Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Soccer Simulation...

Okay, so we do actually have one more photo from South Korea to show, although technically it doesn't feature a statue. What a fine shot it is though, featuring SwissToni as a member of South Korean’s all conquering 2002 World Cup footballing team.

South Korea co-hosted the 2002 tournament and their team defied all odds to reach the semi finals. I have very fond memories in particular of the South Korean fans here in Oxford very politely screaming in the pub at their team’s remarkable exploits when the hosts were playing.

Next week I intend to post some more fantastic visitor’s photos. Many thanks to all the people who’ve sent in pictures. I’m sorry it’s taken a while to publish them, as pesky illnesses here have caused a bit of a backlog of late.

Have a good weekend everyone - hope your team wins.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Painting the Fence...

I have one more statue from South Korea to share with you from SwissToni’s odyssey to the Far East earlier on this year. I must pass on my respect to Swiss, Caitlin and family for the fine selection of statues and imitations that his trip provided us with.

This monument was erected as a memorial of the Korean declaration of independence, as Swiss kindly points out in the photo. It is located in Tagpol Park in Seoul, and the declaration of independence was made at a demonstration in the park. The Japanese had governed the Koreans until the end of the Second World War, and independence was formally declared in August 1945.

Of course, this then opened up a whole new can of international diplomatic worms with respect to the North and the South of the country, and the history is far better described here than anything I can manage.

I do like this statue as it reminds me of one of the great movie characters from my yoof!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Korean Hulk...

It gives me great pleasure to introduce SwissToni’s brother, Phil, this evening. Phil makes a fine effort at boxing by his statue, which is situated in front of a Korean Jimjilbang. Quoting SwissToni himself: “(I have) no idea what this green bloke symbolises, although frankly, he's in better shape than my brother”.

The jimjilbang is a type of sauna/spa with various hot rooms, cold rooms and water baths/scrubs. By all accounts they are scattered all over South Korea and paying a visit is a very popular pastime.

Having taken a quick look at the web to find out more about these places I was pretty taken aback by this traveller’s tip: Special Tip for budget travellers without heavy luggage: As most of the saunas open 24 hours, it's the cheapest place to spend a night. Very often, they even offer separate sleeping corners with mattresses. Just make sure you don’t pick the sauna room to grab a quick snooze eh, ‘cos boy you’ll smell in the morning if you do.

Stand By Your Statue extends its respect to the photographer here, as they have made a fine job of making the statue look as if he’s wearing some sort of carnival-type red headgear, when obviously its just a big red tree situated just behind the statue.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Land of the Tiger?

I was always of the impression that India was the land of the tiger, but we have evidence here that a couple of species can be found in South Korea.

Continuing an occasional series of folks who like to stand by their statues and go ‘Grrrrrr’, tonight’s tigers are SwissToni (above, funnily enough wearing his Ramones t-shirt) and Caitlin below.

Putting my occupational hat on for a moment, in economic terms the South Korean economy is often referred to as a ‘tiger’ economy. You probably didn’t need to know that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Putting The World Back Together...

We continue this evening with one of my favourites from the South Korean collection, which features SwissToni doing his bit for race relations, or something. He is doing his part as this fine monument is situated in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, and symbolises the split between the two nations.

I would write about the history of the zone and stuff but Wikipedia do it far better here. The monument is situated near to the third tunnel where North Koreans attempted to dig towards Seoul. This tunnel was discovered in October 1978, and was discovered following a tip off from a North Korean defector. This time the South Koreans failed to find the tunnel directly, but dug a counter-tunnel to meet the North Korean tunnel. The tunnel is about 2 kilometres long and about 150 metres below surface. A pretty good digging effort when compared to the Great Escape eh?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Studying in South Korea...

I’m still feeling a bit groggy unfortunately, so not a long post this evening. Indeed, I think I’m gonna head off to bed early with a book. Much like Caitlin here, seen having a quiet read in South Korea, alongside her statue of course…

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fortresses, Women, Stones and Heads...

We return to South Korea this evening, and to the Gochan fortress. According to ancient tradition, walking the kilometre or so around the fortress with a stone on your head is supposed to be a very good thing to do for women. If you walk around once, it cures pain in legs (which may or may not have been obtained by walking around a fortress with a stone on your head), if you walk around twice you lead a long and healthy life, and if you walk around three times and you'll go to heaven.

This is a fantastic example of enlisting the help of a local when Standing By Your Statue. I can’t vouch whether she attempted a few laps around the fortress, but I can confirm that Caitlin (middle) and SwissToni’s Mum (right) didn’t bother!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Replicas in Reykjavik...

