31 Aug 2011

Demo Run

It has been the last day of holiday before the university would again start. This time just in a new country and new campus. This was the day where we shall relax and show our best on the next day to represent not only KNU but our home university in a positive manner.

I do not like to be late for my class, so after dinner my friend and me had taken the campus map and our timetable and did a small demo run of our modules on where we need to be and which building and maybe to try to find more short cuts on the big campus. We had done a small stop at the Student Union where we had a look around and found a book store downstairs so we decided to purchases also some paper. I bought one book and one small paper book, as the book only had five indexes but I have six modules. So I decided to take the small booklet for Korean language.

The day had nothing more special on over, excluding that in the afternoon while being in down town to help my fellow colleague to sort out his mobile phone, I received at the IAAF stall the offical wear as a gift. I really wanted one of those, as all shop keepers and bank staff wear them.

30 Aug 2011

Induction and Welcome Party

This day nothing had been planned on my behalf. As we had our informal induction by the International Office. They had welcomed us to the KNU campus and introduce us to key figure staff member and which service we can receive or ask of them. In addition we had been given more forms to fill out and to return them back in a few days time.

They also had planned a campus tour, but the weather was just to hot for people like us from a bit colder countries. They refer us here as Westerners or foreigners, instant International student. I am sure the campus tour would be more wider if the weather had been colder and not 30 degrees. As we only visited the Part C (out of A to C) of the campus.

My friend from Seoul also had arrived on this day, but I thought I may could not meet with him as due to the Welcome Party, but I had been unaware that it only will last 2 hours. So after the party we had met up at the North Gate with a few other friends. We went for some drinks, of course Soju and Beer and had some chicken.

Donghwasa Temple

I had planned on visiting North of Daegu the mountain region and the special temple, Donghwasa Temple. I might shall not have gone alone, but if I go alone I can walk as much as I like and whenever I like. I will come to it a bit later on. I knew there is a bus to the temple, but I forget which number, so I first gone into city centre to tourism information centre who told me which bus to take a red bus #1. Everything to this point had been ok of my journey and also getting off I went off where the entire passenger gone off at the station Donghwasa. I thought all of the eldery people will more likely to visit the temple rather run up the mountain. I had been wrong, the one I had followed gone up the mountain, but I also looked on the signs and it said Donghwasa Temple straight on, so I just followed a man, but suddenly no direction anymore and the way become harder and straight up hill. I thought this cannot be right for a famous temple that the tourist needs to climb up and climb. We reached to a small view point, but not much could be due to some light clouds over Daegu. After a small break we had continued our way further uphill and my water was running out as I did not planned to climb on this day by 30 degrees the mountain of Daegu.



At the second check point he wanted to see the map, maybe just for himself and asked on where I like to go and I pointed out to this temple. Then he showed me that is there, where the open space is on the bottom. I thought he must be joking; we had been so far up, on how shall I been able to get down. He has taken me to the cable car (lift) on where I could get down and go to my actual visit. He had continued to climb up further, but I shall come back and will climb in correct clothes the full mountain to at least stand at the peak in Daegu.
I had a nice visit of the temple and relaxed a little bit of the long climb of the mountain. Then I decided to walk back to the university, not the full way just a short way. Just to see a few part of the landscape by walking down, but I just kept going and did not stop at the bus station to take the bus. I walked already the half way back to Daegu. I just have kept walking until Guam village. I thought it is a tourist attraction, but they did not allow me to take a look around. They still been very kind and allowed me to re-fill the water. They also try to convince me to take the bus to Daegu. I said it isn’t far anymore to Daegu, the rest I still could walk back. I am sure you can see more by walking then taking the bus, but they had been to powerful that at the next bus station I joined the bus into Daegu. I may will never understand on why Koreans all the time would take the bus, instant just walk in this nice weather. If I may did not enter the village, I might had been able to walk all the way to the university. I already had the experience from Bullo-dong, I only been around 30minutes walk away from it.

This is on why is good to be alone, as you know you can do it yourself but your friends might would struggle to walk this distance or already given up after a few kilometres. I admit that it was getting harder to walk as we come to open streets and the sun had been much stronger and with 500ml of water bottle isn’t much to get around. You will need places on where you can re-fill them.

In the evening I had meet up with my friend who I met in Newcastle. She just had arrived back to Daegu from her home town. So we went with another exchange student for some BBQ close by the university. After the dinner she showed us the university again, to get even more familiar as it isn’t long anymore until we start our courses.

