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Fully Booked - Busan's Used Bookstore Closing Sale (July 22~30)

Tue, 2014-07-22 08:01

 

From: https://www.facebook.com/fullybooked1

It's the end of the world as we know it!! 


Sadly, Fully Booked must announce it will be closing its doors on July 31st! 

All books are on sale starting today! 

Fiction/Self-help paperbacks - $1, Fiction/Self-help Hardcovers - $2
Non-fiction paperbacks - $2, Non-fiction Hardcovers - $4

We will be open July 22, 25, 26, 27, 29, and 30. So get in here soon to stock up.

Hours
 Weekdays:  Open at 7pm  

  Weekend: Open at 2pm 

Fully Booked - Busan's Used Bookstore Closing Sale (July 22~30)
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Budget Travel Tip: Gangwon Shuttle Service

Tue, 2014-07-22 05:28
Budget Travel Tip: Gangwon Shuttle Service Traveling in Korea doesn't have to break the bank. It's also easier than one might imagine, even for foreigners. Especially for foreigners.

In an effort to increase tourism in their regions, many provincial governments have begun to offer special services to international guests. Lucky us! One such example is the Gangwon Shuttle Service sponsored by Gangwon Province. This shuttle bus is a great way for foreigners to experience Korea's most breathtaking natural landmarks as well as some of its best festivals.



The bus operates on a lottery system, as seats are limited, but it seems that the masses have not yet discovered this fantastic service, as there are almost always available seats. Still, guests are encouraged to book a few weeks in advance to ensure a spot. The cost is 5,000 won ($5USD) for a round trip ticket, which is a STEAL, and the bus goes directly to the destination rather than a bus terminal like the inner-city buses do. Also, the bus departs from Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul, making it convenient for travelers and foreign residents alike. Additionally, guests can opt to return to Seoul on the same day or stay overnight, depending on their travel preferences.

I first used this service back in January when I traveled to Hwacheon for the Sancheoneo Ice Festival and once again a few weeks ago to get away from the city and wander around Seoraksan National Park in Sokcho. Although guests are on their own when they arrive at the shuttle's destination, the guides are very helpful in explaining the destinations and answering any questions passengers may have.



It seems that the shuttle has added a number of Gangwon cities and festivals to its travel itinerary from now until January 2015. The destinations change each week, which is great for those hoping to see a lot of the province. Although I'll be the first to admit I haven't heard of some of the events on the list, they seem intriguing, nonetheless. A few that stick out are Cheolwon's Real DMZ Project, Sokcho's Korea Music Festival (K-pop concerts) and Yangyang's Salmon Festival. For a complete listing of dates and festivals, click here.


Shots from the Gangneung Coffee Festival, one of the spots featured on the Gangwon Shuttle Service itinerary. Photo
Finally, there are a few tips to follow to ensure a pleasant trip on the Gangwon Shuttle Service:

- Remember to bring your printed confirmation ticket and your passport to prove your foreigner status when you board.
- Book your seat at least two weeks prior to your desired departure date to ensure a spot on the bus.
- There's no bathroom on the bus, so be sure to take care of your business ahead of time.
- Out of respect for others, eating is not permitted on the shuttle. Be sure to eat before boarding. There are a few convenience stores where you can grab a breakfast snack near the Dongwha Duty Free Shop in Gwanghwamun.
- Take lots of pictures and enjoy the beauty of Korea!

 Surfers in Yangyang, a popular coastal destination the shuttle service will include in its schedule this autumn. Photo 
Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching, unless otherwise noted. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Habanero TexMex Restaurant (Nampodong Busan)

Mon, 2014-07-21 03:24


  While living in Texas, I fell in love with Tex-Mex food.  After returning to Busan, I missed being able to eat real Mexican food, so I decided to open Habanero TexMex Restaurant in the heart of Nampodong.  I have done my best  provide authentic Mexican food options while also experimenting with some fusion options that might appeal to local tastes.  
  I also enjoyed drinking a lot of tasty beer in Texas, so have made sure we've got great beer options (on tap and bottled). Habanero also has a full bar, dart boards, and lots of food specials. My goal is for this to be a place where all Mexican food lovers can come to enjoy a great meal and have a fun time. I'd love to hear your feedback, requests, and ideas.  Hope to see you soon at Habanero. 

Jung Dong Chul
- The Habanero Guy

More about Habanero TexMex Restaurant

* 12 beers on tap
* Full bar (try our margaritas - frozen or on the rocks)* Vegetarian options available for most meals
* Free Wifi
* Electronic Dart Boards
* Available for private parties on our lower level* Post a photo or message about us on social media while you're here and receive 10% off your entire tab!

Daiy Specials  (20% off your entire tab)

  • Mondays:  Group Day - 4 people or more 
  • Tuesdays:  Ladies Day - tables of all women
  • Wednesdays:  Early Bird -  for parties who arive before 5pm
  • Thursdays:  Couple Day - all couples on a date
  • Sundays:  Family Day - for tables with children (under age 12)

Koreabridge Summer Special


 Show this coupon to your server (printed or on your mobile device)
and ask for the 'Koreabridge special' 

Hours: 11:30a.m~midnight
Phone: 051-254-6662
Website:  Habanerokorea.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/HabaneroKorea

Location: From Nampodong Subway stop, exit#1 walk down the alley past two small intersections.  Habanero will be on the left.   Google Map



View Busan Guide Map in a larger map

Our Menu









Habanero TexMex Restaurant (Nampodong Busan)
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Top 10 Attractions at Everland Theme Park

Sun, 2014-07-20 05:20
Top 10 Attractions at Everland Theme Park Everland is, without a doubt, Korea's best amusement park. Modeled after Disney World- albeit on a much smaller scale- the theme park consists of plenty of fun attractions that draw in more than 7 million visitors a year. With those attendance numbers, one can only imagine what the weekend crowds are like, particularly at peak times, such as summer vacation.

Which is why I was happy to learn on on my most recent visit with my blogger buddy Ken that the park is actually delightful during the week. In fact, we weren't even bothered by the scorching summer temps, as there were practically no lines for the rides. This allowed us to see a lot of the park comfortably and at our own pace. Additionally, the shuttle bus we booked with Funko made getting there easy as pie.

Still, a weekend trip to Everland is the only option for some, so these guests should plan their visit ahead of time to get the most out of their visit. Not every attraction at the park is a must-see, but there are a few that are worth checking out.

So, which are worth waiting in those long lines, you ask? I've put together a list of the attractions that shouldn't be missed below to ensure you don't miss the good stuff.

10. Everland Tree: Upon entering the park, a gigantic, 13-meter-tall tree instantly attracts photo-crazy tourists, and for good reason. Depending on the season, the tree is decorated with thousands of real flowers, ghastly ghosts, or Christmas lights and plays music.

9. Sky Cruise & Skyway: Everland is spread out over a large, hilly area that requires a lot of walking, which can be rather hellacious in extreme weather. The Sky Cruise gondola and Skyway chair lift make navigating Everland easier. Additionally, there are some nice views to be had on both.



8. K-Pop Hologram Concert: Even if you're not a fan of K-Pop, this interactive concert experience is pretty darn cool. Guests gather in a small dark room where they watch holograms of their favorite YG artists (Big Bang, 2NE1 and Psy to be precise) perform their most popular hits. The projections are so realistic that it appears the artists are actually there. Unfortunately, they are not. Too bad because TOP was lookin' fly. Check the concert times to see when your favorites are performing.



7. Horror Maze II: This attraction is particularly popular during Halloween, when classic monsters and scary characters wander the grounds of the park, but it also operates in the summer. Guests must pay an additional 5,000 won to enter, but the fee is worth it if you're into getting spooked. Once inside, navigate your way through a madman's lair before he makes you his next victim.

6. Parades: With their impressive floats and beautifully costumed characters, Everland's parades are enchanting, to say the least. The parade themes change each season, and commit to those themes well. Ken and I watched the Splash Parade last week, which featured an under-the-sea cast, lots of bubble machines and water-spurting floats which soaked the crowds, a welcomed surprise in the hot weather.



5. Beer Garden: Overlooking the beautifully landscaped Four Seasons Garden and surrounded by quaint replicas of Bavarian shops and homes, the beer garden of the European Adventure area is the perfect spot to rest in between rides. There are a few varieties of beer on tap (not just Korean beer, either!) and some tasty barbecued dishes for sale, all of which are a step up from the sub-par amusement park grub sold in other areas.



4. Amazon Express: Similar to Disney's Kali River Rapids, Everland's Amazon Express takes riders on a wild ride through caves and rapids set in a jungle-like atmosphere. Unlike the Disney version, however, guests are covered with a waterproof tarp so that they won't get too wet. How Korean.



3. Safari Rides: Everland has two safari rides. On Lost Valley, visitors board an open-air amphibious vehicle and can get up close and personal with elephants, giraffes, zebras and flamingos. Safari World has a similar concept but uses an enclosed bus to take guests into the world of the wild's predators such as white tigers, lions and grizzly bears. The highlight here is driving alongside a ginormous grizzly who quite literally walks on his hind legs along with the bus as the driver feeds him. Families and small groups can also arrange a private safari for an additional fee, of course; kids are even given a chance to hand-feed lions. For some reason, I feel like this would never fly in America.



2. Fireworks: Each night, Everland hosts a spectacular fireworks extravaganza which combines brilliant pyrotechnics, a character performance and high-energy music to impress visitors of all ages. Get to the Rose Garden at least thirty minutes before the show starts to procure a good viewing spot.


Photo
1. T Express: Touted as one of the world's coolest roller coasters, the T Express is the number one attraction at Everland. The wooden roller coaster is approximately 200 feet tall and utilizes 5,000 feet of track. At a 77-degree angle, the first drop both terrifies and delights riders and guarantees an adrenaline rush like no other. Never has any other roller coaster I've been on made me fear for my life and crack up laughing at the same time. Because of its popularity, guests should consider picking up a Q-PASS early in the day to avoid a long wait.


