Ah, the sweet serenity of the mountains!

Thursday 4th August 2005
Hello hello!
Aren’t you people lucky getting all these emails from me?
I’m back from my little mini-holiday and already straight back into the swing of things at work, summer hols are over and all that jazz (yay – more reports and exams coming up!!).
My friend Suzie and I went up to Songnisan Mountain on Friday morning, to visit a small town next to Popchusa temple. It was really lovely, sunny, hot and peaceful and quiet – I’ve been in this city for so long I was shocked to discover how much I miss grass and trees and the smell of clean air!!
There was a lovely little mountain stream running through the town, only a couple of feet deep, but lovely and cold, so naturally we had to go paddling (I attempted to swim but only by lying down flat could I get my whole body under the water!) I’ve included a picture of me all chuffed with myself in the water, and also another picture of the Buddha statue at the temple, which was ENORMOUS!!!!
The Buddha is made of bronze and stands about as tall as a 9 or 10 storey building we reckoned (neither of us are good at judging height and distance in metres!!), but was really quite a sight to see (pity I didn’t get a picture with any people in it so you can see it in perspective!)
Anyway, we spent Friday and Saturday lazing around, reading books, getting sunburned and looking at stuff in a relaxed kind of way. We managed to catch a local football game as well (although we caused quite a stir amongst the elderly spectators – apparently foreigners don’t just sit down and watch football games!!) However, we decided to cheer on the yellow team, on account of them having much better looking players, but sadly didn’t stay to see who won, cos it was a bit hot outside!!
On Sunday we took the bus back to CheonJu (about half way home) to break up the journey a bit, and we wandered around, went to the movies and then went out drinking. We were having a great time at this bar, chatting away drunkenly about which of the guys across the bar were better looking (they had said “hello” and then giggled furiously, which in Korea basically means they don’t speak English), so we were calmly discussing which one we liked the look of better when they guy nearest us turns around and says “Are you English teachers? I’m a teacher too”, and had clearly heard and understood everything we had been saying!
Muchos embarrassment ensued.
On the plus side, one of the hot guys, after much consultation with his English speaking mate, turned to us and said in stilted English “Calm. down. ladieez!!”,  which had us in total hysterics and eased the tension a bit. We were also informed by the guy who spoke English that I look like the Mona Lisa (???) and Suzie looks like “Vivienne Westwood from Gone with the Wind” (I think they might have meant Vivien Leigh!), so I have of course taken to referring to her as Vivienne, which has us both in hysterics all over again. (What can I say? The weirdest things make me laugh!)
On Monday morning we headed back to Suwon and had enough time for a pedicure at the local beauty parlour and then a slap up Chinese meal before it was time to go home and get ready for work again on Tuesday. So, all in all, it was a lovely and very relaxing, (much needed) holiday, but a tad too short for my liking!! Friday to Monday does not a summer holiday make (in my opinion!!) and we’re now back at work until Chusok (thanksgiving) in September, which, of course, falls on a weekend this year, so we only get Monday off for that holiday!!!
Ah well, things at work seem to have calmed down a bit, and aside from the dreaded exams and reports that are coming up on us fast, things are fairly good here.
Hope you are all well and enjoying your summer – especially those of you with holidays coming up!!
Take it easy and  write back to me you lazy buggers!! I haven’t heard from most of you in months, so get your arses in gear!! (otherwise I shall start ruthlessly deleting you form my address book! So there!!)
lots of love and sunburn,
Mona Lisa Maya

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