I'm back from a three-day exploration of South Korea! I have many unusual experiences that started, would you believe, at the NAIA like as if I was flying for the first time! What happened was after inspections at the immigration officer, I wore my shoes back putting my passport together with my boarding pass at a nearby chair. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that my boarding pass slipped from my passport upon retrieval. I was very hungry as I haven't had lunch yet so I immediately went to buy some food. It was there when I noticed that my boarding pass was missing. Then I heard my name being paged directing me to a place I could not recall anymore. I went back and two ladies approached me and told me they found my boarding pass which they surrendered to the airport police. When I rejoined my group, they were all laughing saying that my name was being announced. How do you respond to that? I told them I handed my boarding pass to the police for safekeeping first. Gave them a thousand each.
We arrived at Incheon airport around midnight. I couldn't find my luggage. As I used the luggage my daughter borrowed from her cousin which she used in their HK trip, I remembered the ribbon to be on the bluishh side and very slim. It was the wee hours of the morning when my children arrived and my wife immediately replaced my things with theirs in the bag. When the conveyor belt had taken about the fifth turn, I took the bag that resembled mine and tried to look at the name on the tag. You see, my niece's name is Rona and my wife's maiden name. When I read the tag, it says, Rowena Rona but no family name. I put it back and let it go. Several more rounds on the conveyor belt and it was the only one left. I took it again and recognized my padlock. Checked the name again and the address on it and realized it was indeed my luggage. And to think it had been there since the time we arrived.
It was very cold when we arrived. It's spring right now in Korea and temperature can go as low as 11 degrees to 23C. As my jacket was inside my luggage, I had to be contented with putting my hands inside my pockets to keep me warm. We had a bulgogi dinner consisting of beef, clear noodles cooked in soup and other flavors, rice, side dishes and kimchi. Wow! authentic kimchi! The thrill over eating kimchi will soon be gone after having to eat it with every meal everyday. Lol!
It would be wasting your time to narrate what a wonderful time I had during the tour for that is a given. Suffice it to say that we stayed at the Biwon Hotel in Seoul. Instead, I shall give you my impression of South Korea in the three days that I spent there. My biggest impression is that Korea is as efficient as any well-developed country there is. Their systems work well together with how they have adapted technology without forgetting their rich culture. I have seen how proud they are of their ethnic traditions and many more.
If there is one similarity we have with the Koreans, it would be that our countries have been colonized by Japan. They had been oppressed a thousand fold by the Japanese, having been a colony for thirty or so years, and experienced a civil war thereafter that divided their nation into two. And yet, they are more progressive than us in many ways. While I envy the cold climate they have during the short time that I was there, I envy the developments they have made over the years more. I know my observations may be far off from what Korea truly is for I have only been there for only three days. But in the three days that I spent, I nver saw lazy men just hanging around at a corner store making nonsense talk like how they had been bummed out the previous night, or would you see idle land that is not made into a garden of vegetables or flowers. I have been to theme parks that teemed with a lot of people and yet, you do not find garbage like you do in people's park in Tagaytay, for example. Their toilets are well maintained, with soap and tissues around and I am not talking about tourist spots but ordinary public toilets. They practice garbage segregation, street food is clean and the people are very disciplined. They are very industrious working very hard which they inculcate to their young at a very early age.
Giuen more time to stay in that country, I know my impression may change. Who knows? In the meantime, this will be my idea of what Korea is. That if there is something we can learn from them, it will be to love our own country, take pride with who we are, work hard and aspire for a better nation. That the system in Korea is effective and very efficient because the people willed it to be so. They all participate in making their system work and it did.
Note: More pictures coming soon. Unfortunately, my digital camera decided to go bonkers and I have to rely on friends. Besides, my wife and I will be going to Bicol with friends and will be staying there till Sunday. This will be my last hurrah for this year. I start reporting back for work on Monday.
Jack of all trade, master of none.
First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.