Posted by: Juweon | July 1, 2009

Subway Photos

My blog will be going under some remodeling in the next couple of days so all updates will be put on after the site remodeling finishes.  Thanks!

As promised, the pictoral evidence of my travels on Seoul’s public transportation.

July 6th, 2009

looking rough on Monday after another eventful weekend

looking rough on Monday after another eventful weekend

You have no idea how badly I wanted to take my car to work this Monday.  After having a little too much fun all weekend long, my body craved to be driven in the privacy and comforts of my own car but I fought through the urge and got myself onto the public transport.  Did spend 3000 Won on taxi fare once I got to Seoul on the subway because I was late for work.

I also found out that it’s cheaper to get back home from Seoul on public transport than it is to get to Seoul but I’ll investigate this further on Wednesday (Tuesdays are my car days because of scheduling conflicts).

July 2nd, 2009

Less people on the bus than the subway, a bit easier to smile for the camera.

Less people on the bus than the subway, a bit easier to smile for the camera.

I was so tempted to break my pledge today because it was raining like Noah was still alive today here in the Seoul and Gyeongi area, but luckily, as I was heading out the door for work, the sun peeked through just long enough to keep my commute a dry one.

One of the greatest things about the Seoul transportation system is that the local bus and subway systems have integrated pricing.  Let me explain…

The pay on public transportation systems are electronic and you have these little tiny “cards” that you scan as you go through the turnstiles on the subway or get on the bus, but the thing that is different about the Seoul system is that you also scan as you leave and if you transfer onto another form of public transportation within 15 minutes of exiting one, you get a discount (I’ll try to post a video of this pay system in the coming days).

So if I took the public transportation without this system in place:

Bus ride from my house to the my nearest subway station: 600 – 900 won depending on which bus I take.

Subway ride to Sadang station: 900 Won base fee plus 200 Won extra charge because I live outside of the Seoul city limits.

Bus ride to work from Sadang station: 900 Won

TOTAL:  2900 Won

With the Integrated Pricing Plan

Bus ride to my nearest subway station: 700 Won (got a student discount today because I think the bus driver thought I was a student because of my back pack)

Subway ride to Sadang station: 200 Won + 200 Won extra distance charge = 400 Won

Bus ride to work from Sadang station: 200 Won

Total: 1300 Won

FYI: at the current exchange rate – 1000 Korean Won = 79 CENTS U.S. (so it cost me about a $1 to travel 35km, not bad)

July 1st, 2009

Im not really pissed, I swear.

I'm not really pissed, I swear.

I felt so weird taking a picture of myself on a packed subway so I tried to make it look like I was taking a “test” shot with my camera.  But damn, I look like I’m not a happy camper.

Oh yeah, my ultimate goal of helping the environment was an utter failure on this first day as I ran late for work so I had to take the cab twice.  After work, also guilty of taking the cap twice to meet certain appointments on time – like catching the last subway from Seoul to my house.  Never realized how much I “roamed around” in a day.  This month-long task might be a lot more difficult than I had previously imagined.

Subway Fee: 2800 Won

Bus Fee:  600 Won

Taxi Fee:  13,000 Won (more than the cost of gas that would have taken me everywhere I’ve gone today)

TOTAL:  16,400 Won

I’ll do better tomorrow.

Posted by: Juweon | July 1, 2009

Half Year Resolution

It’s the start of July, 2009 is halfway over.  Time to go review what I’ve done so far and what I need to do in the 2nd half of the year to make 2009 a success.

When I began 2009, I made 5 New Year’s Resolutions.  They were:

1.  Take a vacation to paradise.

Looking out into the bay on Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

Looking out into the bay on Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

2.  Volunteer in the community maybe with some coaching like I used to.

the most rewarding job Ive ever had and I didnt even get paid.

the most rewarding job I've ever had and I didn't even get paid.

3.  Do my part for the environment.

4.  Make more of an effort to stay connected with my friends back home.

Miss doing this back home in Texas

Miss doing this back home in Texas

5.  Spend more quality time with my family in Korea, especially my grandparents.

Hes now in the hospital and I dont see him enough, which I know Ill regret when hes gone.

He's now in the hospital and I don't see him enough, which I know I'll regret when he's gone.

My honest assessment of my resolutions at the halfway point of 2009 is a pretty big F!  I’ve accomplished only resolution #1 on the list and I was only able to do that because of my involvement in the “Best Job in the World” Campaign (by the way, Ben Southall begins his job as the island caretaker today: www.islandreefjob.com).

So today, I’m launching a new personal campaign to allow myself to cross another item off of that list.  I’m starting a “take the public transportation” campaign for myself.  I’ve been cruising around Korea in a car for the last 2.5 years, despite Seoul having one of the best subway systems in the world.  For awhile now, I felt like such a hypocrite, always talking about the environment, preaching that we all should be doing something more and here I am, not even able to break my habit of relying on my car when I have an alternative and a “greener” method of transportation.

