Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category.

Korea!

Back from Korea!

All of my good pictures are on Facebook – go see them here:

http://cli.gs/79WdDz – day 1
http://cli.gs/yY10Dy
– day 2
http://cli.gs/7gYJjX
– day 3
http://cli.gs/7DhG3d – day 4
http://cli.gs/4UQhQA – day 5
http://cli.gs/uMep0b – day 6
http://cli.gs/ZYah26 – day 7
http://cli.gs/6SrEM0 – day 8
http://cli.gs/Ny2Pqz – day 9

However, in the interest of using this webspace a bit more, I’ll post a bit of a documentary-style narrative here.

When I have more energy.

~Chris

Will upload pictures here soon.

Eventually.

For now, they’re on facebook.

http://cli.gs/79WdDz
http://cli.gs/yY10Dy
http://cli.gs/7gYJjX

Pictures on Facebook

Hi everyone!

To save time, you can check out all of my pictures on Facebook here. They’re even accessible without being a member of Facebook.

There are a massive number of pictures on Facebook that I didn’t post here. Check them out here:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083528&l=9f72f&id=5400263 (Part 1!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083531&l=12b29&id=5400263 (Part 2!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083537&l=6ee7d&id=5400263 (Part 3!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083539&l=2a374&id=5400263 (Part 4!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083651&l=ce9dc&id=5400263 (Part 5!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083969&l=6675e&id=5400263 (Part 6!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2084072&l=4e07c&id=5400263 (Part 7!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2084172&l=dec5a&id=5400263 (Part 8!)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2084386&l=27fdf&id=5400263 (Part 9!)

That should be it for the pictures from Korea. I’ll be updating this place more often now that people actually read it occasionally, but who knows when.

~Chris

Everland and Incheon Airport

Hi there!

It’s 9:35am on the east coast, but it doesn’t feel like that to me. I don’t know what time it really is, but something called “the sun” seems to be out, and it’s in the eastern sky, so therefore it must be morning. Right? Right.

Anyway, I have a few more pictures, both from Everland from my day of travel.

Took a few more pictures of North Korea.

North Korea's right there!

North Korea's right there!

Closer shot of North Korea.

Closer shot of North Korea.

We made it to Caribbean Bay! (Warning: Overly excited English ahead.) It was a water park, mostly indoors. I realize I said “outdoors” before, but there was an outdoor portion of the lazy river part. I had to retouch this photo since it was really really white.

Outside Caribbean Bay! Woo!

Outside Caribbean Bay! Woo!

INSIDE Caribbean Bay! See the difference?

INSIDE Caribbean Bay! See the difference?

There’s a water slide, a few wade pools, the lazy river, a kiddie diving pool, strictly kiddie pools, and a bunch of saunas/spas. It was a relaxing place filled with hundreds of screaming Korean kids.

On the way out, I found a few gifts and took a picture of the theme park’s entrance.

There was also a theme park next to Caribbean Bay. It was open for a "Snow Festival".

There was also a theme park next to Caribbean Bay. It was open for a "Snow Festival".

We took the bus back to Ilsan, and I found the best Billiard Club in the world. Kind of far to travel, but it’s gotta be worth it.

I found the best billiard club in the world, FYI.

I found the best billiard club in the world, FYI.

Dinner was Kimbab, Udon noodles, and Jook. I only got a picture of the Kimbab.

Kimbab! Seaweed, rice, and meat+veggies.No more kimbab!

Kimbab! Seaweed, rice, and meat+veggies.

That was my last day and night in Korea. The next day was all travel.

Woke up early, and headed to the airport. As I said, my complaint letter to Delta got me a free BusinessElite upgrade. A very nice touch for the 13 hour Incheon-Atlanta leg.

Sonia holding the ticket of AWESOME.

Sonia holding the ticket of AWESOME.

This upgrade was key. A 13-hour flight in Coach isn’t too bad – the food’s decent, I had an exit-row seat, and the amenities were pretty good too. But man….BusinessElite is so excellent. If you don’t know, you really don’t know. Take a gander:

The seatback in Business Class on Delta's 777s.

The seatback in Business Class on Delta's 777s.

I sat in one of those seats. They didn’t quite lie totally flat, but reclined maybe to a 30º angle. The footrest also came up to about 75º. They also included a bottle of water, an amenity kit with all sorts of stuff, and a light that you can see on the left side for reading.

