monsoon season

Rainy Day Makgeolli

The weather in Seoul is considerably different this summer than it was last year. Last summer, it rained everyday, consistently ruining my weekend plans and causing a lot of damage here in Korea. This year, it is still rainy from time to time but it has yet to put a damper on my fun. I've actually come to like the rainy season in Seoul, love it even. Sure, there are the monstrous mosquitoes that have the ability to move like lighting and whose bites leave welts that take at least a week to go away. And there's the umbrella traffic that can be ridiculously frustrating. But, I've come to discover and enjoy the magic that the Korean rain brings in with each passing storm.

Rainy Day Women

Rainy Day Women

Monsoon season is no laughing matter. It rained buckets today….sand buckets, garbage cans, Dumpsters….. it poured all the water in the greater Northeast Asia area down on our heads as we attempted to trek to Immigration and work and the bakery. The sidewalks flooded ankle-deep. The buses sloshed gallons of water as they zoomed by. And, if the locals aren’t playing some crazy mind game with us, it’s gonna do this for the next two weeks or so. I think I’m gonna get a bigger umbrella.

home sweet home?

Well, after a hard decision to leave flooded Siem Reap (we could barely get out of our hotel, 200 tourists were evacuated from some temples by air during a flash flood so we thought it better to cut our losses and go back during the dry season to do Angkor Wat right) we traveled much earlier than planned to our new home, Thailand.

But the story doesn't really start there, nor end.

flooding in Cambodia

We arrived in Siem Reap to explore ancient temples and fabulous wonders late last night. The drive from Phnom Penh was beautiful, water surrounding the road everywhere you look, sometimes covering the road. There were many huts and small towns along the way and I was saddened to see many of them were flooded or had water up to the door when the house was on stilts. Rainy season in Asia. I guess you get used to it?

Our tuk-tuk drove us to some guesthouses to find one in our budget and as we passed the river through the center town, we realized we might be getting wet.  After a long night of (not exaggerating) torrential down pouring, we woke up to this...

Life in Korea: beating the heat

UPDATED 12 July 2010 to include more information about 'Hippo Packs'.

Welcome to summer, Korea style. It's called 장마철 (rainy season), although you might call it the rainy season, the monsoon season, or that *#@%! hot season. Whatever you call it, there are more than a few ways to beat the heat.

Step one: turn off the heat. If your apartment has ondol heating (and virtually every Korean apartment does), there may be a switch to go from 'winter' mode to 'summer' mode. In the former (겨울, or winter), the ondol system turns on the hot water and heats up the floor; in the latter (여름, or summer), the ondol system only heats up the water.

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