Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Korean public transport system

Both Korea and Ireland are pretty small countries. However, there are 50 million people in Korea while 4 million people live in Ireland. Consequently, that makes a big difference in terms of the public transport system. There wouldn't be enough space if all Koreans used a private car in the small land! That's why it's natural that the Korean public transport system is more advanced.
I'm going to introduce 3 features of the Korean public transport systerm that helps you travel in a more convenient way.

(I've lived only in Seoul, so all the information is based on the public transport system in Seoul.)

Firstly, a transport card called T-money is commonly used instead of a paper ticket.
There are many types of T-money such as a normal card, a mobile phone strap like an accessary, a chip to put inside a mobile phone and a credit card. When you use T-money, you can get a 10 cent discount off the basic cash fare.

Secondly, it's much easier to transfer by using T-money card.
When you get on a bus or a subway, you touch the T-money machine with your T-money card on! Likewise, just touch the machine with the card on when you get off. The chip inside the card remembers when and where you get off. Next time you transfer within one and half hour, the machine automatically calculates how much you have to pay depending on the distance you move. Normally, it costs only a few cents, or free if the distance is not very long!

Thirdly, you can know time information about a bus by phone.
Would you like to know when a bus arrives at the bus stop where you're standing or when the last bus departs from the bus station? Then, this service helps you know the exact time.
Have you ever missed the bus stop to get off while nodding off on the bus? If you set the bus stop you want to get off by phone, you'll get an alarm message 3 or 4 stops before your destination.

Korea uses cutting edge technology for the public transport system, so it is more convenient. Moreover, there are a variety of routes for buses and subways, and they run until late at night every day, even weekends! This public transportaion system gets you to travel to wherever you want to go very conveniently.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Bell Street" Jongno in Korea!

Jongno is located in central Seoul and means 'Bell Street'. It's my favorite playground by having plenty of things to do. I'm going to introduce 5 things to do in Jongno.

1. Reading a book in Kyobo Book Center
Kyobo Book Center is the largest and the most famous
book store in Korea. I like to read a book sitting on the floor leaning against a bookshelf. When I get bored, I choose another book. That makes me feel like I'm shopping! That's why I'm always unware of time flying by in Kyobo Book Center.

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2. Learning Korean history in Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung is a royal palace and means 'the
palace of shining happiness'. Roughly 60% of the original number of palace buildings were destroyed by the Japanese goverment in the early 20th century, but you can still see the rest of the beautiful buildings. If you're lucky, you could meet Korean actors and actresses being shot in a historical drama.
(There are some different opinions. See this: Korean Palace Visit - Mixed Reactions)

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3. Taking a walk along the Cheonggyecheon Stream
The Cheonggyecheon Stream is a 5.8 km long, modern
public recreation space surrounded with high buildings. In fact, it's hard to see such a beautiful modern steam in a big city! What's more, it's really good to go for a walk talking with others. At night, the steam is decorated by colorful lights. Personally, I prefer the night view. I used to drink a can of beer with friends there listening to water flowing.

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4. Shopping in Myeongdong Shopping Area
Myeongdong is a representative shopping district.
There are all kinds of shops and lots of snack stalls. You can have a variety of good choices and items are normally inexpecsive, so it's jam-packed all the time with shoppers. You may be confused as to whether you're in Korea or Japan, because there are tons of Japaneses who want to shop in Myeongdong!

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5. Feeling tradional Korea on Insadong Street
Insadong is well known as a traditional street. You can
buy a Korean traditional souvenir there! There are not only traditional shops, but also traditional restaurants, teahouses, and pubs! You can see Starbucks as well, but the signboard is written in Korean only in Insadong. I love this place, because I feel comfortable in the atmosphere.

There are more attractions in Jongno that I'd love to
introduce such as Samcheongdong Walkway, Ssamjigil, City hall, Deoksugung Palace, Dongdaemun market and so on. Why don't you visit Jongno in Seoul? You'll enjoy yourself a lot!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Matt Cardle sings She's Always A Woman

Matt Cardle > She's Always A Woman

I wait for your performance every Saturday! Cheer up :D

Fyfe Dangerfield > She's Always A Woman

This is a different version :)

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child,
But she's always a woman to me

She can lead you to love
She can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth
But she'll never believe
And she'll take what you give her
As long as it's free
Yeah, she steals like a thief
But she's always a woman to me

Ooooh she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Ooooh and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

And she'll promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleeding
But she'll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she's always a woman to me

Hmmmm hmmmmm

Ooooh she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Ooooh and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She is frequently kind
And she's suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases
She's nobody's fool
And she can't be convicted
She's earned her degree
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you
But she's always a woman to me

Hmmmm hmmmmm

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A childhood memory in the Seomjin river

I realized I hadn't thought for a pretty long time about a family vacation I went on as a child. I've planned many oversea trips myself and left for all over the world alone since I grew up. Even now, I'm in a foreign country which my parents don't know very well. Suddenly, something makes me sad. I don't know what it is.

I know some of my friends who have never had a vacation with their family. However, I have uncountable travel experiences with my family thanks to my father who did his best to have enjoyable time with his children.

The place where I went on trips to the most is the Seomjin river, located in the south part of Korea. It took over 1 hour from my house by car. Every summer vacation and every weekend, I used to go there with my family.
What we did first on arrival was put up a tent on a riverbank which was usually father's job. Then, mother started to organize all the stuff. While my parents were busy preparing, my brother and I changed into a comfortable shirt and pumped all the tubes up except for an inflatable dinghy that was too big for us.
On walking into the water, I felt cold although it was a very hot summer, because the water comes directly from Mt. Jiri, one of the highest mountains in Korea. I was always the first one to begin swimming. That was my favorite time! Then, my brother, then father joined me, but mother mostly stayed in the tent. When I was child, I thought mother didn't want to swim, but looking back on it now, someone had to mind the tent and it was just her all the time. When one got tired among us and came back to the tent, she could go swimming.
I loved snorkelling! My father taught my brother and me how to find clams at the bottom of the river. I don't remember now, but at that time I knew exactly where clams hid. Can you believe that my family were able to dig out clams as much as a half of my height for one day?! Mother made clam chowder with the clams we had dug out for dinner. Frankly, I didn't like the chowder. I only liked gathering clams.
It got dark quickly. My mother had to hold me back not to swim again, but I wanted to go back to the river! There were lots of things I liked at night such as listening to chirping and croaking, watching bright stars, feeling the warm wood fire and talking with my family, but I got into the tent soon, because I couldn't stand the mosquitos' buzzing!

I was only 7, my brother was 3, and my parents were in their 30's. I thought I would be a child forever, my brother would be a toddler forever, and my parents would be in their 30's forever. Time flies like an arrow. I'm 23 now, my brother is 19, and my parents are in their 50's.

What has changed in the last 16 years? My parents have dedicated their life to me and they have always been supportive of me. What about myself? What has become of me?

Thanks, father and mother.
I miss my parents and my brother a lot.