A foot into the hermit kingdom

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – DMZ and JSA tour  When in Seoul, I felt that it was absolutely important that I visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and the JSA (Joint Security Area) near the shared border with North Korea. In order to visit inside the DMZ and the JSA, a tour was necessary, and it had…

I came in search of autumn leaves

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – the palaces and mountain tops of Seoul  If all else fails in finding an Outback Steakhouse, at least I should be able to find autumn leaves in Seoul. As someone who had grown up in the Midwest of the U.S., I was used to fall leaves. It was my…

War, peace, and the surprising beauty of stones

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju Island Tourist Bus Besides meet up with old friends and colleagues who now work in schools on Jeju Island – and having Mexican food and local Korean BBQ for various meals – there were a few looping tourist buses that run around the island to drop people off…

What to do on Jeju

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju, South Korea  About a three hour flight from Hong Kong is a small Korean island called Jeju. The island made its living from seafood, and now, tourism – mostly of from China at about 85% of the usual tourist trade. October holiday, a blessed week that we get…

Hearts of glass and oyster shells

Notes from a Pacific Northwest road trip – Chihuly Glass Museum, Space Needle, oysters  Of all the things to see in Seattle – including the famous Pike Place Market – the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is an absolute, absolute must-visit location. Situated right below the Space Needle, the museum was a gorgeous, bursting-full garden…

Pike Place roast, skim milk, extra hot

Notes from a Pacific Northwest road trip – Pike Place Market & a harbor tour After leaving Vancouver on a particularly grey, rainy morning, we headed back over the border. This time, we had about an hour’s wait at the border crossing, so we chilled in the car with Spotify on and snacking on macaroons…

Water, wind, sky … and Mounties

Notes from a Pacific Northwest road trip – Stanley Park and Inukshuks  When I say that our rented apartment was close to all the party fun in Vancouver, I wasn’t kidding. One night, we had live music and fireworks right on the beach across the street. The next day, the beach party had been cleared…

Granville Market Rapsody

Notes from a Pacific Northwest road trip – Up to Vancouver and Granville Market A morning spent on the boardwalk at Long Beach was a great refresher before the epic journey ahead. Even though it was the end of July, the beach was delightfully quiet, with only a few runners coming along the boardwalk. The…

Learning to deal with Disappointment

Notes from a Pacific Northwest Road Trip – To the lighthouse(s) On the southern section of Long Beach Peninsula is the once-named Cape Disappointment State Park. An interesting name, to be sure, one garnered from one man’s – I bet you guess it – disappointment. One of the little history plaques – either that, or the…

More fringe than an 80s hair band

Notes from a Pacific Northwest Road Trip – Packwood to Long Beach Before we left this area completely the next day, I commandeered the SUV to take us up to Mount St. Helen’s. Apparently, there was a viewing platform from which to best see the sleeping beauty, and I wanted to see it as clearly…

Dueling GPSs and the scenic route

Notes from a Pacific Northwest Road trip – Tacoma to Packwood Packwood, eh? Well, after a great deal of research about somewhere to stay in Mt. Rainier National Park with year-round access (not all roads are created equally), I finally settled on the Crest Trail Lodge in Packwood, Washington. It looked like there was some…