Friday, December 28, 2007
Yeah, got the Nikon on the 25, and it's the 28th and I've taken about 300 pictures. Are any on the computer from which I can blog? Of course not! I'll have pictures when I get back home. In the meantime, I'm alive, feeling 100% better, and will eventually pick up the needles. Maybe Sunday. I have too many pictures to take tomorrow :oP
I will eventually...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
There were rows of fish drying, rows of fresh fish, and even people cleaning fish getting them ready to cook. I could go on and on about the fish market, but I won't now. I'll save that for a presentation later on.
After the market, we hit a big park where Busan Tower is located. This gives you a great view of the hugeness of this city.
This is maybe 1/16 of the city here. They built up as far as they could on the mountains around it. It was just really cool to see. We shopped in Nampo-Dong which is a huge fashion area. It was pricey, but we can say we saw it at least.
On Sunday, we spent the day on one of the islands around Busan and the beaches.
Busan was wonderful. I think I could definitely live here. The people were very nice and a lot of them were able to speak a little English, so that was helpful.
DF and I headed back Sunday night and ate at TGI Fridays in Gwangju. Jack Daniels chop steak is really good I might add. I don't think they have it in the US since it was under the Korean specials. Maybe since it came with sticky rice, that's why they put it in there. I half expected to see more kimchi.
Tomorrow we're headed for Seoul. Hard to believe this trip is almost over already. I wish I would have felt better for the whole thing, but I've still had a good time. I'll post on Friday when I get back.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
In my meaningless opinion, this is the best game currently out for PSP. It's a role playing game, but it plays very similar to Dungeons and Dragons Tactics. You have to manipulate where your characters go and the actions they take. It's got a great story, based on Joan of Arc, and the gameplay is so addicting that I played it from about 8 AM until 2PM when the batteries on the PSP gave out. So, while it's charging, I figured I would blog :oP
We're heading to Busan tomorrow. It should be a fun weekend and hopefully the weather will hold out. I'll have plenty of pictures in a few days when we get back.
And I'm stuck at about half way through a sock right now. I really don't like the wooden needles for socks and it's just keeping me from knitting right now. If I get a job here and head back over, I'll be bringing all my metal needles in my suitcase, so hopefully that will bring back the knitting groove. I could stand the wooden needles if they were longer and sharper. I really need to get those Knit Picks Harmony double pointed needles. I might have to ask for them for Christmas :o)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I loved the bow. There's just something about seeing a pizza box with a little red bow tied around it that makes you smile. Pizza places in the States should do this. :oP
Today I walked around downtown some more in search of possible Christmas ideas to give DF. I was walking down Cheap Street when this little place caught my eye.
I saw big balls of multi-colored string at the bottom of the window, so I decided to poke my head inside. I would have taken pictures in there, but I was immediately swept up by a jabbering Korean lady who proceeded to tell me God only knows what, but I assume it had to do with yarn. Yep, I found a Naju yarn store. There were three other women in there and they were staring at my hair. One even touched it. Then they showed me around the store and pulled out balls of yarn left and right, trying to see if it matched my blue jacket OK. I picked out some purple CashWool that I was handed and was looking for needles. I did the universal knitting sign language of I need needles and the woman who swept me up goes off to the side and grabs two different circular bamboo needles with a plastic cord between them. I get to the counter and they write up that needles and four balls of cash wool would be 24,000 won. 24 bucks isn't too bad for a cashmere/wool blend and two circular needles, so I agreed and paid the woman. They all shook my hand and made the universal knitting sign at me as I walked out the door.
See, knitters anywhere in the world, even when they don't speak your language, can recognize each other. Oh, here's what I bought. The color is awful and it's actually a really bright purple.
I'll be back there before I leave for sure.
My adventure of the day started after this. I spent most of the rest of my money on yarn and needles, so I knew I wouldn't be buying anything else today until I am able to change over some more money. So, I decided to ride the 160 bus to wherever it stopped. It only costs 1,000 won, so I hopped on and rode. I rode and rode and went out into the countryside. It was nice to get outside of town for a while. I saw some signs for Gwangju and wondered if the bus was going to take me all the way there. Yep, it did. Gwangju rocks. They are civilized even since they have a Starbucks :oP Yep, no Starbies in Naju. Gwangju was huge and I walked around for a little bit with my mouth open, forgetting to take pictures. I'll be back there on Friday to catch a bus to Busan, so I'll take pictures then. I hopped on the 160 bus heading back towards Naju and made my way back. 3 hours later, I was back here, petting wool and eating a goldfish cake.
