OF FLOWERS, BUS RIDES, AND ALCOHOL

As the days are getting colder, I would like to post something about the flowers here in Ulsan. You see, one thing I love about this city, and well, this country in general, is how they are able to fuse nature and progress. It amazes me how Koreans are able to build world-class infrastructures, advanced technologies, without forgetting about Mother Nature.

Last year, I had my first taste of Autumn when I came to this country. I visited Seoul, Dongducheon, Uijeongbu, Pocheon, and Gapyeong. One of the highlights of that trip was us visiting Soyosan (Mt. Soyo), as I witnessed a wonderful display of colorful flowers. You may check that out HERE.

colder days are here... yippie! :)

colder days are here… yippie! πŸ™‚

autumn foliage are starting to show up in campus

autumn foliage are starting to show up in campus

This year, I am now here in Ulsan. And I am glad to see even more beautiful flowers. I, however, was not able to take photos of most as I normally just pass by these flowers during my bus rides to school and to church. I see lovely lovely lavender colored wildflowers near Ulsan’s famous Seonbawi (“Standing Rock”). Every time I really feel the urge to get off the bus and take photos, but if I do I would be late for my class. Also, there are nice flowers lining the Taehwa River. Ahrgs! Now, I feel bad about not taking photos of these.

But anyway, I was able to take some in our campus. Here they are:

flowers at school thumb_IMG_7277_1024 thumb_IMG_7278_1024

flowers in Guyeong-ri Ipgu bus stop

flowers in Guyeong-ri Ipgu bus stop

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Seeing these flowers everyday actually brings smiles in my heart. It somehow gives me an understanding of the local culture. That no matter how lonely your world might be, you become somehow happy when you see all these beauty around you.

And what’s even more amusing is to see all these beauty while riding buses. Oh, I love bus rides. I don’t know why. Call me odd, but even when I was in the traffic-ridden Manila, I sometimes take random bus rides to wherever every time I feel extra-stressed. It gives me some time to think, see places and take my mind off my worldly problems. There’s something about bus rides, like I would feel like I am moving, going to a destination, with an excitement inside me that I can’t explain, and the view by the window is a bonus.

Perhaps this fascination on bus rides started when I was a young boy. I normally take bus rides from my hometown to this small mountain town where my parents normally stay and manage our gold-making business. Yes, we used to have a very small mining business, with people (“miners”) working for my parents, and my mom manages a small restaurant smacked right there on top of the mountain. But all that were gone now. When I was in high school, I also take bus rides from my hometown to a bigger city, where I spent most of my high school life living inside our campus. During weekends, I take bus rides to visit the downtown area where the malls are located. Or sometimes I take bus rides back to my hometown to visit my parents for the weekend. And even in college, I normally take bus rides from the town where I am studying to the big metropolitan, where I meet friends or simply have fun by myself.

Yeah, perhaps I have never outgrown that peculiar fascination with bus rides.

And now, here in Ulsan, bus is the primary form of commuting. I also take bus rides whenever I visit nearby cities, or even the very distant Seoul. So imagine all the bliss I am deriving here during my daily rides. πŸ™‚

Another thing I like about living here is the local alcohol culture. Man, I love soju! I sometimes miss the cheaper alcohol and also cheaper drinking sessions in the Philippines, but less frequent drinking here is good enough for me.

These past few weeks was particularly extra booze-ful. Starting from the Chuseok holidays, and even upto last night. I have been having lots of alcohol.

I even made friends with a few locals who I share alcohol with. And lucky penniless me, gets to be treated by these kind locals most of the time. πŸ™‚ Heaven, right?

my first (tasty!) Gamjatang with my Korean friend

my first (tasty!) Gamjatang with my Korean friend

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Don't you just love that meat?

Don’t you just love that meat?

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And coffee after; felt so lucky to receive such warm treatment from the locals :)

And coffee after; felt so lucky to receive such warm treatment from the locals πŸ™‚

So maybe I should not just identify this person. Haha! But let us call him Mr. Song.

I have this another new friend, who I met in the airport. We were both waiting for our flights when he approached me, and we talked, and had established some kind of friendship. I think he is particularly kind and he trusted me easily. He invited me for lunch in a nice area in Incheon airport.

