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Other than exams...

Inch'on, South Korea

I've still be having a great time. But you know, exams are never fun anywhere.

I forgot to mention that last week, other than the folk village, I visited another one of the Palaces, Gwanghamun as well as a Buddhist Temple (I stumbled upon it by accident). It was yet another solo mission. Yeah, I'm extremely touristy and will visit traditional grounds whenever I can. Either way, it was pretty nice, though I regret doing the walk after Tae Kwon Do (will tell you more about that below). My legs were extremely sore for two days, and walking was so painful. But! It was beautiful, to say the least. A hot spot for foreigners as well as couples.

So yes, I've also been busy with Tae Kwon Do. Yep, I ended up joining the school's team here in the end along with two Chinese exchange students. They're in my Korean Tutoring classes and are super nice! Their names are Ying and Wei-Wei.

Tae Kwon Do has been a lot of fun so far. Lots of training, and lots of energy. I've learnt how to 'cheer' in Korean. It's used at games, or if you're training/studying for a big exam. Essentially, someone says something and you reply...


For those who don't know what that means, it's Koreans and Foreigners alike like to call "Konglish". Koreans take an English word and Koreanize it. And it might not always mean the same thing.

For instance, Hwaiting, is the Koreanized word for "Fighting!". I assume you've all seen one bar brawl or highschool fight where people are going 'Fight, fight, fight'! Well, that's where it originally came from. Except for Koreans thought that it was just a cheer to give people energy. Not encouraging someone to beat the crap out of each other.

Speaking of beating up people, me and Wei-Wei are also joining the amateur competition being held in Busan on November 13th, 14th, and 15th, so that'll be awesome. Essentially, I couldn't say no. Captain wanted me on the team once he found out about my Karate background. Wei-Wei, though having no prior martial arts experience, really wants to fight nonetheless. She's a real firecracker! I think that she can be ready in a month actually.

Of course, I'd love to win, but even if I don't, it's a trip to Busan (the second biggest city, apparently know for it's beautiful port), so it all works out.

The rest of the TKD team has been super kind and helpful. Hopefully, it'll help me pick up Korean a bit faster.

Check out Facebook and this album for more photos!

permalink written by  Maestro on October 16, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Palace, Korea, Inha, Gwanghamun, Tae, Kwon and Do

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Busy Busy, But awesome

Inch'on, South Korea

Forgive the lacking of the posting. I haven't forgotten, I've just been exhausted and lazy with with TKD going on five times a week. As I've mentioned, we're training for a tournament in Busan, so it's been pretty intense. I currently sitting down in slight pain. I hate jogging, but it works the legs.

Other than that, I've haven't been anywhere new mainly because of the amount of stuff I've been doing here. However, that's cool, because I still have managed to see new things. And people.

To be more specific, saw a famous Korean actor two weeks ago whilst I was in Myeong Dong. His name? Kwon Sang Woo. Now, whilst I didn't know who it was then, I didn't really care. Why? Because it's a famous person, and he must've been hot due to the amount of girls waiting in the area.

Kwon Sang Woo is most famous for the drama 'My Tutor Friend'. Now whilst I haven't seen it, I took a look at a few of this guy's pictures, and he's a looker. He's also very popular in Japan, which is why he opened up a coffee shop in Myeong Dong (an area in Seoul where there are many Japanese tourists and trendy shopping). At the coffee shop on that day, he was apparently signing autographs. So, for fun, two of my friends and I decided to wait around, see if we could get a glimpse of this star.

In the front of the cafe, there was a bodyguard. Score. I took a shot with my camera (I'll upload those later). We waited a bit more. Soon enough, girls started to scream. Another bodyguard came out along with Mr. Kwon. Now, I've never been in a moshpit, nor have I ever surfed on top of a crowd, but I imagine it's a bit similar to what I experienced. Seeing as I got my pictures (not of the guy, since there was too much moving), I want to go the opposite way of the girls, however, you try doing that when Kwonny boy is walking into another shop. Nope. You're following that crowd until they disperse. I didn't need to walk for that minute. I'm sure I could've just stood there and I would've been dragged along.

