the almost-lost pix
     Just days before we left Taejon for our 3-month vacation in the USA, one of the SmartMedia cards that Rob uses in his digital camera died. The camera simply could no longer read the card, which had contained over 70 photos from various trips around Korea. Now those photos were possibly deleted or, more frustrating, trapped on the card forever. Rob contacted a bunch of "data recovery" companies in the US upon his return, but got the same answer every time: "It's not yet possible to recover data from that type of media."

     Cheris encouraged a disheartened Rob to hang onto the card, in case someday the possibilites changed. Sure enough, they did. During the spring 2000 sememster, Rob found a small company on the internet--Data Recovery Services UK (thanks again, y'all!)--boasting the ability to recover data from SmartMedia. After a few emails of confirmation, the card was shipped off and promptly returned along with a CD containing all but a few of the pictures from the card, in perfect condition. Wow.

     So, the links on this page will take you to those nearly-lost pictures. They're presented in mostly-chronological order. Try to check 'em all out, but if you have very limited time or a slow connection, just make absolutely sure to see the ones marked with four stars (****).

     The first pair of photos comes from a trip we took to Seoul with our friends Andrew, Dawn, and Shawn.
here we are at some small, little known tourist attraction--old-style living quarters
tranquil shot taken at Chongmyo Shrine, the famous storage place of the ancestral tablets of the kings of the Korean Yi Dynasty (1392-1910)

     One night in Taejon, we woke up to the sound of sirens and an eerie orange glow in the window. There was a fire in the building next door, in the apartment just across a narrow alley from ours. Thankfully no one was hurt and the fire didn't spread to our building.
a look at the place the next morning
a better look inside after the window panes were removed

     We were invited on a weekend trip by Mrs. Kim Ok-yi (our boss at Kwak's English Country) and her family. They took us to one of Korea's biggest amusement parks, Everland, but it rained (so no pictures). Afterwards, we drove to a scenic resort called Daemyeong Condo, where we spent a night eating and drinking well, playing cards, and just hanging out.
Mr. Bae plus Speedy (Mrs. Kim's younger sister), Rob, the amazing Jun-ho, and Mrs. Kim
all of the above plus Cheris

     One gloomy day we caught the bus up to Cheonan, not far from Taejon, to see Korean Independence Hall, a huge museum devoted the many challenges to Korea's status as a soverign country.
Rob, dwarfed by a huge "monument to the people" at the museum grounds' entrance
huge statue representing the resilient and proud Korean people stuggling for indepedence

     Just outside Seoul, in the city of Suwon, a Korean Folk Village can be found. Despite massive crowds of tourists, we had a pretty good time checking out the way most Koreans used to live.
the farmer's dance
more of the above, in full twisting, spinning glory ****
Cheris by a pavillion and nicely-kept pond
a real Korean rooster, in a cool homemade cage
Rob seeking shade in an old-style Korean farmhouse
a kid demonstrates how to operate the dancing scarecrow
close up of one of those cool scarecrows
really cool painting on the side of a house
red peppers drying in the sun--a classic Korean scene
Cheris approaches a nobleman's house
uh, meow? another really cool painting
kids going crazy on the giant Korean-style standup swingset
herbs and diagrams at the Eastern medicine pharmacy
Cheris finds a favorite outfit ****
basket weaving, Korean style
folk village, fork village--hell, what's good spelling if you've got a good enough tourist draw? ****

     Hanbok is the traditional Korean costume. Our buddies Yu Kyeong-wan and Shin Eui-kyeong (the famous Mac) knew that we were fascinated by these colorful garments, so they invited us over one evening to try theirs on and take some pictures.
makeup maven Mac does a little prep work on Cheris
DAMN, we look good in this
shaky camera but nice smiles
without the overcoats, another fine layer comes to view ****
green tea and rice cakes, anyone?

     In the early fall we took a trip to Maisan Provincial Park, not far from Taejon in Korea's North Cholla province. The name Maisan means "horse ears mountain," and the oddly-shaped rocky peaks make it perfectly clear why Koreans chose the name. After a little hike between the peaks, we arrived at Tapsa, a temple that's very famous for some strange but breathtaking man-made stone formations.
great dragon/monk statue at a smaller temple on the way across the mountain
huge rock face of one of the horse-ear peaks
Rob by the small temple and part of the other horse-ear
purty purple flowers
Tapsa, wide angle view ****
stone formations at Tapsa viewed from above
two of those stone piles, close-up and backlit
someone to look up to, Cheris J
another angle of Tapsa's main temple
Rob smirking at Tapsa
kid riding a lion
yet another angle of the temple
Chic Cheris at Tapsa, nice horse ear in background
dopey swan paddle boats on the park's gorgeous lake
Cheris shooting a pictureof those dopey swan paddle boats
Cheris, lake, mountains--niiiiice shot ****
danger: car-sliding-off-cliff zone ****
Rob, lake, mountains--not as cute as CJB, for sure
Buddhist statues at the lake's far end

     We made a second visit to Cheonan city at the peak of the fall, anxious to see the gigantic Buddha statue at a temple called Kwagwonsa, which sits at the base of a mountain called Taejosan. We also had a nice hike up the hill that afternoon to check out the scenery.
fantastic carved and painted face on the temple's outer wall
a sidelong look at the temple framed in autumn leaves
the big guy ****
Rob with the big guy
one more, close up, of the big guy
Cheris checks out the work of either devout Buddhists or the Blair Witch
and she checks out a statue, too
view down upon the temple from the top of the hill
Korean fall scenery stretching out everywhere

     Mac & Kyeong-wan took us out for a great dinner shortly before we left Taejon. Here we are just after stuffing ourselves full of amazing roast mushrooms.
Rob took this photo
and Kyeong-wan took this one

     Also salvaged from that ill-fated SmartMedia card were these pictures from around the house and around the school.
sushi chef Cheris, but you gotta call that kimbap in your Korean kitchen
Julie and Chris, two incredibly bright high-school students, the day we took 'em out to lunch
the new guy, Brian, checking out one of the classes he would soon inherit
Clara and Kate, adorable but capable of driving the nicest teachers insane
Mr. Bae and Jun-ho chillin' in the office
Verena, Brian, and Sang-mi, pondering what it means to be an apple
violence erupts as Sang-mi pounds Jane and Emily

     You may have known that Rob worked a bit at the nearby Taejon Government Complex during the stint in Taejon. Just before we left for good, a bunch of guys from the Korean National Statistical Office took us out for dinner and a night of Korean-style karaoke.
Rob croons with Mr. Ryu
a whole bunch of us gettin' down
R&C leading the way with some English ditty
Rob's buddy Jerry meets Cheris for the first time and insists on a photo with her
Rob and Jerry find a WOW poster and bask in the goodness

the Kwangju Chronicles