Tag Archives: asia

Spicy of Life

Hanging in my favorite little coffee place tonight. Great class today, awesome dinner with new friends, a two-mile walk, and now….third cup of the joe. Its late but isn’t that what Ambien is for?

Dinner was really spicy. Korean pizza…. Kemche pizza to be exact. There was other great foods served, spicy of course.

Enjoying the company of my host. I find I am much more outgoing here than I am in the states. I am the social butterfly. Where is that introvert…not really sure.
Perhaps still in baggage claim in Hong Kong.

Two more days in country and I am afraid of that shy-guy returning. That guy who wasn’t so popular in school. That guy who doesn’t speak up in meetings at work. That guy who doesn’t jump up and dance with the TeleTubby in front of the License Bureau. Yes, I danced. Please pick your jaw up from the floor.

I am living with purpose right now. I have a mission. I have a great support team here. I have people who believe in me. I have no fear. I am bullet proof. I hate spicy octopus and asked for more!

My life here is much more spicy. I hit the streets after dinner. Threw the ear buds in, walked briskly, saw parts of Korea that were out of the way. Walking like I knew where I was going. Having no plan, turning on a dime, going down alleyways lit by faux-neon.

Twenty years ago I couldn’t wait to be on a plane and back home. I know tomorrow afternoon I will feel the same way. When the gig is over I am ready to be home to my bride and kiddo. This time is different than when I was an observer/advisor at Kunsan. Though I miss my family, I hope I am returning with a bit of spice in my step.

Yes life here is spicy. I love it!

20120614-213046.jpg

20120614-213104.jpg

20120614-213113.jpg

20120614-213119.jpg

20120614-213131.jpg

20120614-213139.jpg

20120614-213148.jpg

Korea….Day 3

Korea day 3…..

Communication Skills Workshop was great. I felt very odd in the beginning though. It was explained that I give a brief history and bio about myself. I hate doing this for two reasons. First, i feel like this is boasting or bragging. I do a terrible job at selling myself. Om the surface if you don’t know me it sounds like I’m pounding my chest. Second, my life either sounds like a life time of A.D.D. or the biggest hoax. Again, those that know me understand I love a variety of things, I get bored quite easily, and have to feed the adventure furnace. I really hate these kind of introductions…

My contact from Singapore is fabulous. He has given me insight to the team here and I’m looking forward to working with him. He is hard charging, and my hope is I can keep up with him.

Tonight after work we were hosted to a wonderful meal. The best part, it was not an upscale restaurant. It was a nice place to congregate, eat, and chat. The people I have met in Korea are amazing. I enjoy their shyness, their willingness to laugh, and their acceptance of me.

Still struggling with even the most basic of words in Korean. Not sure why I am struggling. My hope was the week in China would have opened my mind to learning, but instead I feel the doors are still barred shut in my head. The two languages are quite different.

Tonight’s meal consisted of grilling meat at your table, once cooked, wrapping it in lettuce or sesame leafs, then putting the entire thing in your mouth. There were additional condiments such as onion shoots, kemche, and spicy bean sauce. Delightful. I love all kinds of foods and willing to try anything, and no disrespect to China…..but this is by far my favorite Asian dish.

At first I was worried that the area I’m staying in is “too westernized”. I think this is a ludicrous and pompous thought. As I watch and learn from the people here, they have adopted and influenced many things we call American. Korea is a highly modern country, and in so many ways has an edge on us in the states.

Yesterday morning I was having trouble with my iPad. I was in a coffee shop trying to download email to tart the day. In Boise the coffee artist either would not have bothered to help, or would fumble around and never solve the issue. Instead, the girl who spoke very little english took my iPad in hand, whipped through a few screens, reset their own WiFi, reset my iPad and had me downloading email in about two minutes.

Everywhere I look, there are earbuds plugged into smartphones and people of all ages are texting, watching movies, checking out some kind of app. There is a constant technology buzz going on. BTW….bonus on coffee shops….they are open until midnight every-night except Friday and Saturday….when they are open until 2am.

So ends the day in another coffee shop. After dinner I took a walk to explore a bit. Need to head back to the apartment, get ready for a new day, and catch a bit of rest. Tomorrow we teach the team how to Geocache.20120612-225840.jpg

20120612-220950.jpg

20120612-220938.jpg

20120612-220930.jpg

20120612-220906.jpg

Geo-Adventuring or GeoCaching

GeoCaching in London— Keeping me out of the troubles–and exploring a magnificent city!

Is it a hobby, a sport, or activity? Is it hide and seek, a treasure hunt, or a high-tech form of letter dropping? Armed with a GPS and a backpack full of trinkets I pick up at garage sales, thrift shops, and when feeling very generous, classic toys from all the regular cast of fast-food joints.

