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Work offered me the opportunity to live in Asia for a year. Base of action was decided to be Seoul, Korea, though I would be traveling a lot throughout much of Asia. I jumped at the opportunity and didn't look back (well, not too much). To keep my friends and family updated on my adventures in Asia, the lifestyles, cultures, etc., I put journals/updates/drivel/whatever you want to call them on my web site. I don't live in Asia any longer, but the journals are still there to give people a feel for the experience. Enjoy.
#1 - Welcome to Korea (August 5, 2000). "Well, I've hit the ground and stumbled through my first steps. 6 hour delayed flight to start. Once we arrived, I must have looked pretty funny trying to navigate 4 bags (over 100 kilos) around the airport and to the taxi stand. Most humorous to look back on was when the little old Korean lady grabbed a bag and helped me across the street (I'm not joking)…"
#2 - I have a House (August 12, 2000). "I found an apartment and am in the process of signing the lease. 2 bedroom, 2 bath, and supposed to be some 800 square feet, but I'm not totally clear on the size. Koreans measure their space in units called pyung, with one pyung equal to a little less than 4 square yards…"
#3 - Shanghai, China (August 15, 2000). "I am in China right now. Flew into Shanghai on Sunday. Spent Monday training the folks from our Shanghai and Beijing offices. Then we went out as a team for dinner…"
#4 - northeastern China (August 19, 2000). "Thought I'd give some general updates on China in this write up. The sights of Beijing (Great Wall, Forbidden City, etc.) will come in the next one…"
#5 - Beijing (August 21, 2000). "Well, one thing I can say about the Chinese emperors - when they do something, they go big. Real big! A wall that is thousands of kilometers long, a palace that fits a city within its walls, and huge summer palace for when the main palace isn't big enough. I got to visit these, and more, over this past weekend…"
#6 - Seoul and Cheju (August 28, 2000). "I have moved into my apartment now. It came with the major furniture, but not a lot of the little things (sheets, towels, blankets, etc.). I made a shopping run after getting the key and have the basics so I can stay here. It needs a lot more before it will really feel like a home…"
#7 - Misc. Stuff, mostly Seoul (September 15, 2000). "Sorry about the time gap between this update and my last. Not much has happened since I posted my last update (much of the reason for that is that I was only in Korea for a few days before heading back to the States for a week). But now I am back in Asia and ready to write about my experiences…"
#8 - A Saturday in Korea (September 16, 2000) "Well, it was an interesting day today. First, we have a typhoon coming through, so there was lots of rain. All my good thoughts of getting up and going for a run turned into me sitting in front of the TV and watching the Olympics…"
#9 - Seoul Olympics (September 19, 2000) "The Olympics are on in Australia and I live in Asia, so I figured I'd pop down and see what was happening. Well, not really considering that it is a very long flight…"
#10 - Soju Sickness (September 27, 2000) "Some of you may have remembered my talk about soju from the hike. Well, I got up close and intimate with it last Thursday. And did it as part of a what could potentially be a CLM (Career Limiting Move)..."
#11 - DMZ (October 2, 2000) "When the Korean War stopped, they set up a border between what is now the two Koreas. This borer is called the demarcation line. Then they set a zone of 1 to 2 kilometers on either side of this demarcation line, which is supposed to be demilitarized…"
#12 - Singapore (October 6, 2000) "American's often stereotype 'Asians' as one category of people, but we definitely shouldn't. Asia is a huge. When I fly to Singapore from Seoul, it is about the same distance as me flying from SF to Panama. There are lots of different cultures covered between SF and Panama, and even more in the same distance in Asia…"
#13 - Phuket, Thailand (October 15, 2000) "To go out and do anything (even going to a restaurant for food) can be a challenge when you don't speak the language. The easy route is to not try new things, which I have done all too often..."
#14 - Tokyo (October 27, 2000) "If I had to sum up Tokyo in a few words, I would have to say crowded and expensive. But none-the-less, it is still a fun place..."
#15 - Hiking and drums in Seoul (October 30, 2000) "Went for another hike with the same group on Saturday. Turned out to be the same mountain as last time, but we did a different route..."
#16 - More Misc. Seoul (November 6, 2000) "Went to a coworker's house warming party on Friday. The guests were only the people from the office (no one brought their dates or wives). The wife of the coworker who threw the party didn't get to eat at all, and was Ok with it …"
#17 - Culture Shock (November 12, 2000) "I've been told that after some 3 to 5 months, a stage of culture shock sets in. Around this time, the little things which the Koreans do differently will annoy the hell out of me…"
#18 - Japan Again (November 17, 2000) "Hello from Tokyo, Japan. Spending a week here visiting customers and training our new sales guys."
