Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pohang arrival

I got into Pohang yesterday after a sleepless night in Beijing (recent late nights at work have shifted my body clock again and a four am start was not much fun). After racing from Incheon to Gimpo airport across Seoul to catch my connecting flight I arrived into Pohang and made my way to the APCTP where I'm spending the next week.

I spent a short time in the department before it was time to head out to eat, as my eyes could no longer focus on the computer. My friend had little hesitation in taking me to a place which served, in no uncertain terms, one of Korea's most unusual dishes, which is really saying something! I took a video but won't post it here because the likelihood of my family letting me stay for Christmas would fall sharply on seeing this plate of food. Anyway, more or less, it's hag-fish (a pretty unpleasant looking eel-like animal) which has been killed and chopped up, but when it's cooked in front of you it's still very much thrashing around! It makes san-nak ji look pretty tame, although in contrast to that dish, the eel is very much stationary when you eat it. After cooking you eat it in the Korean barbeque style, wrapped in lettuce leaves with various sauces to give it some kick. Very tasty, but not for the faint-hearted. (It's called 꼼장어 in Korean but be warned...)

Anyway, I got into my superheated apartment after dinner (the Koreans, as far as I've been able to tell, like to have their houses roasting in the winter and there's not much I can do with the underfloor heating system) and caught up a little on my missing night. Today was a packed one which included a trip to a Korean wedding, replete with traditional Hanboks, a series of terrifying bus-rides by the local bus drivers who seem to think that speed (and all its higher derivatives) always wins over comfort and a trip out to the famous sculpture on the most easterly point of the Korean peninsular. We got there at sunset and by the time I'd stopped faffing around taking pictures of the moon, the light had gone and we were left with the view of the hand, rising out of the sea, with Jupiter and the moon rising above. A 20 second exposure gave a nice effect but it was definitely a moment that a tripod would have been valuable, guessing the angle of a 10mm lens when placed on a makeshift platform on the ground is not easy.

Pohang sculpture
Anyway, tomorrow is a little more sightseeing and I'll have to get my talk ready for Monday when work starts again in earnest.

My apologies for not keeping up to date with Beijing adventures, we'll see if there are moments spare to add snippets over the coming days

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