Posts tagged ‘Korea’

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

Pics so far on 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)

Have fun! More are coming.

~Chris

경복궁, 인사동, and MILLER TIME.

We started out yesterday pretty early, and headed to the Jongno-Insadong area.

We saw a palace from the 14th century named 경복궁 (Gyeongbokgung):

Hongremun entrance gate at Gyeongbokgung (palace from the 14th century)

Hongremun entrance gate at Gyeongbokgung (palace from the 14th century)

Geunjeongjeon Ilwon - imperial throne room

Geunjeongjeon Ilwon - imperial throne room

It’s an old palace with a lot of history.  Constructed in 1395 by King Taejo, it was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of 1592, reconstructed in 1868, and affronted by the Japanese Government-General building until about a decade ago, when the building was demolished (much to the happiness of Koreans worldwide).

I’m not going to put up that many more pictures from the palace; just a few.  The rest are viewable here.

Underground heating.

Underground heating.

Throne room in Geunjeongjeon

Throne room in Geunjeongjeon

See?  She has a brochure.  Proves we were really there.

See? She has a brochure. Proves we were really there.

After the palace, we walked to 인사동 (Insadong) for some more shopping and eating.

A Korean restaurant? In Korea? Whodathunkit.

A Korean restaurant? In Korea? Whodathunkit.

Food at 두대문집 (in Insadong)

Food at 두대문집 (in Insadong). We also ordered 해물 파전 (seafood pancake) and 순두부 (a spicy tofu soup)

Make you happy is all you need.

Make you happy is all you need.

We did some more shopping and walking and talking.

I found out that it was in fact Miller Time.

Miller time always seems to sneak up on me.

Miller time always seems to sneak up on me.

…and then we ended up at OMUTO TOMATO (Firefox will probably complain that the site is an attack site, but it seems to be okay…).  Their specialties include the OMURICE – a fluffy egg omelette stuffed with rice, and surrounded with other food (vegetables, meat, etc).  We had the “Golden Roll” – a deep fried beef roll.

Omurice Golden Roll!

Omurice Golden Roll!

Great stuff.  Anyway, it’s bedtime here (11 pm), and I’ll upload tomorrow what I have done today!

오두산 and 삼겹살

Day 2 of Korea!  We spent a lot of time indoors because it was REALLY COLD.  At about 2 pm, we went to 오두산 통일 전망대대, the Ohdusan Unificiation Observatory.  From there, one can see the border of North Korea, and also get a little idea of what life is like over there.  I say “over there” loosely, because it’s about 5 km away from where you’re standing.  Going from seeing the commercial part of Myeongdong yesterday, to seeing one of the most repressive and insular nations in the world, is a bit of a shock – you barely realize that they’re literally next to one another.

There’s something a bit voyeuristic about looking into another country that you can’t physically visit.

North Korea - maybe 4 km away from it

North Korea - maybe 4 km away from it.

North Korea in the background. It's VERY COLD THERE.

North Korea in the background. It's VERY COLD THERE.

North Korean money

North Korean money

5 North Korean won = 3.5 US cents.

5 North Korean won = 3.5 US cents.

Anyway, after that, we went back to her house and headed out for dinner.  We had 삼겹살 (literally, “three layer pig”).  I know that layers one and two were meat and fat, but I’m not 100% sure what layer 3 was.  It looked like more fat, heh.

Mmmmm....honey pig.

Mmmmm....honey pig.

A short day in terms of things done.  But it’s a vacation, not a job :-)  My pictures are also on Facebook, so check them out there!

2009 and 명동!

Apparently I slept through the new year celebrations.  D’oh!  Happy 2009!

Anyway, we went to 명동 (Myeongdong) yesterday.  We took a bus from Sunyoung’s house in 파주시 (Paju city) to the 합정 (Hapjeong) metro, then on to the 을지로일구역 metro (Euljiro-1 ga, like “Euljiro 1st Ave”).

Jayson, I know you're jealous right now!

Jayson, I know you're jealous right now.

Pretty intense system.

Pretty intense subway system.

Bus/Metro Pass

Bus/Metro Pass. Much cooler looking than the SmartTrip...

I saw an advertisement that beats the Gilette Fusion.

Top that, Gilette.

Top that, Gilette.

Six blades of glory.

Six blades of glory.

First I got some money exchanged.  They took a pretty heavy cut on the deal (about 200 원!), but I got my Korean money, mostly for use in the cash-only businesses :)

We went shopping in the outside markets and the small stores. There were some great deals to be had – I got earmuffs for 3000원 (a little less than US$3). I also picked up a scarf because it was COLD AND WINDY OUT THERE (about 20,000원)!

Outside 명동

Outside 명동

The stores had a few items that weren’t…as you say, legitimate.  I turned a blind eye to those items:

Staging pictures like this never works with me.  I'm trying to avoid looking at the knockoff boots on sale.