The key to breaking a bad habit, whether it’s our dependence on cigarettes or the car, is to take baby steps, so starting on July 1st, I’m going to be taking the subway and the bus to work for 4 days out of the week for the entire month of July (and I couldn’t have picked a better month now that the Monsoon season is here… should have thought that one through).  I think I’ve failed in my drive to take public transportation in the past because I didn’t really have that commitment, or the thing that committed myself to the task.  That’s why I have declared this July campaign ON AIR on my show at Arirang Radio and in print in the monthly program textbook for 귀가 트이는 영어 on EBS.  I have asked the public to keep me on my toes and keep me committed to this task.  To prove that I’m following through, I’ll be documenting my public transportation use in pictures and posting them up here on this blog.

So make sure to just stop by each day and keep me on my toes.  Don’t let me slack off and help me to follow through on one of my New Year’s resolutions.  While you are at it, change something small in your life that will positively affect the environment.  We might think the problem is way too big for us to make any difference, but it is because the problem is so big that we have to do something now, whether small or big, because we have to start chipping away at it.

No more of this, at least a lot less of it.

No more of this, at least a lot less of it.

Wish me luck!

Posted by: Juweon | June 15, 2009

#iranelection

Have you ever had a moment or an event that you experienced/witnessed/observed that just belittled all of your worries, goals, desires and needs?

I had this moment tonight while on, of all places, Twitter… the site I had ridiculed for so long for being “useless, distracting and obsessive.”  I have started to use Twitter since my campaign for the Best Job in the World heated up, but I hadn’t experienced Twitter’s full potential for movements like the one we are seeing in Iran RIGHT NOW.

I’m amazed at Twitter’s ability to serve as this new revolutionary medium of news delivery but for the Iranian people, using the tools of the internet like blogs and social networking sites to vent their frustrations of an oppressive regime and to communicate to the outside world the true conditions of Iran, without the tint of the state-run media, is nothing new.

As I kept hitting the “refresh” button on the topic #iranelection for two hours on my laptop, I got literally hundreds of links to pictures, videos, on-the-scene tweets and up to the minute status updates on the current developments in Iran.  I was simply BLOWN AWAY and it made everything significant in my life all so minuscule.  The hundreds of thousands, no, now reports are saying millions of Iranians, are RISING UP and saying NO MORE!

The Streets of Tehran - Photo Courtesy of blr85 on Twitter

The Streets of Tehran - Photo Courtesy of blr85 on Twitter

The people are risking everything they have, including their lives, to face off against metal rod swinging armed policemen on motorcycles and plain-clothed police officers that ambush peaceful protesters with bats and machetes and paramilitary commandos rampaging through their homes and dormitories.  The latest from Tehran, the military now has orders to use live rounds on the protesters.  (Here’s a first person account of the conditions in Tehran)

Irans Motorcycle Hooligan Cops - AP Photo

Iran's Motorcycle "Hooligan" Cops - AP Photo

Protester shields riot policeman #newiran #iranelection (via ... on Twitpic

But out of the chaos, anger, violence and division, you saw humanism… such as this young protester protecting the very same policeman who was swinging his baton at the heads of protestors just like him moments earlier.  And as this video shows, this was not a one time thing as another police officer is shown mercy from the crowd, despite their brutal and inhumane treatment of unarmed civilians.

As Martin Luther King Jr. showed the world and as Ghandi did before him, peaceful resistance with full conviction that is going to bring about change, but having conviction for the right cause also means having compassion for those standing on the wrong side.

Seeing this major event unfold, halfway around the world really made me think.  Those people on the streets of Tehran are out there making a difference, they are igniting something big that I believe will have a significant impact not only in Iran but also around the world.  They might have been forced to act when their right to vote and have a say in their government was blatantly disrespected and trampled on, but the fact still remains… they are making an impact.  What kind of  an impact can I make?  What kind of changes would I be able to bring?  We are all guilty of thinking ‘just me, alone, is insignificant, powerless…’ but imagine how different Tehran would be right now if those Iranians in the street thought that way too.

How can I add meaning to my life?  The question that I have been motivated to think about all because of a thing called a “trending topic” on a website called Twitter…

Just in case you didn’t know the backdrop:

Iran recently had their presidential election where the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the victor in a landslide, but Ahmadinejad had underestimated the supporters of his opposition and their ability to mobilize.  The “official” count had Ahmadinejad winning with 62.5% of the vote, but there are rumors of a leaked count from the interior ministry circulating on the Internet that Mr. Holocaust Denier (Ahmadinejad) actually came in THIRD PLACE!?!?!  Here’s the article.

There’s without a doubt, some fudged up numbers and these guys did a statistical analysis of the latest results in comparison to election results in Iran that date back to 1985. And you know what? Something definitely doesn’t add up.

As the Telegraph article above told you, even the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after declaring Ahmadinejad as the victor, retreated his steps after the people took to the streets, and has called for an investigation into the charges of election fraud.

Now, Iran had been one of it’s most delicate and troublesome foreign policy issue for the US for a very long time so what’s the US stance on this whole situation in Iran, more specifically, what is the Obama camp thinking of doing right now?  Here’s an interesting take on the subject by The Washington Independent.

Posted by: Juweon | May 28, 2009

Crush on Oz

How do you cope with missing out on “THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD?!?!”

It’s different if you missed out from the beginning, or in the middle of the journey, but missing out on it after being on the cusp?  Being so close that you actually smelt it, felt it, touched it and tasted it?

