Sunday, January 27, 2008

Suwon fun

I went to Suwon on Sat with Emily, Emily's friend, Meredith, Don, Don's friend, and our German friends we met in Cheju. We had a great day doing random cultural things. We spent much of the day at the Korean Folk Village-- basically a place where they have a lot of traditional buildings and recreate the way that things were. There are also shows, games, and an amusement park on the grounds. We wandered around, took a million pictures, played on the frozen river, watched an equestrian show, and had a lot of fun. Then we went to the city's fortress (old stone walls from the 1600s that surrounded the city and a fortress on a mountain). GREAT views from the top. After dinner by a beautiful gate, we caught the train back to Daejeon. Overall a really good day of winter and cultural fun.

Mer, Em, and I

Walking across a frozen River at the Folk village

The boys

Me on a sled (Em tried to flip me off on the frozen river)

At the top of a fortress

Pretty view from the top

Nice dinner view

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Final bug bite count

421. Believed to be the result of a swarm of sand fleas in Bali. It takes a few days for their bites to show. Of course I was the only one in our whole group to get bitten by them.

And yes, that many bites consumes one's life; hence the third posting in a row focused on bugs.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Die, bugs, DIE.

Update: I have well over 100 bites. I can count 10 on my right pinky finger alone. The perpetrators are now believed to be fleas. Night 1 of bites, I had to take 4 showers in the middle of the night to alleviate my itchiness. Last night in my steamed sheets, loaded up on antihistimines, wearing two pairs of gloves to stop myself from clawing my skin off, I finally slept. My apartment is getting fumigated in the next day. Thank goodness. The bugs must die.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Highs and lows

High: I bought a plane ticket today to go to Taiwan for the first weekend of my lunar trip with my friend Christine. Trips in Asia are always expensive. So when we saw tickets for cheap, we jumped on the opportunity. THe best part? The deal we thought we were getting was actually even better that we imagined... it was the price for BOTH of us! So now I get to go away for a long weekend and make it back just in time for Mom to arrive in Korea. And I get to escape to relatively warm weather for a few days! SO exciting :)

Low: I have tiny bugbites all over and the school nurse believes there are bedbugs in my apartment. Bedbugs! So I am busy running load after load of laundry in attempt to sterilize my apartment. Why is my life so weird?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ode to Bali and Singapore

My trip:
I went to Bali for 11 days with 3 of my friends from work and Sarah Yu. It was an amazing trip. Itinrary below:

Dec 28, 2007- Jan 2, 2008
Buitan, Bali (tiny village on the east coast, far away from tourist zones)
Accommodation:a "hostel" that was really a homestay-- we slept in these amazing little treehouse bungalows (there were 4 total that surrounded a house in a tropical forest). We used outdoor bathrooms. We walked out our back gate and stepped onto beach. We fell asleep to the sounds of waves crashing, occasional dogs barking, chickens clucking, and geckos chirping.
Highlights: We spent most of our time in Buitan with locals who worked nearby our hostel and really got to know Balinese culture. We went snorkling, hiked to a waterfall, tasted palm wine, celebrated New Years dancing in the rain, tried a range of foods, rode moterbikes through the nearby villages, got massages, swam in the ocean, danced to live music, and hiked nearby mountains. It was relaxing, spontaneous, remote, and fabulous.

January 2-4
Ubud, Bali (more central city known as the cultural center of Bali)
Accommodation: another "hostel" that was more like a hotel. We slept in normal indoor rooms as opposed to the treehouses we just left.
Highlights: We did a lot of shopping in Ubud (they are known for their wood carvings, sarongs, and stone art). We learned to barter like pros and my bag grew exponentially in weight. The monkey sanctuary at the end of our street provided a lot of entertainment one rainy morning. We took a day trip to numerous temples nearby and ate at the top of the volcano. We visited a place described in the book Eat, Pray, Love and ate the strangest vitamin lunch ever. We also enjoyed great Indonesian food and easier access to things like internet and bugspray.

January 4-8
near Nusa Dua, Bali (on a piece of land that juts out on the south of Bali, a short drive away from all the fancy resorts)
Accommodation: this is where we splurged-- we stayed in a private villa where we had 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (2 of which were outdoors), a private pool, a full kitchen,a beautiful deck, a second seating area by the pool, and 5-- yes 5-- people there to help us at any time: 2 houseboys, a cook, a butler, and a driver)
Highlights: we spent a lot of time just enjoying our amazing villa. We lounged around our pool, sipped drinks on our deck, at specially ordered meals, and read on our patios. We also loved the sandy beach that was just across the beach. We tried to get a bit of color before leaving the sunny island. We saw traditional dances at a nice restraunt. For free with our villa we got massages and a parasailing trip. We also took advantage of our driver and visited another temple and Kuta beach. We broke through the formalities of our villa staff and eventually they loosened up enough to have a big dance party. Overall, the villa was a nice way to finish off our trip. We got a rounded view of tourism in Bali and a nice glimpse into some of the different sides of Balinese life.

January 9-11
Cute hostel where we shared a room with 4 strangers and a bathroom with about 20 strangers.
Highlights: Our group shrunk for Singapore (it was just Emily and I). But we had a lot of fun--we spent a lot of time wandering the streets and looking at the incredibly clean city of shopping. It was great to be surrounded by diverse people (we visited both Chinatown and Little India!). We also focused on eating because we actually had access to a range of foods! We also took a boat tour and went tea tasting with some new friends from the Netherlands. And of course, we enjoyed looking in all the western stores.

Want to see more of my adventures?

I will be putting up all my photos onto shutterfly in the next few days. But for the abbreviated tour of my trip, check out my 2 facebook albums:

Just a few to lure you in:
Hostel #1

Hiking to a waterfall:

Pretty beach walk

Monkey and I:

Monkey family:

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I pay for the internet per 4 minutes, so this will be very short. I have been in Bali almost a week now and it is AMAZING! I am obsessed with this place! Highlights so far include hikes up a waterfall, having multiple monkeys jump on my back, taking motorbike rides with locals, sleeping in a glorified treehouse, moving into a villa where we have 5 people waiting on us at a time, and getting massages (yes, multiple as of tomorrow morning). Life here is awesome. We are here 3 more nights before we go to Singapore. I am going to miss it so much. I don't ever want to leave. Why do I have to go back to work again?