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Autumn Life in Korea
November 6th, 2003

Our home is located in the heart of the business district of Kangnam, literally meaning "South of the River", refering to the Han river .  During the summer months, smog permeates the atmosphere, resulting in thick dense "cloud" which often soots the skin if outdoor activities are attempted. 

However, as autumn preludes the coming winter months by dramatic and sudden drop in temperatures (from circa 23 degrees down to 5 degrees), we also note the view commanded by our front window (pictured to the right) has also suddenly become clearer.  The buildings you see in the distance are apartment complexes around our area - remembering that South Korea has 48 million inhabitants with 27 million of them living in Seoul and its environs.

However, when the weather is too cold, we stay home - watching TV, surfing the Internet and inviting friends over to play games!  Here we are, playing Taiko-No-Taksujin - a game which we purchased for our Sony Playstation 2.  It causes havoc with the neighbours but it's no point having fun without a bit of risk !   Later we played another game, requiring all 4 of us to jump - reminding the people below us that we're still renting the property above them.

We should tell you that we're not exactly suffering in Seoul , with so many things to see and do before we leave the country late in 2005.

We are quickly starting to learn the language so that we can use that ability to help us guide ourselves through the environment, culture, make our daily lives easier and of course, order the food (or get directions on how to get to the toilets).

So far, we've been discovering islands, wineries, farmlands and learnt how to order their fantastic seafood.  We discovered that their service improve the more you try to communicate in their language.  Our little understand of Hanguk (Korean Language) and fanatic sign language landed us this serving of 21 seasalt grilled giant prawns for A$40.00 completely peeled and served by the owner of the establishment.  To top this off, the meal as pictured was enjoyed in an outdoor restaurant, on the seaside during the sunset - which was later enhanced by a fireworks display!

As Autumn is here, we drove 135km towards the east to a place called Chiak-san ( Chiak Mountain ), which we understood would display colourful maple leaves as they progress through their malting period.

Ancient temples, lots of streams, brooks and interesting vegetation made the day an interesting one as we continue to discover more of South Korea .    We soon realised that the countryside is much prettier than Australia (being dry and desolate at times), more picturesque and gives you the feeling that its very much uninhabited.  A feeling that was very quickly extinguished by the traffic jams on the motorways increasing what could have been a 90 minute journey to almost 5 hours!

Still, we are very pleased we made the journey because it showed us how pretty the countryside of South Korea can be and besides, we needed the fresh air.

Between then and now, we're planning on visiting more locations in Seoul and its environments plus write soon about Everland, a Disneyland like fantasyland which Koreans regularly escape to.

Under Maple leaves in Ciak-san

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