Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seoul Searching

Haha, if only there was a tag for "bad puns." So since Seoul was such an experience, I'm dividing it into three posts. Non-chronological just to confuse me :/

Lets see, on third day I think it was? We visited Ulsan University College of Medicine. Haha, but you have to say it like your the announcer in a 1940s Superman short. "The UNIVERSITY of ULSAN, COLLEGE OF !MEDICIIINE!!" which is how the oddly enthusiast, the fluent, English Narrator of a brief promotional video sounded. 4 largest hospital in the world, largest in Korea, the UNIVERSITY OF ULSAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE was actually interesting. They fed us like a 4 course western dinner, and then let us wander around their library for a couple minutes (a professional medical library, I don't know whose idea that was, 57 rambunctious twenty-somethings supposed to use their indoor voices.) But then we went to this museum built into the hospital dedicated to the Hospital's founder: nicknamed, Asan. Asan is probably the Most famous Korean in korea (d. 2002) he founded Hyandai, his statue is in the lobby of the main Ulsan building, and they had a museum to him in the hospital!

(Here is Asan and his wife, in a creepy reverse-carving, kinda looks like a playdoh mold. Reminds me of Han Solo encased in Metal in Star Wars IV.)

Apparently he pretty much singlehandedly turned Korea from one of the poorest countries to one of the richest and most influential, and one of the G20. After developing Hyandai for cars and giant-freighter building, he also did tons of humanitarian work, and ran for President (but lost - the people believed his life wasn't politically based enough.) I talked to one of the Koreans, and they don't appreciate the "Lincoln/Obama-log cabin-to-riches" story quite as much here.

Later me and Julia got bored one night, and decided to climb Mount Samsan, at the top of which is Seoul Tower. After 1.6 kilometers up of stairs x_X (yes I had blisters the next morning) not to mention the winding road just to find the stairs, we eventually made it up. Naturally, at midnight it was closed -- but it was cool to see close up. Then getting back took forever cause we forgot our way, and ended up in residential areas.

Quotes of the Day:
*we walk along a mall of shops over a mile long, the same 3 stores appear to repeat over and over (womens suits, camera's, etc.)*
"Ya get the feeling we're in an episode of The Flintstones, with the background keeps going over and over..." - Dion of Canada. LOL, I love this metaphor!!! I've said similar stuff with Scooby Doo.

Korean words of the Day:
Hanguk - Korea. Korea in Korean is not actually "Korea." Rather, anything relating to Korean culture starts with "Han" (based off the Han river.) The written language of Korea - Hangul. The traditional Korean clothing is a Hanbok.
Miguk - (Mee-gook) America. "-guk" means 'land of' I think. [Correction: Country] I guess America is shortened to Mi for some reason. They also provided the Korean words for Japan, and something else but I don't remember them.

Language barrier of the day:
Having to explain to Chinese students the phrase "off the top of my head", the word pornography, nerd, and others I don't really remember. But on the bright side I got to explain to a Chinese student (who was very interested in American government and history) all the basics of the American government system! It was truly a Andrew-s.s.-teacher moment! n.n In return, I had an interesting convo on the Chinese government from the POV of a chinese citizen.

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