Friday, December 29, 2006

A Warm yet Snowy Xmas.

Well, it wasn't quite a White Christmas but the morning of the 24th me, my gf and friend Ariel headed East to the city of Wonju. It was a pretty flat city and didn't seem to have much character compared to the city of Seoul or even Anyang and Yeosu (down south) where I visited. But not to worry, didn't go to Wonju for the city itself...we jumped on a bus within 30 minutes of arriving in the city up to the local ski mountain! Snowbaording on new years eve sounds good to me!

We didn't really plan the trip well though as we got there as the afternoon session was closing and waited 3 hours until the evening ski started. They shut the mountain down for 2 hours three during throughout the day I guess to make more snow and get the runs ready. So, after a good wait me and my buddy Ariel rented snowboards and got our lift tickets to go. You notice I said only me and Ariel, my gf spent the day in the spa as she doesn't like the cold and snow and his buddy who lives in Wonju had a hurt ankle from the week before.

The boarding itself was quite reasonanble. Not as big as YeongPyeong where i went last year and of course it doesn't even compare to the shadow od Whistler or even Cypress for that matter. But not to worry, I went for a little fun and relaxing not hard riding.

The snow was decent and the lines weren't all that bad, maybe 15 minute wait at most. That night went out for some yummy chicken BBQ and soju to celebrate the arrival of Xmas day.

On Xmas day itself we woke up and had some bread and coffee at the local Dunkin' Donuts (the closest comparable thing to Tim Horton's but without the yummy French Vanilla Cap.). Got a bus which took about 3 hours to get back to Seoul as the traffic was heavy but made it back to get the end of a nice sunny day in Seoul.

Didn't really have any Xmas nights plan, but you know the best nights are those that are on a whim. So on the subway home I decide we should go to the local market and get some food at home. We should also invite one of Sungku's friends over for dinner and have a nice Xmas dinner. 'Course at the market Sungku buys clams and oysters for an Xmas dinner so I start wondering if a home cooked dinner was a good plan. Oysters and clams on Xmas (and with kimchi of course too)...yuck.

I dropped by the local butcher and picked myself up a nice duck. If I can't have a roasted turkey, I'll have to settle for roast duck. 'Course the lack of an oven meant that I was going to be cooking it in a toaster oven which proved to be quite the experience.

The dinner itself was great. Sungku and her friend polished off a few bottles of wine and I stuck my to brews. Listened to some music and just chilled for the rest of the night and it was great.

So, I think my first Xmas away from the family was pretty successful and since I got to talk to everyone on the phone, I couldn't have asked more. Now the question is...what for New Years?

Hope everyones Xmas was good.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Konglish at It's Best

The Korean language itself has a huge number of words which are derived from not only English but also Chinese and Japanese. Children will understand if you tell them the computer monitor, mouse, keyboard and modem is broken as all of the words are the same in Korean.

I can live with most of the Konglish but when my gf starts asking me to bring my panties when she wants to do laundry, that's just pushing it too far. Men's and women's underwear in Korea are known as 'Girl panties' and 'Boys' Panties" so I can see the translation, but calling my boxers panties is just not OK with me.

I live in Rodeo Drive now! Well, Munjeong Rodeo street to be exact, it's a discount shopipng center from depeartment stores. Here in Korea shopig at a dept. store means your trendy (and I say rich). Everything there is well overpriced although most Koreans say it is the only place where you can be sure your buying the real brands. Anyways, below is a big outlet with about 12 different upscale fashion labels selling coats inside for 500$, sweaters for $150 and toques for 80$ a piece.

A new meaning of having to go to the Dump.

I've heard of yellow snow before...but brown?

My favourite DVD room in Gangbyeon. I dunno if the pun was intented or not, but it's quite humorous none the less. I love the DVD room in Korea, you go there and can choose from over 200 or so videos, Korean and English and you get your own private room with a 60 inch screen to watch. 'Course you should have a red light in your head at the thought of see what happends sometimes in just imagine if there's no one else around what would happen.

Indeed it does, the DVD room is common for teenagers and younger coulples to frequent as a place to kiss and *cough* other things. Some might never even venture inside for fear of dirtyness but I know there are other places just as dirty that we don't worry about. I figure if I don't know about it, doesn't hurt me.

There are uncountable others, but I got a couple of food pics of these examples. It's enough to keep you amused while on a longley bus ride by yourself.

Xmas break!! Well, only Xmas day itself, but should be a good weekend!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Everyday Randomness

So, life always seems to be interesting no matter how much of a routine you get into. Yesterday I was up at a University studying with my tutor and got a call from the GF. She asks me "Did you lock the door when you left?" Ummm, no why? "I'm locked in and I have to leave for work within 5 minutes or I'll be late!"

Actually I specifically remember thinking I won't lock it, nobody is going to break in, although she might be mad at me. I had locked it before when she was inside and never had any problems before. Anyways,

I could tell she was mighty distressed and I'm thinking, shit, I'm gonna have to jump in a taxi and she's still gonna be late. Me and my buddy who is teaching me had plans for lunch, so I brought him along for the ride back. I figured maybe the neighbor hadthe key and locked it or somethin, I dunno.

Got a call when I was about 5 mins away and she had got it open by what I understood as using a knife to jam it open. I was worried it would be costing me an arm and a leg to get it fixed, and when I got back I saw the door open and the bolt and lock swaying freely some side to side.

