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by ZweiBieren Korea- July3-9, 2006  The lawn at the Yangpyeong resort. Boathouse on lake edge.
  Making a map of the DMZ.
Trip to "resort".
Circle tour of Seoul.

Monday, July 3

Today I will build the website for this log and pictures.
  • Make a map showing the DMZ area.
  • Add traditional village and Shingasae to Seoul map.
diagram of 3rd tunnel intercept

map of the area we visited, Korean official, then at

list of maps then at http://www.geocities.com/yi_sun_shin_adm/KoreaMaps.html

scrollable map of Seoul (needs IE)

building a topo map from google satellite imagery
will then paste on the points of interest

Tuesday, July 4  American flag from www.wpclipart.com

Today I stayed home and worked some more on getting this log ready to publish. I finally found a base map (then at http://www.escortmap.co.kr/korea/part02.htm) showing the location of items from Kaesong to Yatap, which includes everywhere we are going. The Seoul maps didn't cover enough and the Korea maps had too little detail. After various steps to merge and bleach the maps, I had a workable base.

This afternoon and evening S went off shopping to Dongdaenum, so I had the computer to myself. I also spent time watching baduk on the telly. (There is a channel that alternates baduk and infomercials about 3:1.)

Wednesday, July 5

Prices are roughly comparable to the US. Apparently the relatively higher "cost-of-living" value is because housing here is much more expensive. In a crowded, mountainous country, space is at a premium.

I bought a one gig memory stick for 40,000Korean won symbol. I found a street vendor with cherry tomatoes. When I gestured at them, he starting stuffing them in a bag. When he got what I thought were enough, I gave him 1000 Korean won symbol (Korean won, 1000 is a little over a dollar). Apparently that was too much, so he stuffed another handful of tomatoes in the bag. They are good tomatoes. Another vendor was offering good-looking cherries. We asked for some and he diligently weighted out a kilo (2.2 lbs). When I offered 1000 Korean won symbol he saw the 10,000 Korean won symbol note in my wallet and said that was the price of the cherries. We decided instead on a package of three yellow-with-white-stripes fruit for 2000 Korean won symbol. They are melons, but about the size of apples and with firm flesh.

Beer is 500 Korean won symbol for 500 ml (around a pint, two glasses). That's the same price as a can of Coke in the vending machines downstairs. But the can is only 250 ml. It's a skinny can and holds less than the familiar American can at 355 ml.

I don't know why no one simply divides by 1000 and denotes the values in kKorean won symbol.  A kKorean won symbol value is close to the value in dollars.

Today I'll do the map of the DMZ trip.

Thursday, July 6

Spent some of the day finding "Panmunjom" on the satellite image. Finally I found the Wikipedia page that explains that "Panmunjom no longer really exists. All this is described in a note on the map from Dora to Kaesong. Then I got interested in reading the satellite image to find the borders of the DMZ. Trickier than I'd hoped.

S was at a conference for some of the day. I joined her for a talk (ISC, no conference) by a former chairman of Samsung explaining to us what a clever guy he was. Then we went to the tail end of the conference and got invited -- along with all attendees -- to the dinner that evening. A great feast of Korean food. Raspberry wine. Eel. Kimchee. Lots of other stuff.  Even cookies and various sticky-rice cakes.

One the way home we saw a drunk. Along came to motor-scooter riders and they saw him too. Distracted, they crashed into each other and one scotter ran up on the sidewalk right in front of us. The way the one rider was lying and moaning on the ground I feared his leg was broken. When he stood up, I knew my fears were groundless.

Friday, July 7

In the morning I finished up a best guess on the DMZ borders.

In the afternonn we went on an adventure with some of the students. The event was a visit to a resort where, to Susan, the big attraction-downside was the chance to sleep on mats on the floor instead of beds.

It turned out that the resort was a tad the worse for wear. The gradens were beautifully laid out, but some weeds have gotten in. The rugs were worn. There were beside tables in the room, so it seemed to me the reason they had gone the traditional route was because the beds had worn out.  The bedside table was similar to that I wrote of on my China trip. We searched high and low for light switches and finally found them on the bedside table!  One nice touch was that the entryway light was triggered by movement, so it would always come on when you were there. The bathroom had some undetermined source of leakage so the floor got quite wet.

