For some reason the past few winters, wherever I am, have had the winter of all winters... My last two years in college, the town got hit with severe ice storms that closed the university and entire cities. Then this year Pohang, South Korea got hit with the biggest snow in 60 years. (When my Korean supervisor told me this I had to clarify: six-zero, not one-six.)
Monday morning it started snowing in Korea's bellybutton, also know as the Po. And it kept and kept and kept snowing. Until after dark. In my area we got around seven inches. Other areas got as much as a foot. Might not seem like THAT much. But it's a lot for an area where it basically never snows...
Which is why the city was not mildly prepared, but not prepared at all for the inclement winter weather. My school was shut down for two days and I have one student who will not be attending this month "because of the snow and ice."
Let me just inform you that there would not even be ice had the city been at all prepared for snow. Korea clearly has never heard of ice. Or that liquid stuff they spray on the streets at home. Or snow plows for that matter. I saw one snow plow. A friend of mine saw a dump truck and a farm tractor (neither of which were actually doing any good).
Korea: Do you know what happens when snow melts, then it gets really cold at night? It freezes and you have ice instead of snow. Magic, huh? And that, my friends, is why your streets and sidewalks are still very covered in ice.
It was rumored in one area that the Koreans put sand over the snow (good for traction, I'll give them that), then poured water over the sand, making mud, then putting more sand over it. Then it was really cold at night again and froze. So now you have ice, that appears to be mud. Slick mud. When people walk on it, expecting mud, they quickly find out that it's ice when their booties hit the ground.
One more note. Koreans: Just because you have some snow on the ground, doesn't mean you need to get out your tire chains. They were probably necessary and useful on the first day (but when there's a blizzard out, you don't need to be driving anyways) but three days later?
I enjoyed the two extra days of vacation. First day I played in the snow with friends. Then we continued with adult beverages inside. The next day was spent recovering. (I've had quite a few recovery days this winter... Hmmm)
Only downside is that I do have to make up one of those snow days on Saturday (tomorrow). Which is why I'm spending my Friday night catching up on my blogging instead of partaking in adult beverages.