Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog 9 - 29 March

Hooray - the first buds of Spring have appeared this week and the weather is a balmy maximum of ten degrees Celsius. I've really missed birds and have noticed a few reappearing lately.

I want to work here! I spotted this napping room sign at Kotra while waiting for the lift to my Korean language class. The explanation is that many overseas investors from Germany, France, and Australia arrive to work in the business incubation area and have had insufficient sleep. The napping room is for them, not for other employees of Kotra, which is a government insurance and investment company, that also offers excellent language classes for free.

I went on a wonderful guided tour of the Korean Folk Museum with the international Dragon Circle group. This stone jar was made as a container to bury the placenta of royal babies. First the placenta was boiled and dried 100 times, then placed in this purpose made jar and buried under an auspicious tree with positive feng shui . The common belief was that a healthy monarch means a prosperous country.

These cloth figures were also in the Folk Museum - in case you lose your way with the needles!

Should we buy a car? This photo was taken at 5.00pm on a Saturday afternoon, not a particularly busy time. The lights are red, however this seems to matter little. Not driving here is no great sacrifice as it can take hours to drive somewhere, depending on the time of day and the weather. Jury is still out on the purchase of a vehicle.

Special delivery! You can always tell a fish restaurant as there is often an aquarium outside. I wonder if this means you can choose your own fish. Probably!

We came across this wood carving shop at the foot of Mount Gwanak. I wonder if there is a big market for these? I haven't noticed them anywhere in Seoul. Perhaps we could decorate our zen house with a sculpture or begin an importing business to Australia.

These tin cans are assembled on roof tops to scare predatory birds. They make a noise when the wind blows.

What could it be? Shopping is such fun as we don't really know what we are buying. Not sure if this is this a soaker, washing powder, softener, bleach,....?
This is our Faculty House get together. Every month there is a meeting for all the residents of our apartments. This is compulsory and we are fined 6,000 won (AU$6.00) for non attendance. Most people choose to be fined as it is so torturous and tedious. An announcement is made 10 minutes prior to the meeting via each apartment's intercom reminding everyone to go. (Yes - big brother is alive and well in Korea!) I was so excited the first time as I hoped it would be an opportunity to meet new neighbours. Although this is an international setting and everyone is fluent in English, the meeting is entirely in Korean! Two people sit at the front ( I have no idea who they are) and talk for 15 -30 minutes, then we are dismissed, but not before we sign the attendance sheet. There is no interaction and although there is some laughter, I can't understand what is going on so it is wasted on me. The question is do we just sign and leave, not go at all or continue to go and try to influence proceeding to be more inclusive. Watch this space!

Do you see variations of hair colour? Almost all Koreans dye their hair, men and women, young and old, even very old people. It is seen as a cultural matter of personal appearance and grooming.

It's not often you have happy birthday sung in 5 different languages simultaneously and spontaneously. French, Spanish, Ukrainian, Korean and English versions of happy birthday honoured our Russian friend Sophia as we cerebrated her birthday on Friday night.

1 comment:

paula said...

Hi Susan, Another interesting week. The leaves are falling off the trees here. Weather is a little cooler and Easter is here. All looking forward to a rest. Happy Easter, Love Paula

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