Back from the land of sun and surf – Early yesterday morning, Hyunjin and I returned from Guam, the land of sun and surf mentioned in my previous entry. It was the briefest overseas trip we’ve ever taken, but we managed to pack those three days with all sorts of activities. I suppose it helped that we stayed at the Pacific Island Club, where we snorkeled, windsurfed, kayaked, had ourselves a brief scuba diving experience, swam in the various pools, played ping pong and foosball in the recreation room, played badminton and racquetball in the racquet sports center, and sat at the poolside bar at night listening to some surprisingly good live bands. We did spend some time outside of PIC as well, doing a bit of shopping at Guam’s various shopping centers, but as far as I was concerned this was mostly a waste of our time (although I will admit it wasn’t entirely a waste of our time, as we were able to pick up some nice American goodies, mostly of the edible variety). When given a choice between going shopping or snorkeling over the coral and schools upon schools of colorful fishes (or any of the many other things we could do at PIC), I never had to think for long.
Yes, we did take photographs, although our busy schedule meant we didn’t take as many as we might have. All told, we took 115 photos. This may sound like a lot, but considering that I may post one out of every five photos at best, it’s not all that many. We were so busy enjoying ourselves that the digital camera ended up spending most of the trip in a locker by the racquet sports center. We did have a single-use waterproof camera, though, which accounts for 27 of the 115 photos taken, and most of these photos were taken while snorkeling (although there are a few of us windsurfing and kayaking as well). We used a waterproof camera when we went to Thailand and got some pretty good results, so I’m hoping that we’ll get at least a few good shots from this roll—especially considering the fact that the coral was much closer here than it was in Thailand. I will be posting a gallery once I get the photos from the waterproof camera developed, and I will probably go into more detail about the trip then. We had a great time, and I will have a lot to share.
One thing that probably won’t get mentioned in the gallery is our scuba diving experience (because we didn’t get to take any photos). It was a very brief thing that consisted mostly of watching a video and going through the five things you need to know when scuba diving. These were: how to breathe (slowly and deeply), how to equalize pressure (the same way you do it on an airplane, basically), how to clear your regulator, how to clear your mask, and how to make the basic hand signals. Then we went by pairs into the diving pool, where we went clockwise around the edge of the pool, slowly descending, and then returned to the surface. The pool wasn’t deep, but it was filled with fish.
What surprised me most about scuba diving was how easy it was. Yes, I realize that we were in a very small pool and only “dove” for about five minutes, but somehow I was expecting it to be harder. For one, breathing is pretty much exactly the same as it is with a snorkel, and I have enough experience snorkeling that the breathing is no problem. What makes scuba diving a lot easier than snorkeling, though, is that the gear pretty much makes you neutrally buoyant in the water. Diving down into the water while snorkeling is difficult because you have to take a deep breath before you dive and hold it so you can expel the water from your snorkel when you come back up (you could also stick your head out of the water and empty the snorkel, but that’s cheating, not to mention a little difficult to do when you can’t touch bottom). You also don’t have anything to hold you down in the water, so you tend to float back up rather quickly. After seeing how much easier scuba diving is, Hyunjin and I have decided that we are going to have to set some time aside at some point and do a diving trip somewhere in Thailand.
I could go on about other parts of the trip, but I think I’ll save that for the gallery. To be honest, I’m still a bit wiped out. I think I need another night of sleep to recover from our vacation. When we got back yesterday morning, we went to sleep for a few hours (after not having slept much all night) but then got up again at around noon. I turned the computer on and did what I had to do: I checked my email. I always dread checking my email after a trip, but I was pleasantly surprised to find nothing unexpected. In my Korean account there were only some files pertaining to the translation course I am teaching at the KLTI, along with a few spam messages that I gleefully deleted. My other accounts held some pleasant surprises: two more replies to my survey on Korean oral literature and the first proofs for the history of Korean literature translation I have been working on for the past few years. Seeing the proofs was a rather emotional moment—I actually had to blink away some tears. I was surprised at my reaction, but I guess after working on this for so long it is great to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was pleased to get the survey replies as well, although I was not quite moved to tears (that will happen when I get my hundredth reply).
Well, with the trip over now, summer begins in earnest, and I have about six weeks to accomplish quite a bit. I’m not going to think about that now, though. Tomorrow will be soon enough. And since my brain is rapidly turning fuzzy and my eyes are starting to lose focus, I guess it’s time to wrap things up.