More statues from South Korea next week folks, but tonight I want to chat about one of my favourite cities (and favourite countries) in the world – Reykjavik - in Iceland. The selection of statues presented here are somewhat typical of the northernmost capital cities in the world.

First of all though, I have to introduce and say great thanks to Ms Hannah Jones, at nine years old the youngest Stand By Your Statuee to date! So, a big hats off to Hannah for some great photos. Indeed, another record has been broken here in that these are the most northerly statues featured so far on the site, all of which are located in Reykjavik.

Iceland is just a stunning place to visit (as these pictures testify), especially if you have a love of the great outdoors. Packed full of wild volcanic landscapes, mountains, glaciers, hot springs, geysers and waterfalls it really is a stunning country to travel around, although best head there in the summer months when you can enjoy the scenery in nearly 24 hour of daylight each day. Reykjavik is a colourful, charming and picturesque city, with a fantastically thriving nightlife, which is probably the result of the fact that during winter the country tends to hibernate in just two hours of daylight each day, giving plenty of time for nightlife!

I was fortunate enough to visit Iceland around five years ago as part of a conservation trip (through this great organisation). We camped up on the north coast next to a seal colony, where we built a shelter using our finest dry stone walling techniques, so that visitors could come and watch the seals and shelter from the elements. Unfortunately we didn’t quite finish the shelter in the two weeks we spent there (not managing to construct a roof), so if anyone out there has visited these seals (which I believe is up near the remote town of Ísafjörður) and could tell me whether our construction was completed then please let me know. Alternatively, it could just be a big pile of rocks now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Top Tortoise Times...

Having been a touch sidetracked by an historic Ashes victory* over the past few days (well months really, ever since mentioned on these hallowed pages a little while back), tonight we continue with our little jaunt around South Korea, admiring some statues along the way…

In what would appear to be a veritable hive for statues, this huge great scary tortoise is also found in the Seoul Olympic Park. Hearty congratulations to Caitlin for performing what is probably the best big scary tortoise impression that she has executed in her short life to date! The tortoise is holding up a pillar of some sort, and this type of monument was seen quite a lot in Korea. Unfortunately, myself or SwissToni are unaware of what it the pillar represents or what the symbolism is though. The tortoise does look a little cheesed off it has to be said. Could it be that the tortoise is an ancient relative of one of these fellows?!

* Yeeeeeeeeessssss!!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Stand By Your Olympic Legends...

As Mr SwissToni kindly pointed out, the big thumb in the previous post was situated in the Olympic Park in Seoul. Seoul hosted the greatest show on earth in 1988, and is largely remembered for an astonishing run by Ben Johnson in the men’s 100 metres final, while drugged up to his eyeballs on steroids.

It is compulsory when visiting any Olympic city to make a trip to the stadium, and Swiss and girlfriend Caitlin took the time out to take a look around the Olympic Museum. Here they managed to pay homage to two of the greatest Olympian legends of all time, in a Stand By Your Statue stylee, of course! Above, Swiss emulates the mighty American swimmer Mark Spitz, winner of seven gold medals in the 1972 games, while, below, Caitlin throws some graceful moves in imitating the great Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Neither was on steroids at the time.

All this talk of Olympic legends and I haven't mentioned this man once!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thumbs Up For South Korea...

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent days. Once again the health took a slight downturn over the weekend. My first year as a thirtysomething has been a slight downer so far I can tell you!

But enough about that, for the next couple of weeks or so I am going to post some of the finest statues to be found in South Korea, with, of course, people standing by them. These fantastic shots come courtesy of Mr SwissToni, who earlier this year travelled to South Korea along with girlfriend and family to witness the wedding of his elder brother. More details on what sounded like quite an eyeopener of a trip can be found here.

So, essentially, this is the story of a family standing by statues in the mysterious Far East. Bravo! I don’t know that much about South Korea to be honest, so along the way I shall attempt to learn and pass on a bit of knowledge about the country...

One of the highlights in terms of statues has to be this massive thumb, which I believe is found in Seoul. And what an inspirational statue it is too…it gets the big thumbs up from me! Ahem.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Copycats in Cervinia...

Poor statue, buried under 5-6 feet of snow! It is located in the town of Cervinia, high up in the Alps in Northern Italy. I’m afraid I am unsure as to who it is, but he looked like some sort of intrepid explorer type.

Housemate John (the man in the horns) and I made a effort at burying our legs a la the statue but it was chucking it down with snow, and was a wee bit chilly at minus 15-20 degrees, so it was only a rather token effort.