March 29, 2008

Namhan San-seong, South Han Mountain Fortress

The second most important holiday in Korea, Lunar New Year, was a great time for us to get together with old friends and new friends for a weekend retreat. A little break from our concrete jungle meant we all headed out of the city to Namhan San-seong or South Han Mountain Fortress.

This ancient fortress, which contains fortifications that date back to 672, was built on the western edge of Namhan mountain to protect Korean dynasties fromTang China.

Most of the structure that exists today was planned, beginning in 1624, when the Manchus were threatening Ming China. In 1636, the Manchus invaded and the king fled with his court and 13,800 soldiers to Namhan San-seong. Here they were well defended and the king enjoyed the protection of a bodyguard composed of 3000 fighting monks.

The Manchus were not able to take the fortress by storm, but after 45 days of siege the food supply inside ran out, and the king was forced to surrender, giving his sons as hostages and shifting allegiance from the Ming.

-Our Group-

**Check out Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namhansanseong**

March 21, 2008

Indonesian Finale

Here are just a few shots that we thought were worthy of the blog that somehow never made their way on. This will be the last of the pictures from Indonesia. As you can probably tell we highly enjoyed our time in Indonesia and we are counting down the months until we will be heading back!

- Ganung Abang, Bali, Indonesia-

-Sanur, Bali, Indonesia-

-Sanur, Bali, Indonesia-

-Ubud, Bali, Indonesia-


-Bangsal, Lombok, Indonesia-

Lombok is a world onto it's own...

It is a world where horse carts greatly out number cars, women carry baskets full of food on their heads while holding a squirming child on either hip, the McDonald's does not get enough business to stay open and time virtually stands still.

-Along the road side, Lombok, Indonesia-

We often saw men and women carrying large loads of grass and greenery down the sides of the narrow roads. We were told that these bundles were for their livestock. Often they would have a load tied to each end of a pole which was carried over their shoulders while balancing yet another potato sack of greens on their head.

-Mataram, Lombok, Indonesia-

This shot was taken on one of the main streets in Mataram during the noon heat. We weren't sure what was more intense, the heat or the foreign smells. The aroma of stale sweat, warm manure, incense from offerings, side street vendors and rotting heaps of trash all mingling together was a little overwhelming to say the least.

In the end this experience brought a whole different meaning to the words, 'traffic jam'.

March 16, 2008

Diving and Snorkeling

-Sanur, Bali, Indonesia-

While on Bali and on the Gili Islands, we checked out the scuba diving and snorkeling scene. We'd heard that Indonesia had the most abundant waters in the world... While we were disappointed with Bali's dive sites, note the sign above as false advertising, we found an abundance of undisturbed marine life just off the northern tip of Gili Air, Han's Reef.

-Gili Meno-

-Sanur, Bali-

Han's Reef was the perfect place for Trev to try his hand at diving. While viewing and identifying hundreds of different kinds of fish and sea creatures, thanks to the help of the locals, we some how managed to avoid all viewings of the deadly sea snakes that are known to be a common sighting in this area of the world.

-Gili Meno-

-Gili Trawngan-

After our first day in the water, we were throughly disappointed that we didn't have the time to get our diving certification. But I think that the next time we have a vacation in hospitable waters, certification will be on the top of the 'To Do List'.

-Gili Air-

March 15, 2008

Gili Air - Island Life

-Sunrise Cottages: complete with day-bed, hammock, mosquito netting and a salt-water shower. Our home on the island. -

Gili Air, literally translated as Island of Water, is secluded and easy-going. It retains a rural charm, is filled with coconut groves, lined with white sand beaches and has dramatic views of both Lombok's Mount Rinjani and Bali's Mount Arung. Easily enough to stroll around the perimeter in an hour, we found Gili Air to be the one place we had been searching for in all our travels.

At Sunrise Cottages breakfast consisted of banana pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice and a basket of island fruit.

A local girl in the middle of a sandball fight.... how can you tell there is a surfer influence on the island?

Walking on the beach just before sunset on the west side of the island.

I was wondering why this crab was sitting so still to have his picture taken... then I looked closer... he was dead!

The only road on Gili Air, this sandy path served well for the rare horse-cart and passerby on foot. Oh to have a world as locked in time as this place.

Strolling in the coconut groves you were always sure to find two things; Cows peacefully grazing, knowing that they are safe to live a long life, and free range chickens rummaging through the tall grass. If you were quiet enough and luck was on your side you might even catch a glimpse of a four foot Monitor Lizard. We were fortunate enough to see two in our time on the island! A relative of the Komodo Dragon, the Monitor Lizard is known to reach up to seven feet in length and are stronger than an alligator of equal size!! But don't worry, they are relatively harmless.

