Monday, October 27, 2008

2008 KOTESOL Weekend

Julianne and I left for the 2008 KOTESOL Conference at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul on Friday afternoon . . . it was a pretty nice day.

We took the train because traveling from Chuncheon to Seoul by bus on a Friday night is crazy.

On the way to Seoul the mountain landscape at night is pretty cool.

If you go to Jonggak Station on the dark blue line you'll find an Indian restaurant in the food court that is above Bandi & Luni's bookstore, and under the tower itself.

I ordered what I thought would be an "Indian-style" salad . . . this doesn't really look like Indian cuisine to me . . .

This particular dish, with pieces of lamb in it, is AWESOME. You get Naan bread and dip it into the sauce, or you use the spoon and load up a piece of Naan bread with the sauce and a chunk of lamb's meat.

Shane ordered a platter of different Indian foods. Tandoori chicken, Naan bread, etc.

I think these are called Samosas. Breaded dumpling full of vegetables and meat.

Update: Oops! Sorry for calling these "Mimosas"--I'm sure I'll catch shit from all the Indian people I know, and of course, all of the other people who know me for being a stickler for details.

I can't remember the name of these--have to ask Shane again, and then add it later.

Basically they're fried bread-balls in a sugary sauce. I thought they were alright . . .

I wanted to walk around the campus of Sookmyung Women's University and take more pics but didn't have time . . .

If you don't like line-ups make sure you get to the registration area before 8:15am . . . we did, and we still had to wait about 3 minutes before registering on a computer, and then getting our name tags and paying the 65 000won fee to get into the conference.

One nice thing about the conference is that Sookmyung students are everywhere to help you if you have a question.

I forgot to pre-register this year . . . oh well. For those that forgot or learned about the conference at the last minute it was possible to register from 8am to 5pm.

You have to enter your name and an email address (use a "spam address" if you don't want emails from KOTESOL).

Also, be prepared to get asked several times if your KOTESOL membership has expired, or if you want to renew it--then, of course, if you say you don't have a membership you should also expect to hear a small sales pitch or suggestion about signing up (and paying the fee).

There is a bag and coat check at the conference. A lot of first-timers to the conference often don't think about how at the end of the day on Saturday, and on Sunday, EVERYONE GOES TO GET THEIR STUFF--keep that in mind if you check something.

Last year, if I remember correctly, there were hardly any tables and chairs put out in the courtyard that sits between the two major areas of the conference. It kind of sucked last year because it's nice to go outside and sit down for a while, and chat with friends and people you see there. This year they brought it back.

KOTESOL organizers finally listened to the attendees about how there needs to be some kind of meal offered at the conference. Unfortunately, it was "some kind of" food that most people said they wouldn't have paid for if it hadn't been free for the first 1000 online registrations.

I also really don't get why KOTESOL doesn't have a coffee, tea, juice, and snack bar. Staff it with students, and watch the cash flow in--seriously.

And now a series of pics of the different booths at the conference . . .

I don't usually pay attention to the draws and other contests that some of the booths have, but friends of mine in the past have walked up to me to display all of the free stuff they've won: books, pencils, stickers, etc. There are also sometimes cash (or is it a certificate? I'm not sure) prizes . . .

KOTESOL has a monster table set up in the middle of the publishers' booths every year.

I bought a lot of books published by Cambridge and Oxford this year. Last year it was Compass Media. I'm going to blog about the books I bought later this week or next week.

While there are signs up everywhere to help you find the room you want it can sometimes be a little difficult to figure out.

What strange and nefarious things go on back there? Seriously, I wonder . . .

Master, I sense something . . .

It's probably not the Dark Side of the Force . . . likely if you walk back there you'll end up here.

More booths . . .

Oxford always has one of the sweetest setups at the conference. They also give you a free day planner if you fill out a short survey. I think other booths/publishers have caught on to this and I saw more of them doing similar things . . . so, if you have time and the inclination there's a lot of free stuff to be had if you're willing to give up a few minutes of your time, and of course, your email address.

One thing I did a lot of this year was filling out "Inspection Copy" forms. An inspection copy is a copy of a book that you are interested in, and that you might use as a course book for wherever you teach. This is, of course, of great interest to publishers because giving one free copy of a book that the teacher might order dozens, or if they're really lucky, hundreds of copies of that students must buy . . . well, they're more than willing to give you a free copy. I'm not sure what kind of limit there is to how many forms (you can put 3 titles on one form) you can fill out . . . but I wonder . . . hmmm . . .

