Busan - Pohang, Korea

Finishing off a two litre bottle of Soju between us, Chris and I were ready to hit the town with the rest of the gang. A great night which ended in the karaoke bar. Saturday was a slow day and all I did was read Animal Farm and watch a chick flick with Amanda. I slept at her place one more night before heading to Ulsan. Finally I would start moving in Korea.

In Ulsan I got picked up in the park by my new host. A Korean girl that spoiled me so much when I stayed there. She had made cookies and prepared dinner. She drove to good places to eat and wrote notes everyday with information for me. She loved beer and we went to the supermarket and got everything from Paulaner to Duvel. I had some great hikes in Ulsan and enjoyed the company of my brilliant hostess. We went evening biking, but the night hike got cancelled. An Australian couch surfer also came while I was there and raped her teddy bear within minutes of arrival. Fairly strange for a forty year old. In this quiet city I had some lovely chill days.

My next stop was Gyuongju, the capital of this part of Korea from 0-1000 AD roughly. My American host was busy with work most of the two days I was there, but I got to borrow his bike and biked around and checked out the ruins. I also went to a Korean village with very nice houses. The last day I went to a theme park that turned out to be something like "lekeland", a small park for kids, so that was a waste of money. The bike ride there was long enough, so at least I got some exercise.

Pohang, a place I will never forget! I arrived in the evening in this coastal city in Korea. Nathan, my American host with some great Norwegian blood in him, met me at the beach. We chatted and I got myself a shower before we went out for a Friday night with his mates. His friends were brilliant and we had an awesome night out, visiting three bars and ended the night at six o clock. The next day Nathan's dreadful alarm woke me up too early, and it is THE most annoying alarm in the world. If I never hear those sounds again, it'll be too soon.

The next day was quiet and we went hiking and for a great dinner. Korean barbecue is simply amazing. I never get tired of it. My plan was to go to an island the next day, but they suggested I should join them for paintball instead. I discarded my travel plans for east Korea and went for some paintball action and mafia with soju instead. We topped it off with some billiard bowling at the end. I had an awesome time in the south and after breakfast the next day, I headed for Seoul! The biggest city on my itinerary so far!



Busan, Korea

I arrived a bit delayed in the evening in Busan, Korea. No ATM at the airport wanted my bank card, so I started sweating. Luckily I got to borrow a phone and talk to my host Elijah. I got a cab to his place and Elijah went out and got me and paid the cab. He was a very friendly lad and gave me loads of tips for Korea and Busan. His friend Adam stopped by and we had a nice chat. The next day I went strolling to town. As usual, when I don't where I am, I find what I'm searching for. At the docks I found a second hand store for dock workers and I found a jacket for eight dollars that I would pick up on my way back. My main goal was to find a bank that accepted my card, and when I did, I was really happy. It was a beautiful spring day and finally I got to see the famous cherry blossom. What I never thought about was the smell, but they also smell great when you're walking by them. In the evening we had some Korean drinks and chatted, discussed and laughed a lot. As usual, I can now say, my host's friends were cool and I had a good time.

Walking as much as possible is my new mission for the next two months, and that's why I've decided to walk between my hosts in Busan. On my way to the new host I stumbled across a charity organization selling clothes. I bought myself a woolen sweater for less than a dollar and spent some time pressing it down into my bag. One of the women was amused and gave me a cup of tea. Since I enjoyed it so much, she managed to ask me in finger language if I had had lunch, and I was able to answer no. She then fed me squish sushi, soup and orange juice. It all probably cost twice of what I paid for the sweater. The world doesn't seem to run out of nice people. After a five hour walk through the city, I finally arrived at my destination point.

Andrew picked me up and we went straight to a baseball game. I had never been to one, so why not now? At the stadium we met some great friends of his and a mentally disturbed Korean girl that was following them. Until then, she was the best English speaker I had met in Korea, so it was kind of funny having her with us. She asked people around for beer and was screaming a lot haha. After the match, we went for food and some beers. Two girls and Nav, from Birmingham after Andrew left. He had to go to the temple and left his friends with me. That evening I learned that three bottles of Soju, Korean vodka, and beer is too much. Somehow everything worked out well, but I don't remember much until I got to borrow a pair of pyjamas from Nav.

