Friday, August 31, 2012

My Living Area in Flogsta

So I figured I would post some of the photos of the area where I am living for the year. I am living in a corridor which has twelve rooms, one of them is always unoccupied but a German man keeps paying the rent. There are a bunch of little weird things like that in Flogsta. But I digress. So far we have about eight people living here, with four of them being international students. None of the international students come from the same country. We have a Polish student who grew up in France, a German student and a student from Mozambique who has never seen snow, and of course me from 'Merica. It sounds like a wacky sitcom that Fox would put out for two episodes before promptly being cancelled.

A furnished room in Flogsta
My barren room that makes me feel like I am living in a meth den

View from my desk. The windows swing open so I can't really open the main window. 

My bed and awkwardly placed chair that serves as a night stand

My book shelf with no books to fill it.

A Kitchen in Flogsta
The kitchen. Flogsta kitchens tend to get dirty because of the sheer number of people who live and eat in them. Mine has been clean so far. 

It is nice to sit in the morning and drink tea in the dining area. The rain makes the  air oh so fresh.

The common room where I can watch six channels which are all in Swedish.

My corridor is decorated in Swedish versions of American movie posters. It is really funny to see taglines and sometimes titles translated into Swedish. 

View from the balcony. Bikes on bikes. 

This is August in Sweden. 

Looking down the corridor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Culture on the Rooftops

I had my first real interaction with Swedish students the last few days. Obviously it has been the political science department that is apparently bringing the party. Yesterday we spotted them when we were barbequing near the ekonomikum. All of the students were wearing costumes ranging from the 1960s Soviet uniforms to Robin Hood. Oh and they were practicing some sort of choreographed dance routine. The German and Californian delegation obviously wanted to go and check out the festivities and integrate into the native Swedish culture so that is what we did. We hopped up on to the outskirts of tribal dance circle in attempt to integrate. We were slightly weary that  the dancers were all part of some sort of Swedish cult and that we would soon be drinking Kool Aid to take us to our alien fathers. We all agreed it would be best not to drink anything the costume wearing swedes brought us.  They were teaching everyone the dance moves to a Swedish dance song. I didn’t understand a word of the instructions about how to dance but as I learned in Korea dancing is something that you don’t need language to explain.  This was the second time in as many months that I was in a foreign country trying to learn their synchronized dance moves I should probably keep this trend up and hit the Serbian Turbofolk clubs in November.

It turns out that the students were dressed that way and dancing because it was part of their university orientation called nollning. When we left the dance circle we figured it would be the last we would see of the costume wearing dancing Swedes… but we were wrong. The next night when we were coming back from an International Orientation Barbeque we heard music and saw lights coming from Flogsta building nine. Spinning LED lights and loud music universally attracts students like cats to canned tuna. When we got to the roof we were greeted again by the costume wearing Swedes dancing on the roof. As we are standing around observing the odd visual spectacle in front of us a couple of costumed Swedes a group of the participants came up and promptly said in perfect English “Oh you are exchange students right?” I first surprised that they could recognize us as foreigners so quickly. Then I realized it was because we were not dressed up as refuges from World War II or whatever the ecliptic theme of the night was.

It was very interesting to converse with the Swedes. My experiences with the Swedish people had at that point been mostly in passing.  Whenever I would ask a question I would get a very detailed answer. The interactions were very polite but very businesslike.  For some reason on the rooftop of the student dormitory the Swedish students were much friendlier. Some may point to the cartons of wine that they were all drinking like water. But I prefer to believe their friendliness came from excitement of international education.  

Pretty much everyone asked me why I chose Sweden. I think they were kind of shocked when I said I wanted to go to a place where nobody made small talk and it snowed during winter.  They were very modest about their country, almost to the point where it seemed they did not like or that they were not proud of Sweden. The few that I talked to also would apologize for talking too much or anytime they would stumble over a word or two.  I think this was a display of The Law of Jante, which is the social idea that discourages being boastful, self-absorbed or cocky. This has a result of people being scared to have any modest pride about achievements. It is the complete opposite of the American cultural philosophy which encourages uniqueness and to stand out of the crowd. But then this has the extreme effect of the cocky arrogant American.

