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Sunrise

Great Sunrise Ruined

 

I am a nice guy through and through. I love talking to people and especially other photographers but once in a while something or someone will rub me the wrong way and it just makes my blood boil. Being photographers we tend to end up at the same locations as other photographers. This is usually a good thing. However, on this morning it was not. Perhaps it would have been different if it was not 5 am but who knows?


Spin Kicks, Spirituality, and a Sunrise: Templestay at Golgusa Temple



It's never a bad idea to start out a new year with a few extra good karma points... you never know when you'll need them.  So, instead of spending New Year's Eve drinking too much in a crowded, overpriced bar in Seoul, I decided to ring it in at Golgulsa, a Buddhist temple located just outside Gyeongju, South Korea.
Templestays have been gaining popularity amongst tourists and usually involve a short-term stay in one of the 900 traditional Buddhist temples in Korea.  Participants follow a rather strict schedule to experience a day (or two or three) in the life of the monks that reside there.  A templestay was something that had been on my bucket list for a while, so when I found a special New Year's program on the official Templestay website, I knew I had to sign up.
It was about a five hour trek from Seoul to Golgulsa Temple that required two bus trips, a bit of waiting around, and a short walk to the temple grounds from the final bus stop.  Once I had arrived, I was given a brief introduction to the program, a map of the complex, and special clothes that I was to wear during my stay.  I was then directed to my room where I would be spending the night with about fifteen other women.  The room was a rather large common area with pillows and blankets spread out on the floor for sleeping.  There was a bathroom with a toilet, a few open showers, and sinks that were to be shared.  I've become use to this arrangement after living in Korea for a few years but wondered how other Westerners not used to copious amounts of nakedness would handle the situation.

Sunrise over the Canyon

Begrudgingly for the past eighteen months I had been waking at the crack of dawn to teach adults English in South Korea. Now, waking from the hangover of Vegas I finally had a reason to rise. We were in Flagstaff, Arizona. Base camp for the Grand Canyon, part of the iconic Route 66 and the first International Dark Sky Community*.

Flagstaff had only been our home for a mere seven hours and now in the darkness of our motel room a commotion interrupted the stillness of the night. On and on it cut through the silence until finally we put an end to its poisonous voice.

We were an hour from the southern rim of the Grand Canyon and the alarm was an enemy to aid us.


Good morning Viet Nam

Just a quick thought on this hot evening in Viet Nam while the whole country is celebrating their National Independence day from France, we just returned from the Central Highlands where it was cold and rainy. We drove scooters over 300 km (I drove my own, my first time driving in over a year and first time ever on a motorbike, I did pretty damn good if I do say so) and it was a beautiful drive through lush, green jungle. I love this country and love traveling slowly through it. Soon we will head away from the beach to Saigon, then cross into Cambodia through the Mekong Delta. SE Asia is my heaven.



Sunrise to Japan and Other Thoughts


Sunrise, Ulleungdo

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Jeju Morning: Volcano Crater and a Country Stroll

Rarely do I rise before 10 a.m. 

But the guidebook said Jeju’s ‘Ilchulbong’–a volcanic crater on the East Coast in a town called Seongsan–was the first place on the island to spot the “orange fires of dawn.”  A sunrise sounded good.  Really good.  So after the Busan plane touched down on a Saturday afternoon, I caught a bus from Jeju-city that rolled along the North coast for an hour or so, checked into a minbak, and wandered out to find dinner–with a crater view, of course.

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It was just a light snack.

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