Saturday, July 11, 2009

Around Lima

A hat vendor in Baranco, Lima's art district. 

The Peruvian flag flies in a slum on the outskirts of town. 

A man playing a traditional drum outside of the university.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How NOT to find an Internet Cafe in Lima

1) Ask a traffic officer where the nearest "cafe de la Internet" is. He will tell you that the internet is about six miles away by taxi.

2) Next, you should go into a building called "Locutorio de Internet." It is not, as you will expect, a place with free wireless. Instead, there will be lots of small children playing games, and looking at questionable websites. Americans have a word for this: the information commons of a public library.

3) After leaving the locutorio, you should enter the next building that has a sign in the window that says, "Internet." Although, they will  indeed have an internet connection, it will only be on one computer and it will not be wireless. You will also be able to purchase airline tickets, change money and place long distance phone calls if you so chose.

4) Then you should proceed to ask a grocery employee where the Starbucks is. Once he tells you the location, be sure to ask him if it has why-fie. He will look at you confused. What ever you do, do not pronounce it weee-feee. 

5) If you are committed to not finding an Internet Cafe, stay away from Starbucks, and other American cafes, they are the only places in Lima that are reported to actually have public internet. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Favorite Seoul Sightings

Here are some of the prettiest (and oddest) things we spotted in South Korea:

We arrived during Yonsei's spring festival. Mechanical bull anyone? Photo by Erin Chapman.

Korean truck stops are more like carnivals than truck stops. This little boy is eating fruit on a stick. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The steps in front of the Seoul National Art Museum. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The shrimp burger was not as good as the bulgolgi burger. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The view from the top of North Seoul tower was amazing. Note that all of the tower names are in English. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Don't forget to take off your shoes. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The Korean invisible man. Photo by Erin Chapman. 
South Korea is a place that truly appreciates musical theater. Consequently I love South Korea. Photo by Erin Chapman.

In Jeonju City we slept in a traditional Korean hut (aka on the floor with Spongebob blankets). Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Two things: First, Korean "museums" are often just stores. Secondly, the man in the background is on a forklift, holding a large umbrella sifting through garbage. Photo by Erin Chapman. 
We were surprised to find an art gallery under the bridge. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

A young Korean couple sits in front of the light show above the Chungeychung river. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The Korean War Memorial at the mouth of the Chungeychung river. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Quintessentially Korean

Although there were a lot of things that were familiar in South Korean, there were a lot of things that I hadn't seen before. Here are my favorite distinctly Korean sightings: 

These street vendors were everywhere. The first night in Korea some members of our group ordered something, and the vendor handed them a long skinny black tube-shaped food. We are 90% sure it was stuff intestine. Photo by Erin Chapman.

A typical Korean spread. Apples in Cream, Kimchi, bulgolgi, anchovies, quail eggs, sweet potato noodles, some unidentified black sauce, and potato cakes. Photo by Erin Chapman.

100% Asian toilet. Note to posterity: If the bathroom as a remote, don't push the buttons. Photo by Erin Chapman.

Outside of the Buddhist temple people buy these lanterns and hang them up with a message or wish attached to them. Apparently a common wish for parents to write is "Yonsei University." Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Worshippers bowing in a Buddhist temple. Photo by Erin Chapman.

Lighted candles in front of the Buddhist temple. Photo by Erin Chapman.

Beautiful flowers in front of a South Korean palace. Photo by Erin Chapman.

My favorite tree in front of a beautiful traditional structure. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Korean Miracle

I went to Korea to find out about Christianity and its affect on policy in Korea. Here's an excerpt from the paper that I wrote:

The region of Seoul that houses Yonsei University with its modern buildings and bustling streets stands as a testament to South Korea’s rapid industrialization, and the campus itself provides a living monument to the forces of education and technology that internationalized South Korea.

But equally as evident when one strolls down the hilly Shinchon streets is the presence of another, more discreet, force of internationalization: Christianity.  Just off of the main road in Shinchon there are three major Christian churches, and it is difficult to walk more than a block without being in the line of sight of a cross or steeple.

