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Spring has Sprung
April 15th, 2004

We discovered that Seoul weather changes dramatically.  A freak blizzard struck on 4th of March 2004, with temperatures under freezing point but in April, we experienced Spring conditions with temperatures topping 26 degrees Celsius.

The first signs of Spring is obviously the rise in temperature.  However, nature provides its own signal with the blooming of many millions of tiny leaf like flowers the Koreans call the Kenari.  I remember this name because it sounds remarkably similar to the Canary - a little yellow bird.   Highway 88 (The Olympic Highway) which runs parallel to the Han river is littered with yellow as these flowers take over the highway.

Hubert and Khengs visited South Korea over the past 2 weeks.  While we became accustomed to life in Korea, the experience of Huberts visit brought back memories of how we struggled with the language and  the acceptance of the cultural difference within this country as played tour guide.  It reminded us how far we have come in such a short period of time.  

With the change in the weather conditions, visiting Korea became much more pleasant as far as the weather is concerned but intolerable as far as traffic is concerned.  The warmer weather brought many Koreans out of their homes and onto the streets, shopping areas and parks.  The resultant traffic nearly tripled some driving trips, forcing us to make alternative plans as we encountered heavy traffic.  On one trip, we spent 3 hours driving from Seoul to the island of Daebudo in search for seafood barbeque dinner, a trip which has normally taken under 1 hour.

During Hubert and Kheng's visit, we concentrated on sampling authentic Korean food / drink, doing a lot of shopping and a little sightseeing.  Most of the shopping was done in Namdaemun (the south gate), Dongdaemun (the east gate), Seoul Express Bus Terminal underground shopping, Technomart, Yongsan Electronics Market and Munjeong Dong Rodeo Street.  

The two week holiday for them was enough to sample and enjoy what Seoul has to offer, but not enough time to venture into the countryside to enjoy the mountains, rivers and Korean country life.  The lowlight of this trip was the 2 hours we spent jammed in the car park, waiting for traffic to clear. We wish them a pleasant journey and good travelling as they leave us two days ago and proceed to Thailand to continue with their vacation.

We also were fortunate enough to receive Jeanettes cousin - Stephen and Jenny Leow for a couple of days, enough time to celebrate Jeanette's birthday.   During this short time, apart from the Korean shopping, we returned to the seafood barbeque restaurant in Daebudo island.  Remember the 3 hour drive to the island explained a couple of paragraphs ago?  The trip now took just under 1 hour !

Soon, we will be hosting the visit of both our mum's for 1 entire month.  During this time we have a lot of festivals to look forward to and report on.  However, prior to this Raymond will make his was to Austria on business while Jeanette will use the period when Raymond is away to visit her mum in Malaysia.

Keep well ! ....  Jeanette and Raymond Han

 

Jeanette and Kheng, posing before Dongdaemun (East Gate).
Fresh sea clams, ready for the barbeque.  Daebu-do island is famous for its seafood and Kalkuksu - Home made knife cut noddles.

Suwon Hwaseong (Fortress), otherwise known as the Great Wall of Korea.

Kelari - the yellow flower  that clues Koreans in that Spring is here.  Watch out for the cherry blossoms next.

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