Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Campus photo-tour

Until the other day, I hadn't taken very many pictures while in Korea. In a moment of boredom, I decided to grab my camera and walk around. This was the result.

Disclaimer: Odd things tend to catch my eye, so I take pictures of weird stuff. This is not a representative sample of what campus looks like.

I started around out back. This is a trail that supposedly leads off to a lake. I haven't been down there, but I was told that the lake is kind of stagnant and nasty. I'll head off down there when I get my new sandals, my current flipflips are not in condition for walking on long dirt roads and I don't want to break my sockless marathon.

You can see that it trails off into the distance.

This is the corner of Ihouse in the foreground, and the funky roof of the dorm next to ours. It would be a nice patio, but I heard that it's just a smoker hangout. Handong is not a non-smoking campus, and smokers are supposed to keep to designated smoking areas, but that rule is not enforced at all, which I hate. I always hold my breath when I walk by somebody smoking; I hate the smell.

The dorm on our other side(on its side). I think this is the newest dorm. I wish we had a sweet glass-walled lounge area.

The countryside surrounding the school. The people in the newest dorm get this view, I get parking lot and brick wall.

More countryside.

Still more.

Some kind of weird hatch thing that I deduce leads down into some kind of industrial machine room. I deduced that by opening a hatch and looking inside. I didn't take a picture, however, because I realized that people in the sweet glass lounge probably could see me. Luckily there was only one guy chatting on his cell phone, and he probably chalked it up to being a weird American.

This is directly behind the picture I just took, and is the 'service' end of the campus, where all the dirty stuff, storage, trash, etc is. Also the home of Handong's very own cell tower. They have a lot of ISO containers fitted out with doors and windows and stuff, probably for storage.

Koreans cars. Passenger cars aren't terribly different from US cars, smaller ones are much more prevalent, and you see a LOT of Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo. I saw a PT Cruiser once, which prompted me to ask who in their right mind would choose, of all cars, a PT cruiser. If you're going to go to all the trouble of importing a car, at least make it a decent one.

Propane is used a lot here, but instead of large 250+ gallon containers, they use smaller ones(around 35 gallons, looks like) and a truck comes around and swaps them out when they're empty. I think the big tank system would be a lot more efficient, but this system is already in place. Oh well. Just like in Australia, LPG as a car fuel is common, and LPG is cheaper than gas. I think gas is around $5 per gallon. Strangely, one must get a special permit to buy an LPG car, which is hard to get. Not sure why. Of course, one can get an existing car retrofitted for propane and nobody cares about permits for that(so I hear).

This is a Kia. Yes, Kia makes large vehicles, they're just not imported to the US. Most vehicles larger than a passenger car are diesel, like this van. The coach bus that I rode from the airport to Pohang was a Kia, come to think of it. I know the big three(here, Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo) all make big trucks and busses. Since Korea is so small(I think it's a 5 hour drive across the country) big trucks are not used commonly for product transport because multiple small vehicles like vans can get the job done cheaper and easier. Large trucks are used only when something big enough to merit a big truck needs to move.

Tiny van. These are used very commonly as delivery vans. Cute, eh? I wonder where they find room for the engine.

A kitchen worker was burning something in a can. What was it? Who knows. Steel cans like this one are used more more commonly than plastic ones.

A truck, Korean/Asian style. Very utilitarian. People don't drive trucks here without a good reason, they're not an everyman's vehicle like they are in the US. I like these trucks, I wish they were available in the US. Even the smaller versions carry 1000kg, 2200lbs.

The rear wheels are TINY. This picture doesn't show the size very well, unfortunately. I'd guess 16-18" diameter. I assume it's so that the bed can be very low to the ground without having wheel wells sticking up in the sides and messing up an otherwise flat surface. Smart, but at highway speeds these must be spinning very fast.

Baskestball courts and soccer field in the background. The soccer field is sand for some reason. It used to be grass(I'm told) but apparently they sprayed some kind of grass killer on it, or dumped sand maybe. I'll never know why. The basketball courts are actually a fairly squishy rubber which is interesting to walk on. On sunny days it heats up and smells funny, probably solvents getting baked out of the rubber by the heat.

