Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Adventures in Iceland...

Iceland is such an incredible country. I loved the landscape the first time I saw it from an airplane window. I loved it even more after spending a few days touring around it. It's capital, Rekyavik, is absolutely the cleanest city I've ever been in. Everything is heated with geothermal water, and seems to run so efficiently. This morning, I noticed an article that reminded me of how much I like Iceland. Recently, all the streetlights in Rekyavik and surrounding towns were shut off for 1/2 an hour while an astronomer used a radio station to broadcast what citizens could see in the night sky. How cool is that? Police and public officials used the time to guage what might happen in the event of an unexpected blackout, while citizens used the time to appreciate the solar system. There were no crimes reported during the blackout. How awesome would it be for your city to turn off the streetlights for a little while, so people could look up and marvel at the stars. I think Rekyavik should make that an annual event.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adventures in Not-So-Ordinary Days...

Today started out like any other Thursday, except I didn't eat breakfast. After my one-and-only class of the day finished at 11am, I was ready to head home for brunch, but I didn't. My friend Marietjie and I made our way to the Gumdo Hall instead. A local hospital is running a free physical check-up here on campus, and instead of paying $200 for a physical in Seoul, I figured I'd take advantage of the freebie here. As it turns out, my pee, hearing, eyesight, teeth and bloodpressure are all A-OK. I do need to lose a dozen kilograms, and I won't have the results of my blood test or chest X-ray for a while, but apparently I'm pretty healthy.

After lunch, I had a quick stop to make at the art building where I used to take pottery classes. One of the art students in the office there had asked Jen Jordan and I to sit for a few photographs last semester. She wanted to use the photos to practice painting portraits of non-asians. She told us that when she was finished the portraits, she would give each of us a pencil sketch of ourselves. I stopped by to pick up the pencil sketch, and discovered that there had either been a miscommunication, or the artist had changed her mind. I now have a fully framed oil painting of myself hanging on my wall! It even kind of looks like me.

After hanging the picture, I changed into a pair of
Old Navy, just-below-the-waist, Large sweatpants ( just incase Santa is reading this), and an old T-shirt. Since then, my day has proceeded in it's usual Thursday afternoon fashion.

(10 minutes later...) yup. Still proceeding.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Adventures in Oddities...

I was just checking the news and chatting with Mom on-line before hitting the sack. In Yahoo!'s odd news section, I found something that I'm convinced is going to produce an awfully unpleasant dream in about 3 hours time...

Apparently, an Australian fan of the late Steve Irwin has decided to feed his newborn son's placenta to his pet goannas, "
to bring his family closer to the giant lizards." If you want to read the whole article, you should be able to find it at
If you do want to read the whole article, you might also be interested in spending some time slapping yourself in the head with a spatula, or building a replica of Mount Rushmore with earwax. Either of the above activities would be more productive wastes of time. Gross. Really, really gross. G'night, and sweet placenta-free dreams.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Adventures in bucking the trend...

I recently read an article that indicated a correlation between how busy a person is, and how often they update their blogs. The article seemed to suggest that the busier a person is, the more infrequent their postings become. I don't think that's the case with me. I've done close to nothing that past little while - and I haven't posted, because there's not much to write about. I'm reluctant to sit down and tell you things like "I had corn." or "I bought milk." or "My cat is cute." Honestly, that's just nutty.

Also, for a good fourteen days, if I had attempted to write what was going on in my head, all you would have read would be "BANGbangBANGbangBANGbang." You see, a new dormitory is being built just outside my window. (Well, across the street from my window, but that's close enough.) For 2 weeks, the heavy drilling started at 7:00am at the latest, and continued until well past 5:00pm. The big BANG was the pounding of the drill itself. The little bang was the echo of the big BANG bouncing off the other dormitories. BANGbangBANGbangBANGbang. 9-10 hours a day, 7 days a week for two weeks. I couldn't listen to music in my apartment, because the percussion of the drill wasn't in sync with the percussion of my music. I couldn't read, watch TV, sleep or stretch without having
BANGbangBANGbangBANGbang reverberating through my brain. Just as I was about to go truly mad, the drilling stopped and now I'm gently roused from my sleep every morning with the soft rumbling and beeping of big trucks. I hardly notice the trucks, they're like a soothing lullaby compared with incessant BANGbangBANGbangBANGbanging.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A brief disclaimer...

Just incase you're inclined to think I've turned into a simpleton based on my internal dialogue during my bike trip, I should mention that most of my mental resources were focused on (a) trying to stay upright, (b) trying not to get lost, (c) trying to encourage my legs to keep pedalling, (d) silently drinking in the beauty that God created on that little island.

So before you think I'm a complete dolt, remember that only a small part of my faculties were available for entertaining myself.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Adventures in Internal Monologues...

Day One: Wow! What a beautiful coast line. You can see where the lava oozed into the sea and cooled in black, poeous blobs. The sky is so blue, and the ocean smells! This is going to be an awesome trip. Hmm, my butt's getting a little sore.

Day Two: I smell bad. I hurt. My legs hurt, my arms hurt, my butt hurts. Whew ~ I smell REALLY bad. I wish the showers were open last night, or this morning at least. It's so hot, and I'm so tired. I think my legs could keep pedalling if my body could find a bit more energy to send their way. Ewww, I really do smell very bad. I'm glad I'm the slowest, so nobody has to pedal behind me.

Day Three: (Morning, I'm on my own. Jen and Annelie backtracked a kilometer to go to a sculpture park. I'd be lucky to make it around the island without spending time going backwards too.) I smell better, but I feel worse. I...just...can' any energy. Stupid bike. Stupid rain. Stupid bike trip.
Stupid Janice for coming on the Stupid bike trip. Stupid. Stupid. Stooooopid. Hmm, Stewwwwpid. I like stew. Stew. When I was in highschool I had a crush on a guy named Stu. I wonder what he's doing now. I bet he's not pushing a stupid bike up a stupid hill. That's it. I give up. I'm pushing the stupid bike all the way to Seogwipo (the next meeting point) then checking into a nice hotel with a pool and getting the bike shop to come fetch my bike. I'll meet Annelie and Jen at the airport on Thursday.

(5 hours later, after a nice rest, a nice lunch, a nice tour through the botanical gardens, and a nice cinnamon bun from Cinnabon) Amazing island. Perfect weather. I feel like I could pedal forever. Cruizin' down a hill. Cruizin', cruisin', cruisin'. Glad I'm wearing a helmet. Pushin' up a steep hill. Pushin', pushin', pushin'. Ooh, this is a really steep one. Having some trouble pushin'. Maybe I can get that taxi to take me to the top of the hill...hmmm... logistical problem of letting go of the bike to hail the's a REALLy steep hill. Darn, missed the moment. The taxi's gone and now I'm nearly to the top. Feelin' great, glad I didn't give up.

Day 4: Singin' "Queen" Lyrics: :
I want to ride my bicycle / I want to ride my bike / I want to ride my bicycle ... Hmmm, those seem to be the only lyrics I know. I'll sing 'em again: I want to ride my bicycle / I want to ride my bike / I want to ride my bicycle ... etc. (As you can imagine, this made for a rather tedious, but upbeat day in my head.) I hope we stop for lunch soon.
(after lunch)
Sweet...we get to take a ferry to Udo island. Boats, boats, boats, I like boats.

Day 5: Spent the day on the beach on Udo island, so didn't have any internal biking monologues going on.

Day 6: Oh my goodness, I can't believe this is our last day! I'm glad I told Jen and Annelie I'd go ahead when we got off the ferry. If I can get a bit of a head start while they buy more water, I won't be so far behind by the end of the day. What a beautiful morning. Hmm, my phone battery is dead and I have the tire pump. I hope Jen and Annelie don't run into any trouble. I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike... It's been a while, Jen and Annelie should have caught up by now. I wonder where they are...I'll wait for them at the next bench or shady curb I find. (30 minutes later) Okay, they really, really should have caught up by now. Oh! There's Annelie and.... uh-oh, it's just Annelie. (Jen did have a flat tire. After I gave Annelie the pump, and she gave me her cell phone, we decided it would be best if I kept on going. They were sure to catch up soon.) I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike... It's getting really hot, I'm going to pull over and rest at the next shady spot. (45 minutes later) It's sooo hot. Where oh where is the next shady spot?!? Looks like I'll have to keep on going. (30 minutes later) Uh-oh, I'm nearly out of water, and it's really hot. A Shady spot, a shady kingdom for a shady spot!! (30 minutes later) Finally!! A covenience store with a table and umbrella outside. I'll get a yogurt and a banana and wait here for Jen and Annelie. (Look at my map) Oh! I'm back in Jeju City! There's not much farther to go to the bike shop. Sweet. I can't believe how fast those kilometers flew by. I should go biking more often. What a great trip.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Adventures in Jeju Days...

Goodness, has it only been a week since we got back from the trip? It seems like ages ago. So much so infact that all I can remember about the Jeju days was that sometimes it rained, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes it was gorgeous and sunny, but not too hot. Sometimes it was really stinkin' hot. I'm afraid that now all the days have blurred, and I don't remember what happened when. The coastal road is so beautiful though, and it was nice to smell the sea air every day, and to see the waves crashing against the volcanic rock shore. Sometimes I thought it was like Iceland and Fundy colliding in the Pacific, and getting bits of Korea caught in the middle. Yup, just like that. Other times, when we rode past strings and strings of squid hanging up to dry along the road I forgot about Iceland and Fundy and just thought I was in Korea.

Sorry this is a short post, but I realized that besides "The weather was nice." and "I pedalled alot.", there's just not much to say about the days in Jeju.