Saturday, March 19, 2011

Suh-teelers-uh! Suh-teelers-uh!

Our first Saturday here, now two weeks past (sorry for the long wait to this post...), we went to the season opener for the Pohang Steelers, the city's soccer team, with the other foreign teachers from our hogwan and spent an afternoon drinking Hite, eating Korean stadium food, and cheering on our local team!

Pohang Steelers, in red and black stripes.

We sat in what must have been a foreigners section, since we were surrounded by other waegus (foreigners). I must say, this sounds a little critical, but I was not impressed by my fellow Americans at the game, at least those that were sitting around us. They were very loud and obnoxious. Now yes, understandably, this was a soccer event, but their behavior did not blend in at all with the Koreans sitting around us. Us Americans get stared at enough here as it is, you never need to give someone a reason to stare here... I felt people staring at our section. I was a little disappointed as a fellow foreigner in Korea. Hopefully this won't become a pattern that we see while we are here...

There were thousands of these flags in the stadium,
it was beautiful when they were all being waved at once.

We didn't let it ruin the game for us though, there was far too much more to experience and see. I should explain, the Pohang Steelers are rightly named. Pohang is home to POSCO, which stands for POhang Steel COmpany, the second largest steel manufacturer in the entire world. It provides most of the steel for the largest companies in Korean, including Kia and Hyundai, which is partly why these cars are so cheap and abundant here in Korea and abroad. POSCO also happens to own the Steelers, as well as the stadium they're housed in, The Steel Yard. It's located right across the street from the steel mill. Ahhh, the smell of steel in the morning. So thanks to POSCO, we enjoyed a great afternoon of soccer. Unfortunately, they're also the reason we can't drink the water. Boooo.

The day also happened to be an outing for the Korean military men. Here, you can see that the army and navy take up about a quarter of the upper deck. For the first hour or so, I didn't even see that there were any people up there, they blend right into the stadium in their uniforms!

All the army men in their green fatigues and the navy in blue.

Two of our foreign teacher friends left early in the game to wander around the stadium to take some good shots, and we never saw them again, the whole game! We just happened to notice them sitting in another section very far away from us, eating big bowls of ramen and watching the game intently. Ramen, fried fish cakes, corn dogs dipped in sugar, and dried squid are the main stadium snacks sold, but what is more common to see is families carrying in their own food. We saw many dozens of coolers and take-out boxes carried in, some from Dominos, McDonalds, and the the like.

Our own little game of Where's the Waegu?

All in all, it was a great day and a good way to spend a Saturday off school. Hopefully we will get to another Steelers game before we leave here, but maybe next time I'll sit with some Koreans and grab me some dried squid or ramen...

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