My third visit to Korea for 2013 is drawing to an end. The first one started with a last minute change of accommodation - a new hotel had opened in town - a business-style hotel that would be perfect for me and my colleagues as we embarked on the intensive travel section of the project.
The hotel has been perfect for us although it certainly has its idiosyncrasies - new management each time I've visited, erratic breakfast offerings and the like. The other thing that caught our eyes on our first visit were listed in the directory as "singing room" (basement), "man woman sauna" (2nd floor) and "room business" (7th floor). We discovered that the "room business" involves lots of money, whisky and girls.
It was enough of a curiosity on that first visit that during our trip to the singing room (elsewhere in town), I sang "The Boxer" and changed the words of the line "Just the come on's from the 'girls' on 7th Avenue" to refer to the 7th floor instead.
On my second visit, the directory had been adjusted to fit the facts which is that the room business is actually on the 8th floor.
This time, I ended up with a room on the actual seventh floor - which I was assured would be "very quiet". My Korean colleague asked if I wanted to move to a lower floor and if I was disturbed by noise from upstairs - but the only things disturbing my sleep was a cockerel and moving closer to that did not seem sensible.
The building is a strange shape and my room looks across a gap at a blank wall a few feet away. You can see the arrangement here:
The seventh floor is just below the platform with what looks like a hut built into the gap.
On Saturday, I was in the room in the day for the first time and pushed open my window - the kind that hinges out vertically - and looked down. I was very surprised by what I saw:
Two young kestrels. I can only assume they had hatched on this E-shape of ledges as they were clearly not capable of flying yet (although they were stretching their wings and looking like they might soon try).
Later I saw a third (and then a fourth - although the last was a bit camera shy).
A little while after I took that one I heard them making a big racket. They had been completely silent up until now. I realised that it was probably a reaction to a parent's approach and I looked out again. The parent had been and gone, but one of the youngsters was tucking into the small bird that been brought.
The others could only look on and hope that something would come their way soon.
The next time the squawking started, I was ready - and caught the adult in its brief visit.
Over the next few days, I saw the young birds take short flights - first from one beam to the next and then a brief flight away from the ledge and back.
By the second day, they were often on top of the A/C units :
or the window ledges:
Or even higher (above my window):
and of course right outside my window.
I haven't seen them at all over the last two days (although my colleague did), so I can only assume that they are fully-fledged and are spending most of their time elsewhere. I was lucky to have caught them at all.
And that is how I found out exactly what was going on on the seventh floor - I'm still a bit vague about the eighth though.