Archive for March, 2013


Packing for India

I leave for India tomorrow, and since I keep seeing posts similar to what I am writing now about how you can travel with one bag and women commenting saying it doesn’t work for ‘us’ because ‘we’ need more clothes (I can’t find the post I commented on, and it wasn’t on anything I logged in with on Google or WordPress so I have no way other than looking at pages of history to find it). No we don’t.

I’m going to India for 9 days (technically 8, with 22 hours in Shanghai on the way back). What am I packing (clothes wise)/wearing?

  • 2 pairs of jeans (I know, some people never travel with them, but I don’t like the ‘travel pant’ material, generally, and hiking stores in Korea are very expensive)
  • 5 shirts
  • 7 undershirts (I know I’ll sweat a lot and this usually helps with the smell and being able to re-wear stuff)
  • 7 sets of bras and underwear (maybe I’ll get to wash in a hotel….I could fit more but are a bit to…flashy…for India)
  • 9 pairs of socks
  • 2 scarfs (can cover any exposed body part or cover your head, if necessary)
  • 1 hoodie/jumper
  • 1 pajama pants/shorts/boy-shorts that will double as my yoga pants
  • 1 pair of sneakers

What else?

  • Camera
  • 2 batteries
  • 4 memory cards (4gig, 2 2gig, 1 32 gig)
  • camera charger
  • medication (birth control, Iron pills)
  • passport
  • copies of my passport
  • vaccination report (I have been to Southern Africa and I saw on one website that India requires a yellow fever shot if you are coming FROM there, so I figure why not bring it in case)
  • 2 adapters
  • phone
  • phone charger
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, disinfectent hand cream (counts as one thing because it’s all in 1 little bag)
  • deodorant
  • water bottle
  • hair ties (on my wrist)
  • hair clips (bobby pins ONLY, because they are small)
  • wallet (cash, credit cards, travel insurance, ID)
  • pens
  • journal
  • 2 small books
  • paperwork (itinerary, flight schedule, travel insurance, postcard addresses)
  • hairbrush
  • glasses
  • sunglasses
  • chapstick

This all fits into my 32L Eastern Mountain Sports Creek Freak Backpack that I love so much. I can’t find it on their website, probably because it is 4 years old. It has held up though Europe, Africa and Asia (so far, 6 months in).

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Song-do Hike

This past weekend there was a hike in Busan to Song-do Beach. Taking a bus from Nampo out toward Song-do but stopping by a market and uphill street you can start going up toward the peak–which is just very steep but not too far.

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There were lots of flowers starting to bloom.

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After a few more ups and downs we ended up at a park that overlooks a big rock of an island. There are some rocks jutting out in other places with lots of colors.

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Then, back the same way we came with a few changes to stay closer to the water and we were at the beach. There is a beach side walk that we could have taken back, but I went with the group that kept hiking. There are statues in the water of whales tales and dolphins–pretty odd, especially at low tide when you can see the change in color and rust on the dolphins.

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This past weekend I took part in a hike from Jungang subway station (Jungangdong) to Guedok Stadium in Dongdaesindong where the Busan Transportation Corporation Football Club played. They are a third division team, so they aren’t amazing, but were pretty good–better than I could ever be!

The hike was…interesting since there were two groups going at two different speeds and the leader didn’t seem to care about the group that was going slower saying she wouldn’t wait or change the hike for them, which I thought was pretty crappy. There was also a surprise bus ride to get there (people were rooting in their bags looking for money because they thought they wouldn’t need any) and my friends and I were confused as to if we were going down or back up as nothing was said about the plans. We’re supposed to go together, right? My friend was in the second group and said they didn’t have anyone that knew the route we were doing, so they could have gotten ‘lost’. I put lost in quotes because you can’t really get too lost, they would have just ended up in a different area than us, and been further from Guedok Stadium. In the end everyone made it to the Stadium, and I almost wish I had slowed down and stayed with the second group because they went for a proper meal and mokgoli while we just kept pushing; we saw the whole game while they got there at halftime though.

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Kind of disappointing when you get to the top and you can’t see much…but then we kept going!Dongdaesingdong Hike and Guedok Stadeum 006 Dongdaesingdong Hike and Guedok Stadeum 008

Before the game they thew golden balls into the stadium that the team had signed, which was pretty neat, even though they are 3rd division. At halftime there were 4 cheerleaders. The game ended in a tie, which I didn’t think they usually did and thought there would be an extra period and penalty kicks, but I guess they don’t do that if the game is not important.

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It’s free to get in, but they could start charging 1,000KRW and I’d still go for sure. Maybe even for 5,000KRW. Great end to a hike.

