Skiing Loveland, Colorado

After leaving Korea our first stop was Colorado for two weeks skiing. We flew into Denver, Colorado, hired a car and for some reason we ended up with a GMC Yokon. It was unnecessarily huge but more on that later. We stayed the first night in the Microtel Hotel and Suites, then it was on to Silverthorn where we rented an apartment through VBRO (Vacation Rental By Owner).  It was a well set up two bedroom apartment with two single beds in the second room and a queen in the master suite, this was one of the reasons that I had chosen that particular apartment as most 2 bed apartments has a queen bed in both rooms. The apartment was equipped with the basics such as salt, pepper, oil and toilet paper. Overall we were very satisfied with the apartment.

Loveland2

On the way to Silverthorn we stopped at Loveland Ski area to pick up our passes, we ended up getting weekday season passes for the adults and season passes for the children, the four passes cost a bit less than $1300, which was more than $500 less than the passes that we could have got to ski any of the Vale Resorts ski areas, this felt good value to me. One of the good things was that I only had a weekday pass, this forced me to have a break from skiing on the weekends. On the weekends we explored the local area which we would not have done otherwise.

Loveland 1

Silverthorn is at over 9000 feet in altitude, for the first couple of days all of my family and I suffered a bit with altitude sickness, dehydration and sun/wind burn, nothing too  debilitating but not 100%. We tried to stay hydrated but it was such a massive change in circumstances it was very difficult.

I thought that Loveland was a great resort, it had a real local and family feel. Compared to Breckinridge it was a very basic resort, with most of the lifts being three seat lifts. None of the lifts had safety bars!! And there were only two places on the slopes that you can buy food and drink, the whole place was very under commercialised. All the staff were very friendly and helpful.

One thing that was a bit of a blip on our experience was that my wife’s helmet, gloves and goggles vanished form the ski hire shop while we were delivering the children to the ski lessons. We were most perplexed as the helmet is bright yellow and the gloves and goggles were not exactly new, and we could not work out why any one would steel them. We duly reported that they had gone missing to the resort, the staff were wonderful, the lifties kept an eye out for the helmet and the hire shop leant my wife replacements for the day for free, this made the bitter taste of loosing the gear far less. Three days later our faith in humanity was restored as when my wife received a phone call from a person who had been tiding up after a group of students that he had been looking after and had accidently put them in one of his gear bags.

Easter Fail

We were staying in Silverthorn over Easter, as is our family tradition we planned to have an Easter egg hunt for our children. What we do is buy small Easter eggs and hide them round the house and garden then, when the children get up (usually far too early) we send them off looking for the eggs, this usually keeps them occupied for a good half an hour.

Below the balcony on our apartment there was a lovely snow covered slope, we decided that it was a good opportunity for a snowy Easter egg hunt. So on Easter morning we got up early and threw the eggs off the balcony on to the slope below, and returned to bed, we hoped that we could have cup of coffee watching the children search for eggs later in the morning. An hour or so later the Children were up, we convinced them to get their snow gear on and go searching for the eggs.

Fox
The Easter Egg Thief

 

We got up made coffee and looked over the balcony, there were no children in sight but there was a Fox!! It was quartering the slope looking for something, it stopped and picked it up, it was an Easter egg!  The fox trotted off  and returned a couple of minutes later and continued searching and picked up another Easter egg, we yelled at it to scare it away but it was unperturbed by our noise and trotted off ignoring us. At this stage I realised that I could not see any eggs in the snow. Alarmed I threw my snow gear on, found the children and we all searched for any remaining Easter eggs, there were none, the fox had collected the lot!!! The children were inconsolable (my wife was not much better) and being a Sunday the shops were not open so there were no Easter eggs for any one (except the fox) BAD DADDY!!!!!!!

An oversized car

I like a big car, with a big motor, I used to think that too big was impossible, then we were upgraded to a GMC Yukon XL it was huge! I knew we needed a large car as we had 3 months worth of gear that required 7 suitcases, but when I had loaded the back of the Yukon we had just covered the floor of the boot and had not even needed to stack anything two high. One of the issues, other than its ridiculously bad fuel consumption was that when any small item was put in the boot and it slid up to the backs of the rear seats it was impossible to get out without climbing fully into the back of the vehicle. Not that the size was all bad, the skis lay flat in the back!!!!

