Monday, June 15, 2009

Surf'n in the R.O.K. (Busan part III and Gwangan-do mountain stream)



This past weekend I went on a surf trip to Busan, and the weekend before that I was in South Korea's north east province, Gangwon-do, hiking on a mountain stream in the middle of nowhere. The surf trip was a much needed vacation from the city of Seoul, as I always seem to forget how much I love the beach and surfing, also Gangwon-do has much beautiful nature to offer the traveler.

My friends and I stayed in a little motel right on a beach that is not frequented by as many visitors, which made it more relaxing and better for surfing. The surf shop, pictured aboved, had afforadble rentals on both boards and wet suits. And there was pleanty of good Korean and international food available in walking distance for when we took breaks for lunch and snacks. Nothing like a good kimbap after being worn out from the sun and surf.

About two weeks ago I went to a Korean baseball game with my friends, while the game was fascinating and fun to watch I was surprised by the amount of MLB hats I saw in the stadium. Koreans are big fans of MLB, and anytime when going out I often see a few Atlanta Braves caps. This is most likely because there is a Korean pop singer whom has lived in Atlanta and supports the Braves. Still interesting to see my home city's baseball team's cap being worn here. One of the biggest differences between going to a Korean game and an American game is the price. Besides the tickets being about $5 the food inside is hardly marked up from regular prices, meaning that a bottle of water costs less than a dollar and a fast food combo would cost around $5. Also, instead of individual owners the teams are owned by Korean corporations, such as LG, KIA, etc. Although it's not too much of a difference since the owners of sports teams in America are usually the CEOs or owners of corporations.

Another interesting note is that I think I'm allergic to all Korean alcohol, which is not the worst thing since Koreans seem to have an extremely low grade of alcohol here. I assume it might be the great presence of sulfates in their alcohol, but don't really know. Either way, probably a blessing in disguise. Soju is the social drink here in Korea, used in almost all formal social situations, and I found out quite quick that it was not the drink for me. I will go through the formalities of having a glass poured for me by an elder but just not drink it. It's also fascinating to note that I believe that Heineken and Budweiser, among other international drinks, are brewed here domestically in Korea, which does not help my situation.

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