Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Haeundae Beach

Friday, August 28, 2009 3
As the summer draws to a close, I felt compelled to blog about beautiful Haeundae Beach one more time. Some of these pictures are courtesy of my friend Roger. Thanks Roger!

Utter madness! Check out how many folks go in the water with their shirts on.

We had a lot more rain this summer which hampered the tourist season. Last year, Haeundae Beach broke the world record for the number of umbrellas on a beach at one time. Not so much this year. Still, this beach is always happening. For 5000 Korean won (about 4 US dollars), you can rent one of these umbrella spots for the entire day. Vendors walk around the beach selling chicken, beer and other stuff. Seems like only the westerners are on the beach without an umbrella.

More skyscrapers and apartment buildings go up in Busan everyday. Doesn't look like the global economy is slowing things down too much in this part of the world.

It's as if the entire country of South Korea descends upon Haeundae Beach in the summer. Makes for incredible people watching.

The hotel in the background on the left is the Westin Chosun. That's where President Bush stayed when he was in town a few years back. It's one of the nicest hotels in Busan. Our good friends, Paul and Shiela are singers at O'Kims, one of the bars/restaurants at the hotel. Carol and I love to hear them sing. That's one of our usual spots when we go out.

In the different plazas and stages at Haeundae Beach, many different shows are going on to entertain the masses. This is from one of the outdoor night concerts.

Lots of dancing and singing going on at the beach.

Not your typical sight in Korea.

Rain or shine - the Korean ladies love their high heels...

...even at the beach. I've actually seen women wearing high heels in the sand in their bikinis. Wonder if ankle injuries are higher in Korea than in other countries?

Protection from the sun is very important for many Koreans. I think these two left their sunblock at home. I'm sure it's one of the reasons why Koreans age so gracefully.

Many Koreans walk around with umbrellas in order to stay out of the sun.

Not everyone is afraid of a little sun tan though.

Well, time to get the day started.  We're heading to where else - the beach!  Until next time -- C2

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chinese Zodiac

Sunday, August 23, 2009 4
About two years ago in Miami, we had a bunch of the Cruz family in town for a visit. We're chowing down at a Chinese restaurant. Spare rib bones are piling up, soy sauce is getting splattered around and the sounds of crab legs crackling and hot and sour soup being slurped are echoing throughout the buffet hall. The Cruz's are throwing down and the restaurant owners are worried about breaking even for the month.

As you know, a lot of the Chinese restaurants have the paper place mats on the table with the Chinese Zodiac on it - you know, if you were born in 1972 then you're a Rat, born in 1973 then you're an Ox, etc.

Before the serious eating started, CJ asks me what year I was born. I told him, thinking nothing of it. A few minutes later, CJ lifts his head up after studying the zodiac place mat and blurts out to the entire family, "My Dad is a cock!" The whole family bursts into laughter.

Yup - born in 1969 means you're a cock. Until next time -- C2

p.s. I had to edit my original post because someone asked me not to use their artwork. They might want to tell Google not to use it either.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Random Stuff

Monday, August 10, 2009 1
No rhyme or reason to these pics whatsoever. Here we go.

Carol was invited to learn how to make kim chi at a friend's house. Here are some of the ingredients they used. Yup, cabbage and hot stuff. At first, I couldn't stand kim chi. Now, I'm addicted. For me, it's more addictive than sushi. Remember the SARS epidemic that rampaged through Asia a few years back? Well, it totally skipped Korea. They say it's because the kim chi kept everyone healthy. I believe it.

Here's Carol at a Busan International Women's Association (BIWA) function. For this icebreaking event, they had to memorize and sing a Korean song.

That's Shiela from the Filipino group at our church. She's crazy about Jake. The Filipino group is such a fun crowd. Can't help but smile when you're around them.

In the subways, you'll see these cabinets with gas masks. Gotta be prepared.

That's Mr. Kang on the left and Mr. Yun on the right. Mr. Kang passed away from a heart attack a few days after I took over the command. It was a tough time. Mr. Yun is our youngest Marine Transportation Assistant. We are fortunate to have him on our team.

This is Pier 8. We move a lot of gear! That's the USNS Pomeroy in the background, one of the Military Sealift Command's prepositioning ships.

This was a push-up competition with the Republic of Korea Port Operations Group (ROKPOG). These ROK Army soldiers were having their Foundation Day and celebrated by having many sports competitions. My command works closely with the ROKPOG. We even share space at Pier 8.

CJ and I stumbled upon a Sci-Fi movie museum on Haeundae Beach called Movie in the Box. They had a bunch of Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator, Aliens and other cool movie stuff. We geeked out.

Random thoughts:
- CJ still takes forever to eat.
- Jake got in trouble and had all of his Buzz Lightyears and Woody's taken away.
- If a kid has more than one Buzz Lightyear and Woody, are they spoiled?
- Gotta figure out where we're going next after Korea.
- Carol was at the beach today with friends and their new baby. An old Korean woman accidentally got sand all over the new baby.
- It was good to be back at our church yesterday even though I nodded off again. I have to stop that.
- A good day is when I get a workout in. I need more good days.
- One thing I learned this summer: you hardly ever see people frowning on a waverunner.
- People don't throw enough dance parties.