Yokon
A very large car

 

Catching up

One of the highlights of my stay was catching up with my translator (from the time I was in Korea) and her husband. We went for lunch, then a walk in the reserve overlooking the Dillon reservoir. It was great to see them, the last time I had seen them was in Seoul at their wedding six months before.

Jinny

 

After two great weeks and my first Oxford exam looming it was time to keep moving and we were on to Florida.

 

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Oxford Encounters

One of the rewarding things about doing the course in Oxford, is the people that I am meeting and the experiences that we share.  There is an incredibly great richness to the experiences and knowledge  of the members of the cohort.

Just prior to leaving Korea I received a message from a member of the cohort saying that he would be on Seoul and would we like to catch up. As it happened he was arriving with his daughter the day before we were due to leave Korea for good. This may sound like an inconvenient time but in fact it was the opposite, instead of being bored round the hotel waiting to leave we had a mission, organise the evening and have a good night out.

We duly organised to meet, and subsequently meat, at entrance 1 to Seoul Station. Then we were off to Namdaemun markets with the plan to eat marinated boiled pig trotters  (chokbal  촉발).  As usual we got a little lost, as there are a myriad of little side streets that all look the same to me, so to keep the kids going we had some Korean street food, a seafood pancake  (hemulpajon 해물파전 ) and some octopus and then some sweet filled pancakes (hudeok  호떡 ) for desert.  Then after walking, talking and looking at the markets for a while we came to the chokbal  촉발 restaurants that we had planned to go to.

Chokbal2
Eating Chokbal

 

We sat down and ate the chokbal  촉발, rice and drank soju, talked about many things, work, travel, Korea, France, culture and many other things, however the one subject we did not cover was the upcoming EXAM. It was a wonderful evening,and it was very nice be able to introduce one of my class mates and his family to something that was very Korean and they may not have tried otherwise and it was great to learn about his family and life

 

Time to move on

After almost 4 years it is time to leave Seoul and Korea, I have had a fantastic time living here and shall be sad to leave. Living in Korea is a life of extremes, the good is very good and the bad is downright awful, and the rest is just weird. Why would you make a toasted ham and cheese sandwich do you then go and smear honey on one side???

There were three events that had a major impact on Korea that occurred while I was living there. It is possible that one of more of them will change the very fabric of the country. These events were, the sinking of the Sewol ferry where 295 passengers and 2 rescue divers died, the murder of a young woman by a deranged cook in downtown Gangnam and the Impeachment of President Park.  Two of them were very close to me, I walked passed the nightclub that the woman was murdered at every day and the instant shrine was at Gangnam Station Exit 10 which I also walked passed every day, it was impossible not to be affected by the outpouring of emption over this tragic murder.

Exit10 Ganagnam
The Instant Shrine at Gangnam Station exit 10 a day after the murder. All notes of condolence.

 

The Impeachment of President Park was not nearly as personal for me, however twice I ended up caught up by the protests and the company I worked for was also intimately involved in the scandal. I  have no crystal ball and can’t possibly predict the changes to Korean Society that will occur because of it. However the behaviours that caused all the rage are at the heart of Korean Society.

Seoul Demonstartion 2017
Protests demanding the imprisonment of President Park.

 

My plan is to take a break and spend some time in the USA with my family, skiing, fishing and generally exploring the country. Because I am a mean and evil person and my children are going to be out of school for 3 months I will be forcing them both to write a travel blog. The plan is that they experience the real world application of maths and understand some of the history and geography of the country that they are traveling through. The two blogs are called Evie the Explorer and Toad on the Road. They are children’s blogs for children.

Cap
My baristas hat…… She made me coffee every day, what do you say???

 

I am hoping that every evening I will spend an hour studying and then some time every week on this blog.   I have added a compilation of photos (mainly mis translations that were funny and lack of awareness of inappropriateness), bits and pieces from my time here (some are not mine but they are too good not to include) just enjoy the moment.

KIds Tshirt
The perfect gift for a 5 year old!!!!!

 

 

A series of products that need no explanation, or I have no explanation.

Beware the African Animals

 

Drunken Pub.jpg
The name says it all..