One of the students on the roof actually studied at Santa Barbra City College. Obviously she had a great time. She did say that she found the classes to be easy and most of the students not interested in learning but much more interested in how drunk or high they were the night before. That she found that there is much less of an interest in things outside of intoxication and socializing. I tried to explain how Santa Barbra City College is not a very representative sample of all American university students but she does have a point. When I am here socializing with the International Students I can have a forty minute long discussion on the Eurozone crisis and discuss the American political system in great detail. If I tried that at a party in Sonoma I would get blank stares and then everyone would go back to chugging Jack Daniels. But then again my experiences here have been mostly with International Students who have an interest in going abroad and learning about the world so it would be a silly generalization to say that all European university students are much more interested in the world compared to American students.

Ignoring any comparisons about cultural differences my last week and a half here has been a blur of meeting new people and doing new things. I have met people from all over the world and it is incredibly fun just asking questions about their culture and where they are from.  Most of the international students who study at Uppsala actually chose Sweden so they could practice their English. This means that all of the international students speak English and makes communication a breeze. I sometimes forget I am not with native speakers and get blank stares when I say things like “I am hella down”. I also have started to speak slightly differently when I talk to non-natives. I don’t dumb down what I am saying but rather try to talk in a more formal way, clearer and less “jumpy”. It is good for me because I tend to speak quickly, slur my words jump around to multiple tangents of a conversation.  Being the native speaker also has its perks, it is fun to try and figure out a word when someone has forgotten a word. It is almost like a game of charades.

I will post more pictures of Uppsala and the different places I have been going soon. It has been a blur of fun and it is hard to find the time to write updates.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moving to Flogsta

After a night in my cell it was time to move to Flogsta, my new home for the year.  But first I had to eat breakfast. The breakfast from Centralstation Vandrarhem Uppsala cost 60 SEK but I really needed the convenience. It was very similar style to the complimentary breakfast at hotels in America. The only thing different was that everything was in Swedish. That really didn’t matter for things like orange juice or cereal I could pretty much guess by the pictures. The real problem is the dairy products. There were like six different milk containers and I had no idea which was which. So in my jet lagged haze I grabbed the nearest one and poured it on my cereal. What came out was a thick yogurt like paste which I think is just plain yogurt but I couldn’t be completely sure.  I ate it anyways and spent the next twenty minutes watching people prepare their food in attempt to try and figure out the proper way to eat breakfast in Sweden. After breakfast I took some time to walk around the downtown area of Uppsala. I was still in a haze from the plane ride and didn't quite soak up what I was seeing but I did manage to take a number of photos. 

Uppsala Cathedral it is a major landmark in the city skyline. Which makes it hard to lose your orientation. There were a bunch of Russian tourists checking out the cathedral when I walked by.

This is Uppsala University's library. A bit different from SSUs

The Fyris River cuts Uppsala into an east and west side. The university and cathedral are on the east. The newer downtown area is on the west side. Flogsta is east side. 

Uppsala Castle is another land mark that dominates the skyline. 

Clouds in Uppsala Castle
The clouds here are insane. They match the bipolar weather.

Getting to my student housing in Flogsta from downtown isn’t that hard at all. There is a direct bus that goes from downtown to Flogsta. The hard part is buying the bus ticket. You cannot buy the ticket on the bus with cash; you have to use a debit card. To buy a ticket with cash you have to go to a convenience store buy it from them. Once I figured that out the bus ride was smooth sailing. I did my best to try not to break any of the unwritten rules of public transit while taking up seat space while carrying my massive bags of luggage.

The housing office didn’t open until one but I arrived at around eleven thirty. So I plopped myself on a mossy rock next to a discarded bike and took in my surroundings. Luckily it was only a few minutes before an exchange student from Germany arrived and we got to chatting. Soon there were a few more exchange students milling about the rocks near the housing office. We chatted and after we got our keys agreed to meet up to explore the town.  I’ll go more into more detail about the city of Uppsala and my interactions with other exchange students in a future post. Right now I want to talk about my home for the year.

