Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back From Doing Some Seoul Searching

I have not vanished off the face of the earth. I was on the other side of the earth in Korea.  You might remember if you read my posts from the 2008 NY State Championships that I had a catastrophic hard drive failure and lost many pictures from my Spain and Korea trips.  After finding out that trying to restore the hard drive would cost $1600+ I figured I could use that money and go back to Korea or Spain and take the pictures again.  I did get an opportunity to take some of the pictures again in Korea. Next year I might have to go back to Spain and retake those pictures. :-)

I just got back on Friday, and my body still doesn't quite know what time it is.  Look at the time zone map below and you'll understand why. Click on the picture to read the clocks.

Seoul 17:45, New York 04:45

I was planning to write a post and put a few positions up before I left for the other side of the world.  However getting organized and packed took way too much time.  And to be quite honest, after the week I had chess-wise I didn't really feel too inspired. The chess brutality of the Thursday Night Championships continued into the following week.  Truth be told I'm a little fed up with myself and my chess game.  I even thought about posting during the trip, but after going non-stop from thing to another about all I had the energy for was throwing a few pictures up on Facebook.

I'm back in New York and will face the chess wars on Monday night in at least a directing role, but possibly a playing role depending on odd or even numbers.  I took a chess book and chess set with me, but they stayed on the suitcase unused for the entire trip.  Good intentions on my part, but sometimes things don't go as planned.  More to the point, I didn't care to make time for chess even though on some of the long bus rides I could have pulled out the tactics book.  This is the closest I got to anything remotely related to chess.

A tour bus spotted in Itawon section of Seoul.

Over the next couple of days I'll share some pictures  from the other side of earth where I have spent the last 10 days.

Good bye NY, Hello Korea

Group photo at 7:00 am at Incheon Airport

After waiting for everyone to arrive from various flights, and taking the group picture we headed off to Muju for a tour of Taekwondo Park.  Right now it's a hole in the ground.  Construction is in its early stages. It's supposed to be completed by 2013.  Hopefully construction projects in Korea move quicker then construction projects in the United States.  However given how much building has occurred in the country in the two years since I last visited, they probably will pull it off.

Taekwondo Park July 2010

Taekwondo Park 2013

It was a long bus ride to listen to a presentation on the park, and look at a pile of dirt, but the country side is beautiful.  I had been to Muju the last time I was there.  Many of the sites were familiar to me.  After the tour we went to lunch, but not before the bus driver got lost and we got a bonus scenic ride up into the mountains.

After lunch we went to Dae Gu where we were greeted by the Vice Mayor and presented with the first of many gifts we would receive on the trip.  Everywhere we went there was a big deal made of our visit, and we received a number of very nice things along the way.

Dae Gu City Hall

Tour member receiving gift bag from Vice Mayor

After the visit to City hall, we had dinner, and then finally got to the hotel where we all wanted to just crash.  It had been a very long day!

Blogger knew where I was, even if I didn't.

The next day we visited the Yakcheon Market and herbal medicine museum.

Reflexology walk.  Walk barefoot on it. 
Stones get progressively larger. Ouch!!!

Local doing shopping for herbs.

Chopping medicinal roots in museum hands on exhibit.
I managed not to chop off any toes or fingers.

We got terrific views of the city from Woobang Tower.  I chose to do my viewing within the confines of the observation deck.  Unlike some of the crazies on the tour who did the Sky Jump from the top.

One of many nice views from observation deck.

One of the brave (crazy?) souls who decided take take a leap.

Tomorrow; more pictures and less commentary.  Then later in the week, back to chess.


tanc(happyhippo) said...

Hi Polly,

Excellent photos!!

Hope you're all well and rested after the trip. :)

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your pictures!

chesstiger said...

Sounds and looks like a nice trip. Did you do some taekwando aswell against the locals?

Polly said...

Tiger: No TDK against the locals. The tour had no structured TDK training, but I did train with the other NY school that I was traveling with. The emphasis was on tourism.

Liquid Egg Product said...

I managed not to chop off any toes or fingers.


I'm curious if you noticed whether Changgi (Korean Chess) seemed to have any sort of popularity.

Polly said...

LEP: I did not see anyone playing chess of any sort in the various parks I went to. Mostly you would see older people sitting in the shade either talking amongst each other or reading.

On my previous trip there I had encountered a group of men playing some sort of card like game with tiles that was not Ma Jong. Other then that I've never come across people playing any sort of card or board games in public.

There is a chess club in Seoul that someone had provided a link to when I went 2 years ago. However when I'm traveling with a tour there isn't much time or flexibility to go off and do my own thing.

Liquid Egg Product said...

Too bad you didn't have that flexibility. Now imagine what a North Korean tour would have been like :D