Seoul Bike Show 2011

The Seoul Bike Show takes place usually every March in Seoul. I had been wanting to attend this show since I live in Seoul, but was not able to do it until this year.

Undoubtedly folding bicycles were the most prominent kind of bicycle at the fair. Since I came to Seoul its presence has been increasing an today I would say they are the most common kind of bicycle used by people living in Seoul, a city where space at homes is something very valuable.

One of the folding bikes, folded.

What would these guys be so interested in? …

… of course, these three bikes from the manufacturer “American Eagle”. Americans always know how to attract people’s attention 🙂

This poor Look carbon monoframe was left forgotten next to some boxes as if nobody cared about it…

If you don’t like titanium components because of their dull color (I love it by the way), don’t worry. This company makes gold-plated titanium components (no-kidding, really gold-plated).

Taxis in Seoul are popular because they are equipped with GPS since several years ago. Now bicycles can also have these devices.

This was the most expensive bike I saw in the exhibition… 15 million won (around 13,000 USD) for a true piece of work by De Rosa.

The whole family of Mavic wheels for road cycling. The top set was priced at 5,2 million won (4,800 USD).

These bikes with fixed gears (a.k.a. “fixies”) are also quite popular these days. They are usually painted in very live colors (I’m sure many Korean girls would love this one). Not having a free wheel make the bike lighter and cheaper, and require less maintenance. Some of them don’t even have brakes, as you can brake just by stopping pedaling.

Trip to Boracay

Recently, taking the chance given by the Lunar New Year holidays, we decided to spend some days in what (some say) is one of the best beaches in the world, the White Beach of Boracay. Truth be said, we weren’t disappointed at all.

There are not so many places in the world where you can enjoy 2.5 miles of white sand and glassy-smooth water. Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the world.

Jairo and Alvaro. The weather was not so nice, quite cloudy most of the time and even it rained for a while. Neither this, nor the cold that had me in bed for almost two of the days could not spoil this trip 🙂

One of the few negative points of this beach is that sometimes it can be a bit stressing to see so many people around, specially when you are supposed to be getting a rest. This is specially true when you compare Boracay to other beaches I had been to in the Philippines like Camotes or Bohol.

Being Lunar New Year, it was obvious that we would see many Koreans and Chinese people in Boracay. We were not wrong. In this picture you can see a group of Koreans, hard to miss, with their sun hats and hooded jackets protecting them from sunlight.

We had some great seafood for dinner. Boracay is not as cheap as other places in the Philippines, but it’s still worth to eat some fresh seafood for quite a reasonable price.

Another advantage of Boracay is that, as opposed to other places in the Philippines, there are many things you can do at night apart from sleeping. A henna tattoo, a massage, or having some drinks in a pub are some of those. All in all, an island with an excellent nightlife.

Happy Year of the Rabbit

Tomorrow February 3rd Koreans will celebrate their New Year (the Lunar New Year). This new year it will be the year of the rabbit. In Chinese astrology this animal represents kindness, sweetness, and beauty, characteristics that all this year’s newborns will (supposedly) share.

In Korea the lunar new year means three holidays in a row, and it’s a time when many Koreans travel back to their hometowns to visit their parents. Seoul becomes a dead city and its impossible to travel by road inside the country due to the traffic jams. Hence, for foreigners living here, the best alternative is to leave the country by any means… Tomorrow I’ll be lying down on some beach in Boracay, so I’ll greet you the new year now.



Trip to Ganghwa Island

Soon after the North Korean bombing to the Yeonpyeong Island, we decided to take a trip to another island also very close to North Korea, Ganghwa, and see in person the situation there after the bombing. The truth is that we were surprised to see so few soldiers in the area, specially taking into account the situation of maximum alert in the whole country.

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Map of the geographic location of the island. The white dotted line is is border with North Korea. The distance between the island and North Korean territory is about one and a half mile.

They say that around fifty percent of dolmens in the world are located in the Korean Peninsula. One of the tourist attraction of Ganghwa is this dolmen, the biggest one in Korea, measuring 2,6 x 7,1 x 5,5 meters.

This picture shows a completely deserted scene, with a fence and an empty gard post, the only South Korean defence against the communist threat.

Another cheerless scene.

This guy is one of the few soldiers we could see during the whole trip.

One of the empty guard posts, right in front of some North Korean hills.

One of the many bunkers available all over the island.

A trench with its (closed) window. The distance from here to North Korean land is only one mile and a half.

These two tanks are in exhibition at the “Peace Observatory”.

At the ground floor of the Peace Observatory there is this room with an exhibition of pictures and notes left by visitors whishing the reunification of the two Koreas. Unfortunately this reunification seems more unlikely every day…

Merry Christmas

Quite a long time without updating, but finally, some free time.. a couple of weeks off to spend Christmas with my family and go back to Seoul with my batteries fully loaded.

A short post just to wish you all a merry merry christmas and a happy 2011. Let’s dance!