Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Year 1 - Yellow Dust Plus


Yellow Dust. It kind of sounds like some quasi-racist name given to something in the west. Like Chinaman Mountain, or the Washington Redskins. However, it isn't. It is the name given to a phenomenon that hits parts of asia every spring. Unfortunately it is now springtime and the dust is rolling in. The problem begins in parts of China, around the Gobi desert. The winds there get very fierce and blow dust and sand around. It gets so windy that it carries the dust across China and into other countries, such as Korea. The dust is very hard on the young, old, and those with breathing problems. Much like the smog problem in many western cities. As with smog alerts, schools sometimes close because of Yellow Dust.

Today we are being hit by it again. It is hard to describe. Right now I am sitting in my apartment with the window shut. Outside it looks hazy because of the dust in the air. In doors I can smell the dust, taste it even. There is no escaping from it. It is cloying in the air, and gets into everything. Schools will probably close for kids today, and our attendance will be lower, because of the dust. People on the street either wear a surgical mask to try not to breath any dust in, or try not to go out. According to the media today is suppoed to be one of the worst incidents of Yellow Dust ever. I believe it, it has never been this bad before.

Other than that, things are going well. While we didn't have a long weekend because of Saturday classes, we did have a holiday weekend.

Friday I went into Seoul for the day. I did some shopping, there is a nice deli to get cheeses at. Also, I found a bookstore that sells used English books. They have quite a selection so I bought enough books to keep me going for a week, seven. It was an adventure getting from the bus station to the deli. Luckily I had clipped their ad out of the paper and had the phone number. My driver called them for directions. We ended up at the wrong end of a very long street, around embassies. A passerby helped give us proper directions. When I was leaving the store I had planned on walking to the bookstore but wasn't sure of the direction. When I showed the ad to the clerk he said it would be too far a walk so he got me a taxi.

I met a friend and his coworkers for lunch at a place called Panchoes. It was mentioned in a previous update. The food was good, the tequila better. :) We hung around for a while then met some friends from my work (Hilda and Matt) for supper at the Thai restaurant I had been to before. That left time for some more shopping before coming home. I bought a nice tie that looks like the Canadian flag. The shopkeeper was a bit perplexed when I started laughing at him though. He asked if I didn't want the US FLag tie to go with it. I laughed for a while. :) THen it was a lengthy subway trip, a bus ride, and back to Chongju.

Sunday, yesterday, I went out with a student. We went to DaeCheong Dam to see the cherry blossoms, and the dam. It was very nice. I hope the pictures turn out. Then we went out for lunch, Taek Bek Suk, a type of chicken and rice soup. We had some fresh strawberrys for dessert and went back into Chongju.

Last night I decided to go to the movies and saw Blade 2. It was as good as the first one. Since I liked the first one a lot that means I thought it was very good. ;) On my way home I ran into a friend (Dong Ae). We went out for a couple of cocktails. Then we walked around drinking coffee and talking for a while. It was a good time.

School is going to be busy this month. Next week one of the teachers goes home for 10 days. I will be picking up 3 of his classes. It will give some nice overtime. :) Friday is his birthday, so taht should be a good time too.

We scouted out some nice bars this weekend. Thursday night we went to our Soju Bar. Unfortunately, it has changed hands. It sucks now. :( I doubt any of us will go back there. From there we went to a new place called "Avec" above the movie theater. Actually the same floor as 1 of their theaters. NICE place! You don't get glasses, you get pewter glasses. They don't bring you a pitcher of beer, it is like a huge goblet with a cover, and a spigot to pour your beer. Sort of like having a lidded keg at you table keeping things cold. Very nice. Good music. Good staff. We will be back there.

We found a couple of other nice places Saturday night. One we had been to before, so we didn't really find it saturday, is called the O Bar. They have a balcony, and the counters are fish tanks. Very cool. Good service. They play jazz and old rock, with a little pop mixed in. Another bar we did find that night is called Cube. EVERYTHING is a cube in there. Seats, tables, menu, balcony, everything. Very cool motif, good side dishes, service, and booze. Another place we will be returning to.

Overall it was a good week. Hopefully this week will be the same or better. Dunno with that dust though. It is pretty bad right now. I can taste it with my window shut. Hope you had a good week.

Take care,


My first encounter with Yellow Dust but not the worst.

I actually don't like going to Seoul. Too many people for my taste. Luckily there are places like NiceDeli.com to get deli stuff from. :)

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