October 18th 2009 - Bernie

October 18th 2009

Visitor and biking ... well, more like biking visitor!

Paula ran off this week. Apparently she'd rather be in Japan with 3 girlfriends than here with me !!!! I'm hurt!

Paula, Jamie, Stephanie and Mari in Fukuoka, Japan on a 4-day trip.

Maybe she'll get around to posting a story from her trip, so stay tuned. As it happened it wasn't at all a bad time to get out of Dodge City, as I was busy with pressure tests both Tuesday and Wednesday night, arriving home around 9pm. Thursday I missed lunch at home as I was kept busy somewhere south of town, so all in all she may have been better off in Japan!

Jamie, Paula and Stephanie at a tea ceremony

Getting ready for a day touring Fukuoka on bike.

Friday afternoon my friend from Utila, Bernie, was scheduled to arrive. He is on a trip from northern Japan to Seoul via southern Japan. On bicycle! Need I say that he is German ?!?! Even equipped with several maps and a GPS, he managed to misjudge the distance from Busan to Ulsan by a factor two and on top of that get lost in our small village and not find where we live. To his defense, I will add that the maps and GPS are pretty useless here and that the distances shown on street signs just can't be right. Even I don't believe them and I am pretty gullible! Anyway - instead of an expected easy ride of 70km, he ended up having to go 120km to reach our house. But he got here, which is the most important thing. After a few catch-up beers, rice wine, soyu and a shower, we headed down to the Japanese tuna sashimi place at Ilsan Beach. Seeing that Bernie had only eaten at convenience stores the whole time in Japan, we thought we'd better show him some real Japanese cuisine. Just so that he'd know what he had missed out on!

Peder and Bernie meeting up after 13 years ! We have come a long way since Utila...

From there it was a matter of the usual Ilsan Beach tour with the unavoidable baseball pits and ending the evening with some live music at the Ocean View expat bar.

I think he was pretending the base ball was one of his customers from Denmark!!!


Next morning we got up early despite our heavy heads. We had a mission, you see. Well, at least I had a mission. I was determined to show Bernie that mountain biking is more fun than road biking (what could be easier than that?!). So we drove down to Ingo's apartment to pick up his bike and headed for Yeompo Mountain. Bernie had been quite confident leading up to this ride, but he quickly became a little more respectful!

Saturday morning at the Hyundai Miboo viewpoint

The chain came off or there was a mosquito in the way ... I don't remember which, but I do remember that he had an excuse ready. It wasn't because it was steep at least!

So far so good!

After walking up the first few semi-steep (!) hills, he pulled himself together and actually managed quite well. He rode up most (OK - almost all .... I'll give him the credit he deserves) hills after the initial shock, although he never really accepted my definition of "flat-ish" and "almost at the top"! In the end we did a nice 5-hour ride through some of the best riding I have found here and returned back home with heavy legs.

A biker ... not a hoola hoop'er!

Almost 3 years in Korea were not in vain!!!

At one of the springs while he was still smiling!

The 2.4km long climb up to the Motor Company Pagoda wiped the smile off his face! It's 300m elevation gain with up to 26% inclines, so mostly flat-ish!

I think he enjoyed the Bulgogi single track. I sure did! It's probably our longest and best single track.

Below you can find a video from our awesome ride:

After a little rest we headed down to the shipyard (but not before stopping off at the bike shop to window-shop). Bernie is in to heavy industries, so a shipyard was just up his alley. I am not sure which was worse for him ... the climbs up the mountain or the climb up and down the ship!


Red sunset over Bangeojin Harbour and SeKwang shipyard

In the evening we were invited over to Jamie and Colin's together with Ray. Ray just came back from England, where his wife Jackie, is recovering from a really bad pneumonia. Luckily he was able to bring us good news and it seems that she is well on the road to recovery, although the road is still very long. Keep fighting, Jackie!

Ray, Bernie and Colin

The girls !

I struggled to stay awake - Bernie had worn me out, it would seem, so we made it an early night. It hadn't anything to do with the company - just my brain wanting more than my body is able to give ( ... the definition of getting old!?!).

Bernie didn't want to hang around us for too long (I think he was afraid that I would drag him out to the mountain again!), so he had decided to leave again Sunday morning. It was a short visit, but we had enjoyed it very much! Will have to make a trip down to Cologne when we are back in Sweden...

Today we have tried to take it a little easier. A trip to the supermarket and Cafe H is what we achieved. Nice and relaxing!