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2002 PART one.

 in Seoul, We see Winter off and make plans for our mid-term future which involve a shift to the UK after extending our current contracts in Korea. All the news is below

FEBRUARY: WINTER. Koreans spend a lot of time at the country's wide range of ski resorts, and so did we. We did lots of skiing after Laetitia learned how to avoid the pull of gravity. It was her first time on skis and she ended up loving it, despite the initial trauma (mine, not hers). See our skiing page.
MARCH: ASIAN JUNKET. This is what our flat looks like inside, now that we have a heap of furniture and other appliances. All of the furniture was found on the street, believe it or not (except for the PC table and the chairs) so we have outfitted the place with perfectly decent furniture which other people were simply abandoning! Didn't cost a cent. Almost the same as the desktop PC, which I got to replace my stolen laptop. It was made up with used components too. Sure, it still gives hassles but it didn't cost much so I suppose that you get what you pay for. OUR FLAT IN SEOUL 2002
APRIL: MAY DAY. We had a few days' socialising with May Hsu, our friend and former boss who came to visit us from Taiwan. She was supposed to have come for some skiing much earlier in the year but...erm...didn't.  She'd gone to Egypt instead, for her first look at the African continent. For those who might not have realised, I have to wear a suit for work every day, and the powers-that-be still won't let me grow my Mohawk again. Sniff. She went back to Taiwan carrying big boxes of her new drug (Korean kimchi) and rice wine, and now reckons that she wants to start making her own version of this Korean-style pickled cabbage dish with ingredients that we send her. Forgotten what kimchi is? Go here.  US WITH MAY IN SEOUL (APRIL 2002)

WITH MAY AT FOLK VILLAGE

MORE APRIL: STEP IN OUR SPRING. The cherry blossoms peaked in the beginning of April, about two weeks earlier than usual, and we had no choice but to take pictures of them. It was a very nice chance to try out my new camera, a Nikon digital, which I bought to replace my Minolta digital which I bought in Taiwan in 1999 and which finally gave up the ghost in November 2001. I went with May and new bloke on the block Tony Watkins to Minsukcheon (the Korean Folk Village) near the city of Suwon (south of Seoul) on his first trip out of the capital since he arrived from New York in late February this year. Tony's the guy who succeeded in getting me into a gym again - he used to work as a personal trainer in the Big Apple, so he doesn't mind watching beginners struggle to life the bar. We also spent the late afternoon on the ancient walls of Suwon Hwaseong (Suwon Fort), a site which cracked the UNESCO nod as a place of great historical vim. It's a walk of many clicks along the top of the walls, which makes it Korea's own 'Great Wall'. Sort of. Check out a very informative site about the place here. KYLE AT MINSUKSHEON TEMPLE, SUWON (APRIL 2002)

CHERRY BLOSSOM, SPRING 2002

EVEN MORE APRIL. This month was our 10th wedding anniversary and our 16th as an item. We went to a very nice restaurant called Mingadaheon, a unique blend of old world European and Korean traditional stuff in Seoul's most traditional area, Insa-dong. The place looks just the kind of private Embassy or foreign correspondents' club which you would have found in Asia a hundred years ago BUT with better food. A very distinctive way to end our first married decade.  US AT MIN'S CLUB DINNER, INSADONG, SEOUL, APRIL 2002
MAY. Later in the month, I made my second visit to the DMZ (the world's most heavily-militarised region) and I stepped onto North Korean soil for the first time... WITH SOUTH KOREAN GUARD ON NORTH KOREAN BORDER
YET MORE MAY. JUST GOOD BUDDHAS. Mid-May was the time of Buddha's birthday, and the streets of Chong-no in Seoul were closed for the birthday parade as the adherents to Korea's largest religious creed packed the avenues in their tens of thousands, lanterns in hand. We had front-row seats, where we were almost roasted by huge mechanical dragons which spewed REAL flames! 

A VID-CAPTURE OF THE VERY REAL FLAMES THESE THINGS BREATHED!

EVEN MORE MAY. PONG-UN SA. One of Seoul's most important Buddhist temples, Pong-Un Sa ('Sa' means 'temple') is in our area, and we wandered off for a gander the weekend after Buddha's birthday to have a look at the paper lanterns which were jazzing the courtyards up no end.  US AT PONG-UN TEMPLE, COLD LAMPIN' WITH FLAVA!
HAVING OUR PHIL. Laetitia's brother (who emigrated to the UK in 2001) has now started his first job there. He's a medical rep for Pfizers in London and has had to start planning a move back to the big city, away from the small village of Painswick where he and his wife Joanne'd been focussing their life since moving to Gloucestershire from Cape Town.  Phil at Trafalgar. London. 2002
See the rest of the news and pictures for 2002 here...

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