It’s like finally getting the girl of your dreams to notice you and develop some feelings for you, and now it’s just you and her, in a quiet spot, you lean in for that kiss that will turn that flirtatious game of hide and sick into a solid relationship… well, at least one that will last 6 months.  You are so close that you can feel her breath on your face, you lean 90% and wait as she makes her way through her 10%, you feel the slightest of the brush of her lips on yours, then all of a sudden she gets pulled away as “the other guy” she had feelings for, dips her like Casanova and plants a big fat kiss right in front of you.  Then they run off together into the sunset… HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THAT?!?!

imagine the girl getting pulled away at this instant

imagine the girl getting pulled away right at this moment

Well… it wasn’t that dramatic but it was kind of like that, except I didn’t want to punch out the guy who took the girl away from me.  Instead I wanted to go congratulate him on a job well done because I knew exactly what he had to go through to get the girl and I appreciated and respected the journey that he had been on to get there.

But most importantly, I think having 14 other FRIENDS who had similar emotions running through their heads, and who we could lean on and talk things out with, played a critical role in preventing several potential emotional meltdowns in the aftermath of the announcement.  The process itself provided an opportunity for the applicants to create their safety net with the fellow candidates and I think everyone that needed to do that did that.

My final updates in this entire Best Job process has gone way slower than I anticipated, and the hoopla could all be over, at least the interest in my opinion on the subject, before I finish putting up my updates, but for those who care, I promise I’ll do it.  My schedule really hasn’t allowed me any free time and in a bit of a deja vu, Kim Jong-il gave me a big “Welcome Back” present in the form of a nuclear test and at least 5 short range missile launches.  All this on top of the “apparent suicide” of former South Korean President Roh Moohyun.  Let me tell you one thing, it’s not fun to be a news guy in Korea right now and throw in a big helping of “Australia Withdrawal Syndrome”… yeah, I’m not in good shape.

Making all of these entries and videos is like dangling crack cocaine in front of an addict.  I’m serious when I say this, if the right job or opportunity opened up for me in Oz (and I’m not picky, I’m talking paid internship or entry level jobs in the media or travel industry), I’ll probably choose the Aussie Experience over the money that I’m making in Korea.  I’m willing to start from the ground up and I will work for food, shelter and Australia…

Man, I just have a HUMUNGOUS CRUSH on Oz.

Posted by: Juweon | May 21, 2009

Announcement Day on Hamo

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009…

Since that day, I have tried to think of a day in the previous 26 years that I have lived, that was actually bigger than May 6th, 2009.  I know a lot of people bring up their wedding day or the day their child was born as one of their biggest days but I’m not married and I don’t have a kid.  There was one other day in my life that was slightly bigger than “Announcement Day” but I really don’t remember it.  It was May 1st, 1983 – my birthday… the day you come into existence has to be bigger than a day that could possibly bring you a job that every living soul on the planet wants which could possibly shoot you into at least a C/B-list celebrity territory after the stint (if you play your cards right) and an A-list celebrity locally for at least 6-months guaranteed right?

For such a big day, I was extremely calm and confident of where I stood in the overall outlook of the Best Job application process.  I stayed up the previous night putting together my presentation “portfolio” consisting of:

  1. MOUs from Korea’s top 2 travel package wholesalers – Lotte Tour and Mode Tour
  2. the letter of support from the College of Natural Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin
  3. the signed MOU of my scholarship development plan from the “potential faculty advisor” of the program in the Government Department of The University of Texas (which actually arrived the day I got to Hamo)
  4. the signed MOU of my scholarship development plan for Judson High School in San Antonio, Texas which came in the email through PDF format on the morning of the 6th.
  5. my financial analysis of my media exposure from the day the final 16 were announced to April 29th – which equalled $1,324,062.85 AUD.  $1.3 MILLION AUD worth of PR in less than a month with none of the major Korean TV stations jumping on the story…
  6. my business and other venture ideas of expanding the role of tourism for the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island and Queensland in general.

Simply put, the portfolio consisted of the effect my campaign has had for TQ and my ideas of how to turn that exposure into real DOLLARS for TQ and expanding the exposure beyond the tourism industry into fields like education, corporate sponsorships from global companies both in Korea & abroad, philantrophy and etc.  I think I was the only candidate to actually use the business center at the Reef View Hotel to actually print out business documents.  So armed with my portfolio in hand, I felt that I was as prepared as I could be to make my 20 minute pitch.  Like TQ had been stressing all this time, it WAS a job interview first and foremost.

After my 20 minute interview, I felt even better.  I thought my interview went extremely well and it kind of went opposite of what the other candidates that had already gone told me.  Ben Southall for example, told me that he didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk about the things that he prepared or wanted to talk about, but for me, the selection panel just let me give my presentation and they seemed receptive to my ideas or at least seemed to look very positively on the effort that I showed with my portfolio & the ideas in it.

All of the candidates were given about an hour of down time between the morning activities and the final call for “the Announcement.”  Some actually chose to go kayaking and swimming while others stuck around the “Outrigger” (our base of operation) chit chatting and preparing themselves for the big moment.  Come to think of it, I didn’t even wet my toes in the pools at Hamo other than for the swimming test on the first day and I never felt the waves on the beach during my 4 days there… that’s how busy our schedule was.  During that one hour down time, I chose to snap a couple of photos, rush back to my hotel room and put up a quick photo blog.