Flogsta was built in the 1970s and looks the part. There are sixteen buildings in Flogsta with twelve of them being primarily used by students. Each building is seven stories high with two student corridors on each level. Each corridor houses about twelve students. This comes out to be around two thousand residents of Flogsta.  That morning however it did not look as though this was densely populated living area. There were few people walking around but it was mostly empty… except for bikes, there are hundreds if not thousands of bikes around Flogsta.  They are strewn across the ground in various states of decay or locked up to trees or filling up the lines of bike parking outside of each building.

My corridor is on the first floor of building one. My floor is odd in that there is only one corridor. In the space where there is normally a second corridor there is a kindergarten. Yeah there is a children’s school in the base of a student housing complex. In America I feel like a college dorm would be the last place you would want to send your small impressionable child. I guess living across from a kindergarten is better than living across the hall from rowdy neighbors. But apparently the little Swedes come marching in at about seven in the morning to a chorus of children’s laughter. Maybe I should take the eight AM basic Swedish course…

In contrast to the buildings the area surrounding Flogsta is beautiful. Flogsta seems to have been built in the middle of a forest, probably as an effort to hide the horrendously ugly architecture. There are bike paths snaking throughout the woods with beautiful fields of green grasses and communal gardens stretching for hundreds of meters before reaching more forest. The first few days when I kept waking up to bright sunshine at five in the morning, I took the time to walk around and explore the area around Flogsta. It is very peaceful and contrasts nicely with the student-project atmosphere of Flogsta. I think I am going to like living here.

The Swedish August. This is where I go shopping

Flogsta from the roof. 

Dawn at 5:20 AM

Cell tower I think. There were a bunch of warning signs in Swedish leading up to it. 

Another living area by the bike path. To the left there is a large communal garden. 

The phrase left to the anarchy sign translates to "Sweden must die", a warm welcome when walking back from downtown

There are fields like this all around the surrounding area. It somehow makes the sky look bigger.

Flogsta emerging from the woods. 

Main drag of Flogsta

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"In An Airplane Above The Archipelago"

It took just under 24 hours of travel time to get to Uppsala. It really did feel like it. I got bored on the plane somewhere over Ontario so the rest of the flight was spent taking thirty minute micronaps and jolting upright. I had the window seat which is nice for the view and having a wall to sleep on but it is incredibly claustrophobic.  Just like on my flight to Seoul my attention span was non-existent. So I watched every Family Guy episode the entertainment station had. Seriously that is the only show they should have on airplanes, the plot doesn’t matter and you only need half of your brain to processes the jokes. 

Heathrow is insanely large and confusing. After getting off the plane we had to walk for a good quarter mile in a windowless hallway never knowing when we would be able to sit. The terminals are separated and the only way to travel between them is with buses, so you’d better be damn sure which terminal you need to be in before you get on the bus. When I finally did get to through security and into the right terminal I was greeted with a giant mall catering to all earthly luxuries. Since I didn’t feel like buying an eight hundred dollar bottle of whiskey or a twelve hundred dollar suit I just bought a seven dollar latte from Starbucks and waited for my connecting flight to Stockholm.   

On the flight to Stockholm I continued my micronaps from the first flight. I am pretty sure I am classically conditioned to sleep on flights now. I did wake up right as we started to fly over the coast of Sweden. The view from the plane gave a great perspective of the landscape of the Swedish coastline. Bodies of water seemed to warp in and out of the mainland with small islands dotted intermittently.  I could see small villages connecting in a web of roads to much larger towns that surrounded bays and inlets of water. As I looked out at the countryside the fact that I would be living in a completely different country really set in.  

