Time for Korean blossoms and good-bye to Maja's teacher
01.03.2007 - 30.04.2007 13 °C
We always associate Japan with beautiful cherry blossom trees but Korea can be proud of them too.
When spring arrived blossoms seemed to be nearly everywhere but they looked most impressive in big spaces, attracting people back to the parks with their families, mats and picnic basket. It was an awesome view when the petals were flying in the air blown off the trees by the slightest wind.
Spring was my second favourite season in Korea, if not in the same place as autumn. It seemed as if it came overnight swapping shifts with winter, painting the city with colour, bringing warmth and fresh breeze of a not so fresh here air.So apart from our routine life of work, school etc we also took every opportunity to go to parks and enjoy the outdoors.
We also walked the streets again but usually without the camera, so haven't got many great snaps but here are some of my favourite:
"Spring" - a shell shaped sculpture in the centre of Seoul
Some street performances:
An original display of Korean dresses:
And a shop with some pretty fancy shoes (awaiting your orders):
With the winter over Maja had to stop her weekly acrobatics on ice but we soon found a replacement - a ballet class in the nearby centre. It is all conducted in Korean so I wasn't sure how Maja would find it but she didn't seem to mind and just followed the teacher and the other kids.
She also had to say good-bye to her school teacher who was leaving Korea and doing some more travelling in Asia. She'd been really good to Maja and Maja had grown very fond of her, so as a farewell, we all went to dinner in a Buddhist restaurant that served "vegetarian temple food".
This month we didn't like:
"the yellow dust/cloud or sand dus/cloud" - the unpleasant side of spring in Korea and other Asian countries, it originates from the deserts of Mongolia, China and Kazahstan and is carried eastwards over Koreas, Japan, Russia as sometimes as far as the US . The clouds components include many toxic pollutants from solphur, ash, carbon minoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, copper, zinc etc, and also different viruses, pesticides, bacteria and what have you. As the cloud comes and goes sporadically the warnings are issued on TV, radio as well as sent to you mobile. Depending on the scale of the wind you are either advised to keep your outdoor activities to a minimum and while outside to wear a mask and shower properly from head to toe on your return or in the extreme cases refrain from going out, stay at home and keep your windows shut.
The list of side effects is probably as long as the list of its components so won't go into the details here but the main ones are -decreased invisibility (as its nickname indicates -the air looks yellow and leaves a layer of yellow dust on everything after the rain -best seen on cars if you brave enough to draw a line with your finger...), variety of health problems from sore throats to asthma and could be fatal for those who already have respiratory problems,harmful to wildlife, farmlands....and so it goes....