Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Picture Diary.

I've been awful in 2012 in upkeeping my blog.. and by awful I mean it's october and this is my first post. But better late than never no?
Here's a picture version of my year thus far..it's been pretty unbelievable:
2012 rang in with a trip home to South Africa. The whole family together for Nana's 70th Birthday!
On Return to Korean Winter, the Damyang Food fiestas Resumed.
"you girls don't just have normal girls nights where you nsakc on chocolate and talk about boys. You have wine and food massacres and things just get ridiculous" - Ryan Sullivan
GIRL PIC. Winter Defined.
I had to say goodbye to my roomie. That was a hard point. I miss her.
But spring sprung, bringing beautiful cherry blossoms!
and the first night hike of the season...
...Then we saw LADY GAGA.

and went to a mustache party.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Buddha. Thanks for the 3 days on the beach (even if it was pebbled!)
A disastrous hangover resulted in 'same same' eyebrow piercings.
But that didn't stop me and my couple set slaying our mountain in 29 minutes: a feat we had been building for for almost a year. The perfect farewell moment. I miss this lady A LOT.

The camping continued...
and June came into my life...and brought along these 2 gentlemen.
The Makgeoli was always flowing...
and then I was lucky enough to have my lovely sister come and visit.
We went to Seoul and saw Wicked. CARYN PART 1.
and traveled around the world at the YEOSU EXPO. CARYN PART 2.
France was a disapointment. This picture was not.
Eating delicious beef was a highlight...
at the Jangheung Water Festival...the day before:
I met my family in Boracay, Philippines for some R&R.
Mara joined us and we ate the island dry.
I left the Philippines to fly to Taiwan to meet Gina.
Soon After Summer Vacation after what seemed like a perpetual Farewell Party for multiple close friends. I had to say goodbye to this clown, which was sad!
But it was now Autumn and the hiking could really begin. Although the two typhoons did some real damage to our trees and trails
he is the sweetest little headed rascal - and he too loves mountains.
A Mudeung Summit happened in there...
a baseball game too...
Multiple Chicken Dances *Arrested Development*
and glorious friends.
A trip to a German Village brought beer...
many park laying Sundays brought a lot of laughing..
AND then..just when you thought we'd had enough fun for one year...
We woke up at 3am to hike the heart of Gwangju...
to see a beautiful sunrise...
and relish in the spectacular fall colours with great friends.
and as if that wasn't enough..the rest of the year is PREPARING for this experience..a 14 day trek in Nepal to reach the BASE CAMP of EVEREST...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shopping in Seoul, a run at the river and a trip to Greece.

Getting in the Christmas Spirit
Not even a week in and already December has proved to be an interesting month.  This past weekend Mara, Bryan and I ventured up to Seoul to take part in the 7th People’s Health Marathon. Both recovering from injuries we only signed up for the 5km race but being my first organised run, it was still such a great experience.  After arriving in Seoul around 1am and getting settled in at our friend Warren’s (who was kind enough to host us) and getting a couple of hours sleep, we woke up to a sunny sky, ate a quick Paris Baguette breakfast and headed out to the Race. All the tents were set up at a big square right along the Han River and the atmosphere was electric when we arrived. We were greeted by the Seoul Flyers running club tent (who we registered for the race through) and picked up our race gifts (a big plus when entering races in Korea – the gifts are plentiful!) Bryan got a full training tracksuit, hat and gloves for the full rate and for the half rate Mara and I scored a fleece hat, neck warmer and 2 pairs of gloves.  All the runners for the half marathon, 10k and 5k got together in front of the starting line about 20 minutes before the kick off and had a mass stretching session with an announcer to some entertaining Kpop and then the countdown began and off we went.  We ran right along the river and it was just so much fun. The group comradery in events like these is just so effortless – everyone cheering each other along, supporters along the way yelling “FIGHTING” and even race cyclists riding alongside the runners to keep them motivated.  Bryan and I synced our ipods to play Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard light” as our race opener and with the sun shining brightly we had lift off. At the half way point after a very strong first 2.5km, we turned around to come back along the river and didn’t realise how strong the wind was. The icy chill was quite a shock to my system and Bryan did some great motivating by yelling “WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?”  to get me to yell back – “I AM A SPARTAN! SPARTANS DON’T QUIT!” – A line he has used on the hardest part of the mountain with me many times.  Getting to the finish line and seeing our time to be 29 minutes was glorious. I don’t know what I was expecting since because of my injury, I haven’t run for over a month but it was a really positive day and result in all ways. My leg felt good (though the next morning was a different story) and it just felt SO brilliant to be back out on the road.
Bryan's new tracksuit

Gwangju Running Club - Represent!