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S*** My Korean Students Say

Curious things students have said…and sometimes they are not curious but just racist. There is a three part one at the end for Japan.

Teacher, you are easy and everyone is hard.

Teacher, boyfriend? No. What about James teacher *laughs while thinking ‘We’re not Pandas at the zoo’ from Community*

Teacher! I am no see! (sounds like Nazi).

Teacher! You are bling-bling!

You have eyes like a alligator! What? So many greens

Student 1: Your eyes are beautiful!

Student 2: Game! Think about the Game!

My sister has….*points at eyes* Eyes? *keeps pointing at eye* not glasses! Contacts? Yes! But they make her eyes look like yours!

Me:what country is east of korea?

Students: DOKDO! (explanation below)

Me: not a country…but east was what I going for so good job!

I want to go to America to see freedom.

Students: We don’t have to do work anymore because North Korea is going to attack.

Me: You know that’s not true.

Students: Yeah…it was worth a try.

Teacher! She (other student) is hip-hop (they were wearing a shirt that said Ebony)

Teacher, this boy has a big nose (black kid in the book) but this girl has hair like rockstar (black girl in the same book who had braids)

Students had to fill in the blanks about a photo where 3 people were at a train/bus station. It said ‘they are all’ and most students wrote ‘talking’, ‘having a conversation’ or ‘friends’ but one write ‘in danger’. A+ for creativity.

For another they had to write advice for what to do if you have problems studying because you’re always texting: I think you should be born to a smart mother and a smart father because if you are not then you cannot be smart.

What follows is the story of one particular student, who is hilarious but concerning because of what he thinks about Japan even now. Mini history: Japan invaded Korea and made the women into ‘comfort women’, kills tons of people, made it impossible for Koreans to move around the country (especially move to America because the US said there were ‘too many Japanese’ and since Korea was under Japanese rule, they counted), made Koreans learn Japanese and killed anyone who spoke out. Japan did reelect the person who said that Koreans should have been proud to be comfort women….Dokdo is an island (really 2 islands with one name…well one name in Korean and one name in Japanese) that Korea says is theirs and Japan says is theirs. Currently under Korean law and even the pact America signed with Japan does not protect Dokdo as part of Japan.

Part 1:

Me: What do you want to be your hobby?

Student: To destroy Japan.

Me: Okay….how are you going to do that? [following the book like I did for the rest of the students]

Student: By going nuclear.

Part 2 (unrelated, but the same student):

Student: Teacher, I don’t like the French.

Me: Why not?

Student: Because they said Asians are yellow. They say we have yellow skin.

Part 3:

Student: I want to give Dokdo to Japan.

Me: Really? I thought you didn’t like the Japanese.

Student: Oh, no, I want them all to move there. Then Korea will take over Japan.

Me: …But Dokdo is very small, everyone from Japan will not be able to live there.

Student: I know. *stares at me and smiles*

Part 4:

Me: I’m going to your favorite place for Lunar New Year.

Student: Really?? Where??

Me: Japan!

Student: ….but I HATE Japan

Me: I know. I was joking.

Student: Teacher, it’s a trap, you won’t come back.

 

Gasan-ri Hike

Finally got around to doing another hike–I had been meaning to for awhile and either didn’t wake up in time or other things came up. This one was to Gasan-ri (according to Google Maps). Take the subway to Hopo, exit 2 and take a right and start going up a street and eventually turn in following the paths to the top. There are tons of paths and not many signs but, at least when I went, tons of other people.

I think this one would have been a bit harder without a guide who knew the area because of the lack of maps and signs.

It is the highest mountain in Busan and has great views of the city from afar because it is at the North end of the city itself (almost in the next county and city). The only other views of Busan that I had seen were from the middle of the city mountains so this was a nice change of pace.

The most interesting part of this hike for me was the bit of rope course that is around the Golden Pond (not so much golden as muddy) but its at the top of a rock separated from the rest and was quite pretty anyway–almost heart shaped as well which is a well loved (and on everything) symbol in Korea. There were ropes to get to the viewing point for it as well as down because the rocks were quite steep.

Gasan-ri Hike 017 Gasan-ri Hike 018 Gasan-ri Hike 026 Gasan-ri Hike 027 Gasan-ri Hike 031 Gasan-ri Hike 032 Gasan-ri Hike 041 Gasan-ri Hike 042 Gasan-ri Hike 045 Gasan-ri Hike 060Our hike ended at the North Gate. To leave you walk straight from the gate and take a left when it ends (which is in awhile) and you will walk into a town and have to walk awhile more until you get to the bus stop. You can go to Oncheonjang…or somewhere else on the Green Line (line 2).

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