Either way, it was a fabulous experience. Whilst I'm sure it happens in Montreal, I'm never in the vicinity. I was actually told that Snoop Dogg was at Concordia the beginning of this year. If I was there, I would've gone to see him. Not because I'm a fan of Snoop Dogg, but I enjoy just experience the crowd and snapping photos. And then reciting my exciting tales about seeing a celebrity that I had no apparent interest in before.

Whilst I don't have any images to upload this week, I do have videos for those who like Break Dancing and Music! Oh and a few things from the Korean Folk Village.










permalink written by  Maestro on November 3, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Study, Abroad, Korea and Inha

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Tournament and Stuffs!

Pusan, South Korea

Well, I went to the tournament in Busan over the weekend, and boy it was great! So worth it! I came in the top 12 out of 50 in my category, so I can't complain to much (I will though because you know how I am with losing a fight).

Though it was a great experience, I'm not crazy about the rules and what counts and a point and what doesn't in the sport (who would've thought that a twist kick wouldn't count!?) However, being able to do spin kicks and twist kicks to the face is still pretty awesome. Mind you, I got a twist kick to the nose, which still hurts a bit, but that's mainly because I did it to the girl in the first place. So you know... I deserved it.

I didn't know this, but Inha's TKD team is pretty well known, so needless to say I felt really lucky to go with them. They were all just great too. There's just so much to talk about. I guess I will have to explain through... INTERPRETIVE DANCE.

Or just pictures. Go check them out at Facebook (Now that it's working again). Remember, you don't need an account with the link (though these days, who doesn't have Facebook?)


permalink written by  Maestro on November 18, 2009 from Pusan, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Busan, Study, Abroad, Korea, Inha and Taekwondo

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OMG You Guys

Seoul, South Korea

Yep. Me and two friends went to go see Legally Blonde: The Musical here in Korea. I gotta say, it was great. I'm sure for that do know, it comes at a bit of a shocker that I would go to something so girly, but in these past few years, I've been slowly embrassing my feminine pink side, as my other pals can tell ya. Other than my purse though, I didn't wear anything pink. It was far too cold and rainy for that as you can see by the jackets we're all wearing.

Anyway, the actors and actresses potrayed their characters wonderfully (Especially Elle, Emmett and Warner), the music adaptations were catchy, and the dancing was amazing. The people that they got to play the parts are pretty well known here in Korea according to Hye Chi and Dahae. Quite a few of them were in Dramas before. (For those who've watched Coffee Prince, one of the actors from there is in it). Of course, we couldn't take pictures of the actual musical, but we managed some with the posters (as you can see). Go ahead and check them out either here or on Facebook.

EDIT: The delivery man, Kyle? Jesus, he was more sexual than the American one. And this comes from a country that says they're more conservative than the west. :P

permalink written by  Maestro on November 22, 2009 from Seoul, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Blonde, Seoul, Korea, Musical and Legally

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All in all...

Montreal, Canada

Happy New Year everyone! (Assuming anyone still reads this)

So, incase you haven't known, I've been back in Canada for about two weeks now. The last few days in Korea were great, but the flight back was hell and a half, with the exception of riding business class from Seoul to Tokyo. That was pretty sweet. And meeting two really cool people. Other than that, it was very long, uncomfortable with a lot of security.

Why can't crazy people leave their craziness at home? I'm expecting in the not too distance future, we'll all be flying naked. Not even a plastic bag, because you can probably suffocate someone with it.

So, now that I'm back in the homeland, I'm settling back into my routine. It's nice to be back in my apartment (with a new T.V), see mounds of snow (and complain about it), and hang out with all of my old friends again. I've started up classes again at Concordia and they seem to be pretty interesting. I've also gotten caught up with gaming (Silent Hill and Dragon Age). Life back in Montreal is nice. With the exception of a work issue, it's nice to be back.