Photo
While the above attractions are my personal favorites, I also should mention a few that are NOT worth seeing. The Rolling X Train, while exhilarating, only lasts about a minute and is worth riding if and only if the wait time is less than 20 minutes. On Mystery Mansion, riders are instructed to shoot green targets with a laser gun, but the task takes the attention off of the haunted house props and special effects, which aren't that impressive to begin with.

There ya have it, folks! Enjoy your day at Everland and be sure to let me know which of the park's attractions were your favorite!

Carousel selfie! 

More Information

Hours: Weekdays 10:00am-10:00pm; Saturdays 10:00am-8:00pm; Sundays, public holidays 9:30am-10:00pm

Admission: One-day Ticket 46,000 won; Afternoon Ticket (4:30pm-) 38,000 won; Two-day Ticket 74,000 won. For children admission prices and special discounts, click here.

Website: Click here

To Get There:

Subway: From Giheung StationFrom Giheung Station (Seoul Subway Bundang Line), transfer to the Yongin Everline. Take the train to the last stop, Jeondae Everland Station (about 30 minutes). Then, take the free shuttle bus to Everland.

Bus: From Gangnam Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, Exit 10) walk about 300 meters to the bus stop. Take the red bus No. 5002 to Everland. (Approximately 45 minutes).
 Tour: Alternatively, you can book a discounted bus/ticket package via Funko. The bus departs from Seoul City Hall Station, Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station and Hongdae. (44,000 won for adults; 36,000 won for children)
     Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching unless otherwise noted. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.

     


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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Ganjeolgot Cape Beauty

    Sat, 2014-07-19 23:49
    Ganjeolgot Cape Beauty

    The Jinha area around Ulsan is an area of stark contrasts. First, it is a beautiful beach area that sits next to a huge petrochemical complex. It is also an area that has been updated the slowest out of the beach/tourist areas in Ulsan. So you have a mix of new coffee shops and old seafood shops. However, the Ganjeolgot area is a different story altogether.

    If you are not familiar with this area, Ganjeolgot Cape is known for two things now. Most prominently is fact that it is the first place the sun hits on the Western coast. Thus, it draws thousands of people out each years to view the New Years sunrise. It was also another filming location for “May Queen” a Korean drama.

    The location is a little difficult to get to if you are coming in from Ulsan or for that matter anywhere because both entry points are single lane highways that can get congested. I usually take the petrochemical route as it is at least quicker thanks to the multi-lane roads built through the complex. Ganjeolgot sits just past Jinha beach on the top of the hillside. The signs are easy to follow and there is plenty of parking once you get there. Given the location, it is interesting to find cafes and museums built on a hill that is so far away from anything.

    The most popular site is of course the lighthouse and giant mailbox. However, taking a walk around you will find many great vistas along the coast towards the pier. Finally, you will arrive at the drama house. This is a set that was used for shooting the drama “May Queen” and a couple other show as well, I think. It is now a restaurant and cafe. The funny thing about this area is that most people come to enjoy the sunrise but most of the shops do not open until late morning or even lunchtime.

    Much like most places around Ulsan, the drama house opens late (11 am) and the grounds are securely locked. With that in mind, I would leave the drama house until the end of your shot and stick to the lighthouse in the morning. There is plenty to shoot on the other end of the cape anyway.

    I am thinking of planning a photowalk there around August 8th with the help of the Ulsan Photo Club and the Busan Lightstalkers. This will be an early sunrise shoot and these days the sun does not rise until around 5 am or so. Thus, it won’t be a photowalk for the lighthearted. However, there is good camping around the Jinha beach area. this means that you can camp out the night before if you are coming in from out of town. There are also affordable motels in the area too. There are buses that run regularly to the beach and up to the cape. I will be posting more information in both groups later this week.

     


     

    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Longer Ways To Go

    Fri, 2014-07-18 12:46
    Longer Ways To Go

    It is a rain-filled Thursday and my last day of teaching at this school. We are doing a K-Pop quiz – the students have to guess which K-Pop song the English lyrics are from, and then I play part of the song. They get nearly ALL of them right, and then sing and dance along. Where they find the time to memorise so much I don’t know. But then, after three days I am humming and nodding along, so maybe it’s not too surprising… It’s not bad this K-Pop stuff.

    I will miss these girls – their grins and shrieks, their uniqueness and the long black hair that sheds daily all over the floor. Their giggled hellos; their thoughtfulness and sense of duty. It has been wonderful to be part of their lives for a while.

    I have started saying goodbye, to people and also to places. Goodbye to this town, this little neighborhood of mine – the flat green roofs and hidden temples, painted brightly in browns and reds and turquoise. The looming, mist-covered mountain and the narrow back streets that night time fills with the hum of cicadas and distant dogs barking their territory.

    The homesickness that grabbed me a few weeks back has passed. Now I am too busy to be anything other than busy. The days that are not wet are hot, and the mountain paths grow with leafy abundance. The cascades of small rocks, dry all winter, have become streams again, and as you trek along damp earth, underneath a green ceiling, you can hear water trickle somewhere in the undergrowth. Dragonflies are back in full force, playing dodge the humans back and forth over the red river-side paths. People carry umbrellas in sunshine and collect herbs from grassy banks.

    It is very kind this country. Kind and peaceful. I didn’t expect to love it here, but I do, very much. And I’m sure a new kind of homesickness is coming – the kind that sends me to London’s Korea town in search of Bibimbap, the background murmur of Korean conversation and maybe someone who has heard of Yangsan, or singing lampposts, or both.

     

    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    CSA delivers Fresh organic local food to your house every week!

    Wed, 2014-07-16 11:10

     

    Have you heard of Gachi CSA in Korea?

    Gachi CSA which delivers local organic food baskets to expat members' doors every week.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture which you may already be aware of. It's a mutually supportive relationship between producers and consumers based on trust. Also It’s not easy to find organic food in common markets or little pricy in Korea. There are a many Korean CSAs but this is the only one directed towards the expat, foreigner community and the only one offers vegan baskets! They have reasonable price as well.

    They are conscious of local farmers, and healthy food and environmental concerns.

     

    You can find more information or join on the website or FB :

    www.gachicsa.com

    or

    www.facebook.com/GACHICSA

     

    Our local farmers Juice Add on A Couple basket last week 10514279_763282180390803_62402893010118482_o.jpg 10431296_763219513730403_5708417388997648929_o.jpg Groove in July! CSA delivers Fresh organic local food to your house every week!
    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Reliving Korea’s Tumultuous History at the Korean War Memorial

    Tue, 2014-07-15 11:00
    Reliving Korea’s Tumultuous History at the Korean War Memorial

    There are many museums to see in Korea. In fact, sometimes I feel like it would be an impossible dream to be able to see them all. All kinds of historical museums, art museums, memorials, etc. are found throughout the big cities in Korea as well as the smaller, historical regions like Gyungju, for example.

    Amazingly, I was never into museums at all before coming to Korea. I suppose it’s because I felt slightly as if I was on a long-term travelling adventure, so I needed to do some touristy things.

    Wait, I AM on a long-term travelling adventure!

    Whatever reason, I found myself visiting museums on my free time.

    Recently, I’d made some trips up to Seoul to visit some old friends from back in the college days. They were exchange students back then, and we had out own mini-reunion. This just gave me another chance to visit more museums, this time in the K-Pop mecca, Seoul.

    One of the museums was the Korean War Memorial. Different from the UN Memorial in Busan which is dedicated to Allied Forces during the Korean Conflict, the Korean War Memorial Focused on Korea’s wartime past.

    The Korean War Memorial is unlike any museum you’ll see in Korea. I’m convinced of it.

    In addition to the main building there is a hall of names listing all those who perished fighting for freedom and (semi) tranquility on the peninsula.

    Most memorable for me were the war machine artifacts outside the museum. There were numerous tanks, aircraft, boats, missiles, and everything in between. It’s such a vivid display and reminder of what war is about and the price that thousands of people paid in this conflict.

    Inside the main hall are countless displays and depictions of all aspects of the wars in Korea’s past, not just the Korean Conflict.

    It’s difficult for people of my generation and younger to truly appreciate the impact of war. America is involved in many military initiatives around the world, particularly in the Middle East. However, these are far away and reported back to us through the media. Almost like a spectacle of sorts, but nothing that causes any kind of fear or threat to our own safety and security.

    It wasn’t too long ago that Korea was literally strewn apart because of the effects of war. Additionally, Korea is constantly reminded of the potentiality of new conflict regularly from the North.

    The Korean War Memorial doesn’t just pay homage to the wartime past, but it also serves as a subtle reminder that new threats remain imminent.

    The Korean War Memorial is a great visit for anyone. It will help one to better understand the events of the Korean War, and to remember those who gave their lives fighting in it.

    One display in particular made me better appreciate my own mother’s past as a North Korean from Wonsan.

    I would recommend any visitor or resident go spend a day at the Korean War Memorial and take a trip down war history’s memory lane. You’ll leave with a new (or renewed) respect and perspective for the Republic of Korea.

     

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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    (Ulsan) An Afternoon in the Bamboo Forest

    Fri, 2014-07-11 14:08
    (Ulsan) An Afternoon in the Bamboo Forest

    Exploring the Bamboo Forest is one of the must-dos in Ulsan City. I've been in Ulsan for almost a month and in my opinion, Ulsan is nothing but mountains & lakes.

    Today, I spent the whole afternoon with Kimchi boy in the Bamboo Forest. Bad choice because it was scorching hot (~33degrees) today. I would have enjoyed this place much better if the weather was cooler.
     






    We are both very tan now because of playing too much under the sun. This is my first time actually enjoying summer. I've been fair almost all my life.




    We had lunch in a Japanese ramen shop near Ulsan University. Kimchi boy stays near the university right now so that it is cheaper and faster to get to where I live (in UNIST's dorms). A KTX ticket from Daejeon to Ulsan costs about ₩28,000.. while bus fare is probably ₩1,200 from his place to mine.



