February 27, 2008

Rice Paddies

Like Korea, rice is the most important food source in Indonesia. Rice also accounts for a large part of Indo agriculture, the majority of the employment and income for villages, while also acting as a draw for its tourism industry.

Unlike Korea, where rice is eaten for every meal as well as snacks, it is common for families in Indonesia to eat rice for only two meals a day.

As an interesting side note, the field workers face many dangers during the day. Intense heat from the mid-day sun has brought about the popular rice paddy hats. Dehydration and poor posture are hugely detrimental factors but the worst of them all, they also face the wrath of the green snakes which live in the irrigated paddies. While I could never handle the thought of working along side these vile creatures, they tend to think of their situation in a more beneficial light. Yes, they eat these snakes for their dinner. I was even told that they make a scrumptious stew or, if you fancy, a shish-ka-bob (as the Indonesian would say, a satay).

February 23, 2008

We're Famous!

Nearly everyone dreams of being rich and famous. We've only managed to claim a small portion of the latter. And, while at moments it's truly entertaining being such a celebrity in Korea it's also getting old. We often talk of the day when we will be able to walk down a street and not be gawked at. Trev is so annoyed with the random comments and the blatant stares that he has decided to start charging money for viewings.

But this last week we stumbled into a different kind of fame. Published fame! Check it out.

Now, I know most of you can not read Korean so I'll translate... It says what beautiful people we are, how brilliant we are at educating children and that everyone wants to be us etc. Take my word for it, there is no need for a second opinion!

February 21, 2008

The Children of Indonesia

-Sanur, Bali, Indonesia-

It wasn't the pristine tropical sunsets that stole our hearts in Indonesia, nor was it the friendly people, diverse culture or amazing food. It wasn't the lush jungles or thundering waterfalls. The worlds richest oceans teeming with yet to be discovered marine life did not even tip the scale. No, it was the adorable, fun-loving children who pocketed our hearts and have not given them back.

-Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia-

Running, diving and playing on the beach seemed to be one of their favorite activities. The fun appeared so enticing that even the Indonesian adults could not resist the pull of the warm water and many ended up fully immersed and splashing around.

-Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia-

Their version of a snowball, the sand ball, was a tad more complicated to make but defiantly rivaled its colder cousin in its effectiveness.

-Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia-

On the small island of Gili Air the children had a homemade canoe. And, with this homemade canoe they would keep themselves occupied, happy and laughing all afternoon and into the early evening.

Under a grass hut on the beach, listening to the laughter was the next best alternative.

-Swimming Hole, Git Git Air-terjun, Bali, Indonesia-

February 19, 2008

Barong and Rangda

- Rangda and Sadewa, the two main characters, are both spirits. Sadewa, or the tiger, is pictured above. And, while Sadewa was supposedly the good spirit, it was hard to tell were the lines of good and evil could be drawn, if they were distinguishable at all.-

Famous for their dance, we could not pass-up the opportunity to see a traditional Balinese Hindu dance, more specifically, The Barong and Kris Dance.

Oppressing would be the best word for this performance; dying, death and fear seemed to grip the playwrites, the actors and somehow even the audience. To us the good guys didn't seems so good and the lines between what was evil and what was not were so blurry that we could not make out the difference. These few shots are a small glimpse at what we consider to be the terror of a Godless, man-made realm.

We left this play feeling uneasy, but if you would like to learn more about this Balinese Art you can check out this site:


Take a look at these tantalizingly delicious, ridiculously expensive Rice Krispies squares which we have been anticipating for the past year and a half. Being one of our favorite treats, and with Kelloggs being a global company, we had no idea that the pursuit of these gourmet treats would be half as difficult as it proved it's self to be.

We purchased the marshmallows from Costco, picked up some butter from King's Mart, the only thing left to get was the ₩16,600 box of Rice Krispies from the foreign food market.

That's right sixteen thousand won!!
Translated into Canadian, $17.00!!