The next day an energy bomb of a girl comes jumping in and takes, luckily, only Nav with her to rowing practice. In the evening I went out with the energy bomb, whose name is Amanda, and her friends. I got to sleep at her place with her friend Liz, but unfortunately the chocolate colored girls let me sleep on the couch and not in their bed. The next morning they made me omelet and pancake, so I was as happy as I could be anyway! We spent the day on the beach and then went for a walk to the local light house. In the evening Andrew came back from the temple stay and we all had a big dinner together. It was the last night with this crew before I the next day walked over the mountain to meet Jae Hwan, my first Korean host!

Does my luck run out? Never! My new host was a cook in the military two years. I ate the best Korean food and drank Soju with Jae Hwan and his cousin. We went on two long hikes, including a mountain with Beomusa Temple as reward! It was just brilliant! We chatted a lot and I learned more useful, and useless, stuff about Korea. For instance, Koreans never pour their own drinks. They give the bottle to others so that they can be served. They have many cool customs! After two nights I walked over the hill again to meet up with Chris!

Chris was a funny lad and we spent the evening laughing all the time. The next day I went on a hike again and while running down Jangsan mountain, a white girl stopped me. She was one of the six only white people I had seen up in the hills around Busan, the other five were with her. After she had said one sentence, I asked her "Er du fra Norge?" (translate.google: Are you from the country where people like rocks, fish and potatoes?). She was, such an easy accent to pick up, and the family was there with all ages and genders. I found it very amusing that the biggest concentration of Norwegians I have met on my trip so far were in the hills in Busan. Not many foreigners are here and not many Norwegians are among the travellers I meet. Then again, if I were to meet Norwegians, I guess alone in the mountain with kids and grandparents is where you find them. As we say in Norway: "Ut på tur, aldri sur!" (translate.google: "Out hiking or cross country skiing, don't be a motha' fuckin' cry baby!").

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Clark - Manila

After I was done with Cebu I felt like having some quiet time before leaving to Korea. Relax a bit and do some research. In Clark I met up with my new host Olive, who happened to be Korean. This suited me perfectly, because then I could leech on her a bit and get some info about Korea. What happened however, was that her boss called her and she had to attend a birthday party. She dragged me along with her and I ended up at a Korean restaurant with her colleagues. We ate a lot of good food and downed a fair amount of soju, Korean vodka. Somehow it seemed difficult to dodge alcohol in this country.

Good Friday! The reason why I came to Clark. Olive, three of her Filipino coworkers and I were off to see the crucifixions! Once again my luck was helping me bump into the right people and the girls fixed everything. We got our private Jeepney and rode off to San Fernando, Pampanga. On the way we saw a lot of Jesuses, flogging themselves and carrying crosses. After waiting in the heat quite some time for the main event, the small girls got crushed against a fence and got passes for the VIP section by one of the guards, so that they could escape. Happily I accepted my ticket and we went in and had a great view over the whole thing, while most people were looking into each others back heads and umbrellas. The Pinoys nailed  each other up a couple of times and then carried their victims on a stretcher to the red cross crew that were waiting for them. A fun thing to have seen, but it wasn't as dramatic as in Passion of the Christ. On the way back, I got to carry a cross and take some photos. I had been saving my "beard" a month, so that I would get my proper saviour look. In the evening we celebrated with Matador brandy in the company of hobos at a seven-eleven.

Olive's friend has of course a pool table, and we played pool and ate pizza for breakfast at Tess' place the following Saturday. Afterwards we went to a Korean spa, Jimjibang, and relaxed there and had some naps. In the locker room they had toothbrushes, razors and everything, so I got myself cleaned up properly. Since I wasn't 100% dry when I started putting on my clothes, one of the staff in the locker room came running and started to dry me with a towel. Slightly uncomfortable, but somewhat amusing to feel like a king. We went home and prepared ourselves for Saturday night out in Angeles, the Philippines' answer to Pattaya or any other filthy place. It used to be an American airbase, and where there are Americans, there are shitloads of whores. We watched the musical Mamma Mia while I downloaded Perl and made my first script in seven months. What most people do before going out. Once again Olive's coworkers called her and she had to join them. I had to go out with her friends alone, but I didn't mind. It's not so bad sitting there with 5 girls dancing around.

