Sunday, July 30, 2006

I have finally mastered the art of tranferring pictures from a digital camera to a laptop without Ian's assistance.... and it only took me the better part of a month to learn. However, I have selected just a few pictures from the vacation that Maebh and I took to Hanoi in June of this year. During our stay in Hanoi we took a two day trip around the world heritage site of Halong Bay. The journey was magnificent as watching the enormous limestone islets shoot from water that ranged from blue to rather lagoon like green was awe inducing. The first picture was taken at 6am from the top deck of our junk boat. We slept over night on the junk, but due to intense heat in the cabins I got up early to get some air. The boats are those of local fishermen going to work, travelling through the inlets and bays of Halong Bay.

The second picture is one that I am particularly proud of and should I ever come across a photo competition for 'Those That Have Been To Vietnam And Have Great Pictures To Prove It', I have every intention of entering and winning. The area where I took this picture is the site of the our incident with the local armed forces. The dirt path was a long way off from achieving road status and barely wide enough for a honda 50, yet our tour bus and the army jeeps(we presume they were training in the area), decided they could of course make it down the path at the same time. It was not to be, resulting in the jeep and tour bus scraping sides. Not very enjoyable for the Danish guy sitting beside me (window side),as he was afforded an up close and personal view of the little lake due to the force from the army jeep, pushing our bus closer and closer to the edge of said lake. Of course, did the army jeeps stop after mangling the tour bus. NO. The result of that was seeing our bus driver give chase, disappear around the corner, leaving us alone, in the middle of nowhere with a bus. He eventually came back. Minus an apology from the army. At least my picture is nice.

Picture 3 speaks for itself really. It was taken at the Hanoi War Museum at the base of the Cot Co Flag Tower. What you can see in the picture is military waste. If I knew my war crafts I would list the names of those on display, but, I don't. I did read what they all were at the time, but I blame the heat for erasing all war related information from my head. ( I do believe there were MIG's there though............)

Maebh and I also visited the Temple of Literature which was a magnificent example of Vietnamese architecture. Picture 4 is taken from the interior of one of the buildings. I was quite favouring the inside to outside pictures instead of the outside to inside ones, as the intense afternoon heat was playing havoc with little fragile me. So, I sought refuge in the cool (ish) indoor environment.

While sailing around Halong Bay we stopped at one of the caves that are quite common around the area. The cave that we visited was illuminated with a broad spectrum of colours, some so blinding it was rather difficult to see the rock facing. However, I have my doubts as to whether or not the interior of the caves are genuine, seeing as some of the rock formations looked rather unnatural and did not have the texture one associates with caves. Nevertheless, the interiors were certainly interesting to view. The final picture shows the orange illumination in contrast to the natural light stealing in from an opening.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yesterday I saw the teeny tiny weener family. Grandad, dad and son tearing up and down the beach with ........well i was going to say with "everything hanging out"................ but ......well..........

It just does not cease to amaze how free and willing these men are to strip to their birthday suits and frolic in the surf.

Of course I cannot talk , seeing as I went out in high waves again, this time with a bodyboard and successfully lost the bottom half of my bikini twice....yes that was fun...diving under incoming waves praying to all the gods that it hadn´t been washed to shore.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Y viva Espana

And so I have been thrown from Korean mayhem into Spanish mayhem, but at least the Spanish don´t care. Today I went swimming in a red flag area because the waves were enormous and I wanted in on the action and did anyone stop me...........? No. Also in stark contrast to Korea are the number of penises (penii?) on display. The Spanish and German men just love to let it ALL hang out and take great pleasure in stripping to their birth state and let the wind flap it around.......

Joyfully it is hot, but not nasty Korea or Vietnam hot so I have taken to sitting out in the sun n the vague hope that i might oneday resemble a somewhat ripened tomato.

I also bought a little black dress here and was most upset when the idiot working the counter just dumped my dress into a bag and dropped my change on the counter. I created a little scene. Got the dress folded into a bag. The change was still thrown at me though............

I also keep asking how much things cost in Korean etc.... and I am most outraged that the Spanish have not embraced the Korean culture and perfected the basic words.

Still though, they seem to have accepted the Irish as there is a Super Value up the street. How I snorted when I saw that...............

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nothing quite beats the feeling of returning home after a long period of time, meeting up with old friends and disovering that your friendship hasn't altered in any way. It really does make you smile.

Tonight I went to a tapas bar in Cork with Aaron and his wonderful boyfriend, John. We enjoyed an outstanding series of tapas, although I must say my plate was particulary perfect what with the local cheese and smoked ham. I had forgotten how entertaining Aaron and his friends are and just how enjoyable it could be to sit with them in a cosy bar enjoying good food and wine, with no one bothered or upset by their flamboyant tendencies. We certainly are not in Korea any more, Toto.

I also blew a fortune on clothes this weekend, but that's another matter, although I am quite in love with my red, ridiculously high heeled to find the right occassion and the right surface to walk on, ensuring minimum damage to ankles.

Monday, July 03, 2006

And so it is all over.

My Korean experience, which was to last twelve months and not three years, is complete. I leave tomorrow for Hong Kong, then to London and then Dublin. I will stay in Ireland for a brief time and then onto Canada to be with Ian.

It feels so very strange to think that I may never see Daegu, my school or people I have met here again. I can't even put into words the feelings I have about leaving here. I presume that I will be a little emotional when the plane takes off from Seoul, but I do hope one day I will be able to return to the place that gave me so much.

O f course once I get to Limerick I will have been travelling non stop for 36 hours, if not more, so the only emotion that will be going around my head will be the love for my bed.