Monday, March 16, 2009
Something’s in the air
For a second straight day, the skies are overcast as we leave the city for Asan, where Hyundai Motors has one of three production facilities in South Korea.
Due to sand storms in northern China, yellow colored sand from the Gobi Desert travels with the winds and the cold front to produce hazy conditions in East Asia. CNN reported that Beijing was impacted by the “yellow wind,” and warnings were given here in South Korea.
The skies were indeed hazy today at times, particularly during the morning hours, similar to those during a foggy day. The hills in and around Seoul, as well as the city’s many towering structures were harder to discern at times as a result.
It was common to see the locals wearing masks over their faces, but it was not prevalent.
Far more common was something familiar in Indiana -- basketball courts. The large recreation area located near our hotel in Yeouido has at least eight goals. Sunday night after dark, it was remarkable for us to see a lone player working on his game.
Earlier, several courts featured more action. Monday, as we head down the expressway, we occasionally see courts along the roadside.
Seoul has two teams in Korea’s professional basket ball league, which recently wrapped up another season.
Far more popular right now is Korea’s entry in the World Baseball Classic. Several TVs in Hyundai’s employee cafeteria and a nearby lounge were tuned into today’s game against Mexico. Factory workers were engrossed in the game but were displaying little emotion, even after the Latin Americans broke open the game at the top of the second inning.
When Mexico’s Augie Ojeda hit a two-run single off Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin with the bases loaded and with two outs, most sat stoically and silently, except for one employee who groaned silently. Obviously, it was a much different reaction than what a Hoosiers fan might show wherever he was.
Tuesday night, some students could see Korean fans in another setting. There’s a big soccer game here then and many are looking into getting tickets.
Thankfully for South Koreans, their baseball team came back, hitting three home runs to defeat Mexico 8-2.