The plane landed in Arlanda airport ahead of schedule. Customs was a breeze, I just showed them the print out confirmation that my residency permit was approved and that I would be receiving it in Sweden. I felt a little uncomfortable only having a printed out PDF that said I was allowed to enter the country for a year, but they said it was fine and within two minutes I was going to get my baggage. I still had to figure out where the train station was and how to get a ticket. I asked the helpful people at the tourism desk and they sold me the ticket right there. The station is actually underneath the airport. To get into the station I had to place the ticket which I bought in one machine then I was given another ticket which I had to swipe at the gates.  Since everything was in Swedish it took me a few minutes of standing around with my ticket in my hand looking confused before the attendant told me what to do.

The station was refreshingly cool. I could finally breathe in cool air from a natural source.  It reminded me of the lava tubes in Jeju, a massively tunnel with cool air. The station was also completely silent. I had gotten used to the constant sounds of travel; the chatter of hundreds of people in different languages, the announcements in the airport and the ever present dull roar of the airplane. In the Arlanda train station the silence was only punctured every ten minutes to announce the trains. It was peaceful.
The actual train ride only took about 20 minutes. The trains are impeccably clean and comfortable. The style of the interior reminds me more of BART than Amtrak, but with less urine stains. Once we got into Uppsala I went directly to where I knew the hostel was. I had already scoped out the block long route on Google Street View so I knew exactly where to go. I guess that kind of ruined the mystery of what I was looking for but also it made it so I could go right to bed without any accidental detours. I had a single hostel room booked and it was basically a large closet with a bathroom. I didn’t really mind I just grabbed the bare essentials from my suitcase and went straight to bed.  I was relieved I was finally in Uppsala but I knew the next day would be a long one. 

The song from where I got the title of this post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Notes Before Leaving

Today I leave the country for a year. I am pretty much packed. I just packed a lot of long johns, warm socks, thick shirts and coats. It was hard decide what clothes to buy for Sweden. I have lived in the Bay Area my entire life my winter wardrobe consist of a hoodie maybe two if I am feeling crazy. But describing what is in my suitcase isn't the most interesting thing in the world.

After my trip to Korea I pretty much sat around Moraga for four weeks “preparing” for Sweden. I have been incredibly bored. I went from an environment of always being busy to an environment of never being busy. But luckily this gave me time to get excited about Sweden. And time to loiter in front of various Moraga stores. Going to Jeju gave me confidence about traveling internationally and was an appetizer of the fun and personal growth that studying abroad brings.

I am going to be living in Uppsala (which is about 45 minutes north of Stockholm) and studying at Uppsala University.  There are about 140,000 people in Uppsala and 21,000 students at the university. I do not speak any Swedish but I will be taking a class on basic Swedish while I am here. English is widley spoken as a second language so there shouldn’t be too much of a language barrier. I am mostly taking history classes for my history minor with a dabble of political science classes.

The question that I always get asked is why I chose Sweden. There are a number of specific reasons but essentially I want to go somewhere different. I want to see what a real winter is like, I want to learn the history of a country I know relatively little about, and I want to be immersed in a culture which has different views on individualism and the role of government. Sweden is just different. Also I want to eat reindeer.

I hope to update this blog every week. Whether mundane or not I am sure I will be able to write something interesting. Since my time in Sweden will be spread out I hope to write in more depth about cultural observations that I only just touched upon when I was writing in Korea. The first few weeks will probably equally as hectic and busy as my trip in Jeju was but it will level off and I will get a routine going. I would recommend subscribing by email if you want to stay updated. Thanks for reading. 

A Short Summary of my Last Week in Jeju

So I had planned to keep my blog completely up to date while I was in Jeju. I had the intention of writing in depth blog posts about my experiences in Jeju on pretty much a day to day basis while I was actually there.  This obviously proved to be completely futile seeing as right now I am writing the last post about Jeju a full month after I left Jeju.  I am going to give a significantly less detailed post about the last week in Jeju.

On Monday Professor McCuan informed us that we would be meeting with the mayor on Wednesday. It was finally time to rock the suit.  Tuesday would be our last free day to wander around Jeju City without concrete plans so we took advantage of that by going to various air conditioned electronic stores and watching 3D K-Pop music videos. The humidity was the worst of the trip that Tuesday, every breath I took felt like it was pure moisture.