That

That “Ulsan” ad in Incheon. Nice πŸ™‚

My friend even gave me a brief cultural tour in the airport; this pot in particular has a very special color, and according to him, these days, people are unable to replicate the exact same color. Interesting. :)

My friend even gave me a brief cultural tour in the airport; this pot in particular has a very special color, and according to him, these days, people are unable to replicate the exact same color. Interesting. πŸ™‚

That sumptuous meal of fish and Doenjang Jigae (Bean Soup)

That sumptuous meal of fish and Doenjang Jigae (Bean Soup)

My friend, Gun

My friend, Gun

My friend also invited me to join them during Chuseok, but I thought it would be inappropriate for me to gatecrash their family affair. So I had alcohol by myself instead, and just promised to visit him the following weekend.

My alcohol reservoir for the Chuseok days

My alcohol reservoir for the Chuseok days

This one actually tastes different but good; it's a plum alcohol, I think

This one actually tastes different but good; it’s a plum alcohol, I think

This one was brought by my Korean

This one was brought by my Korean “hyeong” (or kuya in Filipino), and we also shared this one in the kitchen. Shhh… I don’t think we are allowed to drink alcohol on our floor. πŸ™‚

Then a triple birthday celebration among the Filipinos living in Ulsan

Then a triple birthday celebration among the Filipinos living in Ulsan

another booze-ful session

another booze-ful session

I participated in two bottles of Johnny Walker and One bottle of Tequila, and I passed out, and puked, and woke up the next day in my room without much memory of what happened the night before

I participated in two bottles of Johnny Walker and one bottle of Tequila, and I passed out, and puked, and woke up the next day in my room without much memory of what happened the night before

I was extra-stressed at school because of our seemingly impossible academic load, plus a very difficult professor in Finance, hence, the weekend after Chuseok, I met with my friend again in Seoul. Notwithstanding the very long ride. I felt like I badly needed some alcohol.

Bulgogi lunch with Gun

Bulgogi lunch with Gun

Oh! I had few of these vegetables. Congratulate me, please. :)

Oh! I had few of these vegetables. Congratulate me, please. πŸ™‚

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Yummy, yummy beef

Yummy, yummy beef

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After that heavy lunch, we went to his place. He showed me their quiet neighborhood. I really liked it. Then we just rested a bit, before we went out again to have drinks. We visited this quaint pub where he used to work part-time.

The nice pub with some European feel in it

The nice pub with some European feel in it

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Delish!

Delish!

Who has allergies to chicken? Not me! (*pops in antihistamines*)

Who has allergies to chicken? Not me! (*pops in antihistamines*)

Then this very kind friend of mine said we needed to go back to their place because his parents might be home already. But before that, we dropped by a mart and purchased some steak! WHAT?! We’re not done yet?

Yummy thick slabs of meat prepared by my friend

Yummy thick slabs of meat prepared by my friend

More alcohol. Yay!

More alcohol. Yay!

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Gun cooking

Gun cooking

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look at that juicy meat

look at that juicy meat

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And then he introduced me to his parents who were really, really nice. Mental note: Need to buy something from the Philippines for this very nice family.

The next day I went to see my friend, Dale. We will have a conference here in Ulsan in a couple of weeks and I don’t have my business suit with me here in Korea. So I wanted to ransack Dale’s wardrobe and see if we are still the same size as we were in high school and college.

the mandatory Ppyeohaejangguk with Dale

the mandatory Ppyeohaejangguk with Dale

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Next-day meal after more alcohol sessions with Mr. Song

Next-day meal after more alcohol sessions with Mr. Song

Anyway, after all the FUN FUN FUN that I had that weekend, of course Fate had to balance things. I lost my second phone and my wallet. 😦

Lucky me, Mr. Song gave me a few bucks so that I can go back to Ulsan.

Gawsh!

It was so depressing. I was in a city 5-6 hours away from where I currently live, penniless, with no means of communication, and with classes the next day, with looming academic deadlines. 😦

Oh well, shit happens. Good thing I survived that moment. Just don’t tell my parents, might give them a heart attack. I’m alive and well, that’s what’s important.

Anyway, something to look forward to. I am hoping to see these colors soon!

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Autumn is now officially my favorite season. πŸ™‚

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About lonewulf

I am a self-confessed 'jologs', a country boy who now works in the big city. I studied Applied Math, and am now completing Finance while working as a risk analyst. I feel extremely happy whenever I dance, draw/sketch, and write. I also like to read books, eat (not fruits, or vegetables), sleep, and travel.

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