Monday, June 23, 2008

Ultimate Shanghai-HIGHlights

So...I was strongly under the impression that frisbee was something you did while chillaxing on the know...standing still, cathing the salty breeze and gently swinging the disc back and forth while checking out the local talent...but alas...I was introduced to Ultimate frisbee a while ago at the Busan Ultimate Beach Frisbee Challenge...and loved it! (Eventhough I couldn't walk for 2 days afterwards...)

Then Erin phones me up and suggests that I join in on an Ultimate in Shanghai...of course I haven't seen Shanghai yet, so I reckon its a great way to see the city, party a bit and try to catch a frisbee and not kill my team members in the process - aiming is quite a challenge for me...

So, Ultimate is a well-known recognised university sport in (if I remember correctly) Australia, America and East Asian countries including Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Phillipines. It's basically like soccer-American-football-basketball with a rectangular field with scoring zones on each opposing end...same-same, but different...anywho, I'll leave it to who actually knows what they're talking about to explain the finer details of the sport - I just try to keep up with the team and out of the way of the least I try to keep one opponent pre-occupied and thus...also away from the frisbee!

Visit the following links to get an idea what it's all about:

And so I'm on my way to a new city with a new (hard to get) visa in my passport and had a terrible customs officer welcoming me to China with what felt like a 20 minute delay and checking to see if my 6-year-old-over-used-and-abused-passport was a fake...

Finally made it on a bus to the Ramada - which we were proud to have figured out all on our own (with the (mis)help from a hotel operator at the airport. To our surprize there were no tourist information offices at Shanghai Pudong airport...only flight information desks...

A rainy Shanghai met us at the wrong Ramada - aparently there are about 6 of these famous hotels in Shanghai...we ended up downtown begging taxis to take us to Pudong for about 40minutes...guess 2 female foreigners with backpacks are worth passing by. The friendly footman at the Ramada took pitty on us and hailed a cab after our unsuccessful efforts. The tourguide Erin bought did say something about peaktime traffic and how tough it is to get cabs then...well that placed us smack in the middle of it then... :)

So...Ramada Pudong...lovely hotel with excellent indoor swimmingpool, hot tub and steam room (only hot on request...sat a while in an ice cold pool before asking...miraculously warmed up in a few minutes!), massages on the 4th floor from which you can stagger back to your 'shared' bed on the 8th.

We were about 7 in our was cozy and more comfortable for the lucky 4 that shared the twin beds. But hey, it's all part of the ultimate experience!

The first day our team (Korea B - KLIT - Korea's Less Inspired Team) managed to stay afloat with 2 wins and 2 losses...and on the second day we got sloshed....we ended up second...from the back!

But alas, being 16th of 18 teams allows you to have sooo much more fun under ssooo much less pressure!
Korea's A Team - KUNT - Korea's Ultimate National Team - kept spitits high and managed to stick it out till the semi-finals...Shanghai just toping out on top of them.

Two days ended with a final that astounded all - so this is what frisbee looks like if people know what's going on...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busan Sand Festival 6~8 June 2008

Location - The Beach: Haeundae Beach, Busan, South Korea
This festival occurs annually and is quite a highlight on the Busan events calendar.

Check out the website for more details...I expect in this case photos may say more than I ever could - so induldge in the captured memories then.

The weekend kicked off with a farewell to Jeff on Thursday evening at Gwangalli Beach, Busan.

Friday - June 6th

Saw a baseball game for the first time ever! The crowds were amazing!!!! A definite must do in Korea. For every player there is a special chant - which I even sang along to after a while! Intoxicating...really!

Aerin gave us free tickets for the show as well as free T-shirts - matching shirts...which we o nly realized at the subway when we met up for the game...weird beans! In Korea couples weir matching shirts...let's just say that I changed after the game! (for friendship's sake!)

While we waited for the game to start - we let our creative spirits entertain us in a game of haiku's....and time just flew by...

Saturday - June 7th

Da Beach...met up with Ben on the beach, where some amzing artists displayed their master pieces, you could see sand samples from around the world (yeah baby...Durban was there!), and you could appreciate (to a greater or lesser extent) the local talent ranging from traditional to modern performances.

A fireworks show brought the evening to a spectacular end...was beautiful...

Sunday - June 8th

The Show goes on...but Ben and I find ourselves wondering in a northeastern suburb of Busan where cliffs meet Buddhist temple and I'm all to keen to focus on the cliffs!!! We explored a bit before taking the loooong walk back to the bus stop - along the way I found a comfortable rest spot - bless the Koreans for throwing out furniture!

Definitely an experience definitely worth repeating!!!!