Yeah, so goldfish cakes rock. I think it's basically a bean paste inside some breading, but they are really good and really cheap. I bought a bunch on the way home so that I can have the rest for breakfast tomorrow. Anyways, that's been my day so far. Tonight we're going out to eat with DF's friend Ashley. He's a pretty nice guy from what I've seen the couple of times I've met him, so it should be fun.
Must go pet cashwool some more :oP
Sunday, December 09, 2007
We even unintentionally matched for the evening :oP
Today I decided that I wanted to head down to downtown Naju to do some shopping while DF was at work. I hopped on the bus and headed down there.
The bus stop where you get off for downtown Naju is in front of the South Gate. The South Gate is a historic site in Naju. There are four gates, one for each direction, but the South Gate is the most famous and from what I can tell, the largest of the four. I've only driven past one other gate so far, so if I go past them again, I'll be sure to take some pictures of those as well. It's really pretty, and they built the road around it for downtown. They made it a round-about there, so that's pretty cool.
I mainly hit Main Street today (don't know if it's called that, but for simplicity's sake, it'll be called that) to do some trinket shopping.
Yeah, I'd be scared too if a worm was trying to eat me from the hook. I'd also be scared if I were a fish in that market :oP
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I really have no idea if we were even allowed to take pictures of the shrines. There were signs up in Korean, but we have no idea what they said, and no pictures of cameras on the signs or anything. No disrespect if we weren't supposed to, but since no one stopped us, we took pictures. This was one of those places where we could have probably spent a whole day here, but we only had an hour, so we rushed around everything. It was really pretty and very serene and quiet, even with the throngs of tourists there.
The third temple we went to was the Mi Ruk temple. This was where we had lunch as well. This was my first experience with traditional Korean food. It was spicy. Very spicy. I ate a lot of rice :oP At least it was all vegetarian since the monks at this temple are all vegetarians. Did I mention it was spicy. Mmmmm, good kimchee :oP
After lunch, we were told about how every human has 108 ills or problems with their lives. The monks there do 108 prostrations at least once a day because they said that it cures all their ills. So, as a treat for us, we got to do 108 of these things. OK, I'm in bad shape. I'll admit that right here and now. 108 prostrations about killed me. DF swears he counted at least 110. The only way I can describe it is it's like doing 108 squat thrusts. We were with a group of very fit just-out-of-college kids who put me to shame doing that much. It didn't help that I was still recovering from the head cold too, but damn, that was hard work. No wonder it would cure 108 ills :oP It will either cure them, or kill you, which in turn cures them I guess :oP Still, it was interesting, even if I skimped out on some of the 108 to catch my breath. There was a kid next to DF who started moaning really loud too about 1/2 way through the exercise.
We went to a spa after that. Yeah, after killing ourselves with 108 glorified squat thrusts, we get to go sit in a hot tub for a while! It was kind of like an indoor water park where all the water was at least warm. There was even this one spot that they called Doctor Fish where you sat in this still water area with hundreds of little minows who were pirranas in training who eat the dead skin off your feet and rest of your body. They really tickled, but DF had one spot that they kept going after. Turns out they ate a scab off and he was bleeding a little. See, pirranas in training! He was OK though, but I think we were done with the Doctor Fish part of the spa :oP
I didn't have any pictures from this because water and cameras make me nervous. I rather like taking pictures and I could just see one of the cameras falling in and getting ruined.
After the spa, we ate dinner at a Korean restaurant at the resort. It was Korean BBQ. They had pork and mushrooms, so I went to town on the mushrooms. Korean BBQ is really good and if you ever get the chance to try it in the States, go for it. It's more Americanized in the States obviously, but you have a better chance of getting beef. This is another reason I can lose weight here: they love pork and I can't eat it :oP They do have beef here though, but it's really expensive, so it's easier to just be a vegetarian. Those mushrooms were really good.
That was the day in a nutshell. I'm getting ready to head to church this morning and then head to the market this evening to look at hanbok. More pictures tomorrow.
Oh, and yeah, I'm sore as hell this morning. I weighed myself on the scale at the spa yesterday and I have already lost 10 pounds :oP Korea: The ultimate diet for Leah :oP
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Yeah, I still need to write down the pattern for this, and I promise I will for anyone who wants a Dolores stuffed animal of their own.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
We've got a bus tour planned on Saturday, so hopefully I'll get some picture taking done then. I left the school after lunch so that I could get some more rest. I think I just need another good night of sleep and I might start feeling 100% again. Just no pushing it right now.