Geocaching has its official start around 2000, but many of us in the military teaching land navigation and GPS (PLGR) technology were into it well before that time. Our first cache sites were usually food, ammo, and water drops for troops in training exercises, but to increase interest, make it fun, and add a challenge to it- we would fill ammo cans with anything from movie tickets to the base threater, unit patches for trading or collecting, or some small trinket that would only have meaning for those on the search. (I once left a bag full of toy compasses for one of my squads signifying their completing of the night navigation scenario—some of those soldiers still carry it to this day).

Geocaching uses GPS coordinates found on sites such as geocaching.com to find a specific location containing a cache. By registering on the website you can gain access to the location of cache sites- many of which are within a short distance from your home or office. You also have the ability to see the level of difficulty, specific facts and hints, and of course what kind of cache it is.

Cache types can vary. The most common is the Traditional Cache– which is a waterproof container with a pen, a log book, and items to trade. The rule is that you sign and date the log book and trade for one of the items in the cache. Good Geocachers will trade items in their pack of equal or greater value. The slackers of the Geocaching world leave the crappy stuff, bits of change, or nothing. They are the usually the same people in life that live off of the rest of us… At the end of your adventures you go home (or from your mobile device) and log whether you found the cache or not.

Hula Chicken- found in a cache in Colorado

Micro and Nano Caches are tiny caches that create a great challenge. Micros are about the size of a film canister and Nanos are about the size of a pen cap. Normally, these only contain logs to sign. These are common in highly congested areas.

Virtual Caches are normally sites of historical significance. This is one of my favorites because it gets us into areas where we can learn about a place we might have never traveled to. Early in our geo-adventuring days we often traveled a few hours to such places. With virtual caches you not only have to find the location- but also answer some obscure questions about the site. This last weekend we learned about mayors and county clerks in our town during significant periods of growth and change, while standing in a pavilion that was once city hall. You email the answers to the cache owner who determines if you completed the find. There has been a moratorium on new caches like this because of the perceived increase in traffic. Not sure here—but if people are learning about these obscure pieces of history- I would think more traffic is better.

We have been learning to love Earth Caches- party due to the Virtual Cache going away. These are sites such as river confluences, petrified trees, rock formations, cracks in the earth, caves, etc. These combine science, geology, and GPS navigation. I have learned allot since I started doing these and they are a great way to teach science to the kiddo.

There are a few other types of caches we won’t go into detail on- mainly because I don’t do them. These include the multi-cache, the mobile cache, and event caches. I loved webcam caches but no sense going into that since most have been removed.

Something we are just getting into – that requires some steeper etiquette is the Travel Bug. The Travel Bug is not a cache, rather an item that goes into a cache. The purpose of the Travel Bug (TB) is to be transported from one location to the other and be logged. The actual (TB) looks like a GI dog tag and normally has “hitchhiker” attached to it. The hitchhiker is usually some type of toy, coin, etc.

Adventure IQ Overland Travel Bug #1– on a mission from Asia to the US. These are tracked through the geocaching.com website and you can see the calculated distance it has traveled, where it is, and who has it. It is tracked by those who find or “grab” the item, relocate, and log it.

Each Travel Bug has a goal set by its owner. Goals are typically travel-related, such as to visit a specific region or country in Europe or travel from state to state. I am about to launch TBs into Asia with the goal of making it back to the US. Travel Bug trackables move from cache to cache with the help of Geocachers find it in a cache, move it to a new cache, and log it. TBs should not be kept for more than a week. If you are not willing to log it and move it- leave it where it is. TBs have a monetary and emotional investment from the owner and depend on good Geocachers (not the ones living off the rest of us) to move these along. Often it is requested to have pictures taken of places or scenery with the hitchhiker. If you do this DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE TRACKING NUMBER. Those same slackers that are not good Geocaches will see the number and log it. I have seen TBs in California on Wednesday morning and in Aberdeen, Scotland the same afternoon. There is a special section on geocaching.com that explains what to do with these as well as other trackable items. I have a video posted showing a Travel Bug.

The last has been “Challenges”. This is a new one for us. Challenges are close to virtual caches in that it gets you close to some cool areas, but usually you are posting a picture, though in some cases it might have a question to answer.

We love Geocaching and its an opportunity to get out. I especially like it when I travel for work. It gets me out exploring my surroundings. It also gives us an excuse to really explore an area. We often pick an area of the map, load our GPS with Geocaches, and head out for a day of adventure.

I have placed several geocaching videos on my Youtube site, go check them out- learn from them- and then go explore!