Hall's Korean Adventure

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Checking Out!

I know, it's been well over a year since I've posted and we're leaving in 4 days. Facebook killed this blog. It probably shouldn't have.
We leave Korea 13 June 2011. 35 months after getting here. I think we got what we came here for. We did pretty good in the following areas:
Family time
School work
New culture/traveling around Asia

We could have improved:
Time management
Kids' chores

But we can do that in the next stop, which is Pensacola, Florida! I'm anxious to get back to the Sunshine State (lived there 1993-94 as a missionary- loved it!)

I don't know if I'll delete all this, start hacking away at it again, or what. Post a reply and let me know. I wish I'd kept up on this a little more, however.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Post!

Where have we been the last few months? Busy!
Our first year in Korea came to a close and we're still here going strong, living on base and loving it! It's far more convenient, but I still miss the bustle of being "in Korea". At least we can wake up a little later each day now and there's no rush to work. In fact, I have no business riding the Harley to work, because it's all of maybe 1 mile. But as much as I paid for that, I'm going to ride it.
I need to post some pics here!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Space Available to the USA

We're at the Osan Hotel, 33 miles south of Seoul. I registered us for a trip to get back to the US, but it's based on availability and their willingness to take us. We're going to have to pick our way across the Pacific, since the once a week rotator doesn't go to Korea. They'll stop in Japan, but not Korea. We have to get to Japan and get out from there. Hopefully we don't get stranded there too long. If we do, we'll go see Tokyo and I'll show the kids an expensive place, compared to Seoul. It's pricey to get on the trains there and go anywhere but you have to do it or in later years you wish you'd taken the kids around even if it cost a few bucks. But that's assuming they let us on the plane. There's a little plane tomorrow. I hope they let us on it. Just don't trust the C-5 to take you anywhere, it's named FRED and it'll break on you sure as can be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joint Security Area on the Demilitarized Zone Part 2

I walk around the table and out the window I can see the little cement marker that says I'm in N Korea.  It's amazing to be there.  It's just a building and just a corner of earth that never healed from the war, but it's N Korea.  If they knew who I was, I doubt they'd put forth the effort to grab me, but they've grabbed people before.  

I stand with the guards and take some pictures.  Here's one of me standing next to them.  You don't want to touch them, because they'll touch you and you'll be on the ground really fast.  So I was careful.  They know a lot of moves that will put you down.  

Here's a pic of the Paul Bunyon incident where Capt Bonifas was killed by N Koreans for chopping down a tree that blocked the view into N Korea on the DMZ.  The round circle shows you how big the tree was.  You don't want anything impeding your view into N Korea.  But 2 Army guys died for that cause.  There were other incursions and a Russian defector that ran across to the ROK side and made it.  Started a pretty serious firefight, but 3 KPAs died and one ROK in that deal.  Our guys stand willing to do it again if necessary.  It's routine to show people around the DMZ, but they'll whip out the 9mm and go to town if the North pushes it.  Then a lot of ROK soldiers will pour in there and that will be that.  It was a good tour, like I said and very fascinating.  If this whole thing gets resolved, I hope they keep that place intact, so people can see what it was like.  Someday they'll just be actors playing the part and more than now, they'll just hang out and talk when the tourists aren't around and they'll get to their places then the blue bus rolls up.  Until then.....

Joint Security Area on the Demilitarized Zone

OK- so I've been wanting to do this tour to the DMZ and see where this all went on.  I always get this feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I see that fence.  You know the barb wire that keeps Korea split in 2 pieces.  I have the burden of knowledge that says that fence is a joke.  And there's a lot more than cameras pointed South from up there.  I'm sure I've mentioned on more than one occasion that Kim Jong Il is a nutjob and he is.  His reality is the only one in 7 billion people on earth that allows him to live that way.  To get so fat whilst the people and country he inherited from his father starve and suffer.  Whatever.  

