September 2011


Since I moved to Daegu two years ago, the city has been plastered with advertisements for the IAAF World Championships. I had to look it up to see what it was. The International Association of Athletic Federation hosts what is essentially a world track and field meet every two years. It’s like the Olympics but with only the running, jumping and throwing events. Click here to see more information. My city was this year’s host!

My friends and I went to the opening ceremony and the first night events! We were really thankful for the free fans!

I was the only one who forgot about dressing for my country. On the left- South Africa- and on my right- USA. I’m stuck in the middle, definitely not dressed for the occasion. What country is pink?

There are many things to note in this photo. 1) the cops are sitting in their van. Obviously they are not too worried about crime, even with an international event drawing a crowd of 30,000 +. 2) the ticket booths look like grain silos. Weird! 3) people are pouring in.

“Unforgettable moments that shouldn’t be missed!” uhhm, sure.

Before the events, everything is lit, prepped and ready!

This stadium was first build when Korea hosted the World Cup in 2002 and is a super impressive building. Although I’ve heard about it and know where it is, this was my first time to go out there. It’s a 40 minute subway ride and a then a 30 minute walk from where I live.

This is the beginning of the opening ceremony. These dancers were wearing modified versions of the hanbok (traditional Korean dress).

After this photo my batteries died, but I can tell you about the rest. The Korean president spoke, the Daegu mayor spoke, the president of the IAAF spoke, there was a lot of singing and dancing with plenty of cute kids. There were some big name Korean celebrities, several occasions of fireworks and a strange floating drum/orb with projected pictures. It was fascinating to see something of this international scale take place so close to my home, in what I had formerly only heard referred to as a “provincial city”. All of a sudden Daegu felt like a big city. Everything was done so well. I felt proud for my city! Way to go, Daegu!!

My friend Julie and I agreed that the most amazing part of the opening ceremony was the clean-up. After the ceremony was over they went right into the night events and the entire place was transformed in less than 10 minutes. There were so many helpers, all dressed in blue shirts and they completely took down and cleaned up everything SO FAST!

I watched Usain Bolt race in the preliminary 100 meter race, lots of high-jumpers compete as part of the decathlon, and 3 Kenyan women win the 10,000 meter race.  As we were dragging home after midnight I thought I’d make it back to see another night, but school started and I never made it back.

Now all the advertisements on all the bus stops, in the subway and on the sides of buildings are just a reminder of the event that was so long promoted and so quickly over.

If you’re thinking of rest stops like the ones in the southwestern deserts of the US with pit toilets and, if you’re lucky a vending machine, then the rest stops in Korea are like a dream come true! This is just one of the many strange and interesting differences between our countries. Not EVERY rest stop is so posh, but most have big clean bathrooms, food courts where you can get a good hot meal, a few convenience stores, a place for coffee, street food of all types and usually a place that sell CDs & tapes.

These little potatoes are my favorite snack and I only ever see then at the rest stops! They are sprinkled with sugar and are delish!

This is just a quick tour of the bathrooms. Who doesn’t want a clean bathroom with a nice little forest after a long trip?

And a little tour around:

 

It’s back-to-school time again, but this time without these two. I’m feeling a little nostalgic so this post goes out to you, Gloria and Bjoern!

At some fancy-schmancy restaurant/hotel in Daegu. Thank you Keimyung for this nice birthday present (for Bjoern)! July 2011

And for good measure, the food was awesome!!