South Korea

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    • Day 220

      A Mall and a Bagel Shop (by Lewis)

      March 25, 2023 in South Korea ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

      While in South Korea, we went to the Starfield COEX mall and a bagel shop. While in the mall, I bought a siku car. Siku cars are similar to hot wheels. The type of car I purchased is called an Apollo IE. The car has 4 gold wheels, a black body, and a red interior. Outside the mall, we saw a Gangham Style statue that was colored gold. We took a picture in front of it with Andrew, Mom, and Dad; I wasn't in the picture because I was taking the picture. Before we went to the mall, we visited a bagel shop. The bagel store had a Hulk Buster costume in it. The Hulk Buster was really realistic. South Korea has so many activities to do in it.Read more

    • Day 5

      Mmm, Pork

      September 11, 2010 in South Korea ⋅ 🌧 72 °F

      Jay and I explored the Insadong area of Seoul. It is crammed with art galleries, souvenir shops, clothing stores, and variety of other wares. The atmosphere is busy but not overwhelming. It's an area where history meets the modern world; in a back alley, an old tea house stands across from a gallery display of contemporary art; and then there’s the Starbuck’s towering over the street vendor and wood carver.

      The evening was spent with a visit to the local USO and dinner with Jay’s friends. Many of them are in Korea teaching English as a second language, and others are civilian workers with the military. We met at the USO, then headed for Korean BB-Q. Being a vegaporkatarian, I was in hog heaven. The restaurant was small and saturated with the smell of grilled meat. There were two refrigerators full of water, soda, and beer set against a thin wall separating the dining and kitchen areas. Technically, this was my first authentic Korean meal, and I had an ex-pat, Frank, sitting next to me to provide assistance. Frank is fluent in Korean and has lived in Asia a long time. Although vegetarian himself, he was able to walk us through the process of preparing our meal. The raw, marinated meat came out on a platter and was thrown, one slab at a time, onto a grill set down into the middle of the table. We were provided small bowls of marinated onions, pickled garlic shoots, and thinly sliced garlic, which we could also grill. A plate full of lettuce awaited the meat to lend itself as a wrap with the other ingredients. Once the meat was finished we assembled our lettuce wraps, adding ingredients and sauces as desired. They were incredibly delicious. We hung out for close to two hours, grilling, wrapping, and consuming. This is a meal I could get used to!
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    • Day 6

      Cookin' Nanta

      September 12, 2010 in South Korea ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

      We were invited to a BBQ at Amber and Liesl’s today. Because they live in an adjoining neighborhood, Jay, Imy, and I walked to their apartment. In between, we went through Seoul’s Embassy Row. On Jay’s road I saw the Indian Embassy (they are living large) and the Argentine Embassy. Just up the street from the BBQ was the Saudi Embassy and the Embassy of Carbonaise. Not sure where or what that is, yet. I’ve got to remember to look it up. We arrived at Amber and Liesl’s to find several others, many of whom I met the night before. The crowd was mostly ex-pats teaching at local universities and schools. In one conversation, I found myself speaking with a Canadian, a South African, and Korean. The Americans are from the western states: Washington, Oregon, California, and Colorado, Castle Rock specifically. It’s not often when I travel internationally (or nationally), I can say I was raised in Monument and someone actually knows where that is.

      Following the BBQ, we took the subway to Myeongdong. It is a central shopping district and reminded me of Hong Kong. It buzzed with people and sounds. Lighted signs advertised everything from Levis and Nike to Starbucks and Krispy Kreme. I’m not sure what the multitude of Korean signs read, but there were several cosmetics, clothing, and shoe stores. In addition to the large commercial buildings, there are vendor stalls sprawled up and down the streets selling Louis Vuitton bags, Calvin Klein boxers, and Tommy Hilfiger socks. Street food was scattered in between, offering squid, dried fish, potatoes, and some weird cooked sugar thing. Having a sweet tooth, the cooked sugar had me curious. I’m not sure the ingredients, but older women use propane to fire a small metal bowl in which they mix a caramel goo-probably pure sugar. After heating, the goo is scooped onto a wood slab and flattened into a thin circle with about a 1-2 inch radius. A small pattern is imprinted in the middle, then it is cooled and place in a cellophane bag for sale. We purchased one for 1000 won (less than $1 US) and had at it. The first bite brought one sudden image: toasted marshmallow. Yummy. I quickly found out that, just like eating too many s’mores, eating the whole thing gives one a little tummy ache. I think it’s meant to be nibbled on. Oh well.

      As the night approached, we made our way to the theatre to see the show Nanta. The theatre was small and intimate, with a simple stage. The seats appeared filled to capacity just before the show began. Nanta has been playing since 1997, and one of the reviews I read described it as, “Jackie Chan meets Benihana and the three stooges.” I think this is an understatement. I would describe it more as the Blue Men (without the blue) stuck in a Korean kitchen with large knives and audience participation. It was a fun show based on the story of five characters: the sexy guy, the female, the manager, the nephew, and the head chef. The manager informs the kitchen staff that they have one hour to prepare a wedding banquet, which then leads to a variety of slap stick, food throwing, and plate tossing. The underlying activity is percussion, which is accomplished through kitchen utensils, mops, brooms, and the occasional human forehead.

      We all enjoyed the show and topped off the night at a curry restaurant. It was a little late for me to eat curry, so I had a bowl of pumpkin soup. It was the perfect ending to a great day in Seoul.
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