A little past 3pm, due to a satellite feed problem from Reuters, Premier Anna Bligh came up to the podium and made the announcement.  Funny thing, Magali and I actually knew who the winner would be about 40 seconds before the Premier read the name out loud.  When the Premier flipped over to the last page of her speech, she still had to read about half a paragraph more, but on the bottom of the page, in GREAT BIG BOLD LETTERS, read “From the United Kingdom, Ben Southall.”  Magali and I both saw it at the same time and we both looked at each other and had an “OMG” moment.  I’m sure we weren’t the only candidates to have seen the name.  James actually told me that he “saw” it but didn’t want to “read” it and turned away from it.  If you watch the video feed of the announcement on the media outlet websites, you can kind of tell who saw it and who didn’t, but the one person who didn’t see it for sure was Ben.

if he knew beforehand and then showed this reaction, he needs to be in Hollywood, no on Hamo

If he knew beforehand and then showed this reaction, he needs to be in Hollywood, not on Hamo.

Maybe it was the 40 second of extra processing  time I had to digest the final results, but when Ben’s name was called, contrary to what I thought I would feel, I felt extremely and genuinely happy for Ben and for some strange reason, I couldn’t find an ounce of disappointment for myself, even after trying to search for some sort of a sad reaction within me.  I think it’s because despite the outcome, I honestly feel that I came out a “winner” from this entire process.  There’s just so much that I’ve gained from this to be bitter or sour about anything.  I’ll elaborate on this feeling in more detail in my “final analysis” entry which is coming up.

After the announcement, everyone went back to the hotel, except Ben, and got ready for the “final dinner & party.”  That video is coming up soon… I promise.

It was actually REALLY good to see everyone kind of just let loose that night and have some genuine fun without the fear of being assessed or showing our best TV smile for the cameras, but truthfully there weren’t any real significant differences in the way people behaved.  I think most of us were truly genuine whether there was a camera in front of us or not and that was AWESOME to see.

Posted by: Juweon | May 16, 2009

Daydreaming Away…

Over the next couple of days, you’ll see the much belated videos & pictures of my adventures in Australia for the Best Job in the World campaign as well as my extended itinerary around the Brisbane area including an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING day on Moreton Island – probably the most fun I’ve had on this entire trip.  My plan for my Best Job blog entries will finish up with a straight-forward “final analysis” of the entire process, with some insights on how the entire campaign looked like from the inside, but before I “POSSIBLY” ruffle any feathers with that entry, I wanted to show off on how much fun I’ve had and also give you guys a peek into some aspects that you won’t get anywhere else. 

Some of the contents that are upcoming:

  • Best Job candidates final day activities video on the day of the ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Best Job after party where the candidates finally let loose
  • Immediate reactions from the candidates right after the announcement of the winner (not even TQ or the media has this available)
  • My adventures on Moreton Island and Brisbane
  • Final “no holds barred” analysis of the ENTIRE Best Job in the World process

For today, here’s a long overdue video blog on Day #3 on the Whitsundays, which was our day on Daydream Island.  I’m also posting the blog from our 2nd “blog task” entry.  I don’t think they posted this entry up or even rated it.  They said our first blogs from the first task were “too long and detailed” and it took the selection panel way too long to go through them so this time, they were adamant that we keep this entry “to a page or around 300 words and 4 pictures.” A lot of the candidates were grumbling about this limit, including myself and I think almost everyone ended up somewhere around 400 words for the blog entry. 300 words I thought was a pretty ridiculous limit, especially with all the activities we fit into one day during the interview process.  The way I went about it was to just write everything first then at the end, I just went at it as if I had a scalpel for blog entries and just cut everything out leaving the bare minimum to kinda meet the word count requirements.  

Another interesting tidbit about this day was that we actually had a chance to haggle the media members for interviews as they took a turn at the spa on Daydream Island which you will see on the video.  For those interested in the BBC DOCUMENTARY that is being produced about The Best Job in the World, the information on when & where the documentary will be airing is also in the video, coming directly from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak.  Enjoy!

 

 

For more information on Daydream Island Resort & Spa go check out www.daydreamisland.com.  They got a wonderful staff and great facilities.  

 

“Daydream Jealousy”

As Daydream inched closer, we realized the weather would not be cooperating as we were greeted with umbrellas at the door. 


First up on the list of Daydream activities was the visit to the Rejuvenation Spa where your body gets pampered like an A-list celebrity.  After only 2 hours of sleep the previous night, I was probably more excited than even any of the girls to get a little high-end pampering.  

honest assessment: I got jipped with this iridology thing...

honest assessment: I got jipped with this iridology thing...

 

 

 

As luck would have it, I drew “Iridology.”  Now what is “Iridology?”  Well, it’s a system where they look at a high resolution close up of your iris and determine whether or not you have areas in your system that is stressed, showing under activity or over activity.  Another interesting fact relayed to me by my Iridologist Gayle was that Asian eyes’ iris sometimes don’t reveal anything. 

My iridology results:  I have a stressed out respiratory system which can be fixed with increased magnesium intake and a strained small stomach which they recommended treatment with Slippery Elm Bark.  Oh and here’s the kicker… because of the stress on the adrenal gland, I have decreased libido.  Hmmmm… no comment would be the safe route here.

