Linda Oct. 2010

Linda and World Music Festival

OK - so I have once again been a lazy blogger and have left my readers without their weekly shot of Korea. I am sorry (Vanda)! My excuse will not disappoint you though. When Paula and I were checking out the action in the new Lotte department store in downtown Busan (this is code for eating Cold Stone ice cream), we came across a lady dressed in a world map ! Matching shirt and skirt. I am not kidding and neither was she! Turkey was on her belly and Russia stretched across her back. No need to tell you where Egypt was located.... This experience left me traumatized and i am only now getting back my old self, although I am not sure I will ever be able to erase this rare display of bad taste from my memory.

It's an excuse and excuses generally suck, but I think this one might just hold water. And speaking of water ... check out the new water show at the Lotte in the video at the end .... it's pretty cool! The Cold Stone Creamery is right next to the water show, which is superior planning!

The water show at Lotte. They end it off by writing "Welcome to Lotte" using only water.

The reason for our less-than-frequent web page updates is work. Lots of work. We have now started our project in Ulsan as well as being in the middle of our project here in Busan, so I am driving to Ulsan two or three times a week, trying to keep both site offices working. Basically I have to do in two days what I would normally have one week for. Unfortunately there is no relief in sight as the project in Busan is delayed a couple of months and I may have to do the trips between Ulsan and Busan until March. It's close to two hours from one shipyard to the other in rush hour (the time I go), so lots of time wasted. As I have to drive back and forth anyway, we have decided to move to Ulsan and have found a nice apartment there. We have already moved the first few boxes of winter clothes there and expect to move the rest a bit of a time during the next 10 days. I have also been house-hunting for the two new site team members which will arrive soon (actually, one arrived this Saturday already). House-hunting, car-hunting, mobile phone-hunting etc.... with the help of our secretary of course. As if all this wasn't enough, two of the higher placed colleagues (the boss of my boss and the boss of the chartering) decided to pay the shipyard a visit last Monday to discuss the delays. So I had to jump on the train to join them in Seoul for the meeting, dinner and the mandatory post-dinner drink. The yard invited us for a very nice dinner at a French restaurant across their office building. It didn't look fancy at all from the outside, but it was in fact really nice. With live classical music/opera. So although we didn't get much out of the meeting with the yard at least we got a really nice dinner.

But enough about work. Our friend Linda from Malmö came out to visit us on the 6th as part of a longer tour of East Asia. She couldn't have picked a better time weather wise but I am afraid that I have been rather boring company most of the time. Paula has made up for that and they have spend plenty of time at the beauty parlor, Uniqlo, the markets, Cold Stone, manicure etc. I don't think they missed me very much (well, at least Paula would have liked to join me when I was invited out for Japanese dinner by our classification society Class NK ... which is a Japanese company. They sure know where to eat well!)

A car with wings...... A quick view from one of our trips to Ulsan.

Hello Linda !!!

A few days after Linda arrived we drove up to Ulsan for the World Music Festival. We had thought about going up there for the Friday, but luckily we changed our minds and went to the PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) at Haeundae Beach instead. That is, we took the metro there and when we surfaced it was raining cats and dogs. So we headed straight past all the commotion and hurried over to Geckos for veggie burgers. We managed to get a walk down the (wet) red carpet as we were heading home - just as they were cleaning up after the show. Oh well - guess we wouldn't have recognized any of the Asian stars anyway and the Hollywood stars most probably wouldn't have strolled around Haeundae Beach in the rain!

But back to the festival. We decided on going Saturday and made it there just in time for the parade. It was a little funny to see all the Korean Belly dancing girls in in bikinis .... it is quite unusual for a Korean girl to show her shoulders (she'll wear shorts with zero legs though), and it was just another reminder that Korea is slowly changing. This year on Haeundae beach we have seen several girls in small bikinis and guys sunbathing .... something unthinkable only a few years ago (I think I have seen one or two bikinis in the three previous years). OK ... parade ..... the belly dancers distracted me once again! One of the parade wagons was as always reserved for the lead band which this year was Batucada Sound Machine from New Zeeland. It sounded pretty good and made us look forward to their closing show. But first we headed for the King Hall where Yasmin Levi was going to perform. A woman from Jerusalem dressed in all black and singing old sad Jewish songs in the almost extinct language Ladino. Sounds obscure but she was saved by her fantastic voice. It wasn't quite what we had expected but we enjoyed the concert ..... even though the lyrics weren't very cheerful to say the least!

