Monday, September 28, 2009

망산 Mangsan- A Mountain Top

The weather really took a turn for the better a few weeks ago. Honestly is has clouded up again, but for the time that we had the beautiful blue sky we made the most of it. Our good friends Mike and Alissa accompanied us to the southern tip of the island. It is a very fun trail to hike because of the loop that it makes. You never see the same thing twice. We had hiked this mountain loop once before in March when we had first arrived in Korea. The difference between the summer and winter is very obvious. (September and March) Although it is not exactly the same shot, which I should have coordinated better, it conveys the idea.

The shipping industry, as I have mentioned in other posts, is the mainstay of Korean commerce and especially of our Island. Here is a barge carrying two pieces of a hull for a ship that will be many times its size. The enormity of size is difficult to comprehend.

The rice from above. I was amazed at the clarity of the water. I made me feel like I was back in Bali. It must have been the lighting and the angle.

There were a number of rock outcroppings throughout the hike. Always good vantage points and picnic locations.The summit.
All of the hikes in Korea have flags which are attached to trees all along the trail. Here they were concentrated at the top, on this one tree. They appear to be advertisements for company hiking groups, but remind me of the flags in Nepal, which I hope to see someday.
It wasn't all trail. There was some scrambling as well.

A mountain top chat.
It was a good day to be in the great outdoors.
Thanks for staying posted. Pass the blog on to all those who you believe would appreciate it. Stay in touch.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Church Picnic

Chelsie and I went for a bike ride this weekend. After about 20 minutes into the trip we stopped for some pictures and I discovered very quickly that I had forgot to put my memory card back into my camera. I therefore only had 6 shots that I could take on the camera's internal memory. It was disappointing, but on the other hand it was also a gentle reminder that we need to enjoy the moment. I sometimes get too caught up in capturing it.

I love my biking co-pilot. We were approaching the end of our motorbike adventure and the sun was setting. I was watching out for speed bumps and Chels tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out this beautiful shot. We turned the bike around and I used all six of my precious shots to capture this lone tree in the ripening rice fields.

The rest of these pictures are from a recent church outing that was held by the Gohyun Church English Ministry. The regular church holds a service for those who speak English. It has really been a blessing in the time we have been here. We have become quite involved in the music and in other ways in which we are needed.

A few Sundays ago we met in Geoje's Recreational Forest. We had the service here and we also had a picnic. Many of the members are from Nepal and work in the shipyards here. There are others who are English teachers like us. My frined Anton took these pictures of the event.

The first picture was to be the serious one and the second was to be the goofy one. If you look carefully, I believe that only Chelsie and I understood the directions.

A Korean camp style meal of beef stirfry, ramen noodles, gimbap, and fresh fruit was prepared with help from everyone.
We had ice breaker games, hiking, music, and a message by Pastor Lucas.
We took turns introducing new friends.

The church here has been such a blessing to us in many ways. They have helped us in practical ways, like Korean lessons and locating a motorcycle, as well as helping us grow spiritually. We were involved in a international ministry back home. It has been a really cool experience to be on the other side of the "international" ministry.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cable Cars in Tongyong

Another interesting destination, in our neighborhood, that we got the chance to visit was the Tongyong cable cars. A church friend from the Philippines, by the name of Jesse, offered to take us. The cable cars were installed two years ago. It is a very easy and popular way to get to the top of scenic Mt.Mireuksan.
The boarding area was packed with older ladies, ajumas, who were so eager to get on the cable cars that it had became a brawl. There was pushing, pulling, arguing, and cutting to get to the front of the line. It was quite entertaining. We were noticed by one of the attendants and since we were non-Korean tourists we were ushered to the front without the fight. Quite nice.

Colorful cars swung around the carousel and we hopped aboard. It was an easy 10 minutes to the top. We rode along with our friend and a couple of the ajumas.

The clouds came and went throughout the afternoon. We "hiked" up the stairs to the summit from the upper gondola station.
Although it was not the highest summit that we have conquered it was a great view. Islands were scattered on the ocean like polka-dots on a shirt from the 70's.
We also got a birds-eye view of the city and shipyards below. Our friend Jesse pointed out the yards and some of the ships that his company had finished.

The second half of the trip to Tongyong was a stop to see a replica of a historic battle ship used to defend Korea from Japan. The Koreans are very proud of their victory in 1592 when Admiral Yi Sun-sin's fleet of turtle ships fought off Japanese invaders.
We practiced the rowing technique.
The spikes on the roof defended it from enemies that might want to "swing" in from other ships for a visit. The steel roof, which resembles a turtles shell, was able to deflect fiery arrows. cannon balls and the like.
The ship sat among fishing vessels in the bay adjacent to the live fish market.
We went for a traditional Korean meal, of Bulgogi, after all our exhausting hiking and paddling. It was a great afternoon.
(Bulgogi- Meat you grill at your table. I also tried a number of shell fish, ate a chicken heart. I'll stick to the beef.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Ride- Ocean, Mountians, and Islands

We try and keep some traditions around here, sometimes we fail, and sometimes we are able to keep them. Saturday for Chelsie and I is a day for adventure. Since college we have loved to get out and explore on the weekend. On Sunday afternoons, after church, we have begun to take bike rides. The past two weekends we ventured down to the southern part of the island known as Windy Hill. The weather has been outstanding and I don't believe that we have seen the skies this clear in quite a while. From a small windy knob out on the peninsula we overlooked the coastline.

Riding a little further took us to Sinseondae. A colorful outcropping of rocks followed by a pebble beach. We relaxed and took in the surroundings.

We watched a local take a swim and then preform some yoga on the beach.

The colorful pebbles of Hammok Beach.
Back on the tarmac we headed east, taking the scenic coastal route and occasionally stopping to take pictures.

This past weekend we decided to climb the tallest mountain on the island, Garasan.
Up and up we went. Korean trails tend to have no switchbacks in them. They simply go UP. There are occasionally sets of stairs that have been built and disappear into the trees above.

The summit was fairly disappointing, unlike many of the other hikes that we have done in the past. It was a grassy knob with limiting views.
The summit, 585m above sea level.
On our way down we left the trail in search of a rocky pinnacle that would get us above tree line. Eureka!

This rock outcropping made the work to get up worth it.
On the way home we passed some of the rice fields which are beginning to ripen now that they have hit maturity. The fragrance of the rice is also now filling the air as we ride through the valleys.

Thanks for staying in touch. Well be back with more.
Stay tuned for: Screen Golf