2010.06.27 - Goodbye & Hello

Departing Sweden and Arrival in Korea

We have been absent for a while here on our web page, due to some very busy weeks in our gypsy lives!

As we had our departure fixed for June 16th, you may think that we spent the first part of June packing our things. Not true!! We decided to bring only the minimum (i.e. our pillows and the sports gear - the bare necessities!), so the packing was done in half a day. Instead we spent the time with our friends, enjoying their company and trying to convince them to come visit us in Korea!

Sean, Spencer and Heini

My parents came to visit us in Malmö on the 7th of June. My sister and niece had planned to come as well, but a few days before a much expected real estate deal came through and they had to concentrate on their future home instead of farting around in foreign countries (they bought a farm and now had to transfer cattle, run two farms for a while, move personal gods and farm equipment ... the list never ends!). But at least my parents came over for a weekend. The weather was unusually good (that is: it wasn't raining), so on the Saturday - shortly after they arrived - we drove south out of Malmö and continued down towards Skanör and Falsterbo. These two villages are at the very south of Sweden and are famous for their beaches and windsurfing. It was still a bit too cold to go swimming, but warm enough to stroll on the beach and eat an ice cream at the yacht club ! It's always Ice-Cream-Time ...

Paula and my parents walking over the marsh to the beach in Skanör

Still a little too fresh for bathing

Majstang i Skanör - used for the Midsummer celebrations

After the beach stroll we headed inland through the small villages and past the Saturday bike riders (or rather: being passed by) to Bokskogen - the beech forest close to Malmö where I have gone mountain biking a few times. As my parents were a little tired from a long day in the car (they had come from Fyn in the morning), we just went for a quick walk around the café area and then returned to Malmö for Thai take-away.

Paula and my mother at Bokskogen

Couldn't really tell on my parents that they had spent around 6 hours in the car at this point!

Next morning we turned up at the Bridge Race in Malmö harbour. This was a double sailing race celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Øresund Bridge - the bridge that connects Sweden with Denmark. The races started simultaneously in Sweden and Denmark and the boats should then meet at the bridge. On the Swedish side 6 boats started - 2 in each of the three categories. All beautiful boats and the race was planned so that the start took place inside the harbour where the spectators had a good view of what was happening.

Small regatta at Dockan

There were some nice racing yachts there

This one competed in the old boys category. Beautiful boat !

Some girls were handing out free promotional drinks to the spectators - My mom was happy to finally get one - she had been left out the first 4 times around! There were so few spectators that we left with about 8 of these drinks !

And the race has started!

After the start of the race we headed off towards Gamla Bo and Bosjökloster - an old monastery half an hour's drive from Malmö. The monastery has a long history with mixed Swedish and Danish roots and as such it is a good mirror of southern Sweden's past and present.

Bosjökloster from the lakeside

Here I am checking out the goats .... never turn your back to one!

The flowers were overwhelming

Me inside the 1000-year old oak

From the yard of the monastery

From the Bosjökloster we drove further north towards Söderåsen National Park. I had heard about this place but never been, so we drove off on one of our famous mystery tours! A little more lost than normal, we drove through some pretty typical Swedish landscape with rocky fields and lonely forest homes. It was quite pretty but it wasn't exactly where we had planned to be! My parents got associations to the time they got lost in a New Zeeland forest ! They said that even the landscape reminded them of NZ. No worries though - we soon got on the right track again and made it up to the big ravine. This ravine is quite an unusual feature in the otherwise flat-ish region of Skåne. And it is definitely a place to return to - either with our trekking boots or my mountain bike! The whole area is really picturesque and definitely a place we will want to explore more .... when we are back in Sweden again.

At the ravine in Söderåsen - we finally made it !

It's not all flat in Skåne!

Our last weekend in Sweden was reserved for a farewell brunch with friends and aforementioned packing. Not wanting to mount a monstrous event as our last farewell party where 60 people kicked it off in our apartment, we held it at a rather more serene pace (except for the World Cup outburst from time to time and the constant humming of the vuvuzelas in the background!). Our friends dropped in and out throughout the afternoon, making it a very nice memory for us to bring to Korea.

Tom and Claudio at the brunch

Chae Lin in her Korean hanbok

Youngae, Pau, Tom, Noelia, Linda and Claudio

Pau, Chae Lin and Youngae

She looks so cute in her traditional dress!

Emil, Sven, Laura, Ana Ruth, Shirley and Claudio

Shirley, Pau, Linda, Claudio and Sven

Ana Ruth making faces again!

Monday was my last day at Lauritzen Kosan, Tuesday my first at Lauritzen Bulkers in Copenhagen, Wednesday was our departure day from Denmark, Thursday our arrival day in Korea and Friday my first day at work in Korea. Busy week.

Our visa issues were solved at the very last moment on Tuesday, so Wednesday morning we had all packed down and Peo in her travelling bag. Taxi to the airport with aaaaaall our luggage - it's such a relief when you get your 60 kg of luggage checked in and Peo's travel in cabin confirmed and paid. Not until then can we fully relax. Peo previous travelling experience helped her a bit and she managed to go through the long trip without any trouble. If it was due to extreme posture of sheer terror I don't know, but she did well!

