Sunday, 06 May 2007

In the Beginning...

This is officially my first entry from the Hermit Kingdom, Korea. After all this time I have arrived and I’m stuck in it for the time being. Let me not lie to you, it is bloody scary being in a place where few people speak understandable English, if any at all.

Quick fast about how I go there. I left Jun Smuts International on the 29th of April, arrived on the afternoon of the 30th at Incheon International and was in transit in Honk Kong International for about an hour. The highest I saw us fly was 41000 feet at 967km/h with the outside temperature being as low as -59 Celsius. All in all it took me less than 24 hours from my house to Incheon.

When I arrived late in the afternoon in Incheon, I was picked up by Mr Han, chairman of the school board and Miss Yu, my co teacher for the middle school first grades. I must say that on the way to Icheon, we passed Seoul and a few places and I can’t say I was too impressed with the Beauty. It was quite nice to see all the mountains that can make for a few nice day trips. Maybe I also need to just find the right places to visit because may people will say that most of Europe is quite ugly.

Something I noticed was lots of high apartment buildings. I was told that it is because Korea has lots of mountains and hence little space, so people build upwards. I would say that Icheon, with just 200 thousand people, has more buildings above 15 floors than Pretoria with 2.5 million people and which happens to be a country’s capital as well.

Miss Yu informed me that the teachers of my school went for a little bit of a team building day and after going to climb Mount Ari behind the school, they went for dinner to which I was invited. This is where I met them all. I have just arrived and already I have to eat spicy food, drink beer and Soju and try and get used to the Korean accent. I even got my first Korean cultural lesson and the art of bowing when greeting people. Of course there was the normal surprise at me being able to use chopsticks.

After dinner we were still not finished, because apparently the apartment hadn’t been used for a long time and was a little bit dirty and there were still a few things needed. This translated into me having to go along and get stuff at the shops. I have noticed that most of Asia keeps its shops open until quite late, unlike Europe or South Africa and Korea proved to follow that trend.

After the shopping I was dropped of, showed the basics of using the apartment, like using a rice cooker and the hot water control, and then left to get some rest. I was quite grateful for this because I had been awake for about 36 hours by now. I was also informed that I only needed to be at the school at 12 the next day. I was actually offered a day off, but I would rather go to school than sitting at home doing nothing.

Due to the potential size of this one entry and the amount of thing I can write about, I will stop here and add another entry some time during the week. In it will tell you about the rest of my first week. I might stretch it over more than one week because lets face it; there is a lot to say with everything being new.

So for now,