Posts tagged ‘Shopping’

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

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

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!

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!