Now, before you go thinking that we have so much money that we throw it away in such frivolous manners, I need to tell you that we were fortunate enough to have a friend with connections. These connections just happened to land us two boxes of Rice Krispies hot off the American base! And practically free, with the exception of a sticky pan of squares.

And, yes, they were delectable!

February 15, 2008

Hindu Temples and Buddhist Temples

-Danau Bratan, Bali-

Dominated by Balinese Hinduism, a combination of local beliefs and Southeast Asia Hindu influence, Bali is a treasure house of temples, ruins and historic structures. We quickly learned that it is renowned for its arts, dance, sculptures, paintings (which were way overpriced), wood workings and music.

-Elephant Temple, Ubud, Bali-

In Bali about 93% of the population practice Balinese Hinduism. The minority religions include Islam with 5%, Christianity with about 1.3%, and Buddhism 0.65%. Bali is the one of the only places in Indonesia that is not dominated by Muslim Culture. This alone gives it a very different feel from the rest of the 17,000 islands of Indonesia. It also makes it a very dangerous place for Christians as they are the target of many hate crimes.

-Hindu temple, Sanur, Bali-

-Danau Bratan, Bali-

Picturesque Danau Bratan, which is shown above, is one of the only Buddhist temples on Bali. It also happens to be located on one of the only mountain lakes on the island.

-Danau Bratan, Bali-

We found this sign quite hilarious. Service fees at the temple!!!

Making a pee RP 1000
Making a ___ RP 2000

Taking a shower RP 3000

Yet, if you have followed our blog and our experiences while in Asia, you will notice how this sign is not a testament to poor English in Bali but instead shows how even in third world countries their English base seems to be more proficient than it is here in Korea.

-Keke Homestay, Sanur, Bali-

February 12, 2008

Viewer Discretion Advised

-Rachel's school, Ducksoo Middle School-

Camping back home in the mountains always had its moments of discomfort but who would have known that going to the bathroom in the public schools would be equally as uncomfortable as going to the bathroom on a below freezing night out in the mountains.

Let me explain, it's said that the public schools are the coldest buildings in the country; not because they don't have heat but because they have no concept of proper insulation. The only areas that have heat are the classrooms but they're cold too because of the two inch gaps in the window. Most students and teachers will never take off their coats while in the school and it's not uncommon to see your breath while walking in the halls.

-Trevor's school, Heung-in Elementary School-

But, when a room manages to retain heat, it becomes unbearable to be in. My office just happens to be one of those rooms. The heater is set for 26°C and when the midday sun shines through the window, our office cooks. I'm usually the first in the office after lunch and when it feels like 30°C, my natural train of thought is to turn off the heater. When the older Korean teachers walk in, they go straight for the heater and turn it back on, and realizing that the room is hot, they open a window instead.

Unfortunately, the bathrooms are not like my office, they are more like the halls; no heat, all the windows open. I keep thinking that I'm going to see ice in the toilet one day. Infact one of Rachel's school's sinks was frozen over, like a little skating rink, just this week and when it's that cold, I usually choose the awkwardness of a squat pot over freezing my butt cheeks on the seat of a western toilet.


February 11, 2008

The Great South Gate Fire

Fire destroyed Seoul's 600-year-old Namdaemun Gate (Sungnyemun Gate) after a five-hour battle by 120 firefighters failed to save South Korea's top national treasure.

The capital's oldest wooden structure caught fire at 8:46 p.m. yesterday and was burnt to its foundations by 2 a.m., police officials said. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Namdaemun, which South Korea declared its "National Treasure No. 1'' in 1962, was completed in the early Chosun Dynasty during the reign of its first King Taejo in 1398 and was one of Seoul's eight main gates. It was renovated in 1447 and has undergone repairs, the latest in 1961.

The rebuilding of Namdaemun will take at least three years and cost about 20 billion won ($21.2 million), Yonhap News reported, citing Kim Sang Koo, a Cultural Heritage Administration official in charge of the architectural heritage division.

Heejin Koo for www.bloomberg.com

February 9, 2008

Do Not Feed the Wild Animals!!