Slippers from BusinessElite on Delta.

Slippers from BusinessElite on Delta.

Oh yeah, slippers too.

Business Class also had better food. Dinner...number 1? Pictured: Beef Japchae, Carrot and Ginger Soup, and a Fresh Seasonal Salad.

Business Class also had better food. Dinner...number 1? Pictured: Beef Japchae, Carrot and Ginger Soup, and a Fresh Seasonal Salad.

The food wasn’t bad either. I missed taking a picture of the first dinner (lunch? breakfast? midnight snack? what time was it?), but it was a “Penne Pasta in Vegetable Bolognese Sauce, tossed with arugula, fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms”.

Dinner #2's main course. I chose the Tuk Galbi - "traditional korean beef in spicy soy sauce with mushrooms, pak choi, and steamed rice".

Dinner #2's main course. I chose the Tuk Galbi - "traditional korean beef in spicy soy sauce with mushrooms, pak choi, and steamed rice".

I tried to talk my way into the Delta lounge in Atlanta with my Business Class ticket, but no dice. I paid for it since I REALLY wanted a shower.

The flight after was lackluster, we’ll say, in comparison. But it landed safely.  That’s all I really care about.

My letter to Delta

Here’s the letter that earned Delta a customer for life.

If your criticism of my letter contains the words “dramatic” or “over-the-top”, I ask you to keep in mind the following:

1) who slept on a nearly lie-flat seat for 13 hours? and

2) who got a $400 voucher for future travel?

3) what’s got two thumbs?

That’s right. This guy.

This email was sent to the following email addresses:

richard.anderson@delta.com (CEO),

lee.macenczak@delta.com (head of flight operations?),

daiquiri.gleaves@delta.com (Customer relations),

customer-care@delta.com

Click through to see the letter!

Continue reading ‘My letter to Delta’ »

Very quick entry.

TELEGRAM STOP
ARRIVED AT AIRPORT EARLY STOP
WAS UPGRADED TO BUSINESS CLASS WITHOUT ANY REASON STOP
THINKS IT WAS BECAUSE OF MY COMPLAINT LETTER STOP
WILL ALWAYS RESOLVE ANY PROBLEM WITH A STRONGLY-WORDED LETTER IN THE FUTURE STOP
END

No but seriously, we got to the airport and I checked in for my flight. The guy at the desk said “Okay, your seat is 11F”. I say “um, I’m pretty sure it was 44G…can you check again?” He showed me the printed ticket…sure enough, my name, 11F, Business Class, all on the same ticket. Totally epic.

I had a wonderful vacation and I really can’t wait to see 박선영 again. Hopefully that’ll be in April. If I end up going to Egypt for that trip, I’ll be sure to post pictures :-)

Also, there’s at least one more blog post with pictures coming. I’m going to relax a bit more then head to my flight. See you all …well, in the future. It’s already the 8th here, and I arrive on the 8th at like 11pm. I have a layover in Atlanta for 4 hours…maybe I can talk the Delta people into letting me into the lounge there also.

We’ll see how that goes.

~Chris

Lunch and dinner

Pretty simple day today!

Waiting for the bus, I was struck by how large the roads are...mostly because they're never busy enough to merit their size.

Waiting for the bus, I was struck by how large the roads are...mostly because they're never busy enough to merit their size.

We went to a small restaurant called “Urban Garden“, hidden in a back alley near 서울시청 (Seoul City Hall). It was a pretty nice place, and the food was carefully prepared. Their website is annoying as hell though; turn off your speakers.

Hi Yewon!

Hi Yewon!

We met Yewon for lunch! I hadn’t seen her since October, and Sonia hadn’t seen her since May. It’s good to know Columbia didn’t kill her.

Mmmforklamer

Their menu might need a little bit of work.

After lunch, we traveled back to the house, and got ready for dinner.

Dinner layout! Wrap the eel in the vegetables, add your choice of condiments, and eat!

Dinner layout! Wrap the eel in the vegetables, add your choice of condiments, and eat!

Now it’s off to the water park. Yes, I know, it’s about 10˚F colder here than Jersey. We’ll see how this goes.

Short entry, yes, I know, but I’m excited to swim in really cold weather :-)

~Chris

명동 again, 남산 tower, 남대문 market, and the classy 버거킹

We went out yesterday and Sunyoung wanted me to try a Korean/Chinese/Something dish called 자짱면 (Jajjyeongmyeon).  It is a true Korean dish, invented by Chinese immigrants about a century ago, and historically eaten on highschool/college graduation day.

Jajjangmyeon, a dish with wheat noodles, black soybean paste sauce, some meat, and veggies. Salty but good!

Jajjangmyeon, a dish with wheat noodles, black soybean paste sauce, some meat, and veggies. Salty but good!

The place was huge, and fairly nicely decorated. I won’t attempt to be a judge of authentic Chinese restaurants, but it looked nice inside nonetheless.

After that, Sunyoung remembered that I had to try 두유 (Korean soymilk), so we found a convenience store and asked for directions to the 남산 케이블카 (Namsan Cable Car).  (Note, link to company doesn’t work. Try Web Archive.)

Korean soymilk - with chestnut flavor!

Korean soymilk - with chestnut flavor!

While drinking his soymilk, Chris finds a ridiculous CD rate, and plots to send some money to Korea in the future.  From what I can tell, that's a 1-year CD rate. W. T. F.

While drinking his soymilk, Chris finds a ridiculous CD rate, and plots to send some money to Korea in the future. From what I can tell, that's a 1-year CD rate. W. T. F.

It was a 3 minute ride up the side of Namsan, at which point we could see the Seoul Tower (previously the “Namsan Tower”).

Shot of the city. Higher and higher we go...

Shot of the city. Higher and higher we go...

우리은행, aka "Our Bank". Don't mess with Koreans.

우리은행, aka "Our Bank". Don't mess with Koreans.

Another shot from wayyy up.

Another shot from wayyy up.

The other cable car passed us.  No-one waved :-(

The other cable car passed us. No-one waved :-(

Panorama of Seoul

Panorama of Seoul

After the ride up, we were at the top of Namsan (aka Mount Nam).

There’s a little museum, a restaurant arrogantly called “The Place” (which brought on a lot of bad jokes from me), and a gift shop.

Tree of teddy bears!

Tree of teddy bears!

Wireframe man flying around the Tower.

Wireframe man flying around the Tower.

There was also a demonstration going on.  Apparently the new administration invoked some harsh rules upon the news media, and some of the news unions were protesting in a memorable way:

Up....

Up....

Up....

Up....

And Away!

And Away!

A pretty good shot if I do say so myself.

A pretty good shot if I do say so myself.

We took a few shots of the panorama on the other side of the mountain:

The other side of Seoul. Not in a bad way. Just geographically different.

The other side of Seoul. Not in a bad way. Just geographically different.

We also participated in a tradition on the Seoul Tower; cheesy, yes; but such is life.

Writing on the locklock writingLocks against the mountainlocks down

I think it started from a TV show? Anyway, it was cute, and I have the key. So I can unlock our love if I get tired of it 😛

Namdaemun market. A sea of people and cheap stuff. Oh, and street food vendors.Close up

Namdaemun market. A sea of people and cheap stuff. Oh, and street food vendors.

Namdaemun is an experience. An experience we mostly missed out on since places were closing at the time.

We made it back to Myeongdong to find dinner. At night it's a cornucopia of lights and sounds, quite pretty. And no cars!

We made it back to Myeongdong to find dinner. At night it's a cornucopia of lights and sounds, quite pretty. And no cars!

Dinner was a Korean restaurant, known as 버거킹.

Some things never change, no matter where you go...right?

Some things never change, no matter where you go...right?

You people (Americans) might know it by its traditional name, “Burger King”.

Whenever I go to another country, I love seeing that country’s take on American fastfood. In the same way that Chinese food in America is a perversion of real Chinese food, seeing the Korean version of Burger King was interesting because it’s one of the many impressions that we give off.

Also, it’s interesting to see how Koreans enjoy their food, as evidenced by our dinner.

Honey Potato burger. It was a mashed potato on top of a burger, topped with honey.

Honey Potato burger. It was a mashed potato on top of a burger, topped with honey.

Potato burger + honey = interesting.  It was kind of sweet, but not overly so. Could have done without the mayo.

ANGRY WHOPPER. This was awesome.

ANGRY WHOPPER. This was awesome.

According to Wikipedia, this is already around the world, and not just a Korean thing.  But I didn’t taste the pepperjack cheese or jalapenos. Actually kind of tasted like kimchi. Pretty awesome either way though!

That was my day! Time to wake up and have breakfast. We’re meeting a friend today, and I don’t know what else yet. Rest assured I’ll get pictures this time.

~Chris

Malls, malls, malls! And no pictures because my battery was dead :-(

Yesterday was a looong day!  We went to Sunyoung’s mother’s church where I understood maybe 10 words that were said.  I did sing the song though; “축복합니다”, which means something like “may God bless you”.  I did a pretty good job, but there’s a portion where the singing gets really fast, and I’m just not that fast at reading Korean yet :-)

After church, we went out to meet Sonia’s friends at the COEX mall.  It was a long bus ride + a long Metro ride to Samsung-dong.  When we got there, we stayed underground the entire time – from the metro, through Hyundai department store, into COEX mall, I didn’t see light after about 3:30 pm that day.  We walked around the mall for a while, just looking for a place to eat that wasn’t terribly crowded. On the way, we spotted a Kimchi museum, but didn’t get a chance to go in before it closed. Something for next time :-)

We settled on “Mr. Pizza“, whose slogan is “Love for women”…???  Beyond that slogan, there was nothing terribly off about the place. It was Korean-style pizza, which means…well, dough + stuff. We ended up getting the “Potato Pizza“, an amalgam of potato, mushroom, corn, bacon, beef, and onion.

So good. No sauce, but there was cheese in the crust (Cheese cap pizza).

So good. No sauce, but there was cheese in the crust ("Cheese cap pizza").

After pizza, we met Sunyoung’s friends for coffee and I was interviewed for about an hour. I tried my best to speak and understand Korean, but this language is damn hard. Much respect for those who can actually speak this crazy language… I’m very glad her friends understood enough English.

Jayson, if you’re reading this, remember Sonia’s friend Sae Min? Yeah, she said hi to ya, heh.

Anyway, it’s Monday now and I think the rest of the house is waking up. I’ll probably head upstairs soon when 할머니 (grandmother) calls for breakfast, as per usual.

Today I think we’re going to another observatory tower, and I’m not sure what else. Either way, it’s turning out to be a wonderful vacation so far!

~Chris

압구정동, 서울대학교, and 와플

We went to Sonia’s old school today – 서울대학교 (Seoul National University).

Outside SNU's new art museum, which was under construction when she left.

Outside SNU's new art museum, which was under construction when she left.

They wouldn’t let us take pictures inside the museum.  You can see a few pictures of works here at the Museum of Art’s website.  Click on 현재전시.

So we stuck it to them by taking pictures OUTSIDE!  Ha!

Waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  Tasty and only 700 원 (60 cents)!

Waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Tasty and only 700 원 (60 cents)!

Keep in mind we hadn’t eaten anything except for early breakfast.

Sonia's old college at SNU.  There's a newer building behind it but I didn't get a good picture of it...

Sonia's old college at SNU. There's a newer building behind it but I didn't get a good picture of it...

We went to a place called “Mad for Garlic” for dinner, after walking forever and being really lost!

Mad for (at?) Garlic

Mad for (at?) Garlic

Mad at Camera.

Mad at Camera.

Garlic and Sweet Potato pizza.  Pretty interesting.  Arugula was unadvertised.

Garlic and Sweet Potato pizza. Pretty interesting. Arugula was unadvertised. Not Mad at that though.

After dinner we ended up at a Cafe (Cafe Star) for waffles and hot chocolate :-)

A fabled Korean dish known as 바나나카라멜소스 피캔 와플.  Also known as "Banana Caramel Sauce Pecan Waffle".  Yeah.

A fabled Korean dish known as 바나나카라멜소스 피캔 와플. Also known as "Banana Caramel Sauce Pecan Waffle". Literally it says "pa na na ka ra mael so seu p'i kaen wapul". Yeah...

Waffles gone!

Waffle ALL GONE!

Waffle ALL GONE!

A great day in terms of food and walking around :-)

More pictures are up at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083651&l=ce9dc&id=5400263.

Anyway, time for breakfast and church, then walking around the town!

~Chris