American Southwest Family Vacation

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Snowboarding in South Korea

Before I arrived here, I never would have thought of Korea as having much in the way of snowboarding. However, when you consider that it gets a good amount of snow and has such steep terrain, it makes much more sense. I think my favorite place was Yongpyong for its Rainbow Paradise route, but there are other South Korean ski resorts that are pretty good, too.
RRR surveys the bunny slope on his way to Rainbow Paradise.
This is the Rainbow Paradise route at Yongpyong
While I let the base's MWR office do all the scheduling, I probably went to a different place each month. Obviously, taking pictures while snowboarding can be difficult...
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Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Wrong Turn on Hooker Hill

My car arrived in Korea, so Jay and I went up to Seoul to pick it up.

So we're trying to get back to the highway from Itaewon, and I must have missed a turn somewhere. We start driving up the steep incline of a deserted street with rowhouses on each side. And the farther up this hill we go,  the narrower the lane gets. As the road turned and started to head back downhill, the walls started to close in on us.

I'm driving the VW Jetta I've had for about five years, and I'm very familiar with how wide it is and how it handles. But it was right around the time that I was driving over low stairs (because they jutted out from both sides and into the lane) that I began to believe we weren't going to get out of here following this route.

And my fears were confirmed after successfully navigating a steep decline while avoiding the ceaseless advance of more stairs, like some sort of whitewater kayaking (but in a car). There, in front of us, the road narrowed so much that I could simultaneously touch the walls on both sides of the road with my hands. Having reached the end of our forward progress, I had to back up.

Remember how I said that we'd been descending and avoiding obstacles in what is now a narrow alley? Imagine the fun of driving a manual transmission car uphill, in reverse, while trying to weave around low stairs that don't show up in your mirrors. Fortunately, Jay was able to get out and spot me, and the two of us managed to get the car back far enough to turn around and drive out the way we came in.

Come to find out, that particular area in which we had our adventure is known as "Hooker Hill." Which only adds color to my story and allows me to include the line:

"So, there I was, backing my car up a step alley on Hooker Hill..."
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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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