Thursday, May 13, 2010



KOREA 2010

is several miles inside a deep bay so we reduced sail so as to enter in daylight. By 9am we headed for Coastguard office and after a couple of mis directions tied up at the right place, (or so we thought). Yachts don't enter here usually, so there was much confusion with authorities. Quarantine was quick and easy, immigration took 30 minutes, customs had no idea what to do, but with our explaining how our first entry went, we got it sorted. Then two Custom officiers took us to lunch.!!!!!!!!

Where to park Charioteer had them all thinking, (especially as their directions had already RUN US AGROUND)...finally we were placed between a huge police ship and an equally large catamaran ferry. Only downside were the many fishing boats making quite a wash.
We stayed two weeks at PO HANG which is quite a large vibrant city. Also here is POSCO the 2nd biggest steel plant in the world. You can drive along the road beside POSCO for 11 km..... it is huge. It was too involved for us to organise a visit...the words..industrial spy, 007 were mentioned so we gave up.
Night time is magical as all the chimmneys, conveyors and high structure are alight with multilevel colour, often changing lights.
One afternoon we cycled back to Charioteer where a large black car was parked. A couple of men were looking at our boat so, as usual, we invited them to a visit.
Their English was poor but we understood they would like to take us for a tour. Well okay of course. This lead to a walk around the huge market and then on a drive into the industrial area. (Just incidently the car had a driver.) This fact should of been a clue. Anyway we entered a factory gate where the guard saluted us...this factory handles steel making bridge components and ship building forms. The steel beams and plate are in 22m lengths. Huge buildings for profile cutting, automatic welding, shot blasting and painting. It is so big that huge tractor trailer units are in and out of the plant four (400) hundred times a day...that every 1.2 minutes average.One of these two guys was the owner!!!!!!!
Later we were taken to a restaurant where about 20 from the same college were having a reunion.After a splendid meal we were returned to Charioteer.

Several years ago in Singapore we met a Korean family and had kept in touch and now we were getting together again. Sang Dae was in the Embassy ,but is now back in the navy and in a rather high position. Again we were off in a chauffeur driven car, this time with a navy trained driver. The restaurant was the usual low table where you sit cross legged on the floor. This restaurant had charcoal burners set in the table centre and dirctly overhead a flexible copper snout hung down from the ceilimng. This is a vacumn to take away the smoke. There are all manner of dishes but here the main was a huge plate of pork. This is as much fat as therreis meat which has been marinated. Now I (Brian) don't usually eat the smallest amiount of fat but this was delicious ...I gorged......A populkar way of eating was with a special lettuce leaf which you hold in your left hand whilst loading on morsals from various dishes. Curl the edges over and pop the whole lot at once in your mounth...(hope like hell no one asks you a question in the next minute or so) That was on a Friday.
On the Sunday we were again picked up and taken to Gyeongsangbuk-Do, to view the historic Sila City. This part of Koreas history dates back to the 6th century. They were incredible engineers and craftsmen. Their achievements are probably under rated in world history. Well of course we had to complete the day with a great evening meal. It is almost impossible to pay as you are there guest.
Back to the wharf where we are is a huge sand storage. Ships unload sand and this is placed in a heap about 10m high, trucks in and out loading up for concrete making. We got friendly with the loader driver who took us home one evening. Here we met his wife who sews by hand the tradtional Korean dress...Hanbok... and a lovely meal of Korean Spaghetti.
Naturally the dinner was not enough so now we have some momentos of her work. Saturday afternoon he drove us up a small mountain where there is a very very old budhist temple.
The night before we left he arrived with a cake, candles, coca cola. On lighting the candles he sung a Korean farewell song. Now here is a twist...the Korean cake was adorned with kiwi fruit, orange wedges and what we thought were large grapes.....but no.....they were small tomatoes !!!!!!!!!!!! now thats different...tomatoes and cream!!!!!!!
Earlier our steel plant owner and five friends had descended on us also that evening
On that same afternoon another man spoke with us. He was once a seaman and had been to NZ. He is now on a research vessel and we accepted his invitation to a tour. We joined a group of scientists having dinner. Choosing with care as we know some dishes are FIERY HOT we did well until I (Brian) tried the soup. Well I swear the top flew off my head, fumes exited my nose and Carol said I went so red that with that and my white whiskers I could of replaced Santa and his reindeer. Great mirth from the onlookers.
The cook must of noticed because he especially made a huge bland pancake for only contained green chillis.....real bland....not !!!!!!!!
In between all this we took an intercity bus to Deagu, Koreas second biggest city where we spent several hours browsing thru the multistory market of 4000 shops.
Then it was onto another bus and off to Haeinsa Gaya. Haeinsa is home to the Tripitaka Korena, a complete composition of Budhist scriptures carved onto 81258 wooden printing blocks. This monastery is not for display only. It is a living working thriving centre with more than 500 monks in residence. Well worth the bus journey.

Japan Again 7

Sakaiminato was our last port in Japan. Here we had the best and worst of experiences. Best was from the 3rd service station we tried to organise duty free fuel from. The lady owner went to great efforts for us with
Customs to organise it all. Result was we got 600 litres at a saving of 30yen per litre. She and her husband later treated us to a meal at their home and an overnight stay. The other side of the coin was an encounter with a policewomen. We think she must have thought we were illegal the way she chased us demanding to see our alien cards and passport. passports were on the boat so off we went to get them with a police excort. She had arrange TOP BRASS to come to the boat as well. Of course everything was in order but all in all not a pleasent experience.
We left Japan on a Saturday but winds were not favourable so it was midnite Sunday before we made contact with Korea.