2010.07.10 - The Norwegians
The Norwegian Expat Community
A confession first: I still haven't been out on the bicycle since our return to Korea. The last two weekends it has been raining so offroad biking was out of the question, and this weekend I am incapable of any sort of physical exercise ... be it cycling or just bending down to pick up whatever object has fallen out of my feeble hands ! We can blame it on the Norwegians, but more on that later. First we start at the beginning.
We are slowly getting to know our neighborhood, going out for walks after work or riding the metro to territories further afield. It may not be the rocking centre where we live but at least it is located right in the middle of the 3-4 rocking centres we have found so far. 30 min by car from my work (only about 6 km or 2-3 km in straight line), two stops on the metro from Seomjeong, 25 min by car to Gwangalli beack, 20 by metro to Nampo-dong and about 40 minutes to Haeundae Beach (we still haven't found the best way to go, we hope !). We have a few markets close and have also spent some time finding the best supermarkets around here. We are doing quite a bit of shopping as we still live in a rather empty house ....
Busan is the city of mountains and sea
At work I have settled in well. The team is very good but unfortunately one of our inspectors resigned a few weeks after I arrived here - hope it wasn't something I said !!! No, he is going to a job as site manager in China, so it is understandable that he chose to go for the challenge. I am happy to be back in the shipbuilding business. Although I don't have much time to lot around on the ship, it still feels much more real compared to when I was sitting in the office. The ships are nearer .....
Paula gets a little bored during the day because we don't see each other at lunch as we did when we were in Ulsan, but she sometimes comes in to the office with me in the morning and then meets up with the wife (Pushpita) of one of my colleagues (Saikat) to go on discovery raids in the city.
Here in the building we have a gym, a ping pong table and a golf practice course (mini). We have been to the gym once only - it's quite good, we're just lazy! Or we have other priorities here in the beginning. And we could hardly go work out before our things had arrived, now could we ?!?! (I get a little defensive on the subject !)
Last Friday we met up with some of the Norwegians who we met at the Midsummer party at Oscar and Nalini's the week before. We had a date in a Japanese restaurant on Gwangalli beach followed by a few beers at Thursdays Party right on the beach followed again by a few more drinks and the end of the Brazil - Holland football World Cup quarterfinal. We had left Thursdays Party at the score 1-0 to Brazil to go meet one of the Norway-guys Brazilian friends Leo at Gecko on Haeundae Beach, so big was our surprise when we found out that Holland was up 2 to 1. Poor Leo!
Paula, Sten (I think, Oddvar, Svein Olav and Øyvind at the restaurant in Gwangalli. Tiger prawns being served up!
The game is on at Gecko
Paula and Svein Olav
Next day I had big plans to go biking in Ulsan as we were due a visit there anyway, but I must have forgotten the effect of the local beer Hite on me when I came up with that plan. I managed to put my bike in the car, ride shotgun all the way to Ulsan, wait for the bike shop to service the bike and then ..... thank God that it had started to rain so I would have an excuse for not going. I felt rough!
We were going to spend the weekend with Jamie and Colin - our buddies from Ulsan. Paula has been dreaming about the tuna sashimi restaurant which we used to frequent in Ulsan, so Colin sucked it in (he is not too keen on raw fish) and joined us. It was bliss ! Well worth the wait. After the feast we continued to another old hangout- Kiss bar at the Ocean View - for a game of pool or two.
Next day Colin and I went for a good walk around the Pine Forest while the girls went to HomePlus for (more) shopping. And then on to Angel in Us on Ilsan beach.
Jackie and Ray came down to say "Hi" - good to see her in good shape again!
Ray and Colin - look like brothers here !!
Tuna smiles all around!
Not a good day for pool! I lost a few too many games for my liking!
Breakfast at Ti ... Jamie and Colin's!
Angel in Us on Ilsan beach
After a good weekend with Jamie and Colin we drove past the Old Compound and found Susana and Roberto at home, so we dropped in for a quick chat. Funny how life brings us all back together again!
Monday we had a company dinner with my colleagues in Seomjeong. As it was up to me to find a suitable restaurant, we were kinda short on possibilities, but this Italian restaurant had impressed us a week earlier when we were walking around on one of our discovery tours. It didn't disappoint us, but unfortunately I had misunderstood something along the way so when we were already in the restaurant, three of my colleagues were still waiting for us at the metro exit! We must have walked right passed them ..... I felt so bad !
Mr. Ryu, Anatoliy, Pushpita and her son
Paula, Ms. Yang and Serhiy
Happy ice cream'er - Saikat looking a little envious!
Wednesday we went out to Sasang to meet Øyvind at a dive center there. He wants to start a dive course and I wanted to find out more about dive trips in the area. The dive center had just moved there from Gwangalli Beach so it is still under construction. But the guys there speak English which is unusual here, so we have to live with the extra drive. After checking out the dive center we went for Korean dinner - Paula's first Korean meal since we got back.
Next day - Thursday - we met up with Øyvind and the other Norwegians again for a game of squash at the Haeundae Novotel. We haven't played for over a year so it took us about 5 minutes to be totally wasted. Still, we held out for two hours - something we regretted the next day ... and the next again! Hence no biking this Saturday! Hence the "blame the Norwegians". And I was even going to go biking with one of them (Svein Olav), making it four days in a row. Four days because Friday we were invited to Svein Olav's place for meat and drinks! They are all bachelors these days as their wives and kids are all in Norway for the summer vacations, so Paula was the only girl at the party! And the only non-Scandinavian so after a while I think her brain was on the verge of collapsing from processing all the Norwegian. Still, we had a very good evening with excellent food, drinks, company, poetry and drinking songs (Norwegian)!
Squash with Oddvar
Paula and her Hoola
Svein Olav, Oddvar, Øyvind and two I don't remember the name of!
At this very moment Jamie and Colin are on their way here from Ulsan. We have a date with Twilight number 3 - Paula's favorite movie trilogy and Jamie, Colin and my worst nightmare! Oh dear !
Colin's present to Paula ... the movie which we have (!) to go see tonight!
Peo has finally settled after a few weeks of not letting us near her!