I left Clark for Manila and met up with Tania, a Canadian I met in Palawan. We went to Vikings!, one of my favorite restaurants. I ate till I couldn't walk properly and then said good bye to Tania and wished her good luck with her job here. Donna, my first and last host in the Philippines, showed up and I got to crash at her place the last two nights of my stay in this country, In Manila I did some shopping, replaced some well worn underpants and socks, and got some new shirts for Korea. Donna and I had a last supper in Manila and I had my last shake for a while! Now I was going off to Korea to burn off that belly I built up in the Philippines!

Thanks again to everybody in the Philippines!
I've met so many brilliant people that I hope to see again! The trip has been truly amazing and I owe most of it to my hosts and friends of theirs. I loved the Philippines because I was Guwappo (handsome) just because I was white, and everybody was always smiling to me. The Pinoys are everywhere, which I think is a good thing. They should breed with everybody so that  everyone will have at least 20% Filipino in them.
Ha det bra!





I landed in Cebu and got piked up by three friendly looking guys. Chris and Richie, two die hard Celine Dion fans from Canada, and Kim, the funniest character I've met on my trip so far. We headed off to a posh resort to have beers at their nice beach. It was happy hour which means half price. After some beers we went to a karaoke place. Two more guys, Raymund, always laughing and hilarious, and bipolar Phiras, the model showed up. After a couple of hours with karaoke and male bonding, we even got ourselves a song; Indian reservation. Proud Cherokees as we now were, disco time awaited at Joker's. Joker's was already full of drunken jellyfishes and other things. It was an excellent introduction to Cebu and it would just get better and better.

The guys invited me to go down south with them to Oslob and I accepted. This trip would forever change my life. After a long bus ride, we settled into a guest house and went to the local shack for some karaoke and pool. Not being much of a singer, I never participate in the karaoke events. But the guys, they broke me. After 4 hours straight with Celine Dion and Father and son, I couldn't resist and joined up. Karaoke was now a part of me. We ate our chicken pieces while the pig was oinking next to us and the model was munching on his crackers. We had to go to bed early because the next morning we would swim with the whale sharks.

Swimming with the "gentle giants" was fun. They were quite huge, but since they were fed all the time, the whole thing felt a bit unnatural. Afterwards we had a rest outside of our guest house and had breakfast. To our amusement a crazy old American came up to us and showed us random pictures of turtles and his family. Back in Cebu we went to karaoke again, but more importantly: Mango! The best disco for any Cherokee and where the pulsating nightlife of Cebu is :D. We had loads of fun and many good stories came out of nights like the ones we had at Mango. The next day I went up north and slept one night in a village and then I went over to the island of Malapascua. There I was diving with thresher sharks. That was very, very cool. We were camping at the ocean floor and waited for the sharks. Like in the movies, out of nowhere a silhouette came and then suddenly the shark was there, just to swim out in the mist just as it came. This is something I can recommend everyone to do.

The same day I went down again to Cebu. I had a fever and the only cure was Mango! Kim, Phiras and Raymund dancing would put a smile on my face again. This time I moved into Raymund's place. While karaoking our hearts out, new crew members arrived! Simon, the model from Canada, and Drew, the energy releasing American. The lost Cherokees had finally returned and joined us for this quiet evening. The next day we had coffee tasting at Raymund's restaurant. He makes sure the food is expensive and not particularly good. Richie asks "why?". "I don't want people here all day" Raymund replies and we all die. We then start on the beers. After all, it's soon 1 pm. Slightly tipsy, the Filipino Aime takes some of us out on a city tour, while the other guys lose their money in the casino. However, they get free dinner. We met up again and rocked Ayala and Mango. The Americans were not afraid of dancing the no-pants dance on stage. Home we were always 7-8 in a car. After all, safety first.

Instead of going to Bohol, I joined the guys for a booze cruise. That's the problem when you meet awesome people; they alter your plans. If it wasn't good enough, Gringo and Sarah showed up. Another Pinoy and an Australian were added to the crew. Together we had a blast at the boat that Kim had booked. We had a walk off, since there were so many models and other kinds of pretty people on board. All in all an excellent day trip. On the way back we ate at a high end yacht club and slept in their sofas.
To top the whole Cebu experience off, I went on a two day trip to a deserted island were we swam in the shallow water, had night rum and went to sand dunes in the middle of the ocean. My stay in Cebu was unbelievably awesome and the couch surfing community there is incredible. Slightly sick after all the stress, I turned my nose towards Pampanga and prepared myself for holy week.

Thank you all for a brilliant time Cherokees! It was hilarious!!