June 15th 2008 - Bye Campbell

June 15th 2008

Tea ceremony, Farewells, Hail concert and Swedish last minute defeat

Hi friends - sorry to post a teaser, but I am too tired now to update our web page. You'll have to come back tomorrow, when I hopefully will have something ready. There's lots to tell, so it might take me a little while to get everything down in words.

Monday June 16th:

Too little sleep and too much exercise will eventually catch up with you. Trust me ... I know! I still haven't recovered entirely, but at least I now have the whole evening to complete this update. Or what's left of the evening; after arranging the photos, it is now 9:30.

Peo - sleeping beauty !

Well, the week started with the usual squash and work-out. We are still keeping it going. Tuesday Flemming and Marilyn invited us for dinner at SeaHouse together with Carlos and our chinese man in Busan, Minje Huang. He has been spending a few days at our site team, as the workload for the Busan Project is low at the moment. We did not know SeaHouse but were pleasently surprised. We now have one more restaurant to choose from ! They had a very large buffet ... next time I will only eat ice cream !!

Friday evening was spent at the Old Compound where three sets of good friends were doing their pour-out (farewell party) together. Thank God they did it together or we would have had to split our time between all of them. As it was we could just get blasted and stay put ! Always good. My mountain bike buddy Geoff and his wife Wendy are packing up to go to Houston, my tennis buddy Campbell is heading home to Perth to do a masters and Jake and Isobel are moving to Japan for 4 months before retiring (or so they say!). All have had a great impact on the Compound and will be missed. At least we have a good party to think back at!

Saturday I had to work for a short while in the morning. The site team was invited to a mountain restaurant in the aternoon by our agent, but unfortunately Paula and I had already arranged to meet with Paulas friend Jessie to go see a tea ceremony. It has been Paula's dream to see a proper tea ceremony for a very long time, and I cannot deny being a bit curious myself. The ceremony was held at a volunteer center in downtown. The rrom was prepared with carpets and pillows and in front of us sat a Korean woman in traditional dress and served tea in the most elaborate manner I have ever seen ! The serving of the tea is as much a meditation as a pleasure for the eye. It took about 30 minutes to serve 5 cups of tea after which we got an explanation of the different utensils and procedures. Then some sweets were served and we fell in to talk with a Japanese man from Shimonoseki, a sister city to Ulsan.

In the evening we went to the Ocean View Hotel where the compound band HAIL were playing. My colleagues has made it back from the mountains and were already in good mood when we got there. There was also a good crowd from the old cmpound (they are rarely seen outside the compound gates!) and from Bangeojin, the area where we live. The band had picked a really good set to play and personally I think it was their best concert for a long time. Only one mishap when Hans Petter broke the drums in the middle of a song !!

After the concert we went home and watched Sweden-Spain at the Euro 2008. We sat up until 3am just to see Spain steal the game with a last minute decider. Robbery at night time ! 5 hours later I was out of bed again and up on my bike. It was Geoff's last ride so he sat the route. Up Nammok Hill to the smoke station then down the stairs to the beach. Then back up to the Obelisk and down through the mine fields. 36 km, 7% average incline with a maximum of 30% (!) and 5% average downhill slope with a maximum of 30%. Tough as h*** and part of the reason I was so tired yesterday evening. But it was all worth it. Geoff's last ride had it all. Viewpoints, single tracks up and down, technical riding, stairs, mechanical problems, falls and blood. But no serious injury luckily. A classic in other words !!

Sunday afternoon we met up with our Korean friend Mr. Kim and his nephew at the Tae river in downtown. This weekend the town were celebrating the TaeHwa water festival, so the river banks were full of exibitions and activities. To get away from the noise we crossed a temporary floating bridge (hate the thing ... and Paula even more so, I think. The bridge was all over the place!) to get to the bamboo forest. This whole area of the city is being "preserved" as an Eco-Park. We'll see what the result will be, but for now it is a very pleasent breathing hole in the city. From there we went on to Munzu Stadium, which was built for the 2002 World Cup. There is quite a nice recreational area around the stadium.

In the evening Mr. Kim invited us for dinner at his place. His wife Mrs. Lee had spent the day cooking, by the looks of it ! The food was really nice .. no kimchi, which is unusual for a Korean meal. Kimchi does not agree with us - it's just too spicy. But as said, we really enjoyed the meal and the company. We don't have all that many Korean friends and it was good to see how the "locals" live.

Click below to see a slideshow with all the photos from the week - excluding the mountain bike photos

Click below to see all the mountain bike photos


And finally the mountain bike movie!