So we left at 11AM for Panmunjom and on the way, hit Infiltration Tunnel #3.  If you recall the visit to Infiltration Tunnel #4, it was all started when Kim Il Sung (help the Russian Army- get your own country) stated that tunnels are more effective than nuclear bombs.  Well, someone didn't tell his kid that because those psychos are starting to cook up the glow again.  Good for them building nukes when there's nothing to eat.  Anyway, I'm sure it was forced labor like everything else up there, because if someone told me to work 12-16 hours a day to dig a tunnel for President Obama, I'd tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine (then I'd be digging a tunnel underground if I didn't have the freedom to say no, or the ability to survive saying something like that there).  Back in the days those were discovered, the S Koreans really got scared.  It was said the North could move 30,000 troops an hour through those things.  But here's what would happen.  They'd get a few hundred through, the ROKs would give them a firefight and they'd clog that hole with bodies.  But an invasion from there wouldn't be nice for anyone around here, that's for sure.  But there's a gift shop at every stop, so the Korean People's Army (KPA) would have a nice choice of souvenirs to take back with them.

We went to the train station they built up there, but they don't move anything north on the train there.  Nice station, but no one uses it.  Another gift shop.

Then we went to Camp Boniface and got our briefing on how to behave up there.  We were told not to gesture or communicate to any N Koreans up there and that we'd be photographed and recorded.  Fine with me.  So we walk to the part where you see the buildings they negotiated in for the Armistice, and we go in the blue building #2.  I'm just a few feet from N Korea.  And the guard is at the other end on the building- just standing there.  There's ROK Soldiers in there standing guard and they have the doors locked and they don't move.  They have sunglasses on and they have their stance. We're told to not touch them, talk to them, or go behind them.  To Be Continued...

Amanda's Baptism

Now I'll have to work backwards to the last post.  Shame on me.  But that's what happens when facebook shows up.  It goes through and marginalizes everything else.  I've been finding a lot of old friends on there, but I need to keep up with this.  This is the record of Korea, not the fleeting snapshots of minutae.

Amanda was baptized today at the Yeoungdeongpo Chapel.  There was a good turnout in the service and it went pretty smoothly.  The water was cold, which made me hope I wouldn't have to do anything again, and poor Amanda did a good job bearing the cold water.  She didn't freak out until after I'd baptized her.  But it wasn't warm water and I had some help from people that just baptized their kids- so it was better than nothing.  The circuit breaker for the boiler kept kicking off, so it didn't warm up the water at all.  Oh well.  I had bigger fish to fry at the time.  

The Service went well and it was really spiritual.  I'm glad everyone came.  My folks came for 9 days and stayed at Mitch Walker's apartment.  That was awesome of him to put them up.  We'll have to take him to the "Beef and Leaf" for dinner one of these nights.  But he's also getting my Daewoo Prince to use the rest of the time he's here- and all he has to do is get insurance on it.  It's a hunk of junk- but it'll get him around if he needs to go anywhere.  It's good to have good people around. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 4 Spring Break Scouts

For Day 4, Spencer had a WEBLOS hike to Seoul Tower, so I went along. Where we parked, I found the astrolab on the back of the 10,000 won bill. Now I need a picture at King Sejong's grave and I can cross off the 10K and start working on the other bills.

We hiked (climbed stairs) all the way to the top and there was a performance of the guards up there. They march and pose for pictures and talk about their smoke signals they used to keep Korea safe from invasion. We went to Seoul Tower and saw the Teddy Bear Museum there as well. That's something Julie will have to see soon. Then we hiked down and I talked to the guys from work about a baseball game, so we went to Jamsil Stadium (right next to Olympic Stadium) and watched LG take on the Lotte team from Busan. LG is the "Pride of Seoul". But their games aren't very relaxing, because they shout and cheer the whole time. It's not like the States where you sit and watch the game, and cheer when something happens. These people are lively. And just like the last time we went to a game, they handed out sparklers again. Who gives a kid a 1200 degree burning hunk of metal? Oh well, we kept and eye on them. Medical care is cheap here. We got home late again, and had run the kids until they dropped. They didn't fight us on going to bed that night as well.