29 Aug 2011

IAAF Games

I had asked my buddy to come to university if he did not mind to show me on how to use the special washing machine in the laundry room. Afterwards I had made my way to the city centre and to see the IAAF stand to ask if there had been any tickets left. There had been still a few left but only in the Premier seat from 80.000 Won to 100.000 Won (up to £70). So I decided to purchase the 100.000 Won ticket, which is seated at Finish Line and front row plus a meal in the Premier Lounge. 

The ticket office told me on how to get to the stadium via the subway, but still without Korean you are just lost as all station name on the information board are in Korean language. Good that Korean people are willing to help and show you the way to the correct train. By boarding on Line two I had meet elderly people who guided me onto the train and let me seat in the special seat (for elderly and disabled). The person who greeted me was once a day in 1947 an exchange student in Germany and was very happy to talk to me in German. He told me about his culture shock experience, that he did not understand any German only just the few basic words. He needed to learn also quick German and still was not able to answer the right question. His professor taught him well and he had been able to improve his language. Despite only being twice in Germany, the second time in 2006 for the World Cup he speaks very well German language.

Our way has change as his entrance to the games been in Gate 5 and mines for Gate 11. I had made myself to the gate and was looking forward to see the “super” stars in real when they will run for the 100m. It had been my first time to see those kind of events live from the stadium and especially a World Champion Ship same as on Saturday watching the marathon run for 2 ½ hours. If nothing is planned for 4th September I will attend the last marathon of men in city centre.

It was also a special highlight when South Korea was running 1500 meters in the stadium; as the part I had been in was South Korea corner only a few French and US supporters.  The crowd has gone crazy when Kim was in lead but unlucky had been over taken in the last meters before the finish line.  The second special highlight what everyone has come for and the stadium had filled up full for the 100m run of Bolt, but unlucky he had a false start and with the new rule he had been send home.  They can be lucky that Blake also from Jamaica has won the race on 100m under 10seconds.

I have stayed a bit longer to get a close up picture of Blake as he passed by the press, TV and radio station for an interview. In the background I could hear his friends talking that Bolt was back to normal and knew he couldn’t do much about it.

I was one of the last one already to leave the stadium and try to make my way back to the university and knew that the bus No. 937 will take me to Main Gate. I could take the shuttle bus and subway to city centre and would have a wider option on busses, but it would be a longer way to get back to university and twice expensive. While I was looking for the correct bus station, I had asked some young people for the way, but instant a middle age couple had helped me whose English was much better. They come from the area, but as they use the car they would not knew the bus. They asked me to come with them to their village (=”dong”) and there might be a bus to the university. They had been very friendly to me, to spend their valuable time for me to get me home. As in their part of town was no bus to the university they decided to take me home. They know on how it feels to be alone in another country, as their son is in Tokyo working.  I actually did not know it will take another 20km to the university from their house, but it was very kind of them.

So if you coming to visit Korea just be aware Korean are shy to talk to tourist as they believe their English isn’t good. Give them some time to think and speak and they will be able to help you; do not rush as you have all the time in the world. They may don’t have time as they need to go to work and other business, but they will try the best to help you and will not leave you alone in a foreign country.

27 Aug 2011

Daegus' Festival

I had an amazing day as the start of IAAF Games here in Daegu. I had woken up very early at 630am just to get a good spot to view the marathon. My new roommate had joined me for the games, so I did not been totally alone there.  It had been a great experience to watch the runners straight in front of you, and having Japanese supporters behind you who made all the time noise when Japan and other nations passed by. The local camera man also had pointed on me before the run has started, so I might had been shown across world TV or only Daegu we don’t know.

video

The run finish good in time with a full team win of Kenya, but our bet been Ethiopia and Japan second.  Ethiopia was doing very well in the beginning, but they fallen behind later on.  We only stayed until the Chinese fellow has arrived as we needed to go back to our dorm to move to another dorm.

After I managed to move all my things from A to B and from Floor 5 to Floor 5, I had been greeted by a resident also from Beijing who does his full degree at KNU and we meet one more person from Malaysia. He was free, so we decided to go with his buddy for some lunch and visit later on down town.  I guess it was a good idea to visit down town, as so many activities recently take place there.

