Here are some quick hits from around Osan:
Here are some pictures of the beautiful Lily flower/coffee shop we go to.
It’s nice on a day when you have been inside for hours and hours and you can take a walk to the store and it smells deliciously of flowers and plants. Mmmm, I like when the inside smells like the outside!
Suspiciously, however, ALL the plants I buy from there die. And that’s like 4 plants! What’s up Lily? What IS up?
One day on our way to said coffee shop we saw these two friends.
A bird mid-flight. And. A praying mantis! And this is no regular mantis! The coolest thing ever was seeing him fight off this BIRD. He raised his arms and unfolded his wings and stood tall and stared that bird down. The bird kinda hopped from one side to another, a little confused at his desire to eat something that was fighting back, but the mantis turned with him. I think the bird was about to go for it when we walked a bit close and the bird took off. I was like, Yes! score one for the ‘little guys’ and then… he was squished by a car…. I feel a little responsible… sorry guy…
Lastly, a little while ago we took a walk down by the river and although it was grey, it was pretty. Nice and green. No valley with this river, though! It’s pretty flat!
On our way home we stopped in a park and noticed these lovely ladies.
I was impressed to see such bootylicious women considering how small and skinny most women are here. It’s great that these gals are in the park and perhaps they will get kids thinking that there are people that come of all shapes and sizes!
Well, I hope that gives you an idea of what we generally see walking around Osan.
Sorry for the delay in posting! Hope to make it up this weekend!! For now, here is a peak at what we did last weekend!
Saturday we headed into Seoul, this time taking the bus. It was approximately 45 minutes, and this time we were able to sit. The view wasn’t anything too special but there were a couple of girls inside the bus that seemed to think the view inside the bus was pretty great. Sandy and I both heard someone’s camera phone clicking away and were confused as to what they could possibly be taking pictures of. Turns out, it was Sandy! Mr. Handsome had a couple of admirers!
After running away from that debacle, we found ourselves in Gangnam, an affluent financial district in Seoul that has plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment to choose from.
But before we were to take in Gangnam, we had other plans in mind. We hopped on the subway and headed to the National Assembly building. We were not, however, interested in politics. Behind the building there is a road famous for cherry trees and we wanted to see the cherry blossoms. Understand that it was last weekend that Seoul held their blossom festival and it had rained and we had heard that probably, all the blossoms would have been knocked off the trees by the rain. But I had really been looking forward to seeing the trees so we decided to check it out, maybe there were some left! This is what we found.
There is the famous road and there are the trees… and there is the lack of blossoms….
We did find ONE tree with blossoms though!
That will have to satiate the need until next year.
Next up: Sunday in Gangnam
This week’s adventure took us to Suwon. While it lies just a few stops along the subway, a problem with the trains meant we were destined for a bumpy ride a la intercity bus. Whew, that was an experience and a half! A full bus left us gripping on for dear life as the bus stopped and started, stopped and started and sped along to the city. I have to say, the bus was much more efficient than those in my experience in Canada picking up passengers and then picking up speed. We were able to use our T-money cards, which was nice. Just like the subway, you scan your card as you enter and exit and it calculates the price of the trip. And when I say scan, I don’t mean swipe or scanning a bar code. You just put the card near a reader and it takes whatever info it needs. On the subway, you place it on a little pad and then pick it up again. Very quick and easy!
We arrived in Suwon and decided to seek out the famous fortress of the city: a wall that once lined an ancient city and now runs around a small portion of today’s Suwon. This led to a different kind of adventure: the experience of a crappy map and a crappy phone. Having only a tiny map in our lonely planet book and a very un-smart phone meant we were trying to find our way solely by instinct and… well, that’s about it. We made our way to the top of a hill and found an area with lots of families and a few attractions like a small animal exhibit (chipmunks included) and a fountain. Which way to the wall? Your guess is as good as mine. We started up a hill in a park area (trees on one side, houses on the other). A little ways up, we decided, no this is just a park path and not the fortress. Back down into the core of the city we went.
The next day we went, once again, in search of the Fortress. A ha! It was right near our hotel! After paying 1000 won ($0.90 CAD) we climbed a whole lot of stairs up to the top. Some trees were in bloom and the views were great.
As we continued our walk we realised to our dismay, the park we had walked in the day before was right behind the wall! If we had chosen to go left instead of right we would have stumbled upon the wall after a 5 minute walk.
Moral of the story: when travelling in Korea, the features of a smart phone are not a luxury, but a necessity. GPS and google would have meant a more productive and enjoyable experience. Of course, if you want to be all retro and stuff… you could also try one of those paper map thingies…
This weekend we headed to the Mulhyanggi Arboretum near the Osan University. A quick hop on the subway allowed us to meet up with a friend. For 1000 won (about $0.89 CAD) it was a great deal. It was much larger than we were expecting. We spent about 3 hours there, wandering around and looking at the trees and ponds in the park and the tropical tree and flower exhibits in the greenhouses. We were able to get some great pictures too.
Now that we have seen it in the very early spring, we are excited to see it again in late spring as well as summer and fall as there were no leaves on the trees yet but we could tell how wonderful it will be when there are.
For another edition of Around Osan, I have a few pictures from over the weekend.
A man on stilts with a big sign advertising what I can only expect to be a big sale at an electronics store. There were three stores on one block having big sales and in addition to this particular stilted man, all had loud speakers out front and a person on mic saying the deals they had in store (I would think).
They often have people who announce what they are selling, even in the grocery store. Almost every single aisle has two people, one person standing at either end, to help you find and pick a product. Speaking of which, here are the two main grocery/department stores close to our apt. They are huge!! I think I will do a post or two about these types of stores soon, so this is just a sneak preview.
I had a short video I wanted to post that went along with the pic I posted last week of the signs on the buildings in the core of Osan but I am having trouble getting it up. It is of the many moving and flashing signs seen at night. Even down side roads there is advertisement like this, so much so that even though our windows face a seldom driven road, the signs from the businesses light up our bedroom like it’s dusk. Definitely no need for a night light!
To end off, here are some of the flower arrangements that we have seen around the city. I think they are to commemorate an occasion as I saw these ones outside of a newly opening store. They have both artificial and live flowers. Very pretty!
Have a good week!