I'm not totally sure what goes on at this "Employment Center" . . . I've heard that there are on the spot interviews but for who and where I donno . . .

If you want to see and meet a lot of foreign public school, hogwan, and university teachers and professors this is the place to be . . .

Around 4pm or so it started POURING! I mean torrential rains thundered down and anyone who was foolish enough to go outside or try to go home got WET!

I really don't understand why KOTESOL organizers can't organize a time where 50 to 100 taxis pull up in front of the university for teachers and professors who are leaving . . . one phone call, one time period . . . is that too much to ask?

I walked outside around 4:30pm to find a taxi. I decided (BABO-ISHLY) to brave the torrential downpour outside for two reasons: 1) Julianne had had to go back to our hotel earlier in the day because she was feeling really crappy, and 2) I thought that the one or two taxis that sometimes hang around would be easier to get because all the other conference attendees were either still at the conference, or were huddling together at the exits staring at the rain and thunder and trying to wait it out . . .

I chose . . . POORLY!

So after walking close to a kilometer in torrential rain and having every taxi that went by not available . . . I tried walking even further away from the campus--no joy.

Then I thought I'd try taking a subway to another station, get out, and try again--NOTHING. Add to the mix that I got out at the Korean War Museum just down the street from Itaewon. Traffic was NUTS so I gave up on trying to get back to the hotel to meet Julianne (who by this point was feeling better and we planned on going to Itaewon for dinner after I dropped my stuff off) and just walked to Itaewon to wait for Julianne and Shane.

This shot is taken from the pedestrian bridge that is at the intersection just before you pass under the Itaewon arch.

Since I always hear foreign teachers in Korea complaining about the lack of Mexican food and restaurants in Korea I have decided to post the entire menu of Amigos, a Mexican food restaurant and bar in Itaewon.

The waitress offered us free nachos and salsa--I can see why it's free . . .

Then the evening's libations,
  1. Informal
    1. A beverage, especially an intoxicating beverage.
    2. The act of drinking an intoxicating beverage.
were selected and given due reverence . . . hehehe.

The live music was good, and while loud, not too loud.

Margarita's . . . not my style. But Julianne loves them . . .

And then the food arrived. Shane and Julianne had "Baja Burritos."

The waiter warned us that the plates were hot---and me being the genius I am didn't believe him--ow!

I ordered "Original Burritos with chicken."

The prices are a little expensive for the portions IF you compare it to food back in American and Canada--this is, however, KOREA. So, that being said, it was pretty freakin' good.

If you walk towards The Hill with the Hamilton Hotel behind you and on your left you will come to the intersection where if you turn right you go towards "What the book?"--turn left and you'll find Amigos about 3/4 of a block in.

After finishing our meals and a few drinks we decided to have a few more beverages . . .

Julianne--after 'a few' beverages . . . Jason--after 'a few' beverages . . . Julianne and Jason--after 'a few' beverages . . .
After that the evening kind of looked like this . . .



The next day was a beautiful day with blue skies and cool temperatures--except for those people who shall not be named who spent the night worshipping the porcelain god in a Dionysian nightmare of gargantuan proportions . . .

On the train ride back I noticed something odd . . . look at the small room . . .

I think this is an extension SITTING ON A POST . . . if I walked into it I suspect I'd have a really really bad day . . . lol.

For the remainder of the train ride I tried to get some nice shots of the blue sky and mountains . . . .

I have yet to have free time and remember to go and get pics of the rice harvests in Korea. The fields in the background have been harvested--except for the golden patch in the foreground.

I like the textures that the speed of the train combined with the trees make in this picture.

More harvest shots . . . taken from the train through a window with a lot of glare--I really wish I could have taken them with my tripod.

The colors of the ready to harvest rice are really nice . . .

I was actually trying to take a shot of the golf range in the background and accidentally got a shot that Julianne and I think is very cool . . .

Home . . .

Walking home I saw this cool tree with the blue sky and clouds . . .

Almost home . . . luckily we only live seven blocks away from the train station.

You can see our apartment complex slightly left of center in this shot.

Home.


J

2 comments:

A said...

Samosa. Mimosas are cocktails!

Great post, hopefully I can make it next year.

wevegotseoul said...

I checked out the "employment room" late Saturday. There were maybe 15 or so jobs posted but none that really caught the eye. They did have interviews but most of them were only held form 1 till around 4 - not very convenient for conference goers.