Sunday, March 16, 2008

The day I flew a plane!!

Well, again from hearsays in my socializations I came to know about a flying club in Daejon. And every year the club opens with an open day where they allow the newbies at one third the usual prices as promotional offers. So was anticipating another exciting experience and you bet it was a good thing amidst the lull for the past few weeks. [Got a lot of queries about new updates on the blog...but nothing was really happening worth writing about]. So here it is now..

The venue was shifted from Daechon Beach [which is around 2 hours drive from Daejon] to the outskirts of Daejon [just around 30 mins from our place], so we started at around 9 am and reached with the group [Carol, Henning, Adrienne, Bobby, Matthew, Anshuman & Me]to the location..a nice riverside place close to the site where a new city called 'Happy Town' is being constructed right from scratch...roads, buildings, subwaylines etc.. They say, since Seoul is getting overburdened, some of the government offices will be shifted to the new town. Though could not get a glimpse of it on our way it when I was in the air around 2 hours later.
We were with Matthew, the owner of the club who has been a commercial pilot for 15 years before coming to Korea from England. So we had some introductory talks on our way.

I was so excited that even the car we drove in, with its doors open looked to me as if it would fly. :)

Matthew told us that since his new plane was not ready yet, he had hired some other plane for the day. And just after a quick round of coffees we got in the hanger to see the 'Angelfish' [its the name of the plane!]

Matthew briefed us about the basics of flying, the Angelfish and controlling during flight. Angelfish has a 65 HorsePower 2 stroke engine. In a short while we were ready to take off!

I was not the first one, but the excitement did not die down as I kept myself busy with the photography..and in fact I was using Carol's SLR with a 200 mm it was amazing! Here are some that I liked..

The take Off....


..and Away....

There were some really nice scaled models kept on display in the office & premises of the club.

And finally it was my turn!!

The cockpit was really really small..but cozy. The controls were minimal and not complicated.

Matthew was my Flight Instructor. He told that it is so noisy up there that to talk with each other we have to use the head-phone mike systems.

We were ready to take off..The long runway gave me goosebumps but they were fleeting..

..and before we knew we were in the air.

[Video by: Anshuman (Shot during his flight)]

It was a little windy which is not good for light aircrafts, so Matthew was really concerned about handing me over all the controls. So I engaged in some aerial photography..

The bridges in the distance are being constructed as expressways to the new city.

There were ducks idling in the afternoon sun..

And as I was nearing the end of my round I could see my group..

[Video by: Anshuman (Shot during his flight)]

Phew!! That was amazing...another exciting outing came to an end. It was getting more windy, so Matthew requested Bobby and Anshuman, who had missed out, to come the next day.

We all took a group picture and went for a lunch in a nearby town, Jochiwon, in a chinese restaurant and returned but not before Anshuman & I made plans for the next day... :)

The Group [left to right : Henning, Adrienne, Carol, Bobby, Me, Matthew & Anshuman]

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Busan Trip

After the tiring trek, both me and Anshuman were having our doubts about walking more. The bus dropped us at a subway station nearby and we took a subway to Busan station and hired a room in a nearby hotel. Rested for a while and finally decided to go out as we would not get to see Busan at night again as we were planning to leave by evening next day. We had read that the Gwangalli beach is a night spot so we decided to go there. It was just 2 subway stations from Busan station so we reached there soon...and gaaawwdd it was amazing!

The Gwangan bridge made a fantastic view with its illumination! And there was an intersting projection on the sand...which moved..

The area was more or less like the Marine Drive in Mumbai, only scaled to one fourth.

There were interesting installations all along the road which were really a must see in the dark. Though the pain in our legs made us walk very awkwardly the beautiful sight kept us going.

There were vendors selling firecrackers on the beach and people would by them and light on the beach. But it could not beat any Diwali night in India...the crackers were to scarce and very occassional. We walked along the road for a while and Anshuman wanted to eat Pizza so we were hunting for a restaurant which would serve that and during the search even I started longing for one. But we could not find any. The whole road was full of seafood joints with fishtanks outside them displaying their menu! Finally Anshuman was so hungry that he decided to chuck pizza for a burger when we saw a placed which did not have sea food. During the hearty meal I just happened to mention that what if we go ahead and see a pizza place just around the corner and we just chuckled. But when we started going back there was a pizza place just around the corner..and we also had a discussion on Serendipity just sometime ago! We chuckled again and moved ahead to find another pizza place less than a block away! Anshuman said I am going can come if you want. Who was I to go against destiny? :P Though the experience was marred when we were served some different pizza than we ordered we decided not make it an issue as we were getting late to catch the last subway. We hurried and just managed to catch the last one. Slept like hell after a very very tiring day hoping that the legs would be alright for another day of sightseeing.

Busan Station

The next day we took the Busan City tour bus which was an interesting offer. The buses would run all over the city with a frequency of 45 minutes. With a ticket for the day you can get down anywhere and board anywhere. We planned to see the most famous tourist attractions, get down at one, see and roam around for 45 minutes and catch the next bus to the next spot. It worked pretty well.

The first was the UN Cemetry Park. A very serene place....the board below describes it well..

The Busan Museum was nearby and we had some time left before the next bus arrived so we decided to walk there and catch the bus from there.

It was a brief 10 min walk inside the was interesting but we could not see much as we had things with higher priority to cover.

The next stop was Nurimaru APEC house which was built for a Economic Leaders' meet in 2005 and now used for hosting a lot of Internatioal Conferences. Busan is in fact the town of Asia which hosts more International Conferences than any other city. It was really an interesting architecture with a strategic location.

The Gwangan Bridge is visible in the far background..

Lamposts in the premises of the APEC house. A bunch of them at a spot with lighting in 3 directions. Interesting Design..

A Golden Building nearby..

The next stop was Haeundae Beach. It was almost past noon so we grabbed a quick lunch.

..and Anshuman decided to stay and photograph the seagulls whereas I decided to check out the Busan Aquarium. Pretty interesting exhibits..some of them which I had never seen before.


Not sure if the crab had grown those things as camouflage or had sticky skin to stick the particles from the surface it was on to resemble like it.


An Artwork on a wall of a chamber that exhibited different kinds of jelly fish.

Upside-Down Jelly Fish

The Ultimate Predator.....

And the last section was a very interesting one...titled.... 'Sea life in Movies'.

Just managed to capture 'Nemo' in his home..

A little amusing to see so many 'Marlons' & 'Doris' :)

The next stop was the Museum of Moder Art..and the gate itself made clear what lies inside. My camera ran out of battery by this all the pictures ahead are by courtesy : Anshuman.

We left from there to return to Busan station and took another route of the tour bus to go in other direction of the city. We also booked our return train tickets to Daejon so that we had an idea of the time of return.

The Busan Tower

An arbit building on the road..caught my eye because of its ostentatiousness.

We roamed around Gukje market..a busy market place.

See the tagline of the store..interesting to know what the world thinks about India.

Traditional Basket Decorations

In the end we reached Jagalchi market..a big seafood market famous for restaurants with amazing seafood...especially known for whale meat! By a small tour around we realised that the notion of Koreans for seafood is anything and everything that lives under the water!

Even Anshuman's camera ran out of battery by now so could not take more pictures. But mostly we hung around the market place, ate a lot of street food [surprisingly all of which was sweet without any exceptions!] and returned to Busan station in time to catch the train back to Deajon.

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