In the memorial park near City Hall was a Family Festival sponsored by Equality Gender and Family Ministry and stands been holding by local schools.  We had some great fun with some off those students, such as from Daegu Girls’ High School where we have played with fire, an elementary school where we have tried to solve a puzzle and some middle school children to help them to change the school policy by voting yes or no. Even though they did not speak fluent English, we managed on somehow to solve the language barrier between three nations.  I repeat again, but it is important to know Korean language to communicate freely and understanding on what they like to tell, especially on the third highlight of the day.


As the event has closed down, it already been 5pm we decided to head back to city centre and seen a group just standing and looking at something that’s going to happen. I just quickly asked a guy on what is going on and he said it is a flash mob. So I said why not shall be a cool idea, and then suddenly we started to dance to Korean K-Pop. I was not sure in the end if it actually was a flash mob or a professional dance group just having fun in city centre.  At least it was fun to dance along the song that I already had posted in “94 days before”.

It is always fun to explore Korean culture day by day, just join in when you are by any chance here don't be afraid it is just an amazing experience to be part of something. 

26 Aug 2011

Chill out

It was a much an easier day today. I had met my local “buddy” who takes care of us here while we are in Daegu. We had sorted out my Student ID card and register my phone so that I can call and text people. I have immediately called all I knew in South Korea and manage to get an appointment with my friend who I had buddied in England while he been in Northumbria University. He studies at another university here in Daegu, so it token him 1 ½ hour by bus to reach my university ground. We had gone for some tradition Daegu food, which consist of chicken.



The time before he come, I had planned the day for tomorrow. As tomorrow at 9am (Korean time) the Marathon run will open up the IAAF 2011 Games in Daegu. The Daegu 2011 Social Team is very active and was able to answer my questions in a few minutes. So I hope to get a good view tomorrow morning on the female athletic for three times when they pass by the crowd.

I also good quiet addicted to the group Big Bang the song “Tonight”. I already had been listening on a loop while sleeping on the flight to Korea. Maybe you like the song as well, that’s why I like to share it with you today.

25 Aug 2011

Bullo-dong and Dalseong Park

It is great to see that new readers are joining into my blog. I only can see so far on this posted day 15 people are following me, but you also can get email updates as soon a post had been posted onto the blog. I have set it out that it will arrive with all your other unwanted emails at 7am GMT. So you may like to read my instant of Fritz who tries to sell you something you don’t want.

My friends from the UK had decided to stay one day longer here in Daegu. So we had taken a look on the map off what we could visit in Daegu. I notice there are some ancient tombs around 5kms away from the university ground, so we could pay a visit to it.  The usage of Naver and Google is getting better, as Naver can tell us how to walk and with Google just douple check that it is the correct place which has been input. As soon I will be able to use Korean language, I just can use Naver.

What is Naver some off you might be now asking; it is nearly the same as Google just in Korean and for Korea. It is a good search information site and you can get even street view with Naver Map, whereas Google Maps did not yet pay a visit to Korea.  

The walk has taken us around half an hour along the street, most people I guess would take either the taxi or the bus, but then I think you miss out on Korean culture. A bus is useful if it is a long distance (>10km), as I am sure no one fancy to walk a long way. You can stop also anytime and take pictures, if you like me very slow in getting the camera set up for an image.

At the ancient tomb which is called Bullo-dong Ancient Tomb. It is free to visit, and there is not much information on the location, more a place to relax and have a look around and see the city from the top. I am sure I will find another place in Daegu to see the town further from the top. As there is many mountains around it shall be not a problem.



At Bullo-dong the peace does not get hold for long as just nearby is the Military Air Force, so if you like military air craft I guess it will be a good spot on to watch them start and land. We decided to move on backwards into Daegu and come by a residential area where we sat down on the children playground and had another look into the map on where we shall go. We had been recommended by the South Korean Telecom, on where we had given the free calls, that we shall visit Dalseong Park. We did not know actually what it would be, we thought is just a zoo.

It is a good park, it has a small zoo with animals you would expect and not expect, such as chicken and dogs.

We had spent there a good time and did some sport exercise on the material which had been provided there.  Some people have demonstrated us on how to do a few exercises on them, as the images did not been clear enough on what shall be done.  I would recommend visiting this park if you are close to down town.

24 Aug 2011

Daegu

The weather in Daegu for me is not to warm but it is “ok” to walk with t-shirt. Occasionally it rains here in the afternoon. Last day I had woken up at six o’clock in the morning and just did a walk through the university campus before the breakfast session opens up at 730am. I come pass the stadium of the university and seen people doing sport. So I decided to wake up early on the next day and to see if I could join them.

