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- Item/ISBN: 9788970940717
- Publisher: Hollym
- Year: 2023
- Cover: Softcover
- Pages: 372
- Language: English
- Class: Book
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Just prior to the flight of Mark Dake’s parents from Toronto to visit him in Seoul - where he was teaching English - his mother phoned to ask if they needed to get inoculated for disease. Realizing how little North Americans know about South Korea, Dake decided to write a travel book, to introduce the country to foreigners. He purchased an old car, and, with his best friend, Kim Heju as translator, spent an intensive, exhaustive four months driving 5,000 miles through the nation’s villages, towns, mountains, plains and islands.
Along the way, he discovered some strange things: an island of lepers; a Shangril-La where locals live past 100; a seaside village where everyone is a diver. He kidnapped a dog destined to be stew, and he swam in waters where a 2,500-pound great white shark had been hauled aboard a fishing trawler. He interviewed a would-be king and an elderly woman imprisoned during the Japanese occupation. Citing overwork, Heju temporarily quit the journey after six weeks. Two other translators bailed prematurely. Dake had a million places to explore and needed answers. If fellow travelers couldn’t keep up, tough luck, it was full-steam ahead! Dake, a former reporter, has spent about twenty years between 1995 and 2022 living and working in South Korea. He leaves no stones unturned on this fascinating journey through an ancient and modern land.
About the Author
Mark Dake grew up in Toronto, Canada, playing ice hockey and tennis and hoping to make the big leagues. Not nearly proficient enough in either sport, he was forced to get a real job. He coached tennis in Canada, Austria, Germany, Qatar and the U.S., and was a newspaper sports reporter in Lake Tahoe, California. He generally didn’t stay in one place for long.
In 1995, living in Long Beach, California, Dake answered an ad in the Los Angeles Times seeking Westerners to teach English in South Korea. Three weeks later he was in Seoul. He discovered that Koreans are energetic and hard charging, and Seoul vibrant and pulsating – the city never sleeps. He taught young Korean students at an after-school academy beginning at 2:00 p.m. daily, so he got to sleep in late. Life didn’t get much better than this.
Dake has spent parts of three largely enjoyable decades living and teaching in this ancient, mountainous land. He also served as a copy editor at The Korea Herald and Yonhap, the national news agency. He occasionally spends summers teaching tennis in Toronto. He’s visited thirty-seven countries but still hasn’t figured out where to settle down.