    He is waiting patiently while I take a picture. LOL


    Shopping streets nearby Ulsan University.

     Editors Note:
    More about Ulsan's Bamboo Grove at Taehwa Park  from
    Ulsan Online    VisitKorea  

     

    The Singaporean Girlfriend
     

    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    "We have to pretend to be a couple.": Weekend Adventure Part 2

    Thu, 2014-07-10 05:20
    "We have to pretend to be a couple.": Weekend Adventure Part 2 So let's see...where did I leave off? Ah yes. Bubble tea. Myeongdong. I had plans to meet Yun around 2, so I settled down on a rock...bench...thing in front of the art museum to wait, splitting my time between people watching and reading. The only problem with the choice to read a book is that when he showed up, he was able to scare the living daylights out of me. I now only possess dead daylights. It's a modern tragedy.


    The view from my seat.
    I haven't known Yun for long, or at least, we haven't spent much time together, but I feel remarkably...relaxed and comfortable around him. Sure, he scolds me if I speak too much English and teases me when I speak Korean like an old lady, but it's in an undeniably friendly, light-hearted way. We escaped the heat in Cafe Pascucci, and eventually decided to track down a noraebang to hide in during the worst of the hot afternoon, then adventure over to the Hanok village area. I don't know what it is about Korean guys, but I feel like they either want to take you drinking, or take you to culture landmarks. Or both. I mean, I don't mind, but it's almost a sure bet that you'll end up in a bar or a palace.


    Love is the MOMEEEEEENT
    I'd never been to noraebang before either A) during the day or B) while sober, so I have to admit I was a little nervous. I suppose we could have bought some beer, but Yun had a cold and didn't want any, and I didn't want to be the awkward person drinking alone. Luckily for me, for both of us I guess, everything turned out just fine! Also, may I just say, he has a surprisingly good singing voice. No offense to most of the people I go to noraebang with, but I'm used to singing with people make up in enthusiasm what they lack in skill. That's all well and good, but to sing Maroon 5 and 2ne1 with someone who appreciates my harmonies and can even call me out when I make a mistake? Glorious.

    I'd been to the Hanok village before, but I didn't have the heart to nay-say his suggestion, since I'd already shot down seeing Transformers. One time seeing that hot mess was quite enough, thank you very much. And really, it did seem kinda fun to see the Hanok village again, if only to compare how it looked back in freezing January. It's nice to wander around Seoul with someone who actually knows where he's going, too. Tara, if you're reading this, I'd like to repeat that it was the SCENIC TOUR and we TOTALLY WEREN'T LOST.

    Ahem.

    We wandered past a group of performers doing the traditional song and dance, and joked around together about joining them. It got even worse, the joking I mean, when we went inside the first house, serendipitously named "Yun's Family House". I started us off by thanking him for inviting me to his house, and from then on we were...just...really dumb. When we came to a room we weren't allowed to go into, he'd mention his mom was very strict. At a bedroom he assured me I'd could stay there the next time I was in Seoul. A palanquin was offered up at my new car. I don't know if it was the heat, my own dumb sense of humor, or what, but I promise it was hilarious at the time. Really. Stop looking at me like that.

    This was frozen the last time I went!
    Dinner was a bit of an adventure, but after some criss-crossing we managed to find a place that was both acceptably delicious and not closed. Over steaming bowls of stone pot bibimbap, our conversation moved from favorite actors to what kind of people we want to date, from favorite Korean foods to the funny questions taxi drivers ask. He even scolded me for not trying to speak Korean more, which I actually really appreciated. It's easy for me to get lazy when I'm spending time with people who have a high level of English, but that's no excuse!


    Delicious.As it turns out, Yun has this magical app/car service that allows him to use cars that are all over the city. It's seriously amazing. You open the app, it tells you where all the available cars are in your area, and you unlock it straight from the app. I think you even pay for it through the app. Anyways, I bring this up because after eating, we tracked down one of said cars and headed out for what would turn into a fun and one might even say romantic tour of Seoul in the evening.

    I rarely drive in Seoul, usually spending my time either walking or down in the subway, so to relax in the passenger seat and watch the city go by was novel and quite enjoyable. I'm not sure I'll ever want to drive in Seoul, though...the traffic was pretty intense and scary, but with a confident driver at the wheel, I felt totally safe. We hit a few of the big sights, past Seoul Station and the palace and the big statue of Sejong the Great and who know what else. Eventually we turned onto what was, to me, an unfamiliar side street that took us winding up a tree-lined road, slowly rising higher and higher above the city as the sun moved lower and lower in the sky, slanting warm and golden through our rolled down windows.

    Our destination, and I didn't even know we'd had a destination, was the top of a mountain on the outskirts of the city. Korean mountains, I have to admit, are pretty adorable in comparison to the behemoths I'm used to. I wish I'd taken more pictures, because the place was gorgeous; a big building in the style of a Buddhist temple, trees silhouetted against the setting sun, children and couples everywhere.

    Sunset glow.
    There was an amazing moment when the sun seemed to sit on a nearby peak, perfectly balanced for a few seconds before sinking below the horizon. It was hard to believe that we hadn't even really left the city. The air was still warm from the sunny day but starting to cool, there was the smallest of breezes to ruffle the trees, and I could feel my stress melting away into the air.

    Say cheese.
    I didn't get a picture of this, but if you walk around to the other side of the balcony, there's a gorgeous view of the city. There's nothing quite like watching the lights in a city come on as the daylight disappears. I do enjoy living in the countryside, I really do, but there's a part of my heart that will always love the city. The countryside has stars, but the city has neon, and I'm still trying to decide what I like better.

    After getting our fill of sunset, we returned to the car for the final leg of our journey: a nighttime drive along the Han river. According to some it's the most beautiful night scenery in the world, and I'll not argue that it's got to be pretty high up on the list. We turned up the radio, rolled down the windows, and I soaked up the scenery. We passed bridge after bridge, some lit up in red or blue or green, some carrying cars, or trains, or subway rails. Neither of us talked, just sank into the comfortable silence of night driving, lost in our own worlds.

    Our last stop was the riverside itself, a small park full of people with the same idea as us. Even though there were plenty of people, the whole place had a feeling of quiet, as if everyone was keeping their voices down. Even the raucous laughter of college students drinking beer in the grass felt muted somehow. We joked about there being too many couples, and for a moment Yun put his arm around me with the joke "We have to pretend to be a couple."

    It was just...one of those perfect nights, you know? The kind of night that makes you want to say things like "I feel infinite". The kind of night that makes you want to freeze time so you can linger in the warm night air, trying to see past the streetlights and into the stars.


    Teacher Pretty
    Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다!

    Thu, 2014-07-10 04:45
    Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다! About Waygook Confessions

    Waygook Confessions is an idea that Rachel had years ago, but it didn’t get made until Summer 2014! Here’s the concept: There are tons of cultural differences between Koreans and the foreigners who live in Korea. That’s the case with foreigners living in any country, right? Those differences make life as an expat interesting! Sometimes, an expat foreigner (or 외국 – waygook in Korean) adopts the cultural customs of their host country. Other times.. they don’t! It can be embarrassing when you don’t “do as the Roman’s do” – so sometimes we keep it a secret that we aren’t adhering to the social norms of our host country. Rachel wanted to make a video with people confessing those secrets! And here it is: Waygook Confessions – things that foreigners in Korea want to confess to Koreans!

    Things waygooks (foreigners in Korea) want to confess to Koreans! 외국인 고백 입니다! My favorite is the last one!

    Who are these people?

    Waygook Confessions was filmed at SeoulTube 2014! The event was hosted in Yeouido park, by the Han river. All of the people in the Waygook Confessions video were SeoulTube 2014 attendees – and (almost) all of them have their own YouTube presence! Check them out!

    (In order of appearance)

    Evan: That’s me, from EvanAndRachel! ;-D
    Dominic from Dom & Hyo: http://domandhyo.com/
    Ryan Cabal: www.youtube.com/ryancabal
    Charly: http://www.youtube.com/charlycheer
    Jason from Green Tea Graffiti: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm-VhlrHzk_S9LyfsiGtxgA
    Cory May: http://www.youtube.com/user/CoryMay81
    Yann: http://www.youtube.com/user/TyYann
    Justin aka The Prince of Seoul: http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePrinceofSeoul
    Noe: http://www.youtube.com/user/noealz1
    Terris: http://www.youtube.com/user/Terrisseoul
    Romin: Tell him to make a channel!
    Stephen Worldwide: http://www.youtube.com/user/stephenworldwide
    Glenn: http://www.youtube.com/user/MrJaeGun

    We also have to acknowledge our amazing, super hard-working, mega awesome friend Hyojin! She took the time to translate the English confessions into Korean so that we could subtitle the video for our Korean friends and neighbors to enjoy also. Thanks Hyojin, you rock!

    Do you have a confession to make? Leave it in the comments, either on the video or here on the website! It doesn’t matter if you’re an expat in Korea or not!

    The post Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다! appeared first on Evan and Rachel.

    Blog:  Evanandrachel.com
     YouTube:  Youtube.com/user/EvannRachel 
    Flickr: Flickr.com/evannrachel/
    Twitter: Twitter.com/evannrachel
    Facebook: Facebook.com/evanandrachel  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

     

    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다!

    Wed, 2014-07-09 21:30

     

    Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다!Things waygooks (foreigners in Korea) want to confess to Koreans! 외국인 고백 입니다! My favorite is the last one! Filmed at SeoulTube 2014! FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/evanandrachel
    TUMBLR: http://evannrachel.tumblr.com/ 
    WEBSITE: http://www.evanandrachel.comTWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/evannrachel INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/evanandrachel Shot on a Sony RX100.