Cute, they may be; but friendly, they are not.

While we were on the islands of Bali and Lombok we were able to travel up over the mountains and into the dense jungles. Seemingly everywhere, lining the sides of the roads were hordes of monkey families. From babies right down to the old grandfathers, they were all there waiting for the tourists to stop, buy bananas (for an outrageous price) and feed them. We did not dissapoint.

-We liked to call him grandfather.-

February 6, 2008


As much as we are opposed to blog/facebook/internet games ,we were intrigued by our latest offer. The following is in response to a challenge posted by our sister-in-law, Karalee, on a topic called meme.

To find out what a meme is, click here. Meme asks us to tell you 6 quirky, random or inconsequential facts about ourselves. The rules for meme are: (1) Link to the person that tagged you. (2) Post the rules on your blog. (3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourselves. (4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

  1. Trevor must sleep with the fan on every night and has done so for the majority of his life. The reason... he believes that aliens will not think to include the sound of a fan when they abduct him; therefore, the disappearance of the background noise will awaken him and the aliens will be forced to abandon their abduction.

    Koreans are horrified by the thought of sleeping with a fan on. You may as well be telling them to kill their firstborns. For more information on the Korean myth of fan death check out this entry:

  2. When I, Rachel, got engaged to Trevor, I didn't even know how to properly spell his last name. Was it Olson with an 'o' or Olsen with an 'e'? I was too embarrassed to ask so I just snuck quick glances at his wallet whenever I could. I am happy to announce that before we were married I figured out that I would spend the rest of my life as a 'son' not a 'sen'.

  3. We live in Korea, and have for almost 2 years now, yet we still do not speak a lick of the mother tongue. Needless to say we are proficient in the art of hand signals and fluent in Konglish, which is a language composed of a lot of Korean with a little bit of random English. To experience Konglish first hand, check these out:

  4. When we moved to Korea we thought long and hard, and decided it would be a good idea to get a dog. So along came our little Yorkshire Terrier whom we named, Kimchi. Yes, we named our dog after the most popular side-dish in a country that serves kimchi while eating dog.

  5. We have been to North Korea a few times and even have the passport stamps to prove it.

  6. I love gummy candies SO MUCH that when I see a bucket, a barrel or a tub of them I will eat myself silly. Now the problem with this is that I have super-ultra-hypersensative teeth and the high sugar content sets them ringing. Even through my tears, I am still stuffing them in by the handfuls. The pain isn't enough to bring me to my senses.

    So when I ask you to send me these delightful treats for Christmas or other special occasions, please remember my lapse in judgment and only send a few at a time.

Well, now that we have aired our strange and abnormal laundry I would like to recommend the following people for a meme blog:

February 5, 2008

The Ring of Fire

-Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani), Lombok, Indonesia-

Every morning, as we sat on our fluffy cushions in our breakfast hut on the beach, we would watch the sun eat away at the morning mist which covered Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani). Rinjani was just one of the active volcanoes which we could see from the safety of Gili Air, a small island off the north-western tip of Lombok.

This monster of a volcano, 3,726 m (12,224 ft), rests on the island of Lombok and is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Its first recorded eruption was in September of 1847, yet most recently it has erupted in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

- Gunung Agung (Mount Agung), Bali, Indonesia-

Mount Agung (Gunung Agung) is the highest point on the island of Bali, 3,142 m (10,308ft), and as such made for a great backdrop against the eastern sky as we sat on the deserted beach to watch the sun set every evening.

While it is dwarfed by Rinjani, its neighbor the the East, Agung still dominates the island of Bali greatly influencing the climate. Agung ensures that the rain remains in the west, rendering it lush and green, while the east is dry and barren. While Lombok's massive volcano has erupted as recently as 1996, Agung has not erupted since 1963-64. Yet Bali's volcano does not lay dormant, it is still active, with a large and very deep crater which occasionally emits smoke and ash.

-Agung, Bali, Indonesia across the Lombok Straight-