There are regularly evangelists in the Shinchon Subway station, and people hand out Bible verses and candy on Yonsei’s campus. Behind the student union, nestled on the way to the Yonsei hospital, there is even a large stone engraved in English and Korean with the words of John 8:32, “The truth will make you free.”

After spending just an afternoon in Shinchon, any observer would have an idea of just how powerful a presence Christianity is in contemporary South Korea. According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are currently around 9 million Protestants and 3-4 million Catholics living in South Korea today, and in 2007 Seoul housed ten of the eleven largest Christian congregations in the world.[1] Today roughly thirty percent of Koreans identify themselves as Christians, and Christians hold positions of power across the government and non-profit sectors.

Yet, even more striking than the strong Christian presence in South Korea is just how rapidly that influence has come into existence. In 1900 less than one percent of Koreans identified themselves as followers of Christ, and today Christianity surpasses Confucianism and Buddhism in terms of membership, and boasts the largest following of any religion in the Korean peninsula.[2]

Moreover the Christianity that permeates modern South Korea is both uniquely Korean, and a testament to the international forces that originally brought the religion to the Korean peninsula. The synthesis of these Western influences and a distinctly Korean personality is represented in the quaint Shinchon Methodist Church.

The church sits back from the main road that runs into Yonsei, with its red brick façade and its towering gothic pillars, from the outside the building looks more Parisian than it does Korean. Yet, inside the assistant pastor explained in broken English that they had missionaries serving in Sri Lanka and that their church held worship twice each Sunday and also during the week for the traditional Korean daybreak prayers. There were microphones and a drum set on the stage, and the pastor explained that they were for the contemporary worship that the church held each Sunday. The Shinchon Methodist church with both its indigenous Korean elements and its foreign façade is like Korean Christianity in general: it represents a Christianity that is both distinctly Korean and overtly Western—a complicated influence whose affect on South Korea is still being determined.

[1] Lampman, Ane. "How Korea embraced Christianity." 7 Mar. 2007. The Christian Science Monitor. 27 Mar. 2009 <>.

[2] Moffett, Samuel Hugh. A History of Christianity in Asia, Volume II: 1500-1900. New York: Orbis

Books, 2005, p. 544

The beautfiful Shinchon Methodist Church. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

A quaint Christian school in Seoul. Photo by Erin Chapman.

A panel depicting Jesus Christ outside of a Korean store. Photo by Erin Chapman.

A beautiful church in Jeonju city. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The stone reading John 8:12 on Yonsei University's campus. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The interior of a cathedral in a suburb of Seoul. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The inscription inside a Christian school in South Korea. Photo by Erin Chapman.

I'm not sure if this is a Christian reference or a heavy metal reference. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

A steeple is visible from the exterior of the Seoul National Art Museum. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lostin Trans Lation

In general we found Koreans to be very good at speaking English. Here are my favorite slip ups:

Luckily you didn't have to return your silverware. Photo by Erin Chapman.

No one wants to be the third wheel at "A Twosome Place Cafe." Photo by Erin Chapman.

Yes you are, little guide book, yes you are. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The monk paparazzi is a problem in Korea.  Photo by Erin Chapman.

Strangely enough it served fried food. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The scary part is that this wasn't translated incorrectly. Photo by Erin Chapman.

I fell in love with this sign. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The Living Time Capsule

In the second week of our trip we had the opportunity to visit the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea.

Map of a divided Korea in the South Korean Unification Observatory. Photo by Erin Chapman.

Replica of the Unification Observatory that over looks North Korea.  The real North Korea is visible just outside of the window. Photo by Erin Chapman.

North Korean soldiers guard the entrance to a United Nations building in the Joint Security Area, as North Korea looms in the background. Photo by Erin Chapman.

A North Korean soldier stands behind the table that hosted the Six-Party negotiations between North and South Korea. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

The Large North Korean tower visible from the JSA. North Koreans gave an identical tower to the South Korean border village, and then erected this one--that was twice as tall--several months later. Photo by Erin Chapman.

The "bridge of no return" that separates the North from the South. Photo by Erin Chapman. 

To read more about my experience, check out my column, "Land of the Lost," that was first published in the Indiana Daily Student.