    Blog:  Evanandrachel.com
     YouTube:  Youtube.com/user/EvannRachel 
    Flickr: Flickr.com/evannrachel/
    Twitter: Twitter.com/evannrachel
    Facebook: Facebook.com/evanandrachel  !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

     

    Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다!
    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    The Update You've Been Waiting For...

    Mon, 2014-07-07 19:19
    The Update You've Been Waiting For... This is going to be LONG. It just has to be that way. I hate reading long blog entries, so I will try to break it up with pictures…

     I have received so many emails and Facebook messages about what has been going on in my life since my surprising last 3 posts. (Read these before continuing FIRST POST, SECOND POST, THIRD POST)

     Sorry to leave you hanging, I just needed some time to think and process everything that has been happening in my life. So as most of you know, we are now in wonderful southern Ecuador!!! We left South Korea in early March, stayed for almost 3 months in the US, and have been here in the Andes mountains for a month now. For some reason I felt that I could not update my blog while being in the US. I had to totally get away in order to gain a good perspective. So here I am on a rainy Monday, in my adobe home, nestled high in the moutains, ready to share my story.


    The Literal "Road to Reunion" So, as you know after leaving Korea, we flew into Los Angeles and David's parents met us there. We rented a big van and began our trip across the US! It was really a great trip and no one killed anyone- however close we might have come.

     The highlights for me were basically all in New Mexico! That place is totally magical! We saw the Earthship Biotecture in Taos, Chaco Canyon, The Four Corners Monument, and lots of other breath-taking scenery and sacred ancient sites. We ate some of THE BEST [vegan] food EVER… if you follow my instagram you know what I mean… VEGAN BACON CHEESEBURGER!?

    From upper left to right: The Hollywood sign, VEGAN BACON CHEESEBURGER in TX; Chaco Canyon, NM; The Grand Canyon; A HUGE Earthship in Taos, NM; Rosewell, NM; The Four Corners- New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona; VEGAN portobello "Cheese steak", Las Vegas, NV.

     We traveled through desserts, forests, snow, rain and 11 states before arriving at my destination- Aiken, South Carolina!

    The Meeting On a rainy Sunday my husband and in-laws dropped me off at a crowded coffee shop in downtown Aiken.




     I was alone.

     It was time for me to meet HER face to face. I got there early so I could prepare myself and not forget to BREATHE. She came in the cafe, we made eye contact immediately. She smiled, I didn't know what to do. I think (hope) I smiled back. I waited for this moment for so long, but I just turned to jello. I'm not sure what we said to each other, I think I blacked out. All I remember is that she smelled good.  This cafe didn't seem like an appropriate setting for our first meeting at all. So... we left.  We drove back to her house and talked for a few hours- exchanging photos and short anecdotes of our lives.

    For dinner that night, I met her sister (the one that was there when I was born), and her adorable family. She made me the most amazing scrapbook of family pictures, newspaper clippings, and even included her father's life story that he had been writing. SO cool!


    The next day, I met my HALF-SISTER and her wonderful mother and step-dad. Coolest folks, ever.

    The lovely sister. This was our first pic together at our first meeting at Moe's! Notice the
    pose… TOTALLY not planned at all!! How crazy is that!?

    Oh and let's not forget… I also met…. HIM (my BioDad). We met over lunch. I stick out my hand in effort to say "nice to meet you". He bypasses my hand and gives me a hug instead. Halfway through our lunch, his delightful 80 year old mother (the one from Colombia, South America) comes in the restaurant. What a cool lady! She drove her stick shift truck all the way to come meet me.

    I also ran into her while shopping at Kroger! This is our only pic together!

    After a whirlwind couple of days in SC, I rented a car and drove back to West Virginia... alone. The drive was easy and quiet. Too quiet. Quiet enough that I had to deal with everything that was happening.  It was the first time I was totally alone for about three weeks! I am the type of person that NEEDS alone time. So, although I HATE driving for long periods of time, this drive was especially therapeutic for me. It was perfect.




    After the First Meeting When I got back to West Virginia, I de-activated my Facebook. For some reason, I just could't handle it at the moment. Lots and lots of wonderful Facebook friends and people from various stages in my life have been following my story and were curious about everything. I didn't even know what I thought yet so I couldn't really explain or articulate the magnitude of what happened inside of me to others.

     I got to talk about everything that was happening and things that I was thinking to my closest friends and my very wonderful and caring Aunts. Let me tell you, do I ever cherish those people! I've never really been a person to share too much of my inner emotions with others, so I'm not very good at it. But boy am I glad I have some pretty special people in my life that LISTEN and offer their love.

     After about a month in WV, I went back down to SC to stay for TWO WEEKS!!!! Some people thought it was risky to stay so long with people that I don't really know, but the usually overly cautious me didn't even give it a second thought. I had to stay longer because I wanted to meet as many people as wanted to meet me. I have a pretty HUGE extended family, so I wasn't sure if I'd meet all of them or just a few. I was cool with whatever situation. Plus, I would only be there alone for 1 week- David would be coming down to join me for week 2.

    One of my bio father's sisters flew all the way from Colorado to see me! My bio mom's brother from California and brother from Columbia, SC came in to see me as well! I had no idea that all these people would want to know me! You see, when I started this journey I didn't even know that my biological parents would even want to know me. That is the risk we adoptees take when we start to dive into our past and it doesn't always end happily.  :(

     I'm usually a deep thinker in the sense that I like to over analyze and try to connect with my true feelings about things. But I couldn't in this situation. I felt myself realize the depth of what was going on and who these people I was surrounded with actually were... and I couldn't. I couldn't make myself realize what was happening, so I just treated them like any old people that I was meeting for the first time. Somehow NONE of them felt like strangers to me. I felt an ease and a comfort level that I have never felt around "new people"... EVER. It was totally weird, totally unexpected, and totally a relief!

    Since I know you all want to know all about this family that I found, I will give a little info on them. It would be impossible to describe each and every amazing person that shares my DNA, I will for now stick to the BioMom, BioDad and my Sister.
    ThemBioMom: She is caring. She is very generous and sensitive. She is artistic and creative. She is thoughtful. She is open to new ideas (I easily convinced her to make bacon from eggplants, come on!) She is funny. She is smart. She is great at her job! 


    Our amazing homemade vegan eggplant bacon!! Some are a little burnt.. I need to perfect
    the recipe before sharing it, but you will LOVE this… guaranteed!! No more "I can't be
    vegan/vegetarian because I bacon" excuses! hehe

    BioDad: He is hilarious. He does good impressions. He likes antiques. He loves growing things in the soil. He likes to work hard outside. He likes building and restoring things. He likes old cars. He likes sports. He owns a cute little B&B!

    The veranda of the B&B near Aiken, SC.  It's the perfect place to stay for the Master's in Augusta, GA or if you just want a little southern
     weekend getaway. Email/message me for details!! 

    Sister: She is GORGEOUS. She's smart. She's VERY artistic. She's fun. She's so thoughtful. She's kind. Such positive energy radiates around her. She has great style. She can do weird things that only I thought I could do- we both have this weird thing we can do with our thumbs… and other hidden talents.. hehe 
    One of my faves from our car photo shoot.Our weird thumb thing. Kind of hard to capture in a pic. Check out our awesome matching monogram bracelets. She also bought me the sweeeeeetestttt "sister" bracelet. That girl is so thoughtful.

     I saw different parts of myself in many of the people in my family- both physically and personality-wise. Most of you out there aren't adopted so you don't know what an amazing experience this is, but trust me... it's mind boggling to us adoptees! People look like ME?

    After our painting party! Pictured, you can see my BioMom, 2 of my BioDad's sisters, 3 cousins,
    2 great cousins, and my sister. We all had such a great time! Other aunt (Biomom's sister) and cousin left before
    this picture was taken. They are pictured below.

    Some Weird Truths Believe it or not, I also realized SOME traits that I picked up from my adoptive family. I would say that the "traits ratio" of biological family and adoptive family is roughly 70% BIO and 30% ADOPTIVE. I honestly didn't think I had much from my "nurture", but I realized that I AM a product of my environment in some ways. These ways don't exactly match up nor would be recognizable to the average person. But it's like... I am who I am because my adoptive family was who they were. I spent most of my life "countering" what I was experiencing in my environment.

     My WHOLE life.. as long as I can remember.. I have spent looking at my [immediate] adoptive family and thinking "I'm not like you", "I'm not going to be like you". "my birthparents are better than this". Now I know I've raised a few eyebrows, especially of people that DON'T TRULY know my adoptive mother, but no judgement please. Not everyone knows what goes on in a family regardless of how things appear on the outside. I assure you that this way of thinking helped me so much in my life. This was something that kept me motivated, and kept me wanting more. It was always the mystery in my life that I would solve "one day".

     Now that that day is here....
    What are my thoughts?
     Well, honestly, I'm torn.

    I just feel a little sad knowing all that I missed with my biological family. What would my life have been like had I stayed with them for these 29 years? How would I be different? What would I be doing now? What would my voice sound like? What would my name be? Would I still have the same interests and hobbies?  What career would I have chosen? How would having divorced parents and a sister that died of cancer early in my life impact me? Would I be married to David? Would I have traveled the world? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

     Want me to blow your mind even more?

     Not only do I think about my life with my biological family, I think about the couple that was supposed to adopt me BEFORE my mom did. That's right! I was originally supposed to go to a COUPLE (opposed to a single mother) after being born but they didn't want me because I was born prematurely. WHO would I have been then- being raised by a mother AND a father?

    ALSO

    What if the original baby my mom was going to adopt before me didn't die in an orphanage in India before I was adopted? Would I have went to yet another family?

    So there are at least FOUR lives I could have had in the very beginning of my life before the one I ended up with.

    Somehow this life was the one chosen for me. I said I was torn because being adopted does always make you wonder "what if"- it's just natural and normal- BUT the life I have now is pretty freaking amazing too. My good girlfriends, my husband, my extended adoptive family, my life experiences, my career, my belief systems.... these are the things that I cherish most. It highly unlikely that these things would be present had I NOT had the life that was chosen for me in the very beginning.