As I walked out of my spa treatment, the other candidates started popping out of their treatment rooms glowing and smelling like potpourri candles.  Peeking in some of the treatments I was so jealous, which speaks volumes about the top of the line facilities and professional staff at the spa.  Just hearing about treatments like “Daydream Delight”, “Hot Stone Therapy” and “Flowing Melody” made me want to come back for the pampering.  

the sea stars anus is on top, not the bottom - so the side you see now.

the sea star's "anus" is on top, not the bottom - so the side you see now.

 

 

From smelling like potpourri to fish guts in minutes, it was time for us to try out one of the most widely advertised job description of the caretaker, feeding the fish at the Live Reef at Daydream.  We all had a chance to feed the sting ray, touch the sea stars “anus” and even saw the feeding of their resident Lemon Shark.  The sting ray… tastes like chicken…jk!  They feel like hard boiled eggs and they can eat through their nose!  

 

 

 

 

the feast prepared with 100% Queensland ingredients

the feast prepared with 100% Queensland ingredients

 

 

We returned to Hamo on the “Voyager” provided to us by Whitsunday Island Adventure Cruises and our day wrapped up with a quick presentation and skit activity prepared for us by the GBR Marine Park Authority which was the activity that was supposed to be carried out on the beautiful Whitehaven Beach. 

 

Oh Whitehaven… so you elude me again…

Posted by: Juweon | May 8, 2009

The World’s Best Loser

Just a quick couple of words before I head to bed.  The winner of this incredible ride is Ben Southall from the UK.  Congratulations to Ben and I have no doubt in my mind that he would be an absolutely fantastic island caretaker.  He has my full support, without a doubt.  

 

my final congratulations to Ben Southall at the "Last Night Street Party" (even though it wasn't in a street).  Looks like we are about to smooch, but that's a negative.  No offense Ben, but you are not my type.

my final congratulations to Ben Southall at the "Last Night Street Party" (even though it wasn't on a street). Looks like we are about to smooch, but that's a negative. No offense Ben, but you are not my type. <photo courtesy of Erik Rolfsen>

 

 

 

I would like to grab on excerpt from an interview that I did with channelwhitsunday.com BEFORE the final 16 were announced.  (click here for the full interview)

5.  What is the most important thing you have learned during the process?
I have garnered so much from this process.  On the surface I learned what the PR business was like, I learned a lot about the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and the coral reef systems, the environmental threats surrounding the region, etc, etc.  But I think even if I didn’t make the next stage, I would be completely satisfied and grateful for the process because the BJITW campaign allowed me to really reevaluate my life, career wise and also allowed me to reassess what my ultimate goal in life is.  Many people point to the big salary and think that’s a goal in my life, but on the contrary.  If I were to go into details about all this, this answer would get very long, but here’s the gist.  The BJITW campaign helped me realize that my ultimate goal in life is to leave a significant impact in the world, to give back more to the world than I have taken from it in the end, and all I have done up to this point in my life is to take from it.  It helped me to see that I had forced myself to become “satisfied” with where I was career wise, education wise, life style wise but now I have this new motivation, strength and desire to do more, to become better and to aim higher. 

6. Should you not eventually become the IC, what does life look like after the dust has settled?
After all the hoopla ends, you’ll still see me pursuing my DREAM JOB, the BEST JOB in the WORLD for ME!  I actually got a book deal here in Korea with the attention this entire campaign has brought me, so I have to finish that within the year.  I plan on wrapping up my stay here in Korea within the next year or two and I want to go live and travel through the rest of the world for about 6 – 12 months, mainly in Africa and South America, two continents I haven’t been to, other than Australia and Antarctica.  After that, it’ll be grad school, although I haven’t exactly settled on the subject.  Right now, I’m leaning towards international relations and broadcast journalism.  Following that, I want to do a stint with the Peace Corps before settling down at an NGO that works for a cause that I’m really passionate about so I can always be happy and motivated about going to work no matter the pay.  But with all this said and done, I know from experience that you can have all these plans set out for yourself, but you never really know where life is going to take you.  One thing is for sure, I’m going to be taking the necessary steps to make sure I live my life to the fullest.   

In the upcoming days, I will continue to produce video blogs and blogs on the entire BJITW process.  I have over 180 minutes of raw footage that I need to edit and turn into videos so I have a lot of video editing ahead of me, but I don’t mind.  

I’ll show you all the fun that we had and also share you with HONEST & TRANSPARENT assessment of the entire process.  I know Erik from Vancouver is also offering this to the masses, but if you have any specific questions, please let me know in the comments.  

Right now, I’m sitting in the Brisbane Hilton, on an executive floor (free upgrade courtesy of the hotel) getting ready for bed before one more night of adventures around Brisbane.  TQ has given most of us an extra couple of days to travel in different locations around Queensland.  Kinda like a “thank you” to us and also to squeeze the last little bit of media exposure they can out of us, not that I mind at all.  