Wednesday the weather was about the same. Wearing a suit in humidity is hellish. Wearing a piece of fabric tightly around my neck didn’t particularly help the feeling that I was not getting enough oxygen.  The meeting with the mayor went very well. Ko translated for us and Mayor Kim Sang Oh spoke to Professor McCuan directly.  He jumped right into politics asking Professor McCuan if President Obama was going to win the upcoming election. Professor McCuan said “Oh that is what we are studying in class right now, why don’t I have my students explain the factors of the upcoming election.” So we went around the table and we each said a little blurb about a concept that we had learned in class. I was pretty nervous I felt out of my element and I was scared someone would choose the concept I had in mind before me. I said my blub about getting voters to the voting booth and the diplomatic meeting continued on. There were lots of photos taken and lots of gifts exchanged.  The topic of conversation was mostly about the future relationships between Sonoma State University and Jeju University and how to increase sister city relations between Jeju City and Santa Rosa. I followed along but mostly I focused on not constantly fidgeting and tried to look cool calm and collective.

The mayor invited us to dinner and we gladly accepted. We went to a western style restaurant called “The White House” it had a beachfront view and was very fine dining. The cab driver to the White House drove incredibly aggressively speeding and cutting people off and almost killing a dog that was walking in the street.  Turns out Ko had told him that we were late for a meeting with the mayor and that kicked him into crazy taxi mode. The dinner went fine; there were three booths with four people in each booth. They spread out the visting Americans so that each boot had a sampling of students. After steak and deep fried crab the head of tourism for Jeju City Yong Woo Kim invited us to go on a quick tour of Dragonhead Rock, insisting that we must see it before we left. Of course we agreed and walked around the beautiful rocky beach.

On Thursday morning we had our final and in the afternoon all of members of the 2012 Jeju International Summer School went to an early dinner where we feasted on stir-fried chicken.  It was the first time that the whole group had been together at the same time and it a fun affair.  Friday we all went to the beach and swam in the ocean and played on the sand underneath grey skies.  In the evening we packed up our clothes and headed to FamilyMart to start an evening of karaoke and nightlife. I intended to stay up the whole night in order to be able to sleep on the plane ride back. I was completely successful on both counts.

Going to Jeju was an amazing experience. I loved the food, I loved the scenery, I loved the sounds, I loved exploring the culture but most of all I loved the people. Everyone in Jeju treated us with incredible kindness and hospitality.  The street signs were not lying when they said “Jeju loves having you here”.  It was an amazing trip filled with amazing people. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Watching Korean Students Learn About American Elections

The official course name for Professor McCuan’s class is “Comparative Elections and Mass Political Behavior – U.S.”  The course covers a number of different aspects of the American electoral processes, including the influence of media, how money has changed elections and how the American political landscape has changed in the last fifty years. It is an upper division political science class with advanced look at elections, it is not a basic course trying to teach the system of elections rather it is an in depth analysis of the various theories behind elections and examining various models to explain trends in elections.  It is a complex class that assumes a firm understanding of the culture and political structure of the United States of America. We had two Korean students who decided to stay enrolled in the course. One is an English Literature major and the other is a Political Science major but this was her first class at university ever she is an incoming freshman next year. They both speak English very well, although there is a fair amount of political science jargon which they needed to have clarified.

Professor McCuan encouraged the Korean students to go first to the American students for help, as this class is in our major and we all enjoy and have an interest in the subject.  I like trying to explain words and the structure of our government and culture when I get asked. It tests my knowledge on a given word or concept and helps me understand it better. I always thought the American political system was fairly straight forward but when I started to explain how our government works I realized how odd and confusing it really is. Explaining how the number of  Representatives the each states gets in the house is proportional to the population but the number of Senators is set at two per a state was a difficult concept to explain. But that was not nearly as hard as trying to explain the electoral college, and this was just the base of knowledge needed to understand the larger concepts that we were learning about. The course expected all students to know these things about the American governmental system. In addition to organizational knowledge needed to understand elections there also must be an understanding of the social aspect of the American electorate. All of the American students know that the white working class votes for conservatives even though fiscally it is not in their benefit. How do we even begin to explain the social cleavages that make up America. It is completely foreign to them. We did our best to try and explain the American political landscape in the short amount of time that we had. 