    So I don't dwell on what might have been… things happen the way they do. I actually DON'T believe that everything happens for a reason as if it were all pre-destined. I just believe that things happen. Period. We learn to make the best of them and adapt accordingly.

    What is Next?All I can say is "Thank goodness for this internet age that we are living in!". Living on another continent is much easier when you can stay connected to friends and family. I went into this whole search without and expectations and I just plan on letting relationships happen as they may. 
    I definitely don't want to force my presence into anyone's life. I just want any part of my newfound family reading this to know that I am always here and open for contact. You don't "bother me". This is a strange situation that we have now, and there are no precedences for this situation that we have experienced. So, I think we all don't really know how to act.
    I really enjoyed meeting you all and I would like you to know how wonderful it felt to be accepted by you so openly. Thank you for helping me find the missing piece of myself and fill in the big questions I've had for so long. I never imagined in these 29 years how incredible my biological family would be and how lucky and at ease I would feel after I got to know you. 
    To fellow adoptees Feel free to message me at anytime and we can discuss the finer points of reunion. It is hard for me to share too much [emotionally] on here, but I would love to hear from you. We can discuss more one-on-one. During this process I have, for the first time really been involved in the adoption community. I have read and watched videos that explain so much about myself and how adoption has shaped my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same. I believe that if I would have read up on adoptee issues throughout my life, I would have understood myself better and been a little easier on myself.

    Now that I have "The Post" wrapped up, I can really get back into my life! I feel like writing this has kept me at a standstill. There are so many exciting things coming up with The Empowered Way!
    Be on the lookout for:A much needed blog faceliftRegular VIDEOSLife in EcuadorFruit of the AndesRecipes
    And MORE coming in the weeks and months ahead. So don't forget to subscribe to The Empowered Way and have the latest post straight to your inbox!

    ALSO-
    I'm thinking about doing a Q&A video on this whole process. If you have any questions about this process, or any personal questions for me, I will answer them in a video in a week or if there is enough interest. You can post your question in the comments section here OR on The Empowered Way's Facebook page OR on my Instagram post OR you can email it to me at megan(dot)rushbrook(at)gmail(dot)com. Your questions can be about anything and can be anonymous if you would like. I will be as honest as possible.
    At last. I am at peace. Healing is happening. I am where I need to be.
    Sending you love from the Andes,
    Meg

    EmpoweredWay.net
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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    L2W: Xi in SK before NK, DMZ Tragedy, & Illegal Subtitles

    Mon, 2014-07-07 15:16
    L2W: Xi in SK before NK, DMZ Tragedy, & Illegal Subtitles
    1. National1) Chine leader Xi Jinping in Seoul, prior to PyongyangXi Jinping visited Korea on July 3, the first time ever a Chinese leader made his first visit to South Korea, before its ‘blood ally’ North Korea. Xi and Korean president Park Gun-hye jointly announced nuclear free Korean peninsula and expedited FTA by the end of this year as well as other announcements that can put the U.S. and Japan in difficult position. Xi also met with Korean business leaders including Hyundai Chairman Chung Mongkoo who appealed for Chinese government approval for its new auto plant in Chongqing. Feeling betrayed by his big brother, outraged Kim Jong-un fired two missiles to East Sea in protest just a day before Xi’s visit.     The U.S. government was clearly not happy that South Korea is getting close to each other, in fear of a crack in U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance against China for regional peace. So uncomfortable that the U.S. State Department even declined comment on the Xi-Park summit meeting result. Park Geun-hye now has to dance under two loud speakers that blare out Love me tender and Saturday Night Fever separately at the same time. 
    2) A Fragging in DMZ kills five of his comradesA Korean soldier serving in DMZ, identified as Sergeant Lim, threw a grenade and fired at his fellow soldiers, killing 5 and wounding 7 others on Jun 21. He was caught wounded two days later after failed suicide attempt in standoff. It is reported that Lim had hard time to fit in, been harassed by other soldiers and often been taunted by those even under his rank. Lim lost his temper when he saw graffiti on a wall in the post, depicting him as a skeleton. Though Lim was classified as the soldier that needed extra supervision because of his mental problem, he was put in to patrol DMZ with live ammunition as there were not enough soldiers. Too tragic as Sergeant Lim and his victims were young men who were defending the nation at the most dangerous area under military duty at $100 a month.   Korean military is facing lack of young men due to low birth rate these days, and it may be a time to think about conscripting females for equal opportunity. My wife swims longer than I, talks faster than I, yells louder than I, cooks better and I, and even negotiates harder than I with Louis Vuitton salesman. She was definitely better prepared to fight against North Korean army than I was 32 years ago.
    2. Economy1) Koreans sued over ‘illegal subtitles’ by U.S. TV producersPolice is investigating 15 Koreans after Warner Bros. and other U.S. TV producers sued them for creating subtitles for popular American TV series distributed illegally on the internet. This is the first time that individuals have been sued for merely making the subtitles for pirated TV series. American TV series have become very popular among young people after “Prison Break’ in 2005, and some 40% of Korean adults have been exposed to U.S. dramas through various channels. One of the biggest domestic websites streaming U.S. series has more than 200,000 members, some of whom voluntarily create subtitles and upload them.   I have learned English for 40 years, served in a U.S. military base for 2 years, worked in Hyundai Canada for five years, currently have been working for an American company for over 15 years, but still have problems in understanding American movies or soap operas without subtitles, especially when they are about comedy or complicated conspiracy. I wish the defendants win the lawsuit, and the sooner the better, as I can no longer fully enjoy all the good jokes by Leonard and Sheldon in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ without the subtitles.  
    3. Auto Industry1) Kumho expands its tire plant in GeorgiaKumho Tire, Korea’s No.2 tire maker after Hankook Tire, announced it is resuming construction of its plant in Macon, Georgia with investment of $413M to finish the construction by 2016.  The plant got a ground breaking in 2008, but the construction was halted after Kumho went to a debt workout program in 2009 during Lehman Brothers crisis.  Kumho said the Georgia plant will have annual production of 4 million tires. Kumho is currently the largest tire supplier for Hyundai Alabama and Kia Georgia plant. Kumho is relying on North American market for 20% of its total sales. Kumho has technical alliance with Yokohama Rubber.    Kumho Tire and Asiana Airlines are subsidiary companies of Kumho Group.  Founded by late Park In-chon who started taxi business with two old American cars at the age of 46 in 1946, Kumho Group has expanded its business mostly in transportation business with 36 subsidiary companies. Kumho was Mr.Park’s pen name. 
    2) Renault Samsung Motors offers diesel sedansRSM announced it already has received 1,500 contracts for its SM5 Diesel sedan powered by Renaults’ 1.5 dCi diesel engine imported since it started accepting pre-orders on Jun 23. It said its SM5 D will be different from its competitors’ models as it is a ‘segment break,’ offering a downsized engine for customers who want European pragmatic style. RSM’s SM5 D is another proof Koreans are hot with diesel cars. Nine out of ten top selling import models are diesel.  Hyundai recently launched its Grandeur (Azera) with R 2.2L diesel engine to fight against German premium diesel sedans, while GM Korea has started selling Malibu Diesel, which has 2.0L turbo manufactured in Germany  Despite high fuel efficiency, Koreans used to shun diesel engines for passenger cars because of noise from vibrations unique to diesel engines. Not any longer. With better technology products such as high performance balance shaft modules and isolation pulleys to control vibration, the diesel engines have become much quieter. I wish my wife also has good balance shaft modules and isolation pulleys when she is shopping in Louis Vuitton stores.
    Regards,H.S.

    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Koreabridge Typhoon Center: Typhoon Neoguri Approaches (kind of)

    Mon, 2014-07-07 03:48
    Koreabridge Typhoon Center: Typhoon Neoguri Approaches (kind of)

     

     



    Latest Satellite Image  *  Latest Typhoon Neoguri Track
    Korean Meteorological Administration
    Typhoon Safety Guide
    Past Typhoons: Sanba   Bolaven  Photos

    Typhoon Neoguri Updates

    From Joongang Daily
    Typhoon Neoguri, the second typhoon of this year’s tropical cyclone season, is rapidly intensifying and will affect southern parts of Korea as well as Japan this week as it moves northwest over the Western Pacific, the Korea Metrological Administration said. 

    The typhoon, which was churning toward Okinawa, Japan, yesterday, is expected to take a northern trajectory and hit Jeju Island and Korea’s southern reaches from Wednesday through Thursday, according to the weather agency. 

    Neoguri yesterday sustained winds of about 169 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) as of 3p.m., the agency added, rating the wind “very strong.”

    The storm has rapidly intensified since its formation on Friday into the strongest tropical cyclone this year in the Western Pacific basin

     

    From Accuweather

    Neoguri has strengthened into the first super typhoon of 2014 and poses a serious threat to lives and property in Japan.

    Neoguri intensified into super typhoon strength with maximum sustained winds of 240 kph (150 mph) and life-threatening consequences early Monday morning local time (Sunday afternoon EDT).

    Further strengthening will occur through Monday as the super typhoon progresses through an area of very warm water and low wind shear (strong winds above the surface that can shred tropical systems apart).

    Residents and visitors in the path of this intensifying and dangerous super typhoon should use the time now to make the necessary preparations and heed all evacuation orders.

    var ff = mf('http://hdsvod.arirang.co.kr/cdnvod-hds/arirangmavod/news/clip/10/1800news_800k_2013-10-08_1.mp4.f4m', '500', '312');documentwrite(ff);
    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Seoul Folk Flea Market

    Mon, 2014-07-07 00:11
    Seoul Folk Flea Market

     

     

    Beautiful pieces of furniture on display throughout the market

     

    Seoul’s  Folk Flea Market

     The Folk Flea Market is an immense flea market located in the heart of Seoul close to the Cheonggyecheon stream. This market’s aim is to “preserve the culture of the traditional Korean marketplace and draw in visitors with a range of folk items that embody the unique charm of Korea.”