Waiting for the sufi musicians at the Ulsan World Music Festival

Then we moved on to the open stage where a Pakistani band was going to perform. I like sufi music in very small doses and when it is part of the atmosphere. Half a "song" was enough to make me realize that sufi music plays no part in my Korea universe and I was happy to see that Paula and Linda was in full agreement with me. So we moved back into the King Hall to see Victor Deme from Burkina Faso instead. I like West African music and old Victor did a good job. He may have talked a little too much (I don't think very many Koreans speak French) but at least he was able to get people out of their seats and move to the rhythm. There was plenty of rhythm on the open stage afterward when Batucada took over the night. We held back a little but there was a nice small group in front of the stage who held back not at all! All in all a great festival - as always.

Linda getting autographs from Victor Deme and band

Batacuda Sound Machine kicking it off!


Back again ! Now ... where were we ??? Back from the festival and on to last Sunday. We thought we should show Linda a little of what normal tourists see, so we drove off to Hadan Younggun temple - one of our favorite temples and one of the only ones ... well, the only one we know ... which is located at the shore side and not in the mountains. As always it was full full full of people but still nice. After the temple visit we drove down to Heundae and met up with the other Scandinavians at Geckos for brunch. Well, it turned out to be a late lunch as our order was forgotten, sold out and eventually - in my case - changed. No worries though ... it was still good and the company likewise, so we had no problem staying a bit longer than planned !

Hadang Younggunsa

Sarah, Linda, Svein Olav, me, Oskar, Nalini and Gaby at Geckos

The following days the girls continued their beauty and shopping sprees both here in Busan and in Ulsan. And I visited Seoul as I already told you about. Wednesday the site team was invited out for Japanese dinner at a restaurant in Nampo-dong by the Class NK - as already mentioned. Paula was a little bummed not to be going and I don't blame her. The food was absolutely amazing. Loads of sea weed, raw fish, abalone, squid, funny-looking red rubbery thingies, whale, crab and other indescribable creatures from beneath. Mmmmmm!!!!

Thursday the girls went on the Hyundai Motor company tour while I was slaving away in another part of Hyundai - the Yard. The motor company tour is pretty good ... you get to see how the cars are made (which is a lot less high-tech than you think but still impressive) and you get to see the big car carriers from the other side of the fence. And in the end they give you a toy i30 car.

Lots of Hyundais ready for shipment

Friday we had big plans for a night out on the town. First step is to leave the couch ... I know that now! I crashed badly and woke up hours later. It had been a long week. Saturday I awoke with the energy one reserves for the weekends and we immediately drove off for Ulsan. We were going to get the keys (well - door code. Keys are not used much here) for our new apartment. It's really nice. Much smaller than the one here in Busan but also with a more homey feeling to it.

Our new living room. I am sure that Paula will fix it up nicely

After this we had to run to the supermarket to buy towels for our new site team member, who was arriving a few hours later. Then off to the airport to pick him up and bring him to his apartment. Kiril was pretty bust from a long trip and almost 12 hours lay-over in Moscow, so we left him in the apartment and drove off to GyeongJu for the Hyundai Autumn Gathering .... the autumn party in other words. We were already too late for the afternoon activity so instead we stopped off at Bulguksa to show Linda another of Korea's famous sight (well, at least it is famous for Koreans!). This temple is featured many times on our web page but we still enjoy every trip there and it was nice to be back - over one year after our latest visit. From Bulguksa we made it to the meeting place for the autumn gathering just in time for the photo session and the refreshments. Shortly thereafter we had to drive on to the Hyundai Hotel at Bomun Lake for the evening activities (eating and beer drinking it turned out). Good food, good company and chilly temperatures. And fireworks.

Linda posing for a photo at the entrance to Bulguksa

Can't blame her ... it's a pretty backdrop

The temple guardians ... and Paula and Linda (you figure out who is who!)

Paula overcame her vertigo once again! (very steep stairs)

The lucky stone piles or what-ever they are!

A chilly evening at the Bomun Lake ... me, Linda, Mr. Kim, Ms. Yang and Saikat.

Check out the beer backpack - love it !

Serhiy and Mr. Kim's daughter

The Hyundai contract administration department doing their entertainment show.

The closing fireworks

Sunday morning I got up for a bike ride to the "house mountain". For the first time ever (!) I was beat on the uphill climb by a Korean. I almost kept up with him but had to let him go a few metres before the top. Maybe I would have done better without the beer the night before but I am not sure. Haven't been riding much lately. But I still made it to the top ... the very top where the views were amazing. Good enough to bring Linda and Paula there after the ride for a short hike and photo session. In the evening we even made it down to the gym, so plenty of exercise for one day!

This one is for Bernie, if he is watching ! You see - I can still Hoola !

Paula stretching out. There is always workout equipment on top of a Korean mountain!

Greenland revisited ... almost!

Paula with 10% of Busan behind her

Linda and Paula on our short hike

Farewell Tuna Sashimi dinner in Seomyong

This morning Linda packed her bags and said "Adios Amigos ... I'm off to Japan!". Thanks Linda for a great time ... have a good continued journey and see you back in Sweden !

Slideshow with more photos below: