Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gyeongju + Namsan

This is a shot taken in the Namsan Mountains, due south of modern day Gyeongju.

Gyeongju is the former capital of Korea, during the Silla dynasty. For more info on this fascinating city click on this link:

I see a bit of a resemblance to Egyptian statues in this one above.

The Confuscian leaders often tried to destroy any significant artifacts or relics of Buddhism. As seen here in the chunk missing from this Buddha, circa 600BC.

A pagoda at the Gyeongju National Musuem
One of the ancient tombs found around the Gyeongju. Kind of Tim
In case you can't read Korean...the exit is over to the right.

Heading back to Ulsan

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In The Foothills Behind Our Apartment

A local's house in mid-February.

A buddhist temple we discovered by accident on a long afternoon hike into the foothills behind our apartment complex.

Sarah checking out the fish in the pools below.

The wind was blowing slightly, stirring up the wind chimes which made for a really incredible audio effect to this visually tranquil mountain side temple. Keep in mind we hiked for about 3 hours before we stumled across this place.

I didn't even notice the fat buddha until looking at this photo. There was so much to check out.

A couple of guards watching over the bridge which led into to temple.

We met this guy and took him to be a grounds keeper. We was friendly and did his best to explain what some of the signifcance to the ornamental figures were. He eventually offered us some coffee and we got in out of the cold. He began to show us some photos of himself taken with various diplomates and dignitaries. Then I saw one taken with the President of South Korea and a 4 star general. As we began to catch on that he was the head of a sect of Buddhism in Korea and knew dozens of prominent people, he kept giving us the thumbs up...indicating that he's the man and also martial art's master. He had a certain charm or charism that was quite serene and tranquil. After spending about 45 minutes with this guy, Sarah and both felt kind of light and giddy. That may not make sense to some, but this guy with a good soul-so to speak. Very happy and friendly. I'd like to see if he's teaches martial arts at the temple or could turn me on to someone who could. That would be really sweet!


On the road down toward the temple.

On the trail to the top of the hillside.
A view looking west.


Roasting chestnuts on the street in Ho-Gye

Local products being made and sold in the streets.

I think these are used for sifting rice. Not sure though.

There are so many grains, beans, and types of rice I don't even know where to begin.

You can buy just about any kind of fish fresh in the streets. Many of the merchants have temporary fish tanks set up on the sidewalks where the fish are still swimming, waiting for the end to near.

Oegosan Pottery Village

A more modern factory with some of pottery in foreground being produce in the village.

Sarah with a new batch of kimchi pots.

A couple locals kids hard at play.

A back yard in the village.

A kim-chi pottery before receiving a finishing glaze.

A tradional kiln in the village. Most of the kilns are built with clay and rock found right on site and date back to over a hundred years old.

Walking Around Oegosan Pottery Village

A glimpse into a potter's abode

The ceramic kim-chi pots that are produced here are found all over Korea.

A tradional Korean meal served in stoneware pictured with Jared. Everything from seaweed, sardines, and kim-chi, to rice, ramyen noodles, and sweet potatos.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Some pics of Daegu

Exploring Dague

A few weeks ago we took our first train ride out of town and headed northeast of Ulsan to Dague. We traveled with a group of fellow English teachers from various parts of the world. The mix of people made for some interesting conversations and quirky antics.
Some of the highlights include:
1)Bunper cars
2)Passenger airplane converted into a restaurant.
3)All you can eat and drink brewery
4)Punk bar with Long Island Ice Tea and pool tables.
5)Sleeping in a jinju-ban (basically, a large room with headed floors where you can nap and a hot shower after partying all night. This was truely a cultural experience. More than a hundred Koreans slept shoulder to shoulder to us. This was definately a moment when you realize your in another world.
6) Much of the trip was centered around making something of a pilgramage to the Costco in Daegu, where we ran around looking at all the western food; everything from tortillas to apple pies and blocks of delicous cheese. We stuffed our packs and headed back to Ulsanstocked up.