    In this two story building you will find vendors selling items including furniture, traditional crafts, fake purses, hiking gear, clothing and much more. The majority of good are used. Everywhere you look there is something new to discover. The market is overflowing with items. It is not a glamorous place, but then again few traditional markets are.

    Endless rows of treasures

    The majority of the items being sold are folk items including paintings and furniture. Because it is mainly indoors it is a great place to come on a cold or rainy day to escape the weather. On weekends merchants spread along the surrounding streets as well.

    The entrance of the Market

     

    At the entrance there is a program for foreigners to create traditional crafts free of charge. During operating hours you simply can walk into the small trailer on your rightand a friendly volunteer will assist you with the daily program.

    I came to the market with my sister. We started our time there by utilizing the craft station. The day we visited they were making traditional mask magnets. A volunteer showed us what to do and we spent about an hour painting our magnets. It was a fun activity and a great souvenir to take home.

    Seoul Folk Flea Market

    My sister is an interior designer so I wanted to bring her to help me find a few pieces of furniture that I could use to decorate my apartment here, and then ship home once I leave Korea. We wandered around the maze of dealers looking up, down and all around at the thousands of items on display.

    There were so many beautiful pieces it was hard to choose. After a few hours walking around both floors we found several pieces that stood out. We went back to each merchant and inquired about pieces. The majority of vendors do not speak English but they are able to communicate through showing prices on paper or a calculator.   Most will barter for a final price.

     

    I’ve been to the market now several times.  The merchants are always getting new items.  I am still in search of a Korean screen I can bring home with me but the ones for sale were out of my price range.  I will have to visit again.

    Seoul Folk Flea Market

     

     

                In the end I chose three pieces of Korean style furniture: a trunk, nightstand and shelf. Everything including a metal Buddha statue cost me around $400. The merchant also arranged a deliveryman to bring the furniture to my home on the spot.   The delivery fee (including a free ride home with my furniture) cost me $20.00.

    If you are looking for some great Korean used goods I highly encourage a trip the Folk Flea Market. Even if you are not interested in making a purchase it is still a fun place for browsing.   The market also has a small food court with many traditional Korean dishes. There is an ATM on site.  I am happy to say that now, no matter where I end up, my home will always have a piece of Korea in it.

     

    Endless rows of treasures Seoul Folk Flea Market

     

    Facilities:

    • 2 story indoor folk flea market
    •   Food Court
    •     Public Bathrooms
    •      ATM

    Hours: Everyday 10am- 6:30 pm Closed every second and fourth Tuesday

     

    Address 21, Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul Subway Line 1 Sinseol-dong Stn. Exit 9

     


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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Busan’s Dongnae Computer Market

    Sun, 2014-07-06 21:55
    Busan’s Dongnae Computer Market

    Busan has several electronics and computer markets, but I think that the one in Dongnae is the best! It’s huge, fairly clean and tidy, and has everything you could possibly want. The Korean name for the building is 부산 컴푸터 상가. Busan Computer Wholesale Market! The website for the market is http://www.boocom.co.kr/!

    Curious what the place looks like on the inside or on the outside? Check out the video we made!

    What’d you get?

    Some people have asked about what machine we went home with. Back in America, I (Evan) worked in I.T. for many years and assembled many, many PCs. That’s what I was planning to do here. Then, the vendor offered to assemble it on the spot for 30,000W – about 30$ US. That’s a great deal! If he assembles it and boots it there – problems are his responsibility, not mine. I liked the sound of that, since my Korean tech jargon isn’t that great. So, I told him what I wanted, picked some stuff from his inventory, and he went to work. For about 1,000,000W – 990$US, we got the following:

    • i7 4790 CPU
    • 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM
    • 250GB Samsung SSD
    • 1TB Western Digital HDD
    • Zotac GTX760 2GB GPU
    • Asus Motherboard
    • Korean Case

    This is definitely more expensive than it would have been in the US. Most of the prices are just a few dollars mroe here and there, but the thing that’s far more expensive in Korean than in the US is the GPU. The difference? Here, that GTX760 costs about 400,000. In the US? It costs about 250. Ouch! It’s a great machine though, and that GPU is worth even it’s Korean price for our video work (and playing games)!

    Where is this computer market?

    The Busan computer market is near the huge shopping complex at Myeongryun station. You can take Busan’s subway line 2 to that station to find it. Check the map for details! The exits for this station are a bit.. strange. The best thing to do is come out exit 3 and then walk up the street away from the station. You’ll see a pedestrian bridge – a normal, white one, not the crazy curved one attached to the station. Get up on that pedestrian bridge and walk along it directly into the second floor of the huge building with the computer ads on the side. You’re there! It’s three stories worth of nerd heaven. The Busan computer market – I love it.

    Thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you have something to say!

    The post Busan’s Dongnae Computer Market appeared first on Evan and Rachel.

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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Korea: Art of the Morning Calm

    Thu, 2014-07-03 12:38
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Korea: Art of the Morning Calm

    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is arguably the hottest martial art right now, with it’s growth outpacing all others. This is for good reason; it’s popular in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, is a highly effective self-defense system, and dynamic sport.

    As expected, Korea has taken to the sport and it continues it’s upward trend of growth to this day.

    Here in Busan it’s no exception. With the likes of Kim Dong-Hyun leading the MMA charge in the UFC, the sport is exploding.

    I’ve trained in BJJ at American Top Team, Gracie Barra, and of course Busan Team MAD! As with judo (and any martial art for that matter) the camaraderie is awesome and I’ve made new, life-long friends in BJJ.

    I decided paying homage to the sport here in Korea was only fitting since it’s right here at my fingertips.

    I hope you enjoy this montage. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    If you’re in Busan, or plan on visiting, and want to work out with one of the teams in my video, their websites are listed below:

    East Heaven White Mountain BJJ
    BJJ Lab
    Busan Team MAD

    The post Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Korea: Art of the Morning Calm appeared first on The Red Dragon Diaries.

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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Why Every Expat Needs a VPN

    Thu, 2014-07-03 11:19
    Why Every Expat Needs a VPN

     

    So you've got your new apartment all set up. You were finally able to find fitted sheets (for an exorbitant price, no doubt), you've connected adapters and transformers as needed and you even managed to put up a few pictures of family and friends back at home to make your new living space just a tad more comfortable. Yes, it's time to relax and unwind. Soon you realize your cable is limited to Korean variety shows with the occasional decade-old made-for-TV American movie you're fairly certain no one you know has ever heard of. "No problem," you say, "That's what the internet is for."

    Think again.

    Netflix, Hulu and even TV networks like ABC and ESPN disappoint with apologetic messages notifying you that their programs cannot be watched outside the States.



    "Okay... so I'll just listen to music," you decide.
    Not so fast. Pandora and Songza shut you down before you can even decide on your preferred playlist.

    Your breathing becomes heavier and your heartbeat steadily increases. You find the strength to stand up and barely fall to the floor as your knees give out. You manage to make it to your co-worker's place across the hall. He sees the fear in your eyes and needs no words to understand your worries. He sympathetically places a hand on your shoulder and assures you that things will be fine. Soon enough, he mentions three letters that will forever change how you know entertainment as an expat living in Korea forever: V-P-N.
     

    Photo: Gizmodo.com

    In simple terms, a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a discrete network of computers connected over the internet. Individuals can use a VPN to gain access to network resources when they're not physically on the same network (i.e. not in the same country) or for securing and encrypting their communications when using a lesser trusted public network. When properly connected, an American based VPN makes it appear as though your computer or electronic device (smart phones, tablets, etc.) is connecting to a network such as Netflix from inside the United States.

    This ingenuous system allows die-hard fans to watch the World Cup live as it happens without having to deal with a crummy, subtitle-less local network. They can also listen to location-restricted internet radio and check out their favorite television programs (Game of Thrones, anyone?) as they air instead of waiting for translations or rebroadcasts. And for those that are interested in watching Korean movies and dramas, they can gain access to sites like Netflix and Hulu that provide an extensive selection of translated Korean programs.



    There are a number of VPN services to choose from, but I recently began using PrivateInternetAccess.com after becoming an affiliate with them. I was surprised by the simplicity of the set up process using their easy-to-follow tutorials and wondered why I hadn't signed up years earlier, before I became clueless as to what's going on in American pop culture.

    In addition to using a VPN to watch shows and listen to music on both my computer and iPhone, I can also rest easy knowing that my internet connection is secure, which is necessary since I pay my bills and do my banking online.

    And the very best thing about PrivateInternetAccess.com's VPN service? The price!! To get to access all your favorite movie streaming sites and ensure a secure internet connection only costs $6.95 per month or $39.95 for a year.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a VPN today and you'll be thanking me when the rainy season (aka movie-watching season) rolls in.

     


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    Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

    Long, Dark Night of the Goal

    Thu, 2014-07-03 05:28
    Long, Dark Night of the Goal

    by Ralph Karst

    Ilove the World Cup. But I also love sleep, and lordy, here in South Korea, with the World Cup a hemisphere away in Brazil, the hours have been brutal. The 1 a.m. games—alright, go to bed really late. Seven a.m. games—OK, get up really early. Four a.m. games? Blargh! Get up WAY early or go to bed WAY late. Yeah, I know you can watch the replays, but self-imposed internet blackouts are difficult for a web-addict like myself. And of course, knowing the score already renders the whole affair drama-less. Hey, it’s once every four years, right? When your team is playing, suck it up and watch it live. It’s the beautiful game, even if you’re not gonna look too beautiful with bags under your eyes from lack of sleep.

