Orientation Trip!

2 09 2008

So there was a weekend orientation trip, where everyone in the CIEE program left Seoul for the weekend and went to the country. For those that lack an attention span here is a brief list of things that happened:

1. Sat in a bus for many hours

2. Made paper, in a traditional style

3. Laughed as people came back to the traditional hotel really drunk, and did ghetto norebang

4. Climbed a mountain

5. Did a lot of shopping in the Family Mart at weird hours of the night

6. Ate eggs at 1AM

7. Picked tea leaves

8. Sat on the bus for waaaay too long

For those of you that have the ability to concentrate and actually read I shall explain these items a bit more. So the first day basically encompassed going to a huge land reclamation project where they are making a wall to block the ocean which will give the Koreans land about five times the size of Manhattan, which they will then change into various things like farmland and a space center… It is kind of a useless project. We then drove on to another city, which I don’t remember the name of, and there we made traditional paper. I can’t think of anything more to describe that. After that was over a group of us went to a really ghetto norebang (or karaoke room), and when we returned to the traditional-style inn that we were staying at for the night there were many drunk people running about. It was a very amusing and fun night filled with talking.

The next day we woke up to discomfort as we had slept on the floor (though I was fine as I slept on about ten pillows). If my memory serves me right we then drove to a mountain that we then proceeded to hike up. This was a fairly annoying hike as much of the path was just small boulders which were not very easy to traverse. The view, however, was quite spectacular and the whole experience was well worth it. After that we went to a Buddhist temple where we had dinner and watched an evening prayer, which actually was quite cool to me. The monks were reciting the Heart Sutra, which I forget what exactly it is but it is important. I thought that was pretty interesting. After that we went to our hotel which was a modern facility, and conveniently had a convenience store in the basement. We went there quite late and bought some eggs to have at about 1AM. That was great.

The next day, which was the last day, we spent the morning at a tea plantation and traditional village, where we actually were able to pick some tea leaves and keep them. I currently have my tea sitting on the counter drying out before I roast it to make some black tea. I just hope it doesn’t suck. We then proceeded to spend about eight hours on the bus…. it was boring. Mostly people just took pictures of other people sleeping.

Overall, orientation was pretty good. Nothing super exciting, but it was cool to get out of Seoul and things some other sides of Korea that I do not think I would have necessarily seen. So I guess you could say that it was good. Here are the pictures:

This is just a toll gate, but I thought it was pretty cool.

This is that land reclamation project, it goes really far into the Yellow Sea as you can see.

This is a cool Hyundai sign.

These are some Kimchee pots at the traditional inn we stayed at.

The same Kimchee pots and the building we stayed in.

This is apparently the prefered method of growing squash in the countryside.

The Buddhist temple we stopped at to watch the monks at work.

Here is the traditional village, with some rice fields in the background.