Yet, there's a part of me that still wants to be back in Korea. I really liked it there, in all it's highs and lows. It feels like I was just settling down right before I had to pack up my stuff and leave again. I met some great people that I won't forget, visited some amazing places, joined in exciting activities, and of course, had amazing adventures. It's something that I know I'll never forget. I don't know if I've 'grown' from this experience like a lot of people say they have when they've lived abroad, but I know that I've gotten at least something from all of this.

There's no doubt in my mind that I'll go back there someday. It may not be tomorrow or next year, but someday, I will.

Thanks to everyone who's been keeping up with this blog, and thanks to all the friends I made at Inha University. You guys are the best and I'll miss you all! Don't forget me!

permalink written by  Maestro on January 9, 2010 from Montreal, Canada
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Study, Abroad, Korea and Sad

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My Hometown

Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Rent a car from the airport from the city and heading to Hong Kong. Boil away Pong Pa Pae. Hot springs rising in the country. Surrounded by tall trees and dense it is.

12:00 am Lunch.

13.00 am for the natural water of the creek. The water then travels to Houston. Which is enshrined in the pagoda. The Memphis belle And sacred Buddha images. The effect of the head is hollow. Moree was turned off and visited the village, peaceful lakes and water out. Village, Yunnan, China. Then stroll around the village. Swing, swing, or overly fun.

16:00 am Enjoy a delicious coffee and cake tasting and smooth at C ♡ ffee In L ♡ ve enjoyed the view from my view. And a lovely Interior.

17.00 Check-in Pai, Thailand, or the equivalent.

19:00 pm Dinner at the hotel. (Overnight) with a natural night's impressive.

permalink written by  chitarshop on March 22, 2012 from Mae Hong Son, Thailand
from the travel blog: Mae Hong Son
tagged Korea, Pai and Maehongson

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Seoul Searching

Seoul, South Korea

We took off at 8am on 2 June from Orlando to Seoul - too early! Pretty good flight though, not a long layover in Detroit, and then straight to Seoul. Delta lost one of Kris' bags so we got that a few hours later (not bad actually). The Grand Hyatt Seoul is pretty nice, there is a huge gym that we have already hit up twice over the last few mornings. Normally I don't have much jet lag, but for some reason, I just couldn't stay up on Sunday when we arrived and we ended up sleeping from 5pm - 1am. Soooo now I am way off! We've been going to the gym around 3am! Yesterday, we woke up (super-early yes) and had a great breakfast in the Hyatt (club floor :)) We headed to the concierge to get some city info (awesome girl named Sonnie). Ryan is on business travel with Kris, so he accompanied us on the first day's adventures.
Sporting our gym shoes, we took a cab to the bottom of the trail leading up to the Seoul Tower (Needle), and we hiked up the hill, maybe about a half hour to the base of the Tower. We were so early, we had to wait for them to open! Kris was going to show me the tile he made me a year or so ago, but they had taken it down apparently.

The Seoul Tower is pretty cool and the theme is all about love. Love for every culture and everyone.

I sent mom a postcard from the top :)

Keeping in tradition with our locks when we travel, we added a lock to the lock tree outside of the Needle. Kris insisted on climbing all the way to the top of the highest tree and 'installing' our lock there

After we left the Needle, we went to Itaewon by the hotel for some traditional Korean lunch, but we were so early that we had to grab a beer before any places opened for lunch! After a quick lunch, we headed to the art district,Insa-dong. There were tons of streets with handicrafts and hand made art, ranging from utensils to jewelry and herbs to candles. Everything is so colorful and 'happy' here in Korea. Tons of anime characters and tasteful graffiti is everywhere. People just love to write all over the walls on the streets and markets and even inside the restaurants. We grabbed a coffee and some cake at a coffee shop where Kris had written some graffiti himself last year. Check out the photo, we added another date to it :)

