Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog 52 - 19th September

Chuseok National holidays in Korea, involve everyone returning to their ancestoral home to visit family. This year saw record numbers of young people leaving for holidays overseas. Everything is closed for four days so we took advantage of this time to visit our son, Liam, in Niigata, Japan. Here is his apartment where we could sit around the fireplace to keep warm and cook. (Only joking!) This is actually the reception area of our country hotel - more later.

Like father like son??

The view from Liam's back windows is over rice fields. The front has a busy road going right past the lounge room.

The Hakusan Jinja shrine in Niigata is very beautiful especaially in the evening light.

Our stay at a Ryoken in Echigo Yuzawa was a real treat. It included onden (hotspring water baths,) traditonal breakfast and sleeping on tatami matting on the floor. It was so peaceful and relaxing during the off season at this popular ski resort.

We had no idea what most of the breakfast was however everything was so yummy.

The chairlift boasts Japan's largest ropeway gondola which accommodates up to 166 people.

Thanks for being our chauffeur in your micro car and for taking such good care of your 'oldies'.

Our English freind Jan stayed for one night at the Hyatt Regency on her way from New Zealand to London. We had such fun checking out her room and having dinner with her.

Jan and Gerard were our neighbours at Kent Vale when we lived in Singapore. Happy travels!

Another 'old' friend, Michael, from Melboune stayed for a week while he was wooed by Korean businessmen who wined and dined him. In the end he may have even got to enjoy kimchi and sitting on the floor to eat!

These images are of Changdeok Palace, our favourite of the palaces here in Seoul. It is shady, green and interesting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blog 51 - 4th September

A winter break sounds funny to some, however after hot and humid weather for ages in Seoul, a trip downunder was a welcome change. Actually we slept for the first time without a fan last night and autumn weather is forecast this week - a gorgeous time to be in Seoul.

My flight was to Adelaide was changed so I left Seoul at twenty minutes past midnight, arrived in Singapore at 6.00am the next morning, spent all day there and departed at twenty minutes before midnight the same night! What could have been a nightmare day was actually wonderful thanks to dear friends who looked after me. I began with a breakfast of coffee with condensed milk with Roy at Geylang before he went to work at Changi Hospital.

Geylang is the red light district and one of Singapore's remaining traditional areas - truly a delight to wander around, especially at 7.00am!

This sign was on the staircase in Roy's apartment block, JJH Boutique apartments. You could never guess you were in Singapore!

Here is our friend and neighbour when we lived at Kent Vale, Sandy, with her son Satchel. Thanks for the long chat, the strawberries and for showing me the new pool.

Jacob and Sarah came from Canberra to cook beetroot risotto and lemon pie (with lemons from our tree) for Mum, me, Maddy and Dominic. Yum!

The most exciting family news is the formation of the Beirut Bombers, a mixed netball team of young and old with Mum as the coach. The practice we had did not make much difference to our performance on the night. At least the losses seem to be less each week. Great to see Jacob here as the new interstate recruit and of course me as the international talent flown in. It was the first time I'd been on the court since school days - too long ago to remember.

Sometimes it's more interesting watching the spectators and their noses! Lachlan, Mark and Harrison, the photographer.

The whole Raphael gang minus a few key players. Watch this space to see reports of a win.

How happy our my sons Jacob and Dominic are to have their photo taken. Or maybe it's that we were at the airport saying goodbye to Jacob is the reason that they are looking so sad. They are looking more like the twins in our family!

Catching up with colleagues from my time at the British Council in Singapore, here I am with Emma and Laraine on my way home to Seoul. This was a real treat to finish off my trip.