Yours truly clowning around at Gyeongbokgung Palace
I took more than 500 pictures during my trip with District 7620 First Lady, Linda, to Japan and then to Korea for the International Conference. Because the pictures are incredible I thought I would cherry pick 20 or so to share with you and try to give you a little flavor of what its like at an International Conference. RI President Ravi didn’t have the final numbers, but thought this might be the biggest ever International Conference with 45,000 or more attendees. The biggest news from the Conference? Be prepared to take advantage of the biggest single PR and membership windfall in Rotary history next year as Rotary begins to string together a number of polio-free months. Enjoy the rest of the pictures!
The scale of the plenary sessions and opening and closing sessions was massive.
Colorful outfits were everywhere. Korean performers taking a break.
I just wanted another excuse to try to spell Gyeongbokgung Palace. The weather was beautiful all week.
I had a hard time choosing the right skyline shot. This is just a small view from Seoul Tower. Seoul impressed everyone as being gigantic, clean, modern, efficient. The whole package. The people were incredibly friendly. If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it.
Korean barbecue is as good as advertised. Kimchi, a popular Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables? Not so much. Can I have a side of fries, please?
We stayed in the Gangnam section of Seoul, which is in the Southeast section of the city. Just about everyone seemed to have a one hour or more bus ride to the Kintex center. Gangnam is the young, hip, place to be in Seoul. I fit right in.
Current You Tube star Psy is a cultural icon in Korea and probably its biggest star. His song, Gangnam Style is famous worldwide. His performance at the closing ceremony was sensational. Turns out his grandfather and father were Rotarians!
The House of Friendship was always packed. Here is a random shot of some serious shopping going on.
The Kintex Center is actually not in Seoul, but west of Seoul in Goyang City. Here I am at the rose festival, just two short stops away on the Kintex shuttle.
The Rotary Host Operating Committee did an outstanding job. Everywhere you traveled there were signs like this welcoming Rotarians to the Conference. This was at the flower festival in Goyang City.
Arch Klumph? Anyone ever heard of Arch Klumph? I think he must live in Atlanta, Georgia.
For all of my snobby, craft beer drinking friends, you should know that I LOVED Korean (and Japanese) beer. Crisp and light. Just like Coor’s Lite!
Early in the morning before the crowds came pouring in. The place is just gigantic.
Rotary Club of College Park, Md., Rotarian, Chris Puttock, with soon to be former Zone 33 RPIC, Sue Poss, hanging around the House of Friendship. Sue doesn’t know it but she is about to win a free Samsung tablet from LG. Guess what? So did I!
More ancient mixed with the modern.
The Koreans are nutty about baseball. But imagine my surprise when we arrived at the airport and the Orioles game was playing on a giant screen at the departure gate. Turns out that Hyun Soo Kim, a lifetime .318 hitter over 10 seasons in Korea, is currently batting over .400 coming off the bench for my beloved Orioles. Koreans are not especially happy with O’s manager, Buck Showalter, because Kim isn’t starting….yet.
More colorful costumes at Kintex.
I gave out plenty of Dare to Dream business cards during the trip. Thanks to everyone who agreed to pitch in $20 to help us get this fantastic documentary about the “founding fathers’ of polio eradication produced. If you haven’t done so already, please check it out at www.daretodreamfilm.com.
Hard to believe how close North Korea is to Seoul. This is from our tour of the DMZ between North and South Korea. Strangely beautiful, isn’t it?
I’ll see you next year at Atlanta. I’ve gotta meet this Arch Klumph character.
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