After leaving Insa-dong, we headed to the fashion district, Myeong-dong in search of my favorite Singapore store, bYSI. After searching where the concierge said it would be, we were informed that it had closed. BUMMER, because I love that store! Well maybe I'll come back to this section of town to check out some other things :).
We were pretty tired, so we headed back to the hotel for some shut eye at like 5pm! Damn jet-lag!

permalink written by  blondie on June 4, 2012 from Seoul, South Korea
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Korea and SeoulTower

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DMZ = wid life sanctuary, hope, and unification - at least that's what I am told

Seoul, South Korea

Tuesday Kris and Ryan left for work early, and I headed on an early morning tour to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which is a 4km area surrounding the border between North and South Korea. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to get on the Joint Security Area (JSA) tour where you can actually go to the boarder line in the conference room where the two sides meet, but I needed to reserve that tour a few days in Advance because of security concerns. Regardless, the tour I headed on was really very interesting and kind of creepy. We took a bus an hour North of Seoul, and as we got closer to the DMZ, there was very little traffic and a lot of barbed wire alongside the road. Our tour guide was really hard to understand, but very knowledgeable and very eager to explain all about the divide and how one day the two countries will reconcile again. I know this sounds awfully simplistic, but I couldn't help but think how the thought of a line drawn and a DMZ created reminded me of my two brothers sharing a room when they were younger. They would tape a line on the floor and tell each other they couldn't cross it! Anyways, yes that was much less drama I guess than this high tension area of the world.
We first went to this little tourist resort called Imjingak, which was supposed to symbolize unity. Located just South of the DMZ, I thought it was such an odd location to be housing a carnival/amusement park (which was strangely non-operational at the moment I was there, and I wondered if it ever operated). I couldn't imagine a family randomly going to this resort for the carnival located here. I think the pinwheels in this photo are to symbolize happiness, unity and hope.

We then hopped back on our bus and headed to Dorasan Station. This station was build particularly to connect South Korea with Pyeongyang, but only operated once. It is a brand new train station that has been indefinitely closed. Again, hopes are that it will not stay this way. I never thought about it, but my tour guide asserted that South Korea is essentially an island. On a map it is a peninsula, but with the border to North Korea closed, he was correct, South Korea is essentially an island. You cannot reach any other country except by air. I thought this map of the would-be train routes was very interesting. This train station was supposed to connect South Korea with other parts of Asia and Europe.

Without getting into a history lesson, South Korea has discovered a number of tunnels built by North Korea in a probable attempt to attack Seoul from under ground. They believe that there are many more tunnels that have been built or are being built that they do not yet know about. The third tunnel that was discovered was opened for tourism, and part of our tour was this Third Tunnel. There was a very steep incline to get down to the tunnel and we were able to walk a fair way into the tunnel, which was very wet and only about 4 feet high in some places. I don't think I will ever forget the smell in the tunnel. The literature said that 30,000 North Korean troops could have fit through that tunnel in 1 hour. Most of the tour was limited photo-ops due to security concerns, so I don't have any photos.

We then headed to the Unification Observatory where I could actually see into North Korea. This photo here is the North Korean flag at the DMZ, which they built higher than South Korea's flag.

After the tour, I was glad to be back in Seoul. It's crazy to think that all of this is actually going on. But the most interesting part to me was how optimistic all of the South Korans were (at least on the tour) that one day very soon that the two countries would reunite or at least open the border back up. Everything about the DMZ was positive somehow in their eyes. The DMZ is a happy wild life sanctuary, nature preserve and all of the unification activities and tourism surrounding it were all just signs of a happy ending to come soon.

I had met a guy from New York and a girl from France on my DMZ tour, so we decided to grab some late lunch after we got dropped off. It was nice to meet a few new people since Kris had been at work the whole day and wasn't able to come with me. Once Kris got back from work, we headed out to eat at a Bulgarian place in Itaewon.

permalink written by  blondie on June 6, 2012 from Seoul, South Korea
from the travel blog: Asian Persuasion - June 2012
tagged Korea and DMZ

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