In the class we have a few sections that focus on campaign advertising. We are shown a number of classic campaign ads and we are asked to interpret them, to see what techniques they are using to convince the average person to vote a certain way. It was easy for me as a Political Sciences student to get caught up in how truthful the ad is or trying to place it into the context of the election. The Korean students however were viewing the ads for the first time ever with a limit knowledge about their context. Their perception of the ads provided valuable insight to the ads effect on neutral voters. One memorable moment was after we watched one of the "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" ads that ran during the 2004 election. After we watched the ad one of the Korean students asked "So they are denigrating a war hero? Why would they do that?" The answer was because they wanted Bush to win. Her shock at the ads into perspective how divisive and cut-throat the American political system has become when attack ads of the likes "Swiftboat Veterans For Truth" are seen as a the norm. It is easy to get caught up in your own way of doing things so much so that you only have the insider view of how you do things.

I asked Kim how the Korean professors taught at Jeju University. She said that most professor lecture as the students take notes and the professor does not engage the students with questions or like to being asked questions. This is the polar opposite of Professor McCuan's teaching style. He is very animated constantly calling on students to answer questions to keep the students engaged and welcomes questions by his students. So along with taking a college course in a second language the Korean students also had to work in a completely different classroom environment. I really enjoyed the class it went from nine in the morning to noon which got us up early and allowed us to have the rest of the day to do as we please. It was engaging and I learned a great deal in a short amount of time. I have not talked to the Korean students about what they learned from the actual class but if it is something as simple as "the American election system is incredibly complex and nuanced" then they have learned a great deal about the American political system.

A badly posed class picture!

Professor McCuan giving us a compacted lecture on his specialty, direct democracy.

We made the newspaper!
Lectern from the future.

This is where I drank coffee drinks during the breaks in class. Probably the most interesting photo on this blog.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Markets and Beaches

Thursday July 5th was fairly uneventful, more delicious food and wandering around Jeju City. Friday most of us students hung out at the FamilyMart until the early hours of the morning before hitting the night clubs in the early hours of the morning.  It was pretty much the same story as last Frinight lots of fun, lots of dancing and lots of drunk Koreans.

The Five Day Market

Saturday all of us foreign students and professors were invitedto go to the “Five Day Market” with our classmate Bogyeong Kim and her roommate Mini acting as tour guides. The Five Day Market is a traditional market that occurs every five days, starting the second of every month.  We left around noon; much later then we had normally started our weekend adventures. It was nice to be able to sleep in and get a good five hours of sleep before venturing around town. We took the bus to the market and it was a long bus ride. It went through downtown made a left and meandered passed the airport cutting through a part of the city that I had never seen before in the daylight. Jeju City is much larger than it appears at first glance, I knew that about 450,000 people lived in Jeju City but I honestly have no idea what that translates into in actual cityscape. Seeing how much Jeju City sprawls out just reinforced the fact that I really only got a taste of the city during the last two weeks and that there was so much more out there to explore, but so little time left.

After about forty-five minutes riding in the increasingly hot and crammed bus, Kim tells us that we are going to get off at the next stop. As the bus began to slow it became clear that the majority of our fellow passengers were also getting off at our stop. As I stepped off the bus I could not immediately see any sort of market but Kim directed us to follow the moving masses of Koreans down a side street.  After about 500 feet we were greeted with a large sign that crossed the entire street that read “Jeju City Traditional 5 Day Market.” Even though the sign was there I was still confused where the market actually was.  As we walked down the street I started to see more and more vendors scattered about on the sidewalk a wide array of items. I am pretty sure we passed the Korean sidewalk vendor equivalent of OSH. As we walked the sidewalk grew more and more crowded with droves of people hurriedly walking to the market.  Our fellow pedestrians were incredibly diverse in age and appearance. There were a large number of elderly women draped in sunhats and visors holding oversized bags speeding past us on the way to the market. There were also a number of families with small children running about in eager anticipation of the excitement of the market.