Damnit, what did she do to the door. After a quick inspection I realize she only took the screws out and it could be easily fixed again.

What was gonna be a relaxed afternoon and turned out to be a hectic little adventure. Just another day in sunny SK I suppose.


Monday, December 11, 2006

I got all my pictures and videos that were on Sungku's camera (which are 99% of them) so I have all kinds of new pictures poseted on my MSN Live Space. I even got a YouTube account and got some videos up. Let's start with some from my Bday. Yes it was mid-September, but it was a memorable one...and not in the best way. The better part of the night was here watching Sungku eat some live octopus. Since I had eaten more than enough meat before hand I had no problem drinking and watching the spectacle.

The plate is crawling with the sticky suckers...

And now it isn't...

YUCK! I really prefer not having the choice of either chewing my food or it eating me!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's tak'em back a bit.

How far you taken' 'em?

Well we're goin...wayyyy...well, not that far just a few weekends ago.

I got pics from a wedding I went to (though not the professional ones) so I can post about it now.

So Friday night I take off right to Hapkido after school, finished my first test and got my Yellow Belt. Beware the Yellow Belt!!! From there right to Konkuk Uni. area where some friends where having 삼겹살 (pork BBQ) with the school. They were already well into the Soju by the time I got there and when me and a buddy Richie showed up the drinks just kept on flowing. From there we went to another HOF (what they call a pub in Korea) for much more beer and Soju.

I managed to piss one of the girls off well with some of the dirty Korean comments that I have learned. Koreans (most) don't use swears or dirty words and when you do, they aren't too pleased in the least...and this goes double for girls. In the cell phone she translates something and shoes it to me and a buddy...LOW QUALITY. Hahahaha, she was even less pleased when I couldn't stop laughing at the comment. Ahh well, all in good fun.

From there off to the 노래방 (karaoke room) where we blasted away at the usual tunes and heard a few different ones form the Korean girls there. After some Chinese style bowsa (big dumplings) and a taxi home it was after 4 when I got to bed.

Woke up to a phone call from Sungku who was on her way up on the subway. Your still sleeping..aiaiai!! Hurry up or I'm gonna be, your already mad girl. I'll be there when I can. Got there only 4 minutes late, but still a very uncomfortable rest of the subway up 'till she met her friends and got in a better mood.

The reason we were up so early 'tis to go to one of her friends' weddings. We were all meeting and getting on a bus to go to the northern city of Youngja. Was a good 3 hour drive up, but the wedding was fun. Very quick...20 minutes of photos to begin, a 30 minute ceremony, and then a 40 minute lunch. Then back on the bus for a 4 hour ride home.

The ceremony was good ('cept I didn't understand much of what was said) and I wouldn't really say it was a recpeption lunch as you only really chatted with the people that were sitting with you.

The ride home was long as me and Sungku had to sit on opposite sides of the bus. There were two Korean men sitting on either aisle and me and Sungku were looking trying to figure out where to sit...I figured they would move over and we could sit together, but no. The one Korean guy slides down, the guy I had to sit beside just moved his legs to let me through. I talked over him and across the aisle for a good part of the way home, you'd think it would be annoying, but he never moved. I was mighty pissed and thought he was being a dushbag 아젓시 (ajissi, older man).

I find many older men here will do nothing nice for younger people, especially if it means standing up and moving over one seat on the bus. Korea is very much for treating older people with respect, but I find older people could care less for lots of younger people and maybe not disrespect, but arn't very nice to younger people. Even if one person is 20 and one is 21 your whole personality and way of speech changes. I say f*&# that, I show everyone the same respect, older or younger, and if your older and an asshole, I'll treat you so accordingly.

Sorry, little vented rage. So me and Sungku were not gonna come home and planned on staying at the other city, but it was quite small and I didn't think we'd enjoy it much. So we came home and went out for dinner with some of her friends. A good choice it was. More BBQ pork, a grille fish house (which I dind't eat) and 2 pubs later and we were all well tossed.

I always really enjoy going out with Sungku's friends as it is a change in scene and of course they all like to drink. Had a good talk with a Korean history buff...learned a bit about the local history and made a plan to meet next Sunday and do some archery.

Sunday was alot of sleeping and a bit of shopping. Havin a party at my house next Saturday and need to fix up the house and get it ready! Just rain and warm weather here, I hear there's more than a foot of snow in Langley, I'm Jealous!! Aiaiaiaia, I want snow.


Friday, December 01, 2006

A Couple Drinks After Hapkido

Wake up, wake up, wake up, it's the first of the month! in Korea I don't get paid until the 10th of the month, so I won't be cashing any cheques just quite yet.

Finally made a plan to go out with some people form Hapkido for a few beers after the class (it ends at 1030). Me, Simon (from England), the instructor, another Korean student and Sungku went to the local German brewhause for some grub and yummy draft beer. The German beerhause's usually have the best beer around and this one was no different.

Got a plate of friend chicken, a plate of fire chicken and a plate of smoked big feet for food. Yes, you read right, smoked pig feet. It came with the meat stripped off it and of course the bone with the ankle and foot to gnaw on if you so desire. I had a couple of bites, it tasted pretty much like smoked ham, but after all the chicken I was already pretty full. Things were goin well and everyone in the place was having fun.

Then the night turned around.

Some guy that was drinking in the place was cutoff by the woman who ran the Hause and just lost it. He went to the kitchen area (which wasn't sectioned off from the tables really) and started yellin' at her and swearