Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Southeast Asia: Cambodia in photos

Ten years of watching travel channel shows could have never prepared me for Cambodia.

It’s a beautifully sad country. Beautiful rice paddy and palm tree vistas. Sad, slumped wooden shacks in the distance. Beautiful, bright-faced children, their sad voices pleading for dollars. Amazing stone temples seemingly created by the gods. Broken arms and decapitated Buddha statues sad reminders of looting and the descrution of the Khmer Rouge.

It might be cliché, but it really is a beautifully sad country.

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea: Bangkok in Pictures

A pictorial look at our recent trip to Bangkok, one of the most dynamic cities we’ve ever visited. Of course, the photos do not do this dynamic city justice. With pictures, you can’t smell all the sweet, spicy street food emanating from dozens of street stalls or taste the richness of a thai ice coffee with coconut milk. You can’t feel how it is to ride in that glorified go-cart called a “tuk-tuk” — wind in your hair, eyes level to the bumpers of oncoming traffic. And you definitely can’t experience the feeling of exploring this paradoxical city, which blends thousand-year-old temples with the most modern skycrapers and shopping malls, intense spirituality with the sin of Soi Cowboy.

But hopefully it gives you some idea.

Alex and Chickpea Do Korea

The making of the Chilgok monorail

On my first walk to school three months ago, I noticed a kind-of beauty about the run-off ditch next to my apartment building. Sure, it wasn’t a vibrant ecosystem, but it was nice to see small egrets and people fishing next with huge apartments towering over the distance. In the morning, the sun cast a calming light on the small strip of water.

But that’s gone now. Replaced by bulldozers, dredgers, drilling machines and huge columns of cement.

Yes, this is the beginning of Daegu’s monorail line, which will run from the northern suburb of Chilgok to the outskirts of downtown Daegu, intersecting with the Seomun Market Station on subway line 2, veering southwest, intersecting with Myeongdok Station on subway line 1 and then end in Beommul-dong.

Estimated completion date: 2014. The fully-automated, unmanned monorail is the first of its kind in Korea. It will cost a cool 1.43 trillion won. (I pity the accountants working on this project. All those zeros!)

Currently it takes between 25-45 minutes to get to downtown Daegu from Chilgok by bus. Just hold out three more years English teachers!

The dredging of the stream hasn’t stopped some folks from fishing …

… or gathering clams and snails.