Peo was worn out after a long flight!

Thursday morning we arrived in our new apartment in Busan - tired and ready to lie down for a few hours. Unfortunately our apartment wasn't really what I would call fully equipped. There was the minimum of sheets and no towels and the kitchen was very empty. We managed to get a shower and a few hours of sleep before we went out to explore the area. We were especially interested in finding a HomePlus or E-Mart supermarket where we could buy some cleaning agents, towels, toilet paper, pots and pans etc.

Me in an empty house....

The kitchen

Peo soon felt at home !

Our apartment is huge! And it is located on the 40th floor with a view to the harbour and the ship yard on Yeongdo island in the back (when it's not foggy as it is at this very moment!) It is actually way too big for us and Paula is not keen on living in the clouds, but we pretty much have to endure as the apartment leases normally don't run for only a few months and we will have the option to move up to Ulsan in fall, when we start building the last two vessels up there. At that time I will have to divide my time between two site offices, so we might as well live in Ulsan as in Busan, driving between the two offices. Ulsan is a much smaller place than Busan and I think it will suit our lifestyles better. Whatever we do here in Busan will involve a lot of time in traffic. Even though the yard is only a few kilometres away in straight line, it takes me at least half an hour from door to door each way. Still - it is nice to experience this big-city life as well - knowing that it is only for a short time makes it do-able. The apartment is located in-between all the places we would normally visit, so even though it takes a long time for us to go anywhere, it is still convenient. And we have two different metro lines nearby, so when we tire of the traffic we can always just go by metro (not to my work though).

OK - here we go again ......

We actually look DOWN on a heli-pad! That just freaks me out ! Here on a foggy day

Half an hour later it had cleared up somewhat

Friday was my first day at the office. I met with the guys there and spent a bit of time with Jan who I am replacing. Monday we continued with the hand-over, lunch with the shipyard, transferring bank accounts and ending it off with a small reception at our office. Tuesday morning Jan was on a plane back to Copenhagen, so the rest of the week I kept myself busy trying to make heads and tails of the project. I am pleased with work so far. I have very good colleagues who already have experience with these vessels, so they pretty much take care of business!

Last Sunday Jamie and Colin came down from Busan to show Jamie's sister and nephews the Busan Aquarium. We met up at the Thai restaurant close to the Aquarium and later drove back to our apartment through the heavy traffic which is so normal here. For Ulsan-folks it is a little unnerving but I am already getting used to it. Used to driving in it but not used to not being able to avoid it !!!!

During the week we have tried to get around a bit after work. I normally get home from work a bit before 6pm so there is time for walk or a trip on the metro. We've already been to Nampo-dong, Seomyeong a couple of times, Maritime city and of course the local neighbourhood.

Cold Stone and me are friends!

Have also befriended King Kong and Spiderman!

Seomyeong has lots to offer

It even looks a little Japanese some places

The food is 100% Korean at this restaurant though!!!! Welcome back !!!

Last year we met Nalini and Oskar at a dinner at Flemming and Marilyn's place in Ulsan. We haven't seen them since but we hit it off pretty good, so we were thrilled when they agreed to meet up for dinner on Wednesday. They were the ones showing us the Maritime City behind the Haeundae HomePlus - a waterfront promenade with restaurants and a beautiful view of the Gwangalli Bridge and Beach. We spent a really nice evening together and agreed to hook up again soon. Little did we know that it would be so soon ....

With the Ulsanians and Singaporians

Colin and Jamie

Oskar, Nalini, Pau and me with Gwangalli Bridge behind us

On Saturday we were invited for Swedish Midsummer party at their place out by Haeundae Beach. In their area there are several Scandinavians households as Det norske Veritas has their office close by in Gwangalli. I am pretty keen on getting to know some of these guys as they are very active in the sports department, and at this party alone I met people with whom I hope to go windsurfing, scuba diving, mountainbiking, play squash and tennis and pretty much any other outdoor activity I can think of ! Yiihaaaa! The party was really nice - we had to make our own flower tiaras before dinner. Dinner was pickled herring followed by swedish meat balls and smoked salmon. Followed again by three huge cakes. All was acompanied by Norwegian and danish Akvavit (schnapps) so it really was very Scandinavian and just lovely!

The boys and their beers at the Midsummer party

... while the girls were with their flowers!

Swedish tradition apparently!

Chin Chin !!!

Some were talented

Others not so ....

Santa Paulita!

No Swedes in this photo but we all jumped the wagon and made our tiaras

Oskar serving the schnapps to Andreas and Paula

Look at this ... Pickeled herring and Carlsberg ... in Korea of all places !!!

In Chile you can get a coffee with legs (cafe con pierna) - here you can get a coffee with boobs !

Today we slept in til 9:30 due to the party last night. After a quick trip to seomyeong for lunch and a short shopping tour with Nalini and Gaby we were already worn out again and had to return back home for more resting ! Getting old, I guess!!!

Oskar and Nalini have cats also, so Peo thought we were going to trade her in when she realized that we had been with other cats. She was not happy!