Until next time -- C2

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Vacation Part 3

Saturday, August 8, 2009 0
So the theme of this blog entry is HOPE.

After hitting south Florida for a few days, we were back in Alabama with Carol's family to finish off our vacation. We visited with family and friends, hit the Alabama Adventure water park in Bessemer, celebrated CJ's 11th birthday, went to a fish fry at Martin and Amy's house and had an awesome time at cousin Leenie's Lake House.

This was while we were picking blueberries. HOPE springs eternal!

There's nothing hotter than a beautiful southern belle driving a big old pickup truck. Uncle Sammy let us use his truck while my car was in the shop.

CJ was HOPING to hit Cracker Barrel on his birthday. We easily acquiesced to his request. We hit Toys R Us, saw the new Harry Potter movie and celebrated with the Alabama cousins. It was a good day.

I like hanging out with cousins too. Here I am surrounded by Carol and her cousins Angela and Diane. Why am I thinking of HOPE chests?

CJ lost a bet with his cousins and had to dress up like a girl. CJ was HOPING I wouldn't post this picture. Darn.

Speaking of girls, CJ does not look forward to getting tormented by some of the younger girl cousins. In the past, Amanda, Madison and Sarah have given CJ a hard time - you know, boys are yucky chants, chasing him around, etc. According to CJ, things were a lot smoother with the girls this year at the family fish fry.

Carol's brother, Martin and his wife Amy hosted a family fish fry. It's become a nice Harmon family tradition. Here's Amy holding a new Jack Russell Terrier puppy. CJ said that dog is so cute, it's ridiculous. He reminded us of Fred as a puppy. Amy, thank you so much for the great food and hospitality. You and Martin are always great hosts! Some of you out there know about the Texas Margarita. We've got Martin and Amy to thank for that awesome yet simple recipe.

Some of the Harmon family at the fish fry.

Carol and her sisters, Julie and Martha. Julie is the proud owner of Loco, the ridiculously cute puppy. Despite being half a world away, through Carol's influence, Martha is now addicted to kim chi.

The Forsyth and Cruz kids.

Uncle Sammy is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet in your life. He's so great with the boys. I always enjoy fishing with Uncle Sammy. We always HOPE to catch a lot of fish, but even if we don't, the company is always great.

This is Uncle Sammy's famous bucket of change. The kids always HOPE he breaks out the bucket for them. The way it works is whatever change you can scoop up with your two hands is yours to keep. It's a treasure chest for the little ones.

Heather and Carol have been friends for a long time. Our families got together for dinner one night. Heather has always had a kind heart. She is currently helping to gather new and used baby and kids' clothes for the orphanage that Carol and I volunteer at. Thank you so much Heather! BTW, if you know of anyone that doesn't need their kid clothes any more (newborn up to age 6) please let me know. Our orphanage can definitely use the clothes. I'm really HOPING that some of you can help with this one. Contact me and we'll set something up.

Chilling with the boys on the lake behind Uncle Sammy and Ruth's place. I caught 9 largemouth bass here one morning. It was awesome!

Ah, the lake house! Carol's cousin, Leenie and her husband own this lake house on Lake Martin. Leenie invited the cousins over to the house for some fun on the water. Fishing, boating, waverunners, tubing, eating and just hanging out with family - it was a spectacular time.

Leenie and Carol. Thanks again Leenie for everything! Leenie runs the Spirit of HOPE Youth Ranch, a great non-profit organization that helps restore HOPE to children that are not in the best situations. Check out the site at You can also check them out on Facebook.

Martin brought his bass boat down to the lake house. Martin, Marty and I got a couple of hours of fishing in that morning.

Got this one on a topwater plug.

Another one on a crankbait.

Carol and Angela are ecstatic after a successful tubing excursion - successful cause they didn't get flung off that thing at high speed.

Here's CJ after tubing solo with Uncle Marty. CJ couldn't get enough of tubing so I took him and his cousin Josh out for one final run together. They both fell off a couple times and went skidding across the water like they were rocks being skipped. I wish I could've taped them. The looks on their faces as they were bouncing up and down on the waves was priceless. They said it was better than any amusement park rides they've ever been on.

Martin's boat goes pretty fast. Hey, gotta get to the fishing spot first.

Chilling on the pontoon boat.

Carol's brother Martin is driving. Sam is on the right. Russell is in the middle while his fiance is at the front of the boat. The reason Russell is not sitting next to his fiance is cause he took her on a crazy ride on the waverunner and scared her silly. She was mad as a hornet.

Don't ask me what Jake is doing.

Totally wiped out after a memorable time at the lake house.

One last picture that I'll close on. It really seemed like Fred was suffering and on his last legs - severe coughing all night long, passing out, getting sick and just barely moving. It was terrible. We were really praying and HOPING for him to get better. Well, after seeing the cardiologist and getting the new medication, Fred is doing great! Here he is having a great time at the lake house. That made my vacation. He was even trying to get amorous with the other dog at the lake house. It was good to see him so happy.

A very sincere thanks to all the Virginia, Florida and Alabama family and friends that helped make this vacation so great. One year down in Korea and less than a year to go. I know it's gonna fly by. HOPE you have a great day. Until next time -- C2
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