picture was taken, I slid on an angled rock and hurt my knee.  Not seriously, but annoyingly.

 

 

 

Below Seunghak peak was a traditional site.  I called it a temple but Patrick suggested it was too big and might be a Confucian school.  As the colors are not as bright as normally found on Buddhist temples, I tend to agree with him.  Look for similar insights in his forthcoming book describing his travel in Jeju Island.

 

 

So we walked through Dong-a University and had several friendly students say hello – which doesn’t happen as frequently at our own university – and reached Hadan Station.  Patrick was interested in going further and I was not but I did take him to a local map of hiking routes that crisscross the city.  Their are around six or seven courses or sections and he wanted to check out a different one.  Patrick; here it is.

 

I don’t know how or why it has taken me more than two years to hike the route, but I will definitely be returning soon.

 

 

Children’s water park in Dadae

July 3, 2012

My son and I had a great afternoon at the new waterpark at Dadae Beach.  The location has a lot to offer children and a few things for adults as well.

  1. The waterpark is right on the beach which has a very gentle slope so there is lots of room for running and playing in shallow seawater.  At the beach, one can also take classes in kite-boarding and small-boat sailing.
  2. The somewhat-famous giant fountains are next to the park and beach and kids can also cool off there.  At night, there is a remarkable laser and music show at the fountains.
  3. Mollundae anchors the southern tip of the beach and has shaded hiking trails and an exploratory boardwalk.  I think it would be fun for strong-swimmers to hike through Mollundae to the open water side and snorkel or swim there, although I have never done this.
  4. There is no Starbucks but most other purveyors of cold drinks and ice cream are nearby.
The park itself has five pools.  Two are mostly for their rental boats; electric and hand-paddle boats

Two others have inflatable slides and most kids loved them – just scary enough.

Although these four pools had specific uses, many kids were splashing around in them as well.

Apparently, I don’t have a photo of the big pool.  It was around thigh deep and had several inflatable toys in it for the kids to climb on and try to tip.  The depth was sufficient for me to relax in yet not too scary for my seven year old son.  The bottom is strangely lumpy as it is just vinyl placed over beach sand.

The pools were evacuated for fifteen or so minutes every hour-and-a-half.  At those times, and others, this inflatable toy was popular.

 

Around the pools were large shaded areas that were pleasant to sit in and relax.  There was a stage for performances and a sign offering draft beer but I didn’t partake.

Our visit on July 1 was free as part of the ‘grand open’.  I think regular admittance will be around six thousand won, perhaps a thousand cheaper for kids and a thousand more for adults.  Tickets to ride the boats were five thousand for the electric and three thousand for the paddle.  In the big pool were ‘hamster wheel’ inflatables and I don’t know the pricing for those.

The park was a lot of fun and my son and I will definitely return.  We may make a full day of it, starting in the surf and catching crabs and shrimp near Mollundae, then using the park showers to wash the salt off.


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