Today was an absolute blast and the first time that this entire trip felt like a vacation.  My TQ rep, Kathryn came and picked me up at the hotel and we went to Moreton Island where I probably had one of the most exciting and entertaining time for this entire trip, on par with some of the activities on Hamo and the GBR.  Just to quickly list a few things: I went sand boarding down 150 meter sand dunes, bathed in natural tea tree oil fed spring water, picnic on a picture perfect beach, quad riding through sand dunes and fed wild dolphins, not to mention actually sitting down and ENJOYING the sunset.  Come to think of it, I do not remember watching a sunset during my entire time on the Whitsundays which is a shame and I think we should have had some more private time to explore other parts of the island, but we were just on such a tight schedule.  Anyways, that assessment will come later.  

On the slate for tomorrow: cuddling a koala and petting some kangaroos, climbing Story bridge in Brisbane & picking up some gifts.   

Keep a look out for massive blog updates but give me some time to get them up because the amount of raw material I have is simply ENORMOUS!

Posted by: Juweon | May 6, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm…

Various activities to keep us busy and to keep our mind off the interview and the big announcement. 

started with a little painting with all of us contributing something.  I painted a sting ray.

started with a little painting with all of us contributing something. I painted a sting ray.

then some cookin

then some cookin

 

 

gotta give it a taste test

gotta give it a taste test

Mirijam making the best cocktail in the world...

Mirijam making the best cocktail in the world...

 

the best cocktail in the world = AKA the lion made by Bartender Steve who won the contest over 3 other bartenders on Hamo

the best cocktail in the world = AKA "the lion" made by Bartender Steve who won the contest over 3 other bartenders on Hamo

 

 

I got a money shot too!

I got a money shot too!

 

 

james hill takin some down time after the interview...

james hill takin' some down time after the interview...

 

the calm before the storm

the calm before the storm

Posted by: Juweon | May 5, 2009

My Pledge

So many have asked what I plan to do with the salary that I will be getting if I become the lucky caretaker.  From the get-go, I’ve been telling those in my inner circle that I’ll be creating a scholarship program/contest for my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin and also for my old high school, Judson High School in San Antonio, Texas.  

What the program is entailed to get the students to take an interest on an ecosystem like the Great Barrier Reef, research the science behind it or maybe the governmental policy behind it and also come up with an imaginative and creative fund raising campaign where 100% of the proceeds will go to an organization designed to protect the reef.  Then I will pick 2 winners from each school, pay for them 100%, including the air, food and lodging(extra bedrooms in the Pearl) and get the students to experience the reef first hand.  I also want to connect them with politicians in Australia like Minister Peter Lawlor who has over 40 years of experience drawing up policy that protected the environment and also hook the up with scientists and marine biologist on the reef so they can be educated about the issues and concerns that come with an ecosystem like the GBR.  

You don’t think I’m serious and I’m just saying this?  Well I have MOU (Memorandum of Understandings) already sent to UT and Judson High and the College of Natural Sciences at UT have already given me a letter of support while the College of Liberal Arts Government Department is on board with the MOU, along with Judson High School.  

In Korea, TBJITW campaign was known as the “Dream Job” competition and I think that is appropriate and I want to do all that I can to spread this “dream” so that it will go on long after my 6-months on Hamilton Island is over.  

Another interesting development in my campaign… I have MOUs signed with Lotte and Mode Tour, 2 of the top 3 travel package wholesalers in South Korea, with each company sending over 1million Koreans on travel packages around the world each year.  The MOU’s state that Lotte and Mode would vigorously pursue travel package development for QLD, Hamo and the Whitsundays as well as pursue other business opportunities such as educational travel packages for students and working holiday packages for the college aged and the recently graduated sector among other things. 

Sorry I don’t have any cool videos or vivid description of the activities that we did yesterday but it has been a pretty busy night getting ready for everything and the big final interview.  Wish me luck and I’ll come back with an update soon.  Thanks guys!

Posted by: Juweon | May 4, 2009

Whitsundays Adventure

FIRST OFF, for media members in the San Antonio and Austin market wanting to contact me for interviews during this process, please contact press@islandreefjob.com.  There won’t be any problems and they do their best to meet your deadlines.  Thanks. 

So here’s the deal.  They are changing up the game with this whole blogging thing.  We are still free to run our own personal blogs, but we are now officially having a blogging task time slot at the end of our day where we submit our blog on a word document and submit it to the TQ staff.  The rules:

1.  With the start of our functions on the morning of May 4th, all the candidates were given identical Panasonic waterproof digital point & shoots to capture our moments.  

2.  We can’t change the settings, the only thing we can change is flash or no flash.  

3.  We are all given identical computers during our “blogging times” which is usually 1 hour but we got 1.5 hours today.  

4.  We are also limited to post only 8 images in our blogs.  

5.  TQ will no longer be assessing the personal blogs.  (So I’m making this entry at 3:00AM, when I have a 6:30 wake up call tomorrow because it’s just something I want to do to keep all of you guys informed about the process.)

It depends on what kind of a blog you run & what your writing style is but I think it was pretty challenging for everyone.  I submitted mine, which I’ll post  at the end of this blog but I’m the type that usually needs to edit it a couple of times and take some of the unnecessary details and verbosity out.  In just 1.5 hours, I barely had enough time to pick out the pictures and run a spell check.  So please excuse any grammatical error that you might see.  

