Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Alone in Wasu-ri, The Chuncheon Shopping Excursion, Mountain Roads, and K-Pop, Pt. 1

This post will go in two parts because I'm too tired to do it all in one go. The Chuseok (추석) holiday has kept rolling on and I'm off school until Thursday. Today saw a break from the easy-breezy days of Sunday and Monday because I took the bus to 춘천 to meet with an EPIK teacher, Paula, and do some shopping at the E-Mart. It felt good to get out of town and do something with someone else because I've outside of seeing my neighbors on Saturday, I've been largely alone in town on Saturday and Sunday. By largely, I mean that I saw some of my students in town and said hello to them, but I was otherwise alone. It certainly got lonely when I considered that I was the only foreigner in town and in a foreign country 6000+ miles away from family and friends in the States, but the time passed by quickly. There'll be a post on that soon enough, as I had my first successfully bought a Korean flag at a PX store by negotiating the language barrier with the shop owner. But anyway...

춘천 and the ride there: Holy hell was that road twisty. If you've ever played The Need For Speed, you'll know what I'm talking about: winding curves, rollercoaster hills, hairpin s-bends, and narrow roadways along an endlessly beautiful forest. Parts of the route wound along a man made lake. See below for an idea of what I'm talking about. I took these pics from the bus window:

Actually, I didn't get any pics of the best part--the water here's just a river. The bus moved too quickly through the hills for any decent shots of the lake to get taken...but hell, the greenery defines the world expansive. If any of us remember The Land Before Time with all those bucolic shots of the valleys and the forests, THAT is what Highway 56 from Wasu to Chuncheon looks like. You know how some people of a certain disposition look at parts of the USA and say, "this here's God's country"? This looked better.

Those hills, those hills...they're everywhere. And did mention that we took the crazily twisty road in a coach bus? Yes. A 5-speed manual bus, actually. The whole time going there I sat staring out the window thinking if only I had a car. If only Drew could get out here. We could tear this road up! For another movie reference, cue up the scene early in GoldenEye where Bond and Moneypenny get into a chase with that girl in a red Lotus. The road looked like that, only with forest everywhere. Not to belabor the point, but I've never seen such beauty before.

That's all for now...but I can't go home without getting this up here: The E-Mart excursion rocked and I brought home a load of goodies, including 3 K-Pop CDs from Girls' Generation, 2PM, and this band, 2NE1:

  Once I opened up the casing I knew I had to post a picture of what came with the CD. Look at this above...20 separate holographic postcards, a fan club card, and a mini booklet came with the CD. Who throws this much stuff in with a 6 song EP? The Rolling Stones packed postcards inside their Exile on Main St. LP, but even so, they weren't holographic. And Exile was a double LP. Double LPs were made for having extra stuff inside since they were supposed to comprise grand artistic statements. But an EP, well, 2NE1 clearly went the extra mile here.

 I've never seen CD packaging like this outside of Tool and Radiohead albums.

And the music? Pretty decent girl-group pop. The singing alternates between Korean and English and the girls throw in some good hooks in every song.

Good night!

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