Friday, March 28, 2008

A "Whale" of a Good Time in Ulsan

Today we packed up all eleven kindergartners (both classes together) and went on a field trip to the Jangsaengpo Whale Museum in Ulsan. The museum was about a one-hour drive from the school, during which the kids were amazingly good. They were all in high spirits, as they love any creatures that are bigger than them. The drive was beautiful, much of it through rural areas (Gyeongju is kind of in the middle of nowhere).

When we got there, we let the kids explore outside the museum and run around for a little while. Then we had a picnic lunch of kimbap and strawberries. Kimbap is rapidly becoming one of my favorite foods, which poses a problem. While it is very cheap here, it is ungodly expensive back in the states. There's another point against you, America!

The museum itself was quite interesting. Most of the exhibits were in Korean, but there were a few that had English translations. At any rate, I love whales, so I enjoyed looking at whale artifacts, pictures, videos, and bones. They even had several whale fetuses, which were adorable. It had never before occurred to me that a whale would have an umbilical cord. It makes sense, but I never gave the matter any thought before. Well, now I've learned something new!

Click here to see photos from the field trip.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"