After about a quarter mile walk we finally reached the parking lot for the market. The market was covered by a permanent overhang providing shade and a feeling of being indoors. When I first stepped inside all of my senses were overloaded with stimuli. The smell of meat, fish, spices, fried donuts and fish all combined into an indescribable mash of a smell.  All of this while staring at the seemingly endless sea of stands selling everything from knives to live chickens and everything in between. As we walked hurried shoppers kept running bumping into me as I stared at the various stands filled with interesting items. This was a running problem for me in South Korea, I wanted to absorb as much as a could when I was walking around I would not really pay attention to where I was walking, like a child at an amusement park.

What I found fun for in the market was people watching.  The shoppers were mostly older and female; they hobbled about the market with their backs bent and their eyes intent. They had probably been shopping at this type of market for their entire lives; they knew what they wanted and where they wanted to get it from. They were just shopping, and they had to weave around us foreigners absentmindedly marveling at where they got their food. Some of the owners of the stands loudly promoted their stores repeating their daily deals to all those who passed. Others just sat back and prepared their food and watched the crowds of shoppers go by. It amazed me to think how different all of these people’s lives were from my own.  This was something so normal to them but completely foreign to me.

We did a couple of laps around the market our guides kept buying us random fried foods for all of us as we walked. My favorite was this fried pancake like dessert which was honey filled creating a sugary concoction of deliciousness. After about an hour of walking about the market the horrendous heat started to get to us and we decided to make our way out. Professor McCuan and Professor Jung Lee suggested that we go to the beach to lounge about for the rest of the afternoon.  Unfortunately Kim and Mini could not join us to the beach so they showed us to the bus stop that would take us to the beach, Professor Jung Lee was raised in Korea and speaks Korean so we were not worried about getting lost.

The welcome sign for the market. In English too!

Older women hustling to get to the market. I felt like I was always in their way.

The Pre-Market vendors. So you can pregame your shopping with shopping.

Here is another example of the randomness of the zoning in Jeju. This is a small farm operation next to houses and restaurants on the way to the market. It is like the city grew around the farm.

More Pre-Market vendors. 
The massive market parking lot 

Inside of the market.

Shirts on shirts. Although the quality was questionable. 

I regret that I did not buy this pair of "Starbucks" socks.

The produce section.

Kim buying oranges from the orange vendor.

Down the market.

Bowls of spicy 

More bowls of spicy

Fried things on sticks. Our cultures are not so different after all.

Mini hot dogs. 

These puppies were for sale. We were not sure if they were for food or for pets. Their living conditions would have given PETA a collective stroke.


The honey filled pancakes of the gods. 

This guy knows how to party.

This older women was maybe four and a half feet tall hauling her goods from the market. The older generation seemed to be in incredibly good shape. 


After a crowded bus ride along the coast we finally arrived at the beach. The sands were wonderfully white and the beach was crowded with people lapping up the sunlight…sort of. In Korea you don’t wear only bathing suites into the water, you wear shirts as well. So there were always fully clothed running out of the water their clothes heavy and dark completely saturated with water. It reminded me of some sort of 1980s music video where youthful people high on Reaganomics and synthesized sound who threw caution to the wind and go swimming with clothes on.  Honestly it looked pretty cool, and it allowed me to hide my blindingly pasty skin from the oh so destructive sun. We lapped around in the water and hung out under the umbrellas for a few hours relaxing and enjoying the rare sunshine. For dinner we took a taxi to yet another Korean BBQ restaurant indulging ourselves once again in the delicious pork that Jeju had to offer.  Professor Jung Lee even gave us a brief lesson on the Korean language, something we realized we should have done from the very beginning.  All and all it was a relaxing low energy day which was just what I needed. 

The beach

More of the beach. There is some small island we were facing. I don't know exactly  what it was.

Umbrellas on umbrellas.

You could rent all sorts of beach fun.

Stores along the beach front.

Our group getting ready to enjoy dinner, minus Professor McCuan who took this photo.