Monday, December 31, 2007

Last blog post of '07

image from google images

The end of 2006 will forever be etched in my family's memory, when my uncle lost his life in the Philippines on Christmas eve.

However, 2007 rolled around and we all realized that the proverbial forks in the road are the things that make us stronger in life.

People make mistakes all the time, and it takes the bigger person to admit to them. Whether we wish to accept or reject apologies is at the individual's discretion - but in my opinion, by accepting them makes us better people.

Family has always been of the utmost importance to me, and I feel blessed to have spent a few months at home with my parents and brother (after spending 4 years at university).

In April, I graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism & Media Studies - a moment I will always cherish, mainly because I know I made my parents proud.


After that, I spent 2 months in Cape Town where I took my TEFL course. I had an amazing time in the Mother City and had a new found respect for the beautiful country I'm from.


After my two month stint in Cape Town, I spent the next few weeks organizing for my trip to South Korea. I said my goodbyes to family and friends and embarked on what has become such an incredible journey.


So in a nutshell, 2007 has been a good year. I was blessed with good health, a supportive family and good friends.

I wish you (dear reader) everything of the best in 2008. Be safe as you bring in the new year... Hugs, and love ... xxx

City Hall ~ Beautiful lights

My breath was simply taken away by these amazing lights up at City Hall. Right in the middle of Seoul, there is an ice rink, with this gigantic gate-like structure surrounding it. It's amazing...



Van Gogh ~ Voyage into the Myth

On Saturday night, I did the arty thing....because one of the greatest painters in the world is currently visiting South Korea. Vincent Van Gogh's most cherished works are currently on display at the Seoul National Museum. The artist has been described as depressed, elusive and misunderstood. Like any other exhibition, I think it's imperative to know the artist's history before being lost in the amazing art pieces.

Naturally, no photo's were allowed, but these are pics that were taken from the gift shop:






Saturday, December 29, 2007

Korea's DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Image from af.mil


Korea is the only divided country in the world. The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) is a piece of land that runs through the Korean Peninsula. It is also known as a "buffer zone" between the north & south. The DMZ cuts the peninsula in half and runs 248km long and is approximately 4km wide. It is also one of the most heavily armed borders in the world.

Yesterday, I went on the DMZ tour. I don't have many photo's - according to my co teachers, if we were caught snapping in restricted areas, we could be fined up to 5 million Won! Anyway, it was an awesome experience (just wish the weather was better). But here are some of the pics:


DORASAN STATION


Dorasan Station is a railroad station which once joined North & South Korea.
It has recently been restored.



Photo of US president, George Bush & former South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung




DORASAN OBSERVATORY

The Dorasan Observatory is situated on top of Mount Dora and looks across the DMZ. It's the closes part to the north. Visitors to the Observatory can watch a short video clip briefly explaining how the divide between the two Korea's actually came about.





Visitors can take a peek through binoculars to see the North Korean propaganda village that is situated in the DMZ.

Photo's may not be taken further than this point.


THE 3RD TUNNEL


The Third Tunnel of Aggression is a tunnel under the border between North & South Korea. It runs only 44km from Seoul and was discovered in October 1978. It is a mere 2m high and wide and runs for over 70m below ground. It is said that the tunnel was designed for a surprise attack on Seoul from North Korea and can accommodate a number of soldiers with their weaponry.

The name, "Tunnel of Aggression" was coined by the south who regarded the tunnel as an act of aggression. North Korea denied this accusation and claimed that it was part of a coal mine. After having said this, black coal was painted on the walls to backup their statement.

The 3rd Tunnel is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors sit on the seats (as seen on the left hand side of this pic) which descends into the tunnel. After about 5 minutes, we got to walk through the tunnel for a few meters, giving us a better idea of who soldiers moved through it, tightly, yet swiftly.







From the souvenir shop:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bliss at Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins is an American franchise also known as “America’s Favorite Neighborhood Ice Cream Shop”. There's one at nearly every subway station here in Korea...I won't say more - I"ll let the pics speak for themselves!
Look & drool...













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