Adventures in Kimchi-land
Today I arrived 12.15 pm at the Incheon Airport in Korea, no special things happened on the flight. I talked with an Austrian who got interested in trying Baduk after I told him about my journey, so he gave me his card so I could contact him again. 10 hours and 15 minutes it took me to arrive in Korea and I was glad to be there. At first the jet-lag was not that bad but it got worse later. Mr. Hong Seul-ki awaited me with 6 other students at the exit-gate so it did not take long to find him after I passed the immigration-matters.
There were one Slovenian, one from Portugal, one from Czech Repulbic, two from Italia and another one from Peru i guess. And after we found the the three lost people even three Thais. Kingsbaduk had rented a small bus for us to get to Hoenggeosong (still can't spell it...).
so with 9 people we made our way slowly trough the Korean mountains. It seems that Korea in winter is a very dry wasteland as there is not much green or other colour than yellow-brownish prominent but what really strikes the eyes is that on every end, every small space, town or road there is building in progress. The whole of Korea is one building and constructionsite, everywhere even on a Sunday workes busily build streets, houses and other things. Even here at the academy there is building in progress, the academy seems not completly finished yet and the streets and bridges, houses around here all seem to be in a state of being renovated, newly build or planed.
Another cool thing is traffic in Korea. They for the high-way have a toll-system where you have to pay in order to go on. The streets on the other side are poorly maintained or evily planed. Every few minutes there is a bump in the road which shakes the car so that you can easily hit your head on the car if you do not watch out. We learned that rather quickly but I cannot ward of the feeling that those "badly" build roads are perfectly planed for that use.
What is missing when talking about traffic? Of course a trafficjam! And just 10 minutes from leaving the toll-gate of Incheon we hit one right on the head but wait trafficjams seem different here. Not stop'n'go as we know rather a smooth snail-like steady pace throughout the complete thing! I do not know if it was pleasant or not, as I was too busy taking all that input.
German drivers beware of Korea though, even if they have the same directions as we do, they are completly different. You drive there where you want at the pace you want, only switching the paths if there is someone as stubborn as you and slower than you. In the mountains, driving hard serpentines, small vehicles will try to overturn you at a incredible high-paces. Suicide you think? I do not think they think so.
Do Koreans love high cramped places? It seems so, everywhere on the way to KBC there were German Democratic Republic-style concrete building in process. All the very same, all everywhere grouping themselves together as close as they can. It looks interesting indeed A funny country it is, might have fallen in love with its uniqueness to me. Completly different than Germany.
At the KBC I am sharing a wooden log with two other students, Pedro and Gabriel. Pedro from Portugal and Gabriel from Peru, both nice and friendly guys. I think we will get along nicely
The log is really comfortable. It looks cute and adorable, cuddling with the mountains and the other logs. It has a bath, a kitchen and best of all a ground-heating. Soooo cozy!
Our TV swiftly was programmed and now air SkyBaduk as long as it runs. Even now while I am writing my diary here we have it turned it on. True, Gabriel already is sleeping and Pedro is writing his own diary, but we have it in the background. We probably all are quite tired and exhausted because of the flights and the jet-lag. Just two and half hours ago our teacher Hong Seul-ki gathered us in his log to play a Rengo with us. "Three vs three"we played and I had Seul-ki on my team. Seul-ki is his sur-name and he told us to call him like that and to view him as a friend and mentor rather than a real teacher. Also he told us that in Germany people always called him by his last name "Hong" because it was easier for them. But he did not like it that much he prefers Seul-ki and so we try to call him now, even though we still fail...
The game itself was funny, from 5kyu to 4dan our strengths are distributed and I made the game fail for my side as I kept napping of while waiting for my next turn. Luckily the others where not angry at me because they all are sleepy to. Seul-ki shortly reviewed the game and then dismissed our study-meeting for today. Next time we will bring snacks and beverages to spicy up the nice atmosphere even more. Just as we wanted to leave he called me though. Now I have to hold a speech at the opening ceremony now. Got to thank the sponsors and teachers for taking us in and saying how nice everything is. I wonder how I should say it. Now it is nearly 0.00 pm and soon I will fall asleep as I am so tired I even start to talk German to my room-mates.