Visitor from Ningbo, China
My class mate from DTU (Technical University of Denmark), Brian, has been living in China for the last year and has for just as long been threatening to come visit us. Well - April 11th the day finally arrived!
We drove down to Gimhae airport in Busan to pick him up. I had already talked to him in the morning and heard that his plane from Ningbo to Shanghai had been canceled, so that he had to take a bus instead - arriving in Shanghai at 3am. I guess he was happy when I woke him with my phone call at 7:30 !! He paid back by being two hours delayed in Busan!! Thank God for free internet and Starbucks!
Driving back to Ulsan we decided to make a small detour to Seongnamsa - one of our favorite temples. it's small but with a beautiful location at the foot of the mountains and it is a little interesting in being one of the few all-women temples. I think Brian enjoyed the fresh air - something a little scarce where he lives.
Paula and Brian
Paula in the late afternoon light
On the way up to the temple
In the evening we went to Ballentines for dinner and Houseofps for desert - ice cream with strawberries! From there on it was pretty much a technical conversation until bedtime ... sorry Paula, but this is what happens when you put two engineers in the same room!! haha ... No seriously, it was really cool to see Brian again and hear about his experiences in China. Made us feel a little more privileged here !
Sunday we took the car up along the coast to show Brian what kind of privilege we have. The mountains 5 minutes away, the beach about the same. We have come to take it for granted (well - not the mountains, I appreciate them every weekend), so it was good to be reminded that Ulsan really is a very nice place to be in terms of nature.
For some reason there was a lot of traffic this day. More than usual. But we still made it up to the viewing point overlooking the sea to one side and GyeongJu to the other. The parking lot was full full full - there must have been a special occasion. We skipped Bulguksa because of the traffic and went straight to Bomun Lake. Bomun Lake is the resort area around here. This is where you find the fancy spas and hotels, and as we are pretty fancy people, we went for lunch at the Hilton. But only after having strolled along the lake together with 50.000 other weekend sightseers ! Pretty is was, nonetheless.
Check out the girls bicycle skirt ! Had never seen this before. Going up to the viewpoint she was towed (hence the rope) by her fellow riders!
At the viewpoint. There is a cave with a Buddha here also, but I don't remember the name. It isn't worth the while anyway ! The views are much better!
Brian at Bomun Lake. Don't know why he could never look up for a photo??
Paula diverting Brian's attention so I could get a photo where he showed his face ! haha ...
The cherry trees were at their last day of blossom, I think.
Nice paint job ....!
"Pimp my ride" need to come to Korea!
We drove back a bit early, so we would still have time for a tour of our ships. The shipyard might be small but our ships are still pretty interestng, so we didn't wrap it up before 8 pm !
Monday I had to work, so Paula and Brian were on their own. Brian started off on my bike in the morning. I had drawn him a bad map (?) of the mountain, and with that in hand he set off. He did quite well, by the sounds of it. Better than I had expected, as the hills are not for the faint hearted. I think he did better than he expected himself, but when you are having fun it is difficult to stop! In the afternoon Paula took him for a tour around Ilsan Beach and Ulgi Lighthouse. After work I had arranged Gokhan to drive us around Hyundai Heavy Industries. This is a huge shipyard and much more interesting than ours. But here we couldn't get on board any of the ships, so the combination of seeing both was really good. Brian came away well impressed with the size and the level of organization of HHI!
Tuesday Brian decided to give the mountain another go. He had not quite made it to the top on the previous day (due to a wrong turn, he said ...!?!?!), so with sore butt he mounted the bike to give it another go. He said he made it to the top this time but he never showed us the photos ...
In the afternoon Paula gave him an express tour of the fish market, the Old Foreigners Compound, Wolbong temple and the bamboo forest. If he wasn't out of breath from the mountain biking, this would have done it ! In the evening we went to the Korean Seafood BBQ below Pizza Hut and then for the infallible baseball pit !
At the seafood restaurant
Wednesday morning it was all over. 3 days had passed and I took Brian to the airport bus early in the morning. As said, it was really good to get another perspective on our life here. I guess it is now up to us to turn up in Ningbo and tell him how nice "his" town is !!