Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mud, mud, glorious mud

Mud Festival is a massive weeklong celebration of all things muddy at Daecheon Beach. The mud is apparently very good for your skin (unless you were one of the unlucky ones who had severe allergic reactions to it) and who doesn't like a day when you're actually ENCOURAGED to be as messy as possible!
These people are not my friends. I don't have a clue who they are. I stole this photo from Google Images because we failed to get any good muddy shots of us... so pretend these are people I know ok?!

Wow, me and my "friends" are having so much fun
being covered in mud - there's nothing quite like it
for cooling the blood.

It was a fun weekend, although I wasn't such a fan of the mud, as it really ended up everywhere, didn't taste or smell very nice and I was much more of a fan of just hanging at the beach instead.
So we got up way too early to catch the 6am train. Arrived before the fest had even began and tried to find food (this was about 9am), ended up having bulgogi beef and rice, surprisingly delicious for breakfast! Then we hit the beach, where we stayed for most of the day. Not that far along from the main activities but far enough that we didn't see a lot of mud and instead it seemed more of a beach weekend - which suited me just fun, lots of swims, and it was cloudy but I got a bit of tan from it (hurrah!). Lots of beers, and a good mellow bunch.
Eventually much later we headed down to check out the mud and promptly lost each other, Sara had eyeball problems after being pushed around in a big mud bath (I fell and cut my butt, it hurt so bad) so we tried to clean them up, and lost everyone in the process. But it was fun. Massive queues for all the slides n stuff though so flagged them (meanwhile our friends Carp, Thom and Ann queued for over an hour then gave up as they reckoned they'd still have another 30mins before being at the front)
And eventually found others back at our umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh (by this point it had started raining, and people were seriously feeling the chill, I wasn't (I had my inner radiator on full blast thanks to the sunshine earlier) but chose to stay swimming for I reckon over an hour to avoid sitting on the beach in wet clothes) - we hadn't found Carp et al, though, and noone had cells but were all so cold we decided they'd just have to find their way to where we were staying (prob a 20min walk from the main beach area)
Walked home, petted some elephants (freaked me out a bundle), saw a parade, then shower, wee nap and out for galbi (delish) - Aidian, Thom and Carp stayed home to sleep. Convinced Carp to come meet us, other two were lameos though and stayed sleeping. Saw some fab fireworks and ran around in the rain a lot (it was PISSING down by this point) with $4 sparkling wine that tasted like grape juice.

Pat and I singing and dancing in the rain.

Classic Singing In The Rain pose.

Janine, me, Ann and Sara being awkward
Koreans getting their photo taken - they never
just smile!

Then some genius had the brilliant idea of a 3-hour marathon Michael Jackson tribute noraebang (Korean karaoke) fest, lots of fun, a lot of MJ, I had a killer time!
Ann, Carp, me, Janine, Pat and Sara rocking
the noraebang.

Something I acquired somewhere
along the way...

Next day was HORRIBLE, the worst rain since I've been here, we had to walk in it for 20mins to get to where taxis left from, and all wanted crappy Korean fast food Lotteria, but had to queue for about 20mins for that because every westerner had the same idea! Was very glad to get home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear Diary

Sorry for being such a terrible blogger. After weeks of exciting adventures, things calmed down a bit with more time spent around Suwon with a few trips into Seoul thrown in for good measure. But they have by no means been quiet weekends, with several big events.

We had a fabulous Canada Day barbecue in the park near our apartments. I really feel links between New Zealanders and Canadians, we seem to both be underdogs against the larger and brasher Australia and America, and seem to have a similar relaxed attitude to life in general. Hence, I was thrilled to help them celebrate their national birthday (plus, who would EVER turn down a barbecue!)

A game of "Beerball", involving baseball while constantly carrying
your beer in your hand. After hitting the ball or before running
between bases you must have some of your beer. Very fun game!

Janine and the amazing Canada Day cake she made,
complete with a plum Canada maple leaf flag.

My Canada trivia team, Ann from America and Carp,
my Canadian coworker. Despite the lack of Candian
nationals, we took out this quiz!

Another great weekend was going into Seoul to meet up with Nicci, a New Zealander living in Tokyo who was great friends with my old Tinakori Rd flatmates (Miss you guys!) and I met when she stayed with us earlier this year. She and some friends found cheap tickets to Seoul and we had a great weekend, it was nice to meet some new people as well as catch up with another New Zealander. Got my first delicious taste of New Zealand wine since I left the country - Tohu sav, you tasted like nectar.
Nicci and I with delicious NZ wine

Sara and I at a galbi restaurant which gave
us bibs to eat with - perhaps they knew
instinctively I can't eat neatly?!

Sara, Nicci and I before heading out for a big
night in Seoul.
I had to farewell my two closest friends here, Laura and Kathleen, which was very sad, I already really miss their presence, we always had such fun together and they were my constant weekend (and many weeknight) companions. Hopefully will get to see them again sooner rather than later, Laura's planning on coming back in January and going to convince Kathleen to come too.

Who would ever want to say goodbye to these
faces? Laura being a pirate (I think) and Kathleen's
"model face" (while I fail at the attempt)
Another very sad time has been the adoption and subsequent death of two tiny and lovely little kittens.
Harry (Potter)

Oliver (Twist)
My friend Janine discovered these two newborn orphaned darlings in her appartment after hearing what sounded like birds for two days. Apparently their mother was dead, and they were very weak and frightened. Because she already has two cats and was looking after a third, I offered to look after them until we could decide what to do with them.
We named them Oliver and Harry due to their orphaned status. I spent two days rushing home at every opportunity to force feed them milk. They were aged at about 7 - 10 days old, and were incapable of looking after themselves at all. But I totally fell in love with them and was happy to do all I could for them.
In that short time I watched them as their shaky legs got stronger and they began to walk (very delicately). However by Tuesday night Harry was clearly fading, it was worrying but I really knew nothing about orphaned cats so I fed him as much as I could and left them to sleep. Sadly, he got worse overnight and died the next morning. I felt horrible with guilt and sadness.
Oliver however, was clearly the stronger of the pair, but he was terribly frightened being alone and stopped letting me feed him. I still thought it would be ok, but he too died overnight on Wednesday.
It was very traumatic, but I have since read a lot about fading kitten syndrome, similar to SIDS in children, where for no apparent reason kittens will just fade away. They obviously needed their mothers and I couldn't give them any more care to prevent it happening.
But I did love them. Oliver was certainly the cuter of the two, with nicer markings, and his ears would shake back and forth when he was being fed - it was adorable.
That almost brings me up to date - except for Mudfest. I will try not to be such a tardy blogger in the future.