Scooters like this are popular, though the street isn't flooded with them like you see in movies.

Korean payphones. They take cards.

The cafeteria. Food is served on the two table islands, and traffic flows through, gets food, and sits down. It's a one-shot deal, you eat what they serve and in the quantity served. No choice or seconds. To the far right you can see the bar code scanner- the meal card here is just a card with a bar code sticker on it, you scan your card instead of having it swiped. Once the computer beeps and babbles off some Korean, the lady hands you a meal ticket which you put in the box at the food line.

Part of the kitchen. Yes, those are pizza boxes on the right. The cafeteria will makes pizzas for delivery or purchase at the counter. Also fried chicken like you see at chinese buffets, with or without the sticky sauce stuff on it.
The kitchen again. The picture isn't very good because the cookstaff were wondering why the weird American was taking pictures of their kitchen, and I took it while walking out. Those giant pots are what the rice is served in, they're maybe 30" across, and they go fast.

Windows. Yes, they're supposed to be transparent, they weren't made that way. Koreans appear to never wash windows. I don't know why. It's the same way for most cleaning beyond sweeping up and taking out trash. Maybe the US is obsessed with cleanliness?

I'm not sure why this bike is covered in cardboard.

Large truss roof covering the outdoor area behind the student union building. This houses the cafeteria, kitchen, a restaurant, the two cafes, and all of the student organization offices. Also a barbershop, but I was told never to go there because they cut hair way shorter than you want.

It looks like somebody left a quarter of their car behind. I presume this is an exhibit for an engineering class. Neat.

This is the restaurant in the student union building. Nothing fancy, it's like the Hive at LU. Since I never eat at the cafeteria, I sometimes eat here. It's cheap, a decent meal for around 2000 won. (about $2.19)

Air conditioning here is always done modularly, with tons and tons of small units. If you look down the side of a building, you'll just see tons of these instead of one big unit on the roof or behind the building. I can't think of why they would do this instead of a central AC unit. There's no way that dozens of these little units can be as efficient as one mammoth water chiller.

The basketball courts again, from the opposite end. You can see the dorms in the background.

The library, which is huge. You can also see that empty lots don't see much care here. Again, I don't know why. I think an overgrown lot is ugly, but I guess the Koreans have a different mindset.

Nice feature: On-campus post office. I'm standing at ground level in this picture, it's in the basement. There is a tiny AC unit, of course. They're everywhere.

A distance shot of the student union building with its crazy roof. It's a neat structure, it shows that many small parts can do a big job. (Unlike air conditioners, where many small units do the same job, but are eyesores and less efficient)

The front of the main building. See the tiny air conditioning unit marring an otherwise picturesque mirrored glass wall? Text reads "Handong God's University"

Most cars with a vertical rear end like this one have that odd mirror protruding there. I've never sat in the driver's seat of one of these, so I don't know what you see. Perhaps to make sure nobody is lying under your bumper before you back up? To make sure you can always see your rear license plate?

Yes, I took a picture of a toilet. Yes, I'm posting it on the internet. Yes, I tried it. I'll keep the at-length discussion off of the internet, however.

Korean version of a water cooler. The tank isn't swapped out when empty, instead the tank on this one it just where the water stays for a while while it's sterilized. See that light in the tank? It is a UV light that emits light at exactly 254nm wavelength, which kills germs without putting chemicals in the water. The water is also reverse osmosis filtered. Most water coolers don't have the tank on top, actually.

Korean vending machine. The cans here are usually 250ml or less. (About 8 ounces) They're also usually 500 won(55 cents) or less, some are 300 won(32 cents) which is a good price for a vending machine compared to the US.

An excellent sign, clear and concise with moderately humorous clip art. It gets the point across without you having to disturb the secretary inside asking if you're in the right place. Also note the sign indicating that the other office is right down the hall. At LU, you're always at the wrong office, and the right office is on the other side of campus. Across a pit of hungry lions and angry bees.

