Sunday, November 28, 2010


Hi everyone,

because it's my last month in Korea I'm sorry to say I won't blogging as much as I usually do. Because there's much to do in the final coming few weeks. And blogging takes a long time. Did you know that? Or maybe I just can't blog efficiently. Uploading the pictures takes a long time. And I can't move my laptop or else my internet cable will fall out easily.

The reason why I'm blogging now is that I have won the ''Spread the Word” for the CNN iList South Korea contest!! As you may have read I went to a lecture that was presented by Anna Coren, the CNN anchor based in Hong Kong. At the end the PR intern of CNN in Korea told us there was a contest. We had to promote the iList program of CNN as much as possible throughout the internet. I promoted it through Twitter, Facebook and my blog. The CNN intern checked out how many people were talking about my blog or visited it and how many people told other people about the iList program because of me. AND I WON! =D. I'm so happy! I've won a 500.000 KRW travel coupon that is enough for my ticket and accommodation. I'm also going to the CNN office in Seoul to know more about my price, because I'm also going to the CNN Hong Kong office. And maybe I've even won more.

I think I will be going to Hong Kong from 15 or 16-20 December. Ashleigh, an American girl I've met at Yonsei university, is also going to Hong Kong and we will be going there together.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Boat cruise and North Korea

Hi everyone, 

I'm quite busy lately since I will be leaving in less than a month. This exchange program went by very fast. Here's my update.

About two weeks ago I went on a boat cruise with a couple of classmates. The boat cruise went over the Han river that divides Seoul city in two and stopped at the Banpo bridge and then went back. It was nice to see the city by night and to enjoy ourselves at the boat. After the highlights, Alex from Sweden and I also went inside thinking there was going to be a magic show. But after half an hour we find out we were unfortunate to have missed it. 

I don't have much to say about the last 2 weeks since our overall work load is quite high. 

Some recent pictures of my life in South Korea:

I've signed myself up for a trip to the largest LG factory this Sunday. It's located in Paju, in the province of Gyeonggi-do. LG supports this program, which means it's free for us. :). We are going to listen to learn more about LG Display, going to have a tour throughout a factory and a exhibition center and going to visit Unification Observatory near the factory and exhibition. Finally we are going to visit a “colony of artists at Heyri” which is supposed to be well known for being a beautiful village with arts.

But you must have heard about this. North Korea has attacked an island of South Korea. Grace sent me a message while I was in class and it kind of scared me at the beginning, since she texted me that South Korea was attacked by North Korea and a village was burnt down. I've contacted the Dutch embassy right away just to be sure. They have sent me information of what to do when our safety is not sure and who our contact person is. The alert in South Korea was set on high, but there was no threat of an immediate war. North Korea does this quite often just to upset the South.

I can't believe our class was planning a trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the border between the North and South. That's def. not going to happen!

Don't worry people, nothing is probably about to happen. South Korea is very used to these tensions. The international community is more worried about this than the average Korean. Hmm, maybe it has to do with the South Korean propaganda.
North Korea has fired artillery shells across its western maritime border, prompting return fire from South Korea, reports say. 

Some of the shells landed on a South Korean island, witnesses say.
A television station said some houses on the island were on fire, and Yonhap news agency said that four South Korean soldiers had been hurt.

South Korea has issued its highest non-wartime alert in response to the incident, the defence ministry said. The incident comes days after North Korea revealed it had a modern uranium enrichment plant.
Earlier, the US ruled out more denuclearisation talks while Pyongyang continued to work on the facility. 'Illegal firing'  South Korean officials said several rounds of artillery landed on Yeonpyeong island, near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border to the west of the Korean Peninsula.

"A North Korean artillery unit staged an illegal firing provocation at 1434 PM (0534 GMT) and South Korean troops fired back immediately in self-defence," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.
A resident on the island told the agency that dozens of houses were damaged, while television pictures reportedly showed plumes of smoke rising above the island.

This western maritime border has been the scene of numerous clashes between the two Koreas in the past.

In March, a South Korean warship went down near the border with the loss of 46 lives.
International investigators say a North Korean torpedo sank the ship, although Pyongyang denies any role in the incident.

Since then relations between the two neighbours - who have not signed a peace treaty since the 1950-53 Korean War - have been very tense.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cat cafe

On Tuesday I went to a cat cafe with Anne. Yeah you heard it right. People in Korea generally don't own pets. Especially in big cities such as Seoul. That's why there are places where they have animals you can play with. It's in a nice setting where you can have coffee, sit and relax. Most people go there to do their homework or go on a date. I went there just for the experience. Only in Korea, right? It's located just passed Ho bar and next to the Hello Kitty cafe, below Fuckfake in Hongdae. Fuckfake......really?? Surreal, just surreal. 

Update: I've heard there are also cat cafes in Japan.

Obama's seat, Coex Mall and aquarium

On Sunday I went with Grace to the Coex Mall in the Samseong district. This is a huge mall right next to the Seoul Convention Center where the G20 was held. Grace and I had fun. We went to Coex Aquarium, which is supposed to be the best in Seoul. And I thought it was a nice experience. I later heard from Matt that he was at the mall too to get some G20 souvenirs for his family. He said that he asked some people about it and all they heard and understood was 'G20'. So they kept on sending him somewhere. He didn't know where exactly. But it led him to the G20 meeting area where all the G20 world leaders were sitting. And I was there at the same day. It was only open that day. I felt so bad after hearing that. Matt even sat on president Obama's seat.  -_-

Koreans haven't really done anything with G20 souvenirs. They're new on basic tourism and on promoting their country. Finding a postcard of Seoul or Korea is one of the hardest things to do. Can you imagine that in your country? They really need to learn from other countries. They can really make profit if they do this.

