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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also salvaged from that ill-fated SmartMedia card were these pictures from around the house and around the school.
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.