The best bit was the waterfront area. They offered waterskiing, waterboarding, and a banana boat. Its inflatable. Two people lie within and the tow boat moves it fast enough that its geometry creates lift and it rises above the water. At least, that's what its supposed to do. The run I saw had two big guys and it never got airborne.

Dinner and breakfast were full out Korean meals. Tasty, spicy, and I got gas. After dinner there was a barbecue supper. Whole roasted pigs and bottomless beer. I pigged out. Sigh. The students continued the evening with dancing in the events building. S and I retired. 

Saturday, July 8

The floor was not a nice wooden rustic cabin. Oh no. Hard concrete. I did not think I slept well. But everyone else complained about the student's noise and I never heard it.  What I did find was that my muscles tensed up trying to avoid the floor, so I got and stayed hot and sweaty through the night. I napped in the bus on the way home. We went grocery shopping to replenish the larder. I took another two-hour nap.

Sunday, July 9

Today, we had decided, we would take the bus tour of Seoul that lets you get off at a site and then reboard a later bus. The starting point is a one-transfer subway ride from KU. The buses are quite nice, featuring both air-conditioning and recorded commentary in four languages (C, E, J, and K).  I was a bit disappointed that the commentary was dry and bare bones. Most of the time it was silent and when it did speak, it gave just a few facts.

The first half of the tour travels south from the city center and visits lots of places that were interesting to see from a bus, but few that demanded our presence on the ground. A city gate, the huge shopping mall at the Seoul station, the US army base, and so on. The National Museum of Korea beckoned, but it demands a day or three of its own. We got off, as planned, at the Seoul Tower stop. We lunched, as planned, although S had not planned on there being nachos, which she instantly ordered to go with her chocolate cake.  I just had a ham and cheese sandwich; there were no Korean food options at the tower bottom cafe. (There are pricier eating options atop the tower.)

Finally, we rode the elevator to the tower top. The views were spectacular. Lots of pictures, but not much to add here.

Our next planned stop was at Changdoekgung Palace, but its English tour wasn't until 3:30, so we got off and strolled through the park at Daehangno. It's part of the national arts center and had a marvelously mixed crowd. Here is a musician sitting, strumming and singing. Here is another more animated one walking about. Everywhere are people walking, sitting, looking at each other, and taking in the scene. In this corner are six jugglers practicing and learning. But now they must move because a band is setting up. The besuited guy over there is walking along and talk on his cell. Ahha, now he hangs up and surprises a woman in the park that he is already there. They leave together. There are several men stretched out on the benches. Maybe that one is drunk. He won't disturb the enjoyment of the many families strolling with their tiny tots. But now the time for the bus is here and so we leave.

The Palace was first built in the fourteenth century, but has always been wooden so parts burned down every hundred years or so. Lots has been restored. In fact, the last emperor's family continued to live there until they died out a few years ago. The palace rooms are the typical old style with wooden sides that fold out of the way to expose the rooms to the courtyard. Not at all what those of us accustomed to mechanically mangled air have come to expect. The nature around has been as mangled in its own way as the air we breathe today. The gardens are magnificent, but hardly the way nature would have grown things without help.

The palace can only be visited in a guided group, so we did the whole thing. Sadly this lasted until five. We were able to catch a bus soon thereafter. Our last planned stop was the president's "Blue House." Our bus, however, was the last to stop there so we could not get off and explore as we had hoped. We tried to snap from the moving bus, but no luck was to be had. We rode on back to the beginning, closing the loop, and took the subway home. Very hot and sweaty from walking through the palace grounds. We competed to see who would get the first shower, but S won by simply asking how long I wanted to wait for dinner.

For dinner she cooked the greensw I had picked out at the market. She has put me in charge of the adventurous food selections. These greens turned out to be fine; pretty much like spinach.

And now its time to watch the Wimbledon Men's final and hit the hay.
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