Because I've almost reached my 1gigabyte limit of pictures I've put my pictures on this website. You can check them out on this site:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jazz bar in Itaewon

Hi everyone,

on Friday I went to a jazz bar with Matt from America and Thijs from the Netherlands. We just wanted to see what it was like. The Jazz bar is called 'All that Jazz' and is located in Itaewon. If you go out exit 1 at the subway station just walk straight ahead on the main street for about 20-30 meters. It's on your right. Even though I think Itaewon is one location one should never go to unless it's going to a foreign restaurant or visiting the larhe Seoul mosque, one can find surprisingly good music over here. To be honest, if you go to Seoul your first intention should not be to seek other foreigners, but sometimes it's nice to experience something that's considered typically 'Western'. When we first went in we could see it was quite crowded. We had to wait for a couple of minutes and then went to the first table just in front of the stage. The waitress didn't mention there was a 5000 KRW (3 euro) entrance fee. We really felt we weren't really in a normal Korean place when we ordered something to drink. We had to pay right away which seemed odd. WELCOME TO ITAEWON. The live jazz bands were extremely good. We had no expectations and eventually were very happy we went to 'All that Jazz'.  There were two bands playing that night. They played old well known jazz songs from America, but also some Brazilian songs. I especially loved it when they improvised. If you come to Seoul, you should def. check this place out. After the jazz bar we went outside to get some food. We got a Moroccan sandwich which was very tasty. Because we went to the jazz bar we kind of forget we were in the infamous area of Itaewon. Soon after we would realize we were. Some foreigners, ahum Americans, were fighting in front of us while we were eating our delicious food. It started between a woman and a man. It was about nothing. They were both just drunk and the woman was looking for a fight. Her boyfriend got in the middle and the drama just continued all the time. I was just enjoying my sandwich from a safe distance. Thijs and Matt were standing quite close and other people as well. Most of them were just recording and making pictures. One moment a guy that came in between hit the woman and then all hell broke loose. Eventually there were about 6 people arguing and fighting. The irony of this was that the police station was just across the street. And no cop showed up. While we were eating some guy behind us said that there's always a fight at that particular spot every week. Me and the guys agreed we wouldn't come here alone at night. Seoul must be one of the safest cities in the world. Seriously. But Itaewon is just crap. Mainly because of the American soldiers and what they attract.

I don't want to make this a sad story or anything. It was one of my best nights in Korea. I took some pictures of the place and of course forget to take some of myself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween and randomness


I think I forgot to share a couple of things. Or maybe I should just add the pictures? They're pretty self-explanatory. On Thursday 28th of October we had a Halloween party at Club Mass in Gangnam. It was organized by this club that wants to entertain the international students in Seoul. The students were from the major universities such as Korea University and Seoul National University.
I had no idea how to explain my outfit, but someone told me I looked like Rick James. We had a great time. Almost everyone from the SK Global house went to the party. I also added some random pictures to show you some things I've been doing. For instance a French exhibit of the latest art of France. Hmm... what can I say about it. Not for me. I liked the building more than the art.
I've noticed I always show this weird look when someone's taking a picture. Okay, sometimes I do it on purpose. Like the picture when we're on the bus. Mid, a Korean German has made two pictures of me where I look like a fat guy from the 70's. You can guess which two pictures I mean yourself. Mom and dad, I'm not getting fat over here. Don't worry. But the pictures say otherwise. I don't have much to look forward to. It's mostly school and studying. The only thing
I can think of now is a boat cruise over the Han river on Thursday. That is the river that divides Seoul in two.

By the way, can the people that read my blog leave a comment sometimes?
I hear that many people read it, but a comment will be greatly appreciated. =)
I feel so lonely here. Lol, just joking. But not about the first part!

Boats at the Han River
Me and Barbie (Melissa)
Me and Jérémy.
Me, Daniel and Greta.
Me, Michael, Greta, Yul, Jeonghee and Ida.
Me, Michael, Daniel and Yul.
Me, Michael, Greta, Yul, Jeonghee, Ida, Daniel and ?.
Me, Yul and Daniel.
Michael and I.
Michael and I.
Me, Daniel, Jakob, Jumi and his Danish parents and friends
Me, Fabian, Greta, Annette and the rest of our tripmates to Busan/Gyeongju.
Me Tyren, Raymann and Maria Yueliu.
Me, Alex, Yul and the randoms.
Me and Stephanie.
Me and Greta
Me, Rosie, Yuk, Jenna and Rae Kim in Yongin.
Me and Rosie in Yongin.
Me at Kring Gallery in Gangnam.
Me at Kring Gallery in Gangnam.
Me at Kring Gallery in Gangnam.

Seoul Lantern Festival

Yeah, I know what you might be thinking. Abdi, you spent too much time at festivals. My answer to that is that they're just too much fun! And if I have time for myself, why not enjoy the rest of my stay in Seoul? I'm here for only 6 more weeks. =(

Korean love festivals. And it keeps going on. I met Lina and Guillaume from France and Yul from Germany. I was there before they came, that's why all of the pictures are without us. Yul took some pictures of us, but after the festival. And I still have to receive them. The Seoul Lantern Festival was located at the Cheonggyecheon stream. This is an artifical stream that's in the midst of high modern buildings. It included an opening ceremony and concert by famous Korean stars. I saw a Korean Kpop boyband that's very famous here called 'Beast'. I saw them before at the Asia Song Festival. K-pop's nothing for me, but there was a good atmosphere at the concert. The festival was meant to invite people from all over the world to come to Seoul and light a lantern, which is a symbol of 'hope and friendship'. We went for dinner afterwards. Enjoy the pictures!