As you guys know, I have my own style of blogging and I actually very much enjoy creating video blogs, but they can take some time.  Following my CTV appearance on Canada AM at 11pm, I came straight home and started video editing for the activities that we did today.  Here’s the TWO part video blog:

 

 

 

Oh, and I would also like to finally welcome the BIG TIME media, or the semi-big time media of South Korea to this whole process.  They are finally coming around. Thanks for being fashionably late guys. Better late than never.

OKAY, so here’s the blog that I wrote during our 1.5 hour blogging task without any editing.  Oh yeah, I think I accidently inserted 9 photos instead of 8 because I lost track as time was winding down.  I have a feeling they are going to deduct heavily… kinda like the 60-second rule on the video applications.  (hopefully not though)

The day started with a full agenda on the slate.  Psychometric testing, boat ride out to the reef, snorkeling, sea plane/helicopter(for some) ride, getting the royalty treatment at Hayman Island and finally the luxury yacht ride back to Hamilton Island for the press conference. 

 The testing started off at 6:30AM, yes what other way would you start a day in absolute PARADISE other than answering 185 questions on things like: If you had to pick a sport to participate in, would you pick:

  1. Ballroom Dancing
  2. ?
  3. Wrestling, Baseball

 Well, at least the croissant sandwiches were good.  I had three of them, but I realized in about 2 hours that I probably should have taken it a little easier. 

our ride to the GBR

our ride to the GBR

 

 

 

 

First fun task of the day was getting on the Fantasea Vessel to head out to Reef World on the GBR.  Fantasea is a tribute to the Aussie work ethic; a company that started 25 years ago with 1 boat now has 9 vessels that operate cruises to other islands like Daydream and Lindeman.  Of course, Hamilton Island included.  

Getting out to Reef World took I think about 2 hours, but don’t ask me the time because I was busy trying to keep my 3 croissant sandwiches down in my stomach.  There was a heavy wind advisory in the morning and caused the open seas to be a bit, wait, a lot choppy.  I can take a roller coaster with a best of ‘em and I don’t get motion sickness easily but trying keeping our focus on the Fantasea spokesperson and the Director of Tourism for the GBR Marine Park Authority was difficult as the ocean surprised us with sudden and unexpected drops that caused or stomachs to jump up into our chest.  After a while, I started to feel pins and needles throughout my extremities and that’s when I called our trusty paramedic Rob.  He graciously helped me to the upper deck, did a check up and got me some fresh air.  Some body has to put him to work… Rob is not here on a free ride you know… that man has gotta EARN his money!  (love ya Rob)  I’m proud to say that I didn’t return my brekky back into the world and I have the sea sickness pill and Rob to thank for that (Fantasea hands out and recommends that you take motion sickness pills.  They even have two choices: an all natural herbal remedy and actual medicine).  I chose the strong stuff, but I only took 1 instead of 2 pills.  Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to as they say in Texas, “Cowboy Up” and taken both.  I heard there were some casualties who were less fortunate than me though, but by the time we arrived at Reef World, I was feeling good.  And it was all a ploy to get some extra media on my part as a photographer took advantage by clicking away at me while Rob was checking my blood pressure and pulse.  Wonder what the caption would say on that… but I can say I was the only candidate to get a pic like that so HA!

Reef World is located 70km way from the main group of islands and they have a mascot Grouper named “George” who is about 3 meters long.  It’s located on Hardy Reef, named after the Hardy Head Fish that is commonly found in the area.  Reef World provides a variety of services included snorkeling, scuba diving and a glass-bottomed boat ride with an excellent and professional staff to guide anyone from the beginner all the way to the advanced level.  But if you are looking to go the “off the beaten path” route, you can actually choose to stay overnight on Reef World.  This service is capped at 6 guests, you get provided with 3 gourmet meals, private snorkeling, cruises to Whitehaven Beach and the chance to actually see the stars on all its glory as you lie in the peace and serenity of the night on the Great Barrier Reef.  

yours truly with our version of Jacques Cousteau

yours truly with our version of Jacques Cousteau

 

 

 

 

The 16 were divided into groups of 4; my group was the last so we actually had a chance to go on the glass-bottomed boat to check out the reef before we jumped in.  Due to noisy seas from the heavy wind, visibility was low but I learned some really interesting things from our guide.  He told us that not all coral reefs are bright and colorful like we see in the movies or magazines and in fact, when coral reefs do start getting more colorful, a lot of the times, it’s a foretelling sign of coral bleaching.  Kind of like a “finishing kick” for the reef.  Funny thing… the group consisted of Greg, Anjaan, Clare and me, but Anjaan literally missed the boat and didn’t get to go. 

 

After the boat ride, we came back on Reef World, which you can think of as a huge permanent pontoon on the water, and got ready for some quality snorkeling.  The water was actually warmer than the breezy conditions out of it and we were dropped off up the current so it didn’t take much of an effort for us to lazily float on down back while observing the life underwater.  As I floated on by, tasting the salty waters of the Great Barrier Reef, I saw plants and fish with a mosaic of colors that not many human beings can think of.  The Big Guy upstairs must have gotten bored one day and decided to use the organisms of the ocean to paint because that’s what it looked like.  

The Panasonic Lumix waterproof camera was good, but I don’t think any lens could capture the beauty of the reef.  Sometimes pictures just can NOT say a thousand words.)

The Panasonic Lumix waterproof camera was good, but I don’t think any lens could capture the beauty of the reef. Sometimes pictures just can NOT say a thousand words.