Leaving the island on a packed to the brim, rickety old boat. Thank goodness the water in the channel is calm in the early hours of the morning.

Looking west towards Bali's Mount Arung was always a great start to a laid-back evening of sipping iced cappuccinos under a beach hut and watching the moon glimmer on the open ocean.

Ubud Open Air Market

While we were in Indonesia, we had many chances to engage in Trevor's favorite sport of bartering. Our last night on Bali we ended up staying in the quaint mountain-art's village of Ubud.

While enjoying our time strolling through rice fields and midnight swims in crystal clear pools, we also enjoyed wandering through the hot, sweaty, bustling markets and exploring one of a kind shops and restaurants on Monkey Forest Road. From silks to paintings, mahogany carvings to handcrafted silver jewelery, Indonesia's markets were captivating.

Ubud truly was an enchanting place to spend our remaining time on such a wonderful trip.

March 11, 2008

7 Comments later...

Knock. Knock.
Who's There?
Seven who?
Seven comments! Thanks guys!

Okay, so the joke doesn't work twice but we are very thankful for all of you who left us a guess.

And, the winners are (drum roll please)...

  • On a national level, including only those who live in Korea and can read Hangeul, our winner was Hilary Hontz!!
  • On an international level, our winners are, Drew and Jillanna Weatherhead!!

Our winner will be receiving an all non-expense payed trip to our house!!! I know that Hilary will be claiming that prize tomorrow! Drew and Jillanna, when are you coming?

And, just to let you all know, the real price was 600 KRW or $o.61 CAD.

Thanks for being good sports!

March 8, 2008

Maeil Business Newspaper

If you look ever so closely you will see that we have made the newspaper for the second time in a week. Only this time it is not an English propaganda publication, no, we were featured in the Maeil Business Newspapers, which I was told, "sports a whopping 100 copies a day!!". Upon clarifying I realized that what she meant to say was, "a whopping 1 million copies a day". Now that is a little more impressive.

The article was written in Korean so there is no point posting it for you all to read. In short, Trev was invited to give an interview with Maeil News, I went along for moral support as my school is a five minute walk away from the news headquarters. Before arriving, he had no idea what he was being interviewed about or why he was being interviewed for that matter.

Upon arriving downtown, we were ushered into a high-rise news building and seated at a large conference table with four others foreigners, none of whom knew why they were there.

The interview began. We learned that we were to be talking about reforms for the English education system in Korea and then we were promptly interrupted by a photo shoot. After a short stroll through a neighboring park we returned to finish our discussion on how and if English is a concept which Koreans are able and willing to accept and utilize.

The paper was impressed with how the pictures had turned out that day. What they didn't know was that we were all laughing at how ridiculous the whole event turned out to be.

March 7, 2008


Knock. Knock.
Who's There?
Nobody who?
Nobody is leaving us comments.

Lately, we've been feeling all alone. This is mostly due to the fact that on our last six post, no one has left us any comments.

We've been fishing for your comments by posting adorable pictures of Indonesian children, Rachel "showing off her stuff " on the front page of the newspaper and even by posting pictures of the world-famous David Beckham taken with our own camera.

So, instead of fishing for your comments, we're going to come straight out and ask for them.

It will be simple, we will ask the questions and you will answer, to the best of your ability, at the comments link below.


1. What is the brand name of this drink?

2. What is the name of this drink?

3. How much do you think it costs?

March 1, 2008

FC Seoul (2) vs. L.A. Galaxy (1)

David Beckham has been all the hype in Seoul for the last month. Advertisements of Beckham were scattered throughout the city; on buildings, flyers, subways, television, children... you get the point.

Being in a football loving country like Korea has given us the desire to join the mob and cheer on our city league but we've never made the effort to get tickets. So when our friends, Cory and Jen, offered to take us to see FC Seoul take on L.A. Galaxy, we were more than eager to join them at the World Cup Stadium.

When the scoring topped out at a whopping 1-1 at the end of the 90 minute game, it was up to the goalies to defend their team's pride in a penalty shoot out. Despite the fact that L.A. Galaxy had the all famous Beckham, Seoul managed to win 2-1 in front of their home crowd of 34,000 spectators.

The Korean fans left satisfied. On one hand, Beckham had not performed as anticipated but on the other hand, their good old home boys had won the match. And in the end, winning is all that matters to a bunch of crazed football fans.