reflections in the haze

<a href=”” title=”self-reflexive-alonso by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”240″ height=”136″ alt=”self-reflexive-alonso”></a>

It’s the first Indian grand prix this weekend. Looks rather smoggy and dusty there, just north of new dehli. The event may rival korea’s first race, last year, for chaos levels. Five minutes into the first practice a dog ran on the track. Loads of stray dogs romping around apparently. But the track does look more interesting than some of the other recently-designed efforts. I quite liked this moment, above, fernando Alonso’s car conked out and he was sitting on a cement block below the big screen, then turned around and watched the replay of himself coming to a stop.

dirty weekend in chungju

<a href=”” title=”HIP_340965286.158787 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_340965286.158787″></a>

It was J-e’s birthday last week, and so, seemed like a good enough reason to go away for the weekend. The main idea was to catch the ferry across the Chungju lake, see the autumn foliage and stay in Danyang, a small town on the other side. We took the bus to Chungju. There’s not too much to say about Chungju. If there is something to be said, someone else can say it.

<a href=”” title=”Chungju bus terminal tourist information office by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”240″ height=”240″ alt=”Chungju bus terminal tourist information office”></a>

The tourist information office was unfortunately closed when we needed it the most, around the middle of the day. We had a quick lunch while waiting, returned to find it open this time and got the information we needed, which was: which bus to get to get to the Chungju ferry terminal. While there, J-e helped a German couple who were after similar information, since she could speak both korean and english, and it seemed that the tourist info person could not.

The local bus wound its way through the Chungju industrial estate and as it turned out, this was the part of the town we spent quite a bit of time in due to taking that bus ride 3 times. We got off at the wrong place (a little too soon). The ferry terminal is at the end of the line, and we got off at the Chungju dam wall. We probably could’ve walked the rest of the way but we’d already been pushing to make the last ferry.

There were a couple of nice areas around the dam. We sat and decided what to do. Staying in Chungju and leaving early the next morning seemed like the best idea.

<a href=”” title=”HIP_340956066.701928 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_340956066.701928″></a>

I would say that over the last 7 years my tolerance (as in attitude) of cigarette smoke has dropped almost zero. I must confess that I was planning on murdering my upstairs neighbour in the near future for this reason, connected to the fact that the apartments are very much connected via the kitchen exhaust fans. I found a very neat way to completely cap off the fan pipe and uncork it when I need to use it for cooking, thus avoiding messy homicide inquiries.

If there was one message I could send to the Korean accommodation sector, it would be to start offering non-smoking rooms. It’s difficult to find a hotel room in Chungju (or most cities) that doesn’t reek of smoke or (at the low end of the scale) have a subtle inbuilt presence of nicotine. Even the newest places have it. We found a place that wasn’t too bad but when walking out the next morning I still felt like I’d smoked a pack.

The ferry trip and surrounding environs are a big hit with the middle-aged hiking and hiking-clothing wearing crowds, especially at this time of year. Around the far side of the lake we bumped into the German couple again. They were having trouble figuring the bus timetable. They’d caught the train from Chungju to Danyang and stayed there the night. In hindsight that seemed like a better plan because once we got to Danyang it was easily a nicer looking place than Chungju, being situated along a large river. We were there only a few hours for lunch and then a 3.5hr bus trip around the lake and back to cheongju.

<a href=”” title=”IMG_0717 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0717″></a><em>best view out of a bus terminal I’ve seen anywhere in korea.</em>

The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon

The circus (formula 1) is in town (the country) this week. The weather’s been poor today for practice but it’s supposed to be better on the weekend for the actual racing. I (we) decided not to go this year after it being such a schamozzle last year. Actually, my girlfriend j-e was still wanting to go but the good just doesn’t outweigh the bad. Besides, it’s on telly.

<a href=”” title=”HIP_340260626.124901 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”240″ height=”240″ alt=”HIP_340260626.124901″></a>

It’s Autumn.

*updatermaus- 17/10/11*: I watched the GP on telly. I was better than last year, in that it was actually run this year, and the organisers say that they sole a lot of tickets but from what I could see I would say that the grandstands were only 60-70 per cent full. As the comentray teams pointed out, no real development has happened around the track, where it’s proposed urban structures will be placed. I don’t see much chance that the track or the project will be successful. The contract will end in 2016 and the jeollanam-do govt will be however many tens of million dollars in the hole. I think they should have tried to do a street circuit around Incheon/Song-do, and run it at night the way Singapore do. There’d be a bit of outlay to get the lighting infrastructure sorted, but the light-pollution is already so heavy that it souldn’t take much to get the light levels up to what the FIA require.


That’s the name of one of Hyundai’s new cars. It’s supposed to be a combination of the words velocity and roadster. I find myself thinking colostomy bag. At first I was a bit puzzled by the look of it. It looked like a giant had sat on the back and squashed it a bit. And I’m a bit perturbed by how many cars have such small back windows lately. I guess they’re doing it all with cameras and sensors now.

After reading more on the veloster I feel more positive about it. On the driver’s side it has one door and on the passenger side it has two doors. So they’re at least trying to do something different. Even if it turns out to be a bad idea at least it was an attempt. And the veloster is available in real colours — a sunflower yellow, a gaudy orange and a red among others. And so here we have a foto of korea’s main manufactured export, small affordable cars, next to korea’s greatest natural resource, attractive young women.

<a href=”” title=”IMG_0578 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0578″></a>

I started writing this entry a couple of weeks ago and now I can’t remember what the main point was but I was thinking something bigger about something to do with it all.

Footy, Footy, Footy!

I don’t think I could watch the aussie rules football regularly even if I wanted to. The Dickensian bandwidth limits imposed by the ISPs there mean that not much coverage from TV there gets uploaded to the outside world. I managed to grab the Hawthorn vs Collingwood game from a week or two back and was amazed to see how many people were at the MCG, in the crowd. Mum always tells me how huge footy is in the press there and how it squeezes out the variety of other sports (or _shudder_, cultural events) but from the outside looking in, most of the rest of the world doesn’t know footy exists.

Hooray for Geelong winning yesterday. I’m sure I’ve written on here how I was traumatised as a teenager, going to two Grand Finals and seeing them lose both. I’d started to think it was my fault and that I had some sort of neurotic tendency to choose to support the team or competitor based on them performing in a way whereby they’d tantalise me with the hope of victory then cruelly let me down at the last moment. This is despite the fact that the Geelong Cats were chosen for me as part of being in the family I’m in.

I can’t find it now but there was a moment where the fresh-faced, mildly hair-styled youngster, Hawkins, kicked a goal for Geelong and the camera cuts to a row of Public School boys (probably Geelong Grammar) sitting in the stand, watching, not clapping. They are Geelong the city, and Hawkins is Geelong the team. The good thing is that he did alright: took a few good marks and kicked a few important goals.

I like how OPSM advertise on the back of the umpires’ clothing. That’s clever. There was one huge error made by a goal umpire. I don’t know why footy doesn’t have an adjudication system where evidence from camera footage can rule over bad choices, like in tennis, cricket and every other sport in the 21st century.