Friday, March 25, 2005

Last Snowfall?, Dust can't be far away!

The Joongang Daily Online posted a picture of the East Coast's recent snowstorm, noting that it was expected to be the last of the year.

I'm not normally a pessimist but I realized that officially stating that it was the last snow of the year means that the next weather event would soon be arriving. The dreaded 'yellow dust' or Hwang Seo.
hello, Hwang-seo Posted by Hello

Indeed, after a little searching, I found that Korea has recently set up dust observatories with China in China.

If you didn't know, hwang seo is dust caught by the wind and taken from, I think, the Gobi Desert and dumped, well, everywhere East of there. I think that some of th eGobi locations are dump sites for heavy metals, industrial waste and possibly even radioactive material. Anyway, it's bad stuff to be breathing.

I didn't notice it my first spring in Korea but I did think that Koreans did a lot of off-road driving in the spring. Funny how rain can make the roof of a car dirtier.

Spring 2001 or '02 in Seoul was a bad time. Visibility dropped to a hundred metres or so and everyone was terrified to be outside. People wore masks or breathed through their shirts. Dust actually piled in small drifts against curbs.

Any time of the year, Koreans are worried about dust. I have been told not to shake out clothing or blankets in the house. "Too much dust!", they say.

One great thing about the spring: soon the mountain flowers and cherry blossoms will be out. Yes, even I, a somewhat macho (macho wannabe?) guy, loves the flowers here. Soon there will be cherry blossoms, pear and apple blossoms and Jin-da-lae flowers in the mountains. Another two or three weeks, I think. I have photos from past year and I will some with more information as I find it.

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