2012.06.23 - Expo

POSCO Steel mill and Expo Tour

These last couple of weeks we have been in the furniture business. We have been given an furniture allowance from my company, so last weekend we went down to Busan to have a look at some store there. We found a few interesting items but didn't buy anything. Instead we ended up at our friends Annveig and Øyvind's apartment. They are leaving for good on Thursday, so we tried to get the most out of their last days!

Pinjekött - a real Norwegian X-mas dinner in the middle of June !!!

At Moby Dick on Ilsan Beach with Elani

And another day at Ballentines with Serhiy, Pietro, Robert and Tyson (not on the photo). This is our first visit after the renovation of Ballentines

Then this week we repeated ourselves, although in a reverse order - first we met up with Annveig and Øyvind at Songjeong Beach for some beach bumming. Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side. Rain seems to pursue us whenever we go to the beach. But we were there already so we put on our best beach wear, rented kayak and windsurfer and set out for adventure. Øyvind started on the board while I took out Eirill on the kayak. The remaining girls escaped the rain by going to Angel in Us (café). Eirill was a tough captain - I tried to keep up with Øyvind (thank god the wind was irregular) but when I tired there was no help to get from her ... "faster", "over there", "come on paddle!". I had to tell her that the Danish motor was no good - maybe a Norwegian motor would serve her better !!

Me and Øyvind in the rain at Songjeong Beach after our windsurfing session

Iselin slept through most of it but awoke at the end. Bye bye and see you next time. We really enjoyed our time together here in Korea Annveig, Øyvind, Eirill and Iselin !!

I managed to get about 20 minutes on the windsurfer, but with the sketchy wind and a very poor sail (small beginner sail), I was struggling to make good. It was great to be on the board again although frustrating at the same time.

After the wet session at Songjeong we said our goodbyes and auf wiedersehens (because good friends always meet up again) and headed back to Ulsan for a bit more furniture window shopping. This time we came away with a small piece of oriental furniture, but we are still undecided on the big pieces (sofa ?).

Last Thursday we set out on a trip to the south of the Korean peninsula. POSCO - the main steel supplier to the Korean shipbuilding - had invited Paula and me to visit their steel mill, followed by a trip to the 2012 Yeosu Expo. This was an offer we couldn't say no to. So at 1pm Posco picked us up in Ulsan. Maria and Edgar from Ecuador were also invited so the 3 hour bus-ride flew by and soon we found ourselves in the 44 square kilometre POSCO steel mill ! The best word to describe it is ... Large !

Edgar and Maria on the bus ride to Gwangyang - the POSCO steel mill

Gotta love the mottoes here in Korea. Normally it's World's Best or something incomprehensible. Here it is both and more !

We were first shown a movie before being shown around the impressive safety training centre. Then followed a lavish dinner at the VIP Guest House, where POSCO had put us up for the night. For some reason I was at the head table next to the host for the evening - a senior vice president who had flown down from Seoul just for the dinner. On top of that I was asked to make a speech .... me who hate speeches ! I had originally thought that I could wing it - I mean, it was just a small dinner right ?! But then there was the senior vice president with his long speech and the fantastic setting and food ..... well it may not have been the speech of the century but I guess it passed.

Testing out the safety harness at the Safety training Centre

After dinner we drove half an hour over to Yeosu for the Expo. We arrived just in time for Big O light and fire show. Although we didn't understand what was going on, the show was fantastic. I estimate the average age of the spectators to be 75 years, so we knew what was awaiting us when 5000 people or more were heading to the exits after the show (the older Korean generation is eeevil) !

The Big O Fire and Water show

A video was projected on the screen of fine water mist in the wheel. Impressive but of course .... incomprehensible for foreigners! Many things are ....

The Big O from afar

We hung around a little - taking in the architecture, taking photos (and having LOTS of photos taken!) and enjoying that most people had left the area. Impressions ... it's nice but I can't really say that I like the architecture. The POSCO pavilion is nice but many of the other buildings leave a messy impression. they are not so easy on the eyes!

One of the million photos we had to pose for. POSCO had brought their own photographer - I wonder what they will use the photos for, because we never saw them !

Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we got a tour of the steel mill. We got to see the rolling process of the thick plate mill. Pretty interesting for a shipbuilding freak like me. And then on to the Expo to visit some of the pavilions. We were shown the Marine Technology, Hyundai, Daewoo and POSCO pavilions. In general they were all delivering fantastic shown but for me it was totally incomprehensible !!! The common theme for the Expo was supposed to be "The Living Ocean and Coast" but the shows were just .... I don't know ..... entertaining but as far from ocean and coast as you can get !

The inflated epileptic POSCO mascot !

Before heading home again we got an hour and a half on our own. Paula and I went straight to the international pavilions. And especially the ones without queues outside. This means the Danish, Peruvian, Algerian and Turkish amongst others. We could have used much more time there, but even though we have some spare tickets, I think we will say this visit was enough. From now on it will only get hotter and the crowds on the weekends will be endless.

Paula with her treasured pisco sour and lemon tart (Pie de limon) at the Peru Pavilion

At the very nice Algerian Pavilion - traditional but nice

Revisiting Stone Town, Zanzibar !

The huge roof was one big digital display with moving whales, fish and more. Impressive

Less impressive - The Denmark Pavilion high-light .... a Lego wave built in Denmark and freighted to Korea!

The Big Man parade. Again ... incomprehensible. Don't know what it has to do with neither Coast or Living Ocean??

Dancing robots at the Daewoo Pavilion. Another addition to the don't-understand bullet list.

A mechanical fish at the Daewoo pavilion. OK, at least this has to do with water

Finished - time to go home. This was before we knew that the trip home would take 4 hours !

Other events left untold so far are the midsummer party at Rolf and Saide's bungalow on Saturday, a bike ride, Paula's first two pottery classes and ... many other things ! The mid-summer party was great with some fantastic BBQ'ed meat and fish - thanks to Trygve. We even had reindeer meat! We, the old people, left at midnight when the party was only just starting. Can't keep up with my colleagues (except Pietro, who is just as "weak" as we are!!)

Peo went for a walk on our roof Saturday. Didn't like it much - I think that the cement was too warm for her delicate paws !!

Biking with Håvard on Saturday. Although it isn't very hot yet, the mountains are very green now.

Mid-summer party at Rolf and Saide's bungalow

Great food - both for us and for the mosquitoes, who were feasting on us !!!

Two weeks ago the girls went for a pumpkin duck lunch at Jujeon Beach.

Quite a few of the wives turned up for this lunch.

Sarah at the Pottery Class in the club house

Paula working on her masterpiece.