Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blog 59 - 23rd December

As we prepare for Christmas, it is curious to witness a different cultural experience. The photos above are the Christmas market at Express Bus Terminal where over 300 shops sell everything from trees to ornaments, ribbon, paper, lights, bells, serviettes and tablecloths. It was so overwhelming I had to return a second time!

Anyone remember Bullwinkle and wonder what happenned to him? He's been hiding out in Seoul all those years!

Friends from work got together here for dinner on Sunday night for some wonderful Christmas eating and drinking. Some things remain the same! Thanks to Damien for his new recipe of mushroom and pesto pasta. We also introduced them to that special Australian sweet, coconut ice. Thanks to my book group friend, Suzi, for making it from especially imported ingredients. Sorry - it all went so quickly there are no photos!

At the European Christmas Fair we were able to find German stollen, mulled wine, Dutch treats and French goodies that are usually impossible to find here. The Korean yodelling choir was a surprise performance, especially this old man who could not resist dancing!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog 58 - 20th December

The campus of Seoul National University is vast and home to 30,000 students. Living nearby affords us easy access to wonderul walking routes. While Damien goes swimming in the university gym most days, I get up at the same time and walk a loop of the campus. A long lap takes an hour and a quarter and a shorter one takes an hour.

Every morning there are many people who sweep and clean the campus and our complex before the day begins.

The entrance to our apartment will be familiar to our visitors.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blog 57 - 19th December

Nakseongdae is the area in which we live. It is a middle of the road surburb about 10 kilometres from the centre of the city. Not many expats know this place however when we tell koreans where we live, on campus at Seoul National University, they all say the same thing. 'The air is so good there!' The meaning of fresh air takes on a new meaning living in a city of 13 million ( I thought it was 10 however figures have been recently updated) The number of foreigners has also increased according to the Korean Immigration Service. The total number of foreigners in Korea is record high of nearly 1.4-2 million or 3%.
So here is a profile of Nakseongdae, subway line 2 on the Green line. This is the second oldest and is a circle line cirmventing the city. Our subway is always crowded, however always safe and often faster than driving, bus or taxi as underground is not reliant on the vagaries of traffic conditions.
Nakseongdae means "the place where a star was fallen" in classic Chinese. It is originated from the legend that General Gam's mother bore him after she dreamt that a star had fallen to her breast.

Gwanak San (mountain) is spectacular every morning and overlooks the campus. This was taken on my walk this morning, walking up the hill from the shops.

Esther and Damien even found some books in English at our local second hand bookstore!

Our local park has temples and gorgeous trees, plus exercise equipment and lots of seats for old people to sit and chat.

The streetscape to our supermarket.

Our subway exit 4 and signs to Nakseongdae Park.

The traffic at 7.15 this morning was already getting busy. It remains a mystery here that Monday morning and Saturday afternoon are the peak traffic times.