Rumour has its snowing back home, so I’m sure you’re all delighted to here that in mid April here in Korea it’s been topping out at 31 degrees midday. I think we’re heading for an extremely long, hot summer. I’ve already been spending my time off lounging around on the roof in shorts, reading books and trying my best to put together a few decent articles (my latest efforts are on Baseball in Korea – a difficult one for an Englishman – and why 50 Cent is a cultural disaster area and should probably be an exception to laws governing freedom of movement).
This weekend was a tough one – working on a Saturday is that much harder when it’s scorching outside and the beach isn’t too far away (I’ll definitely be making a few trips Incheon way to lounge around on the sand soon). I compensated by taking my 9 year old out to order Ice Cream in English and do an outdoor treasure hunt. When I eventually escaped the office I headed to Yeouido (‘Korea’s Manhattan’, or so the tourist blurb will tell you) to see the Cherry Blossom Festival. The Cherry Blossom only appears for about a week every spring, but it’s really beautiful, all the hills around Seoul are turned into these multi-colored patch works of green, brown and pink that I really wish I’d had the chance to get my camera onto properly. The Yeouido Festival – supposedly the heartland of the whole Cherry Blossom season – was a real let down though.
Hundreds of people sat along the island waterfront having a few beers, and the atmosphere was really nice and relaxed for a Saturday night, but there wasn’t a Cherry Blossom in site. Why?? Another example of the self centeredness of Koreans I was going on about in my last entry: as soon as the Cherry Blossoms appear the local men sit their wives or girlfriends under the tree and shake it so they can take a photo of the petals falling in front of them. So there are no Cherry Blossoms left after the first couple of days. The selfishness and idiocy of it all really is ridiculous. It’s stuff like this, which happens consistently, which causes living in this country to lose its gloss after a while. A nice day on the waterfront none the less.
Sunday was the football game I’ve been waiting for the last few weeks: Villa finally got to play Birmingham again. It seems like years ago it happened last! As I’m sure you can imagine a 5-1 win put me on cloud 9 – I’m sat here with a big smile on my face, which in its own way is a little depressing but I don’t really care! Still a chance at playing in Europe next season as well. Clearly I really need to start doing more with my weekends!
Just in: the American embassy have just issued a bird flu warning here in Korea. It’s looking like it could spread throughout urban areas fairly quickly. Nothing to seriously worry about just yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye out.