#19 - Hairy Crabs (November 25, 2000) "I am back in China and am continuing to expand my culinary repertoire. Hairy crabs, pigs ears, escargot (Chinese style), cow stomach, more snake, etc. The Chinese sure do not seem to waste much when it comes to food - if a part of an animal is edible, they eat it."
#20 - Counting (December 2, 2000) "Counting in Korea seems confusing to me. Koreans have their first birthday on the day they are born, so their age is 1 or 2 years older than we are…"
#21 - 2 rental cars, 2 backpacks, 0 wallets (December 11, 2000) "Went to Hawaii for a well needed 5-day vacation. A good friend from the States came and met me there. Actually, she is a bit more than just a good friend, but I'll save details about that for a later message…"
#22 - Misc catching up (January 5, 2001) "I am back in Korea after 10 days in the States. I was able to return home for the holidays. Spent the time catching up with friends and family, getting to know my bikes again, and enjoying being able to speak English."
#23 - Snow (January 8, 2001) "It snowed on Sunday. Started some time during the night and didn't stop until late afternoon. The papers said we got about 8 inches in Seoul, though I would have guessed that it was a bit less…"
#24 - Snow Plows? (January 11, 2001) "It snowed some more on Tuesday, but most of that melted. It is interesting to see how the city deals with the snow over the long term. On the whole, they seem to try to ignore it…"
#25 - What's behind door #1 (January 23, 2001) "I mentioned in the past update about it being cold in Korea. Just read that we are having 20 year low temperatures in Seoul…"
#26 - Business Clubs (February 2, 2001) "Karaoke is definitely a big thing throughout much of Asia. I had never done it in the US but now have done it as part of business entertaining in Japan, Korea, and China…"
#27 - Heidelberg (February 12, 2001) "I visited another castle this week. But it sure doesn't look Asian. Check out the picture below…"
#28 - Back in Seoul (February 20, 2001) "In the last message, I ended by talking about Korea being in a cold spell. Well, we got some tropical moisture to add to that cold, and that means another dump of snow…"
#29 - Snipe Hunt? (March 7, 2001) "On Saturday I was snowboarding with John McBirnie. It is Wednesday, and I just got back from a run where I was wearing shorts and a tank top, and still sweated up a storm…"
#30 - Sydney (March 14, 2001) "I flew up from Melbourne on Friday and spent the weekend in Sydney. My company put me up in the Darling Harbour area for the weekend, before moving me to the burbs during the workweek (closer to our office)."
#31 - Gladstone, Queensland, Australia (March 16, 2001) "Gladstone? Where the hell is that?"
#32 - New Zealand (March 25, 2001) "I spent a week on holiday in New Zealand. Figured I was already in Australia, so it would just be a short 3 hour flight (as compared to the 11 hours from Korea) to New Zealand from there…"
#33 -Engrish? (April 11, 2001) "Asia is generally good for laughs in how they try to use the English language. Have hit a few very interesting mistakes in my time here - ones which translate into something much different than what they meant it to…"
#34 - Mountain Biking in Korea (April 16, 2001) "Finally brought my camera on some mountain bike rides. I reported in my first message about a web site on biking in Korea. I have ridden with the author of the web site a few times and definitely agree that there are some fun trails."
#35 - A visitor from the States (May 14, 2001) "Here is the first of three which I will be uploading at about the same time. Sorry about the delay in publishing updates. My ladyfriend is visiting, and we both took a two week vacation. Split the time between Korea and Thailand."
#36 - Pattaya (May 14, 2001) "After a few days in Korea, we headed south to Thailand. The plan is to spend a few days on the beach at Pattaya and then a few more days checking out the culture of Bangkok."
#37 - Bangkok (May 15, 2001) "Bangkok was awesome. Has so many amazing temples and the intricately decorated Grand Palace."
#38 - Land Mines (May 24, 2001) "Got out for another ride last weekend, but to a different area than the last set of photos. This was Namhan-sanseong, which means Namhan Mountain Fortress."
#39 - It's All Relative (June 16, 2001) "Went for a hike after work last week. Clearest skies I've seen yet in Korea. It was about as clear as a normal day in the Bay Area."
#40 - 1 Year (July 31, 2001) "One year ago today, I was sitting on a plane starting my move to Korea..."
#41 - Japanese Public Bath (August 14, 2001) "Way back in report #8, I reported about a Korean hot tub/spa ritual. Had a chance to try out the Japanese version this past week..."
#42 - Sumo and People's Liberation Army (October 28, 2001) "I was in China on September 11. Came home from a business dinner and turned on CNN shortly after they went live."