Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Picture Post

This is the first complex we lived in, for the first three days after we flew to Korea.

The English here is pretty good, far removed from the 'Engrish' of China and Japan. It's still a bit weird, though.

I mentioned before that lots of old Korean women sell their home-grown vegetables on street corners. These people are a little more organized than that.

A view from our first Korean home to our second: the buildings in the distance, with the tan line down the side, is the complex where we live now.

The hallway in the first flat.

The bathroom/wetroom. Wetrooms are more common than standard bath or shower rooms, apparently.

Lots of mess. It didn't feel as bad at the time as it looks here! To be fair, we had absolutely nowhere to put our stuff, and it all had to go back in the suitcases a day later anyway, to move to our new place (of which there are no pictures today. I really need to get on that).

The kitchen was grimy and disgusting. We didn't want to put anything on the counters.

The balcony, and the outside. We were on the fifteenth floor.

English pasta in Tesco! We were unnecessarily excited by how much of the packaging was recognisable from 'the real Tesco.'

Last Wednesday we went to the Pia Valley, a few kilometres north of Hadong.

It was beautiful.

This is Tom's colleague (and my colleague too, I suppose, for one day a week!), who very kindly drove us to the valley after waiting around with us in the hospital that morning.

The water was beautifully clear.

And quite cold, too.

On Saturday, we went for a walk. It was really hot and I was feeling quite pathetic, so we stopped in a park and bought some drinks. This is Sunny 10, the sugariest drink in the world. It's like drinking syrup. No wonder all the students here have metal teeth.

Walking back home from the park. This is a huge crossroads. The yellow lines on the right hand side of the picture also allow the road to double as a car park, of all things.

Another view of the junction, from a pedestrian bridge.

Future Boy! The scariest of Gwangyang's three symbols. Where are his trousers? What are his eyebrows made of? Why isn't he nice like the other symbols?

Typical view of a street. By this point, Tom had decided that he didn't mind looking tourist-y because it made absolutely no difference to the amount of stares we got.

Just to prove it to you: Tesco!

The new bridge being developed from Jecchol (?) Island, where I work, to Yeosu. One of Tom's students is involved, at a fairly senior level, in the building of this bridge.

My school, which used to be a hospital. It is next to a football (soccer) stadium where the local team, the Chunnam Dragons, play. Some of my students are the children of these football players.

Gwangyang is "the home of POSCO's Gwangyang Steel Works, the largest facility of its kind in the world" (thanks, Wikipedia). POSCO is not exactly known for being 'green & clean', despite this persuasive sign.

Some of the extremely ugly steelworks from a distance.

And a much nicer picture of mountains! Korea is unbelievably mountainous. It must be so interesting geologically.

Sadly we only got a quick drive-by picture of these houses. They are absolutely tiny, and look like doll's houses even up close. They even have multiple stories! We're unsure as to how someone could actually live in these.

The entrance to the Cheoneunsa Temple.

A pretty bridge at Cheoneunsa.
There is a pagoda in the middle of the lake right by Cheoneunsa, which makes for beautiful photos.

Getting into the main part of the temple.

You can drink the spring water at this huge vat.

There were four of these on the way into the main temple area. They were about eight feet tall, and terrifying! This one was Tom's favourite.

The foremost building here was the main part of the temple. Other parts of it are still active.

This was amazing!

Lanterns hanging from the ceiling, each with what I presumed was a prayer of some sort.

Further up the mountain from Cheoneunsa. This is a picture of the mountains, not a lamppost!

The shadow of a cloud on the mountains.

Very high up! We ate our lunch at approximately 1000 metres above sea level.

And another bridge, on the way home.

So, that sums up part of our first ten or so days in Gwangyang. We have seen so much that is strange, or beautiful, or both. I nearly took a picture of my whiteboard when my five-year-olds were playing Hangman and one of them wrote 'what your face' instead of 'wash your face.' I was waiting until class finished so I could photograph it, when another of my five-year-olds helpfully cleaned the board for me before they left.

I'll have to take photos of our new apartment soon, because it is wonderful. We'll have to clear away some of the cockroach corpses first - we completely believed the previous teacher when she told us to leave the plugs in the drains because there are cockroaches, but sadly the cockroaches themselves wanted to prove their existence to us. Not helped by Tom leaving the plugs on the side, far away from the drains, as often as he can.

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