December 7th 2009 - St Andrews

December 7th 2009

St. Andrews Ball

Last week was pretty busy. We can definitely see an increase in social activities now that we are soon leaving Korea. There are many fiends to say Auf Wiedersehen to and many arrangements to handle. We have gotten off to a good start by selling Paula's car and the GPS navigation. Well - I am trying to update the GPS map-ware before handing it over, which is not as straight forward as it sounds! We have also transferred Paula's cell phone to Jade, so now we just need to apply for a Taiwanese visa and we should have the paperwork bagged.

Then there is the last minute shopping ..... facial cremes, shoes, jackets etc. Things we may or may not need but which are way cheaper out here than at home. X-mas presents. You name it ... chances are that we have at least one at home! Paula is in charge of most of the shopping but the goods are pretty equally split between us. I need some office clothes as there apparently is a dress code where I will be working after New Years ..... hmmmm, that will be weird after running around in a worn, smelly, paint stained blue boiler suit for almost 3 years!

Last week was the last time that we saw one of our vessels in the shipyard harbour. The yard delivered the ship on Friday and it left the harbour to stay at anchorage for the gas trial (operation tests of the cargo plant). It is strange not to see one of our ships lying there, waiting for us to write comments and complain to the shipyard !!! I bet they are happy it is over! So this week the gas trial has started and I spent all day today onboard. With a bit of luck we will finish in time for the weekend. Then we will spend next week packing and on the 18th we fly to Seoul, stay one night and then continue on to Taiwan to see my sister. Back in Ulsan on the 25th and to Sweden on the 27th. Can't believe almost three years have passed .....

Castel Nuovo leaving Bangeojin Harbour - last ship is out of the bag!!!

Paula has been busy this week also. She got another year under her belt on Wednesday and celebrated it with Mrs. Sun and Marilyn for lunch at the Hyundai Dept. Store. We didn't do anything at night, as several of the people we were planning to invite had fallen sick. Actually, we didn't mind a quiet evening at home ... Monday Paula had been to Busan with the girls and Tuesday we had been to the Japanese at Ulsan Beach with Johannes (our gas engineer) and Asbjoern (a service engineer from Denmark).

The girls threw a birthday lunch for Paula.

All these people managed to fit in Flemming's car and go on a shopping trip to Busan!

Asbjoern and Johannes at the sashimi place. Johannes almost swallowed one of the big balls of wasabi but spat it out again when he saw our surprised faces (and heard us all scream "NOO!!!" at the same time!)

Johannes in the baseball pit. He looks like he enjoyed it!

Asbjoern giving it a try

And then on to the Basketball - more success there!

Thursday we went out with Jerome, who is here again for a few weeks for the turnover of his duties. He and Stephanie moved back to France a few weeks ago. We went to the dog restaurant close to "my" shipyard - Jerome likes dogs (funny how that sentence takes on a completely different meaning after a few years in Korea!).

Jerome and Peder at the dog restaurant

Friday we went out with Johannes and Ole - another service engineer from Denmark. He had flown in the day before from Denmark on a two-hour notice, gone straight to work at 10pm and finished 4-5 hours later. Needless to say, we didn't stay out till late!

I had plans to go biking Saturday, but it was so cold and windy that I gave it a miss. Also, I had to put in a few hours at work in the morning, before the ship left the harbour. In the evening we were joining Jamie and Colin for a pre-party drink at the Hyundai Hotel. We were going to the yearly St. Andrews Ball - probably the main social event of the year for the Ulsan expats. So we were all dressed up - dress code you know!

In front of the Hyundai Hotel before entering the Ball

Before dinner

Korean bag piper .....

After some years here these things seem normal ...

My company had bought entries for all of the site team, but we had bought our tickets earlier and made arrangements with Jamie and Colin beforehand, so we didn't sit at the same table. Still, with so many expats gathered in the same room, much time was spent circulating and watching the crazy kamikaze linedancers !!

Jamie, Peder and Colin waiting for the haggis

Colin and his haggis

The room was filled ..... over 200 people.

Jerry started the speech with a full bottle ....

.... and ended with an empty bottle.

Yves and Sissel showing Mimi and Hannah how to open a champagne bottle

Hannah and Mimi

The dance has begun !

We had a really nice evening and to our great surprise, Scots aren't all that dull !!! (actually, there were remarkably few Scots present - it seemed that anybody north, east, south and west of London were Scottish that night!)

The pictures speak for themselves ...


We made our own small dance floor in the back of the room

Paula and Colin swingin' it!

Jamie and Colin ventured out on the big dance floor

Martina even got Egor to take a few steps .....

Two of my colleagues, Mr. Kim and Rodel

Just to prove that we were staiding until the very end.

Sunday I worked again, when the ship was lying at the harbour getting the last owners items onboard along with the ethylene and propane gas which is needed for the gas trial. When I finished I went straight to downtown to meet up with Paula, Jamie and Colin. It was a much awaited day for Paula. Ever since she saw the movie Twilight, she has been waiting impatiently for the premier of the second movie in the triology - New Moon. Jamie and Colin had graciously offered to come with us ... something they regretted bitterly later!

Pre-movie shot .....

Paula loved the movie .... we will bring her to the next 007 premiere as bayback!!

Post-movie shot