    But whaddaya do when you have not just one but THREE must-watch games on the slate? Here was my dilemma last Sunday night: South Korea vs. Algeria—4 a.m.; U.S.A. vs. Portugal—7 a.m.. Those were must-sees. Gotta watch the teams from both my homeland and my adopted home. But then:  1 a.m. Russia vs. Belgium. Not a great match-up, but Busan, where I live, has a seedy, skanky Russian night club area called Texas Street that would be PERFECT (so I thought) for watching the Ruskis play. The only possible conclusion: burn the candle at three ends and stay up all night. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! DAAAAY-HAN MIN GUK! and, um, GO BELGIUM! WIN ONE FOR N.A.T.O.! FUCK PUTIN! Or something like that.

    Here was my Busan World Cup all-night itinerary:

    ROUND 1:  Russia vs. Belgium, Texas Street

    ROUND 2:  South Korea vs. Algeria, Haeundae Beach

    ROUND 3:  U.S.A. vs. Portugal, Eva’s Ticket Bar & Restaurant

    Texas Street, tucked along a back street across from Busan Station, has seen better days. And better nights. It’s a strip of neon-pulsing hostess bars, Russian and Philippine restaurants and karaoke rooms, love motels, and shops selling swag favored by U.S. or Russian navy / merchant marine dudes —mainly lots of nylon track suits, cheap leather jackets, and replica sports jerseys. When I first came to Busan in 2002, T-St. was on the wane even then, but it was still fun on occasion. For the cost of a lady drink (about 10 bucks) you could have a fairly interesting chat with a Russian bargirl, some of them quite beautiful Korean-Russians from Sakhalin Island. Just as long as you didn’t get carried away and buy, say, TEN lady drinks, and then try to pay the exorbitant barfine to have the girl leave the bar with you, and pay an inflated love motel room charge, and then have the girl drug you while a Russian gangster pimp cleaned out your wallet, you were fine!

    Once in a while, the strip can still fizz and pop with energy when a big U.S. naval vessel is in port, but these days, the navy boys prefer to party out in Haeundae. Most nights the strip is more sad and desperate than sleazy and dangerous. With Russia flush with Gazprom loot these days, the bargirls are mostly Philippinas now, and they cluster in the clubs’ doorways trying half-heartedly to lure in the occasional pair or trio of Russian sailors while horrific disco-synth pop or a sloppy Philippine cover band chugs away inside.

    Still—I thought I might find a dozen or so Russians psyched about the World Cup. Their team was very much alive heading into their second game against Belgium, having tied South Korea in their opener. Belgium, the sexy dark horse of the Cup, was heavily favored, but hey, it was only Belgium! Plus, the geo-political implications—N.A.T.O. vs. Warsaw Pact, East vs. West, Russia vs. Euro Zone—were moderately juicy. I don’t think the Belgian players were telling themselves “Let’s win one for the Ukraine’s pro-European integration political factions!” to psych themselves up. And I think Belgian fans were probably too polite to make big signs of a giant anthropomorphic Belgian waffle fucking Putin in the ass, but it was fun to think about, anyway.

    I arrived at Texas Street via taxi at about 12:45, and the street was fairly dead. Everything was open as usual, the Philippinas still whistling and calling after you as you walked by Club Manilla, Borakai, Baikal, and Hollywood, but there were precious few customers. I poked my head in a few places, but the clubs didn’t even have TVs, or if they did, they were showing goofy karaoke videos. I walked up and down the strip a few times, listening for the tell-tale sound of TV sports announcers and stadium cheering. The previous weekend up I was up in Itaewon, Seoul, and right before the 7 a.m. England-Italy game, you could hear all the TVs and English fans a good 100 meters away. But here on Texas St.—nothing. I asked a few bored-looking Russian women sitting outside a karaoke bar if people were watching the game any place in particular, and they just shrugged and pointed vaguely up the street. Finally a Korean man standing outside a small restaurant who had noticed me walking up and down the strip asked me what I was looking for.

    “World Cup. Football,” I said.

    He motioned me inside. “Yes, we have TV. It’s on now,” he said. I looked inside the restaurant. Empty. Well, I thought, I’ll pop in for a beer and watch for awhile and see if anybody else comes in.

    The game kicked off, and the Belgians quickly took control, looking fast and skilled. The Russians were clearly packing everyone behind the ball, playing for a draw. I sipped a Bud and watched. After about ten minutes, three Russians came in and sat down. They ordered some fried shrimp and Coronas and looked at the TV with half-interest. One of them was bigger as well as older than the other two—everything about his physical appearance can be summed up with the word “thick” except for his thinning hair. One of the younger ones wore a black and gold track suit, and the other one a colorful floral-print shirt open three buttons. The Korean owner engaged them in some halting conversation in English—they were in off a cargo ship and would be leaving late the following night. The Korean asked some World Cup questions—will Russia do well? Are you excited about Russia hosting the Cup in 2018?—and was answered by shrugs or mono-syllabic yes/no grunts. I’d intended to actually do some real-live journalism down here—you know, interview people and all that. But these dudes seemed like the three most unapproachable human beings on the planet. Even in the midst of one of the most unifying public events in the world—an event where strangers from vastly different nationalities, cultures, and religions could instantly converse and bond over—I found myself too damn shy/intimidated to talk to three Russian sailors about the World Cup. The first half finished scoreless, with hardly any quality chances from either side. I finished my beer, drank the first of three Bacchus D’s I had in my backpack, paid and left.

    I decided to watch the 2nd half at the Kuritza Grill (In Cyrillic: КУРИЦА ГРИЛ), a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that those in-the-know will say has the best Russian grub on T-Street. It was still open, and they were showing the game on the Russian satellite feed. A back corner table was occupied with three middle-aged Russians and three veteran (read: older) Russian hostesses up from one of the nearby clubs. None of them seemed to be watching the game. Every 45 seconds or so one of the six went out into the stairwell to smoke.

    At another table three younger Russians sat drinking beers, and they actually seemed to be into the game—mostly cursing and shaking their heads as Belgium quickly snuffed out any semblance of a Russian attack. I ordered a plate of the joint’s fantastic vareniki, the Russian-Ukrainian potato-stuffed boiled dumplings (more or less what Americans know as pierogi.) They came oozing with butter, along with some slabs of neutron-star dense pumpernickel bread, and three sides of pickled carrots, cabbage, and seaweed. Stodge supreme. Seriously: if you’re in the Busan Station area, check this place out—2nd floor, above Club California. It is очень хорошо, “real horrorshow” as Alex from Clockwork Orange would say.

    Overheard on Texas St.: “Leave the gun. Take the vareniki.”

    As I wolfed down the vareniki, two Russian hostesses in short skirts and elaborately done-up hair came in. They were in their mid-30s easily, but they so far had managed to stave off that swift brutal potato-fication that turns Russian women from lithe ballerinas to hulking babushkas seemingly overnight. Unlike every other Russian I’d seen this night, they were actually excited and energetic rather than bored and tired. They ordered soup with pelmeni (small meat dumplings) and watched the game with genuine fervor—cheering and groaning and shouting Slavic exhortations at the TV. One of them noticed me, flashed me a smile and asked me something in Russian. It happens from time-to-time here on Texas St. My peoples are Ukrainian Jew / Polish, so I can pass for Eastern European.

    “Sorry, I’m American,” I said.

    She and her friend laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world. “Oh! Sorry!” she said, and turned back to the game.

    The game wore on, still scoreless, but the Belgians’ superior talent and depth was clear. Even with Everton star Lukaku subbed out, the Duvel Drinkers went on run after run, the Russian defenders looking increasingly desperate and tired (sort of like Texas St. itself). There was a sense of inevitability in the air. Finally, in the 88th minute, substitute Divock Origi, a 19year-old Belgian-Kenyan, scored the game’s only goal, locking up a spot for Belgium in the knockout stage. The two women immediately paid and left, and the other customers, to quote Robert Frost, “as they were not the ones dead, turned to their affairs.” With a belly full of Russian starch and carbs, I hailed a cab to Haeundae.

    I had no idea what kind of scene to expect on the beach. There was talk of toning down the World Cup cheering this year in deference to the national mood of mourning over the Sewol tragedy. City Hall Plaza in Seoul is now the site of a huge Sewol memorial and wasn’t being used as a mass game-watching spot. In Busan, the usual multiple big-screen locations had been nixed except for Haeundae. I’d been to Korea’s opening game against Russia four days earlier, at 7 a.m., and a sparse crowd of maybe 500 showed up to watch the game in a light drizzle. Kind of sad.

    However, getting out of the cab by the Grand Hotel, I could see a sea of light-up plastic devil horns glittering in the distance, and I knew the fans had come out in force. Getting closer, I saw maybe seven or eight thousand supporters, mostly college kids, extending maybe 100 meters in front of the video screen. A group of drummers sat up front. The cloudy skies had cleared up, and a quarter-moon rose over Dalmalji Hill. The devil horns glittered like a Macy’s Christmas display, and a jubilant, expectant buzz filled the air. Algeria! How could we not beat Algeria?! We are 15th and they are 46th in GDP per capita! Mike, a Canadian friend of mine, wandered down from his nearby apartment and joined me.

    The two national anthems played, and I gotta say it—the Korean fans there on the beach get a solid F for not singing along. Inexcusable. I expect more from a nation of about one billion karaoke rooms. A lot of the crowd didn’t even stand up. Hey, the South Korean anthem isn’t great, but it’s not bad. For one thing, it’s short (at least the part that gets played at sporting events), and the vocal range required by the melody is very accessible. Come on, Koreans! In retrospect, this “eh, can’t-be-arsed” attitude of the crowd was a dark harbinger of the game itself.

    At the opening kickoff a solid cheer went up, pop-concert lights pulsed and danced above the screen, and the drumming crew started a steady, propulsive beat. From the start, I noticed something strange about the Korean team. They looked slow, lethargic, lackadaisical. What was going on? Korea’s national soccer team since the magical 2002 run always featured balls-out hustle, grit, and determination. But now, it was the other team, Algeria, that was looking determined and purposeful, hard-working and passionate. Plus, they were much bigger and stronger. Uh-oh.

