The Cycling Canadian »

March 11, 2011 – 7:21 pm

I admit it. This picture was taken a few years ago, but I think I still look vaguely like that. Depends on the day (and the time of day). And today, just before I uploaded this picture, an Indonesian English student told me how much she liked my nose. I heard that a lot in Indonesia. Apparently, a large nose like mine is a good …

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Korea 015 – My Morning Routine

January 24, 1995 – 4:58 pm
Korea 058

The days at the Munwha drifted surreally by, the change from one to the next barely noticed in my exhausted state. Getting ready at 5:30 in the morning in cold darkness was always a struggle. The night before, I could have made everything ready, but the call of a cold beer and conversation after my last class at the local hof was always stronger. The …

Korea 014 – My First English Class

January 22, 1995 – 4:57 pm
Korea 058

After I left the classroom, I found Mr. Kim in an office and asked him what was going on. I had come for an interview and a tour, not to teach. I wasn’t ready to teach. I didn’t want to teach. I didn’t know how to teach. I needed training, an orientation, some guidance.
I don’t know how he did it but somehow Mr. Kim managed …

Korea 013 – Munhwa Language School

January 20, 1995 – 4:56 pm
Korea 058

Two hours later solely due to my own efforts, I found myself in John Valentine’s office, out of breath and suffering from shin splints. I had subsequently gotten lost in underground Seoul so badly that I began to think of myself as the human gopher, constantly popping up from a tunnel to get my bearings and going down again. All the while I was pummeled …

Korea 012 – Spinning Koreans

January 18, 1995 – 4:55 pm
Korea 058

Every day that I hung out with the tourist/travellers made it more difficult to look for work. I pretended to myself that I was here only for a short time and would soon join the migration of backpackers on to the next stop on the Asia trail. The English teachers were awake and working hours before I even opened my eyes. I …

Korea 011 – Seoul and the Inn Sung Do

January 17, 1995 – 4:53 pm
Korea 058

The Ajimah at the Inn Dae Won was glad to see me back and put me back in my old room. The Inn Dae Won hadn’t improved in my absence, but at least it was familiar. In fact, it felt almost homey, and I began to find my place in the rhythm of the strange life there. There were always people lounging …

Korea 010 – Kyongju & Pusan

January 15, 1995 – 4:52 pm
Korea 058

The next day, I went to Kyongju by bus. The Koreans are very proud of the ancient city of Kyongju and the past glory it represents. Kyongju, I was told by a Korean man on the bus, was home to twenty five National Treasures, thirty five Treasures, and over sixty Historical Sites and Natural Monuments. It was, he said without a trace of humour, a …

Korea 009 – Train to Taegu

January 13, 1995 – 4:51 pm
Korea 058

I finally reached the train station only to find another vast expanse of wide roads, elevated access ramps and thousands of vehicles blocking my path. There was no way to get across except for once more to go underground. By now I had discovered a technique. Before going down the first set of steps, I visualized a straight line from me to the train station …

Korea 008 – Going South

January 11, 1995 – 4:50 pm
Korea 058

My second morning, after another wet and frustrating encounter with the shower from which I emerged rather dirtier than when I had entered, I packed my belongings and then slipped my arms through the heavy shoulder straps of my backpack. I was leaving on a trip to see the other cities of Korea. Walking with my pack on in that small room proved difficult, …