I did wake up at 5am and walked to the stadium, but I could not see a coach as everyone just gone down on the track and started to walk. I wanted to do it correct, so I have waited a bit until I had a young person in front of me or a person who goes fast so I can see that I am doing it correct. It is actually very simple, what you need to do is just walk and breath. Some people did a small run, but most of them just walked for one hour and later two trainers have come for six o’clock where you could join them for some gymnastic. It is quite the same as in Taiwan; you choose which side you like to go to as on what your music taste is like.  It was very refreshing on doing this type of Korean morning sport. At least I could sleep very well on the upcoming night.



Later this afternoon I had welcomed two of my Northumbria University friends who come to visit Daegu and may take a look if also want to do an Exchange here.  We decided to go into down town as I did not have visited yet, so we had taken the local bus service. Now I understand why the buddies and university ask us to the taxi. I guess the taxi is just a comfortable way of traveling, where is with the bus you really need to use Korean language as only a few stops are in English Language.  After we successfully arrived in town, our tourist guide book said we shall visit the Medicine of Yangnyeongsi. This is where the best medicine is in Korea, and the king had been provided only with best from Daegu.

It was not easy to find the famous street as two maps shown different location, but luckily South Korean Telecom shown us the way and given us as well free calls back home.  The tourist or English Teachers from USA did not manage to find it in one year, we managed in one hour. You just need to go with the smell and keep your eyes open beyond the street as most places are behind buildings. We been told by a local that on this day will be no herb demonstration of the stores due to the rain, but there was a museum where we could get an insight of the culture place and the importance of the herb.



The staff member was very welcoming and had introduce us the medicine and shown us some videos to gives a deeper inside. After the tour of the museum we could try the 10 herb medicine which is good for your body to keep awake. Maybe this medicine let me put to sleep very well or not?


We had looked also for some good dinner in town and the good price shall not exceed 5,000 Won (£3). As we had found one, there was no English translation or any pictures of the meal. We had luck that a local person has helped us to choose us a good meal. It is very important to learn Korean language or you will be not able to eat while you are here. The same it goes for the bus service, they also only use Korean language, but they are very friendly and let you sometimes pay less then local people, or might even take you for free.
After dinner is good to take a walk, first we token the bus back to the university and then walked out from North Gate to explore the area and walked all the way to Dongdaegu Station and all the way back to the university. This might have been the reason on why I have sleep so well on this night due to the long walk.  

22 Aug 2011

Seoul

Dear readers I had promise to start off from when I will arrive in Korea, in these days I did not had much time to open the computer and “Blogger”. I had been hit by cold water into Korean culture, as you may been aware I arrived in Seoul and stayed there for three days. Who actually knew it will take three hours by car to get into centre of Seoul. The roads had been all busy in Seoul themselves. The car drivers are very “ok” here, driving nice and gently, but if they break down they don’t make any effort to get off the road this might has caused the trouble on the motorway and then you have people standing on the road and try to sell you some sweets. So if someone buys sweets of them they probably make the traffic jam bigger as it used to be before.

It is good that I did not meet up with Northumbria folks at Seoul Tech University on this day, as we arranged for 8pm but we did not get back home for 9pm and felt all tired and just had a takeaway of Korean chicken and gone to sleep.

On the next day I visited my friend at Seoul Tech Uni who did the Cultural Exchange, he had been a bit busy as to say to everyone “anyeong ha ga se yo” (latin wrong spelling). In this case I went with my new KNU friend and close friend of my friend into Seoul down town where he had shown me the culture side before we go for the young culture.

I have a lot to learn about the young culture side aspect – at least I was happy to see that my Korean Crash Culture book was wrong in this aspect. It might have been an elderly person written.  It is not true that Koreans make your glass full – you decided if your glass is half empty or half full. You will maybe find out by yourself on the next day – just come to Korea.

 

 In Daegu itself I arrived today and did not seen much yet and the campus is really big. Why does East Asia never put a measurement on? Some of you may already know that I had a small complaint to Taiwan of this issue that measurement is missing.  In the next days I will explore the campus and get lost and then it shall hopefully become small. In the mean time I shall improve my Korean, it may does good to stay with a Korean guy – but I guess in five days I stay with someone else. The best option is only too hung around with Korean – even though today I been with people from Netherlands whom arrived as well three days ago.