    Sure enough, in the 26th minute, Algerian striker Islam Slimani collected a nice aerial through-ball and marched straight in and scored, Korean defenders on both sides of him like Korean police  escorting a high school senior late for the 수능. The crowd made a little gasp/cry and then went silent. Only a few people left, but you could feel the hope draining away like air from a punctured tire. I was at Seoul City Hall plaza for the Nigeria and Uruguay games in 2010, where Korea had conceded early goals. Neither the team nor the crowd seemed to give up then. Korea team fighting! They still believed, then. That team, of course, had a starting Man-U midfielder at the top of his game on the pitch. Now, they had bunch of K-leaguers and Premier League scrubs. Son Heung-min, who had had a decent season for Bayer Leverkusen in the Budesliga, seemed like a nice player, but he was getting bullied by the hulking Algerian defenders. Hope was in scant supply.

    Barely two minutes later, Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong took a bad angle on a corner and Rafik Halliche headed home a second goal. A small but noticeable segment of the crowd decided “game over” and stood up and filed off toward the main road. Before many of them had even shaken off their beach blankets, a botched clearance and shoddy marking led to a THIRD Algerian goal, and this time a good 30% of the crowd called it quits. Mike was disgusted by the surrendering fans, but hey, it was 5 a.m. on a week day for these kids. Those smart phones and caramel macchiatos weren’t gonna sell themselves, were they?

    At halftime I drank another Bacchus D and Mike sipped a beer as I told him about the scene (or lack thereof) on Texas Street for the Russia—Belgium game. We reflected on the 2006 and 2010 WC experience in Korea.  This definitely seemed like the end of an era—or the beginning of a new one. Even though the team didn’t advance in 2006, they still notched a win and a tie in their first two games before losing a tough match to the Swiss. Now, with Belgium looming, the prospect of going out with a single crummy point from the group stage was quite likely.

    But then the Taeguk Warriors came out in the 2nd half with a bit of fire. Son made a few nice moves and then nut-megged the keeper for a goal. The remaining crowd whooped and fist-pumped and high-fived each other. Mike commented that scoring between the legs of the goalie should count for two goals. Actually, if Korea just managed to lose by only one goal, they would reduce their odds to advance from well-nigh impossible to just unlikely. And if they came back to tie?! I flashbacked to the 2005 Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan. I was watching it with a knot of Liverpool freaks at the old O’Brien’s, a dive-y Busan basement Irish bar, and I went home around 4:00 a.m. with AC Milan up 3-0 at the break—and ended up missing one of the great comebacks in sports history, not to mention the scene of my Scouse friends literally dancing on and diving off the bar. Hell, I was staying up for the U.S.A. game anyway, so I wasn’t going anywhere.  The eastern horizon was beginning to pale and turn the faintest shade of apricot.

    The optimism was short-lived. Algeria took advantage of the Korean team pressing forward and notched a fourth. Korea got one back towards the end, but could get no closer than 4-2. Now, they would have to beat the much-better Belgians by at least 2 goals, and hope Russia either tied or beat Algeria by one goal. Not gun’ happen. The Republic of Korea was toast-tuh. Still it was a lovely morning on the beach, and I wasn’t feeling too bleary. One more game to go! Mike decided sleep was more important than cheering on the Yanks, and walked back to his home and sleeping wife up in Haeundae New-Town. I headed to the just-opened subway for the trip to the Kyungsung / Pukyung University area and my last stop of the night / morning.

    Eva’s Ticket is a large bar / restaurant / live-music venue in one of Busan’s main university areas, and is one of the centers of the waygook scene down here. Tom and Andrew, two old Busan friends, opened the place at 6:30 a.m. and were providing a great ‘murican breakfast fry-up as well. There were about 20 of us there, decked out as best we could with some flags, red-white-and-blue beer cozies, U.S. team jerseys, and toy aerial drones (OK—I made that last one up. But seriously—instead of those cheap World Cup replica trophies, U.S. fans in Brazil should hold up toy predator drones and wave them back and forth. It’s what most of the world associates with us, anyway. And you’ll never . . . drone strike . . . alone!)

    U.S.A! U.S.A! Here we come to mistakenly bomb your World Cup celebration!

    National Anthem time, and we put the Koreans at Haeundae to shame by positively belting out the Star-Spangled Banner, probably making the milk delivery ladies passing by outside to look up and wonder 왜? The TV showed a close-up of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s handsome Teutonic mug actually singing too, which filled me with a real sense of pride and confidence. Klinsmann was a former German soccer star who’d been living in America for several years simply because . . . he liked it. (Read: we don’t give a shit about soccer, so nobody recognized and bothered him.) This was the same guy who had already rebuilt Germany’s powerhouse program from the ground up. Whatever Portugal would throw at us, Klinsmann would anticpate it and figure out a counter.

    Actually, It was no secret, actually, what Portugal would throw at us. Mainly, one incredibly fast, incredibly, incredibly skilled underwear model with a new Vanilla Ice haircut named Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course I hated him, because duh. But could this guy—neck-and-neck with Messi for the best player in the world over the last five years or so—beat us all by himself? Just ask Sweden.

    Kickoff, and oh no! Five minutes in, Geoff Cameron’s sliced clearance put the ball right on Portuguese striker Nani’s feet and Bam! 1-0 Portugal. Cameron plays for Stoke City in the Premier League. I was going to make a joke about, hey! Stoke City! But I checked the table and Stoke finished 9th this year—pretty respectable. They even have Peter Crouch and his dancing robot routine. If you think about it, it’s much funnier to joke about U.S. players with tiny 2.5 million dollar transfer fees, and “starring” for teams like the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City.

    So we nervously munched on eggs, bacon, and pancakes as the U.S. started pressing forward while Portugal sat back and defended—the opposite of the Ghana game. At the half it was still 1-0, but we were all fairly optimistic. One thing that was not optimistic—my stomach. The late-night vareniki and all the Bacchus D’s were making a spirited Ronaldo-like power-run through my intestinal track. Let’s just say I missed the first five minutes of the 2nd half.

    The 2nd half—Jesus. Jermaine Jones’ equalizer was the kind of goal I’ve been waiting 25 years to see from a U.S. player—a run-of-play unstoppable blast from outside the penalty area. A laser, a heat-seeking missle, a net-breaker. What a cracker from Jermaine Jones! shouted Ian Darke, the typically classy Brit announcer on ESPN. First rule of broadcasting soccer games: the announcer must be a Brit. Scottish or Irish also acceptable. Also acceptable—watching the Spanish-language Univision feed for the legendary Andres Cantor’s 3-minute supernova GOOOOLLLL! calls. 

    Then, in the 82nd minute—YEEESSSSS! The thoroughly kick-ass Clint Dempsey scored a more typical by-any-means-necessary U.S.A. goal—he ran right through a little chip-cross from Graham Zusi and bellies it into the net. Cue: Ode to Joy. Actually, don’t cue Ode to Joy. That’s the Euro zone’s official anthem. Portugal is in Europe. Fuck Europe. Cue: some Toby Keith shitball cornpone country anthem. God, I love sports!

    But then, as we all know, with thirty fucking seconds left, Michael Bradley horribly botched a trap and gave up the ball at midfield and Ronaldo’s perfect six-pack abdominals, in six separate voices, collectively announce, “FUCK the U.S.A.!” and Mr. Underwear Model launched an all-galaxy class, inch-perfect cross to a streaking and inexplicably open Silvestre Varela, who headed it home. Every one of us at the bar uttered some version of WHAT THE FUCK! and then went silent. If a tie is like kissing your sister, this tie was more like forced incest with your sister at gunpoint from the Imperial Japanese Army. God, I hate sports.

    I left Eva’s Ticket and hailed a taxi, slightly dazed from the previous two hours’ emotional cuisinart:  No!!  Yes!!!  YESSSS!!!!  NOOOOOO!!!!! I ran through the various group-stage scenarios for the U.S. in my bleary head. Really, the only thing that saved this game from being an all-time gut-punch was that the U.S. still had a very good chance to advance even with a loss to Germany. Still—the U.S. could have been in 1st place in their group, and won the group with only a tie with Germany. Better yet, they could have rested some key players, like Dempsey with his broken schnoz from the Ghana game. It wasn’t until after that Germany game when the nauseous we-blew-it feeling abated somewhat, as the final group results (Germany 1st, U.S. 2nd) ended up more or less where it would have had the U.S. averted that screamingly awful last-second breakdown against Portugal.

    Those of you reading this now know that both the U.S. and South Korea are gone. Korea of course died a miserable group-stage death, while the U.S. lost a thrilling 2-1 game to the far superior Belgians in the round of 16. It’ll be a long wait for the 2018 Cup in Russia. European fans at least have the Euro Cup in two years, and even South Korea can look for redemption in the Asia Cup next January in Australia. European fans tend to scoff at us Yanks who only get excited at the World Cup. It’s true, I don’t have club team I’m passionate about—I tend to follow whatever English teams have Americans on them, which these days mainly means Everton (Go Tim Howard!) I’m more a fan of the sport, trying to catch the marquis Premier League match-ups and big Champions’ League games on Korean TV. But nothing beats the World Cup, and when the winner is crowned next week, I’ll feel like a kid with the day- after-Christmas blues.

    Real live Yank soccer fans (plus a Brit fellow traveler)

    It was a fun night, even though all three games ended in a pile of shite for the fans I was with—the Russians, the Koreans, and us Americans. In the taxi home, sure, I was tired, but not catatonically so. The whole night I’d drank only two beers and three Bacchus D’s, so I wasn’t hung over. I’d joked with some friends about finding some Ritalin or even something stronger to help me stay up all night (I swear, if folks from Immigration are reading this, I was JOKING), but in the end all I needed was the thrill of the beautiful game itself—el jogo bonito. They say soccer is a religion in much of the world. On this night, it was a drug as well.


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