Staging pictures like this never works with me. I'm trying to avoid looking at the knockoff boots on sale.

And some were just….yeah:

....I do not understand this tshirt.  Any takers?

....I do not understand this tshirt. Any takers?

We ate from vendors off of the street a few times – once with a sausage, wrapped in fish, wrapped in seaweed, deep fried, and covered in hot sauce…

It really means "take-away food".  But it said "Be able packing".  I like the latter.

It really means "take-away food". But it said "Be able packing". I like the latter.

Mmmmmm.....fried and spicy.

Mmmmmm.....fried and spicy.

Mmmm....street food.

Mmmm....street food.

…and once with a fried pancake filled with honey and sugar…

Aww, how sweet.  Seriously, fried dough stuffed with sugar.

Aww, how sweet. Seriously, fried dough stuffed with sugar.

…needless to say, not the healthiest day in terms of food :-)

For lunch, we went to 명동교자 (Myeongdong Gyoja), a famous noodle shop (we had to wait a few minutes to get in).  We had a dish called 국수 (Guksu), which is a kind of chopped noodle soup with beef and dumplings (교자, aka “Gyoza”, aka “Dumplings”).  The 김치 (Kimchi) was so spicy I got the hiccups…that’s never fun, but it was good.

A noodle soup with beef and dumplings.  Photo courtesy The Official Korea Tourism Site.

국수: A noodle soup with beef and dumplings. Photo courtesy The Official Korea Tourism Site.

We entered a couple of bigger stores, including one big department store/flea market type place, where individual vendors sold lots of clothing at really really cheap prices.  We got Sunyoung a very nice coat and gloves.

We saw (볼트) “BOLT”, the new Disney movie.  It was subtitled in Korean, but I could pick up a little of what was going on from it, which was nice.  The movie theatres had assigned stadium seating, but the tickets were only 7000원 (a little under US$7).

We saw "BOLT". It was cute!

We saw "BOLT". It was cute! Underlined portion: 10th floor, Theatre 2, Row B, Seat 7

After a day of shopping and fun, we came back to “잭이 있는 집” (as her family’s house is known – “The Book House”).  It is an absolutely beautiful house, with interesting design behind it.  Sunyoung’s father gave me the grand tour and the story behind it.  He wanted to embrace the fact that there would be 3 generations living in the house (his mother, his wife and him, and his children); give them all separate living spaces, but also have a central space for “communication”, where the generations could come together more easily.

Thermostat...for the heated floors. I swear, such a sweet deal.

Thermostat...for the heated floors. I swear, such a sweet deal.

The reason the heated floors worked so well is because the bed is on the ground. Definitely worth it, as you step into a bed that's warm to the touch :-)

The reason the heated floors worked so well is because the bed is on the ground. Definitely worth it, as you step into a bed that's warm to the touch :-)

This is a door that opens from the master bedroom closet into the main living area/kitchen. The essence of communication!

This is a door that opens from the master bedroom closet into the main living area/kitchen. The essence of communication!

One of the many many collections of books. My room downstairs is flanked by them too.

One of the many many collections of books. My room downstairs is flanked by them too.

A shot of the kitchen and its view into the central park area.

A shot of the kitchen and its view into the central park area.

As you can see, it’s quite a modern and interesting house.  The walls aren’t just lined with books – the books create the partitions between rooms as well as the outside.

All in all, a great day.  I missed the church service at midnight, but apparently Sunyoung and I were both passed out, so her mother didn’t want to wake either of us.  Today, we’re going to an observatory tower where one can see 북한 (North Korea).

Have a great 2009 everyone! 안녕!

Korea!

Hi all,

I made it to Korea last night at about 4 pm…waited for my bag, met the lovely 박선영, and headed to her place. Had dinner with her family (probably the most confusing dinner I’ve ever had, since it was partly in Korean, partly in Chinese, and partly in English…), then I passed out at 9 pm. Now it’s 7 am, and I can’t sleep anymore (getting the “too much sleep” headache), so it’s up time for me!

Take care, and have a happy new year everyone!

EDIT: right, no pictures yet…need to find a camera cable…

~Chris

I’d forgotten how much of a pain Linux can be, haha….

Well, in all fairness, I think a lot of it was because I never use the system…so it had to be updated quite a bit. But I installed Motion on a shitty webcam. I had to update nearly everything on the system before getting it to work, but that’s life. Probably the same stuff would have had to happen on my Mac or on my Windows machine…I just happen to use the other computers more often :-)

Anyway, now I can set it up to see anytime someone walks into my apartment – it takes pictures and throws them into a flash movie for my perusal. It timestamps everything, and can even draw a box around the “changing pixels” (i.e.: the person walking into the frame).

I did all this WHILE packing to go home to NJ (and for Korea). As much as I hate the Internet…it’s really pretty awesome.

Anyway, time for bed. I’m going up with Eric tomorrow, then I have a week before I finally see 박선영!

Sonia!

Sonia!