The student union building again, from across the lifeless and desolate soccer field.
Handong runs a bus service, free for students. Busses leave for downtown(and several other destinations) about every 20 minutes, and run from early in the morning to the other side of early in the morning. Fantastic job, HGU. LU: learn from this.

You can see that HGU keeps a good stock of buses. During holidays, this fleet delivers students to cities across Korea, again for free. Good work, HGU. And they do all this for $3875 per semester!

Samsung is based in Korea, and makes everything. They produce electronics, LCD TVs, cell phones, blenders, washing machines, refrigerators, AC units, and cars. LG is along the same alley, but minus the cars and slightly smaller.

The chapel building complex. HIC(Handong International Church) takes place in the big building and gathers English speakers from all over, which do a fairly good job of filling it. The smaller building has a decent restaurant on the bottom floor, and the second and third floors are multi purpose. Wednesday chapels, the second floor is used as overflow for Korean chapel, and International student chapel is held on the third floor.

Two more dorms: Shalom Hall and Vision hall. Vision is the one that I stayed in when I first arrived. As far as I know, all the dorms except for I-House and the professors' dorm have community showers.

Vision Hall and Creation Hall. Creation hall is aptly named, as the first dorm built.

The professors' dorm. Single professors live here. Handong gets some professors that are hit-and-run professors, they'll come and agree to teach for a year or two, then move on. The school provides housing for them. It's kind of mysterious, actually. You saw that the other dorms are quite long, the professors' dorm and I-house are shorter and take up the space of one other dorm. They're all lined up neatly. The newest dorm, that you saw the end up much earlier, is directly behind our aisle.

This is a picture of the typical HGU dorm room. Four beds, four desks, four square feet of free floor space.

A typical threshold crossing. This one is actually kind of lean on shoes, actually- sometimes the clutter of sandals and shoes gets three feet deep. There's a shelf unit that you can see the foot of, also full of shoes. In addition, there are cabinets at the head of each hallway- each room is assigned two fairly large cabinets for shoe storage. I wonder what the ratio of footwear to residents at HGU is. Must be at least 3:1.

Each floor has a water chiller, just like I explained above. This type is more typical. The hot water is scalding enough to make instant coffee with. Also, nobody makes real coffee here, just instant.

Oatmeal + chopsticks = bad combination. It worked, though.

Downtown Pohang. Sidewalks are just another place to park, here. I read that in more croweded cities, people often leave their cars in neutral so that they can be pushed around easily if/when somebody gets parked in.

The outdoor fish market in Pohang. Every tourist needs to see the outdoor fish market. These are those fish with the sand texture on their sides, so that they can hide on the seafloor. Neat.

I don't know what those pink things are. Sea cucumbers?

Again, not sure what these are. I actually didn't get a picture of the dried mini-fish. I'm not sure if they're anchovies or what, but there are always great big piles of tiny dried out fish that people use as a condiment. They range in size from an inch to less than a quarter of an inch long, and string-like.

Tyrell, looking excited about sitting on my bed. Note the cheapo laundry hamper in the foreground. I tried to hang it over my bed to make more space- then handled snapped two minutes later. Now I have a flimsy torn laundry basket with no handles. Speaking of laundry, I need to go take mine out of the drier.

Remind you of anything? Some knockoff kit-kat bars I got downtown.

This is the view out on the balcony of the room we had during Chuseok. It was misty and poor visibility the whole time- the time that it was this clear, we all grabbed out camera to take pictures.

The obligatory tiny AC unit out on the balcony.

That's about it! Thanks for looking. I wonder how long this post will appear on the page...


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  2. Very nice slideshow, some of it makes me nostalgic for Japan, where I went on exchange, especially the floor toilets and vehicles! We had centralized AC though.

  3. I really enjoyed the slides and captions. The campus has changed a lot since, especially the soccer field. It has artificial turf now.