We spent the late afternoon recouperating at Warrens and then went out into Gangnam to get some dinner. MEXICAN FOOD at Dos Tacos was just what the doctor ordered – an avocado Burrito with Guacamole, Chips and Salsa and a Margerita. Mmmmm! 
We went back to Warren and Jo’s and played some really fun drinking games and then decided to catch the subway to Hongdae – a popular university Area of Seoul  full of bars, clubs and my personal favourite – a street cocktail bar (where your Long Island Iced Tea comes take out in an IV bag.) Around ¾ of the way there on the subway, the train simply stopped and we all had to get off as it was time to close. It took us 45 minutes after that to find a taxi because there were so many people trying to do the same thing and by the time we eventually made it through the traffic and into Hongdae to meet up with our other friends, it was 1am and most of the drinks had worn off. There was an HIV Benefit fundraiser called ‘Rubber soul’ being held at 6 of the clubs in the area and it so happened that a Korean Punk Band that Jo really likes was playing at one of them. I really wanted to go to support the cause too because it actually benefited HIV Causes in South Africa. We paid our entrance fees and got Zulu Beaded Doll key rings which were made at the Hillcrest HIV centre which is really close to Durban. So from that perspective, it was pretty close to my heart.  We went inside the club and the band were amazing but the venue was very crowded and had so little ventilation that my eyes were watering from all the smoke. Luckily Bryan was feeling the same so we decided to go and find another bar until our friends were finished with the concert.  I had also completely forgotten what it was like to party in Seoul sans a big group or event (like a Feed the Boats show) and it really is a completely different scene.  People are not as welcoming and open as they are in Gwangju and it is also just so busy and intense that I wasn’t really prepared for it. Around 3am, I had had enough and luckily so had my other partners in crime. We decided to ziggle to the food stands for some street kebabs and Pad Thai and then catch a taxi home where we had a few beers and then fell into a comfortable sleep. Bryan had to wake up ridiculously early to catch a bus to Gwangju to make it back in time for his play practice but Mara and I slept in until about 11am, got dressed in comfortable clothes – running shoes and hoodies and then caught the subway to Myeong Dong to get into some winter shopping. Although it was freezing at first without coats on (we didn't want the inconvenience of having to carry them or deal with them when constantly trying on clothes), a soy latte did the trick and warmed us up nicely whilst we wandered round the streets for a while before getting into some serious retail therapy.
Trying to keep warm in Myeong Dong.
We spent about 3 hours in the giant forever 21 trying on all sorts of clothes and shoes and after we had managed to cut down our choices and fit in with our reasonably generous budgets we hopped back on the subway Itaewon or should I say GREECE bound.  Santorini was sweetly calling our names and we settled into comfortable chairs in the cosy 2nd floor restaurant in the heart of the foreigner district of Seoul. The food was sensational – if we were in Greece, I imagine it is exactly how it would have tasted.  So, let me take you on a photo tour through our delicious meal of Giros and potatoes, tzaziki, Greek Salad, Hummus and Pita topped off with a glass of red wine.  Perfection: 

Step 1 - Hummus.
Step 2- Salad.
Step 3 - Meat.
Step 4 - Tzaziki.
Step 5 - Take a Giant Bite.
Step 6 - Taste the goodness and Smile.

Where'd it all go???
Our weekend in Seoul was awesome and the trip to Santorini was the perfect way to end it off.  The weather is really turning chilly and so all our new winter purchases will really come to good use soon enough. Physical Therapy is over this week and hopefully my leg or ‘pelvis’ won’t be giving me any more grief. Christmas plans are being formulated and then soon after that it will be back to summery South Africa for 3 weeks of family, sun and delicious food. La Vita e Bella.