Hopefully there will be some pictures tomorrow. If not, there will be some after Saturday for sure.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Oh, and Koreans think you should go to the doctor for everything too. DF's co-teacher wanted to take me to the doctor yesterday when I didn't even realize that this was just a cold and wondered if I had eaten something with pork or chicken in it that didn't like my stomach. Anyways, since I didn't go in to school with DF this morning like I had planned since I was snotty and cranky and just didn't want to be around anyone, much less middle school kids, I'm sure she'll be insisting that I go today. I have been drinking OJ, took some vitamin C, and am drinking lots of tea. I'll be fine, just give me a day or two. I was feeling this cold coming on before I left and I think the jet lag tiredness probably just sent me over the edge with it.
Oh well. On the bright side, I'll get in some knitting today. On the bad side, either DF or I will have to convince the co-teacher that the common cold doesn't require drugs, rather the opposite. Joy. Hopefully after sacking out today and getting plenty of vitamin C and tea, I'll be feeling good enough to go in with DF in the morning to show that you can get better without a bunch of pills :oP
And drink plenty of tea. Being sick in South Korea was not on my To-Do list :oP
Monday, December 03, 2007
This is how most of apartmets around here look. They're all about 15 stories high and you just have to know your number or else you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Naju is pretty small by Korean standards, only about 100,000 people here. They are all pretty friendly though.
They talk about the mountains a lot in Korea. I've seen the Rockies, so when I think of mountains, that's what I usually think of. I've been to the Smokies, and they're smaller, but you can still call them mountains. This is a hill:
They would call that a mountain. It's not bad sized, but it's not a mountain. Knob maybe, but not a mountain. Anyways, I might get to climb a mountain while I'm here :oP
Naju kind of looks a little run down, but it's actually not too bad. The people are really nice here.
I had one woman come up to me and shake my hand. She rambled on for a good five minutes in Korean and kept shaking my hand. She seemed really happy at least and I said anyang haseo to her which means hello. She lit up when I said that. Like I said, pretty nice people. The guy at the market offered to help me carry the bag of bottled water I bought back to the apartment, but I told him it was OK, I could get it. They seemed impressed that I could heft that much weight. It was only 3 bottles of water and two 1.5 liters of soda, so not too much. Anyways...
The first thing that struck me on the drive to Naju was the red crosses. There must have been 50 or more red crosses in the night sky. Every church has a red cross that lights up at night so that you can see it. I found a couple of them in daylight today.
The top of that little building is one of the neon crosses. I assume the little building is a church. There are lots of churches around.
One other random observation too. There are lots of little cartoon things around, even on big street signs and stuff.
They were on the plane on the way over, in the airport, and now I've even seen them on street signs. Go figure.
That's it for today. I'm going to go walk around some more in a little while and probably take some more pictures. And I need to drink some more Chilseng Cider. It's like ginger ale, but man does it taste good. More pictures tomorrow, I'm sure :oP
PS: I cast on for a sock now. I only got four rounds knit on it yesterday. We'll see if I get any knitting in today. There's too much to look at right now.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
So, I had a pretty eventful flight to Korea. When we were over Russia somewhere, the lady behind me who was 7 months pregnant went into labor. I would think that would be the most terrifying thing to know you were 4 hours from an airport that could handle a jet that big, so you were 4 hours before you could get on the ground. Good news is that there were 3 doctors on board and they got her stable. They got her off the plane as soon as we landed, so here's praying she and the baby are OK. Once we got to Seoul, I met DF and we took a 4 hour bus trip to Gwangju and then the craziest 20 minute taxi to Naju. Traffic lights are merely a suggestion here. They just honk and shine their lights when they are going to run the light. Police don't enforce that here apparently. Our driver was flying too, so we made it fast. If we took the normal non-stop bus to Naju, it would have taken 45 minutes to get there, but we got in so late that they were done driving that route for the night. About 1 AM Korean time, I was able to finally get to sleep. I slept until about 8AM this morning.
Right now I'm watching the CNN world news in English. There are a few English TV channels here DF says, so maybe later I'll flip the channels. Right now though, I want to finish unpacking and go take a shower. I feel like it's been ages since I have had a bath already and it's only been about 35 hours or so. Oh well :oP