 

 

 

 

But the kicker of the snorkeling trip came just as I was about to head back up to the deck.  As I made my final duck dive, from my blind side came a school of brightly yellow-tailed fish with bold blue streaks, encircling my body and twirling me up to the surface.  Do you remember Disney’s “Little Mermaid” when Sebastian the Lobster is trying to convince Arial that living in the ocean is better and the tropical fish twirl Arial as they sing “under the sea…?”  Yes, I had a “Little Mermaid Moment” and it was wonderful.  It was like being wrapped up by a rainbow underwater, or have confetti of the brightest colors tossed all around you.  It was magical.  

Next up: Hayman Island by, wait for it, a sea plane provided by Whitsunday Air, the largest sea plane operating company in the entire Southern Hemisphere.  Their credentials and safety record speak for themselves.  When the Captain asked who wanted to ride “shotgun” or co-pilot, I beat James out in screaming “AHHH, ME!”  James would have probably taken better pics, but I wasn’t going to let an opportunity like that pass up.  I’ve never been in a light-weight airplane, let alone a sea plane and all the dials and buttons were mesmerizing.  Soon we were off and flying over the reef, witnessing the wondrous shapes and formations of the corals that seemed to extend into infinity.  The two sea planes and two choppers flying side by side in the sky was ABSOLUTELY EXHILARATING.  We were so close that we could read the facial expressions of the passengers in the other aircraft.  The best part?  The perfectly timed simultaneous landing and the plane just goes right up on Hayman’s boat launching ramp so we can step off on dry land!!!  

The EPITOME of getting treated like royalty

The EPITOME of getting treated like royalty

 

 

 

 

As soon as we got off the plane we were greeted by the Hayman Island Resort staff, including their GM Roger Wright.  After a short golf cart ride, we arrived on the resort where the VERY PROFESSIONAL staff members greeted us one by one as we cat-walked our way through the ultra-exclusive and posh getaway spot.  After a quick walk on the beach and some photo ops, they took us to a specially-catered luncheon in a beach side cabana where Hayman’s world-class chefs had cooked up finger food samplings representing each of the candidates’ countries.  For me they made a batch of Bulgogi – which means “Fire Meat” in Korean but in Aussie, simply “Barbie.”  Some of the other food samplings: Gourmet hot dogs for Cali, Fish & Chips minus the chips for Ben, Sushi for Mieko and Dumplings for Yi.  On top of that, the desserts were literally to die for.  The Chocolate Mousse cake was just PURE DECADENCE.  OMG… I had 7.  Yes, 7.  That “TQ Diet” that caused me to lose 4kg… well, it’s officially over.  

I don’t play the violin but I sure would like that one… it’s made entirely of CHOCOLATE!!!

I don’t play the violin but I sure would like that one… it’s made entirely of CHOCOLATE!!!

 

 

 

Soon after the meal, Roger Wright took us through brief tour of the resort’s kitchen and restaurant facilities.  I figured out why the chocolate mousse was my favorite.  Hayman makes their OWN chocolate and when we got to the chocolate room, the entire tour was delayed as both the candidates and the media refused to leave the room for 5 minutes, stuffing their mouths with dark, sweet pieces of heaven. 

 

Hayman Island is a private island and the resort is the only thing on the island.  There are about 400 staff members who reside on the island and they are one of the best in giving people a one-of-a-kind exclusive package that you can’t experience anywhere else.  For example:  a private picnic for two on top of Mt. Hook, the best and most private place to witness the sunset on the Whitsundays.  Mt. Hook used to have a big satellite, but they removed it a couple of years ago leaving behind a perfect flat and circular platform for choppers to land on and to provide the ultimate privacy surrounded by one of the most pristine environments the world has to offer.  

 

Leaving Hayman, especially after Mr. Wright teased us with an introduction of the “Chef’s Table”

I’ve actually never seen Trump’s living room but I figure it can’t get better than this.

I’ve actually never seen Trump’s living room but I figure it can’t get better than this.

 

 

 

 and “Chef’s Bench”(a dinner party in the actual kitchen with a customized menu for 24 and 4 people respectively) was very difficult, but that process was helped out by the “Sun Goddess,” a 109-foot super yacht that made Donald Trump’s living room look ordinary.  More chocolate, more top-class finger food and an assortment of beverages awaited us on this luxury liner used to deliver Hayman guests daily from Hamo.  With a top speed of 27 knots and an experienced Captain Hutchinson at the helm, the journey takes a very short 50 minutes.

Couple of words to describe my experience on Hayman: Exclusive, Decadent and Luxurious.  To describe to food, I have one word: SINFUL – because it just tastes so good that it tricks your mind into thinking that you are doing something really really naughty. 

Magali – our very own “Sun Goddess”

Magali – our very own “Sun Goddess”

 

 

 

 

 

We had a press conference at 4:20 and we arrived on Hamo at 4:05.  We were rushed over to the outrigger and put our best smiles on for the cameras.  The only question of the night for the entire gang coming from a reporter from TBS – Japan:  “What do you think of the current swine flu epidemic?”  They are thinking of canceling the press conference all together for tomorrow. 

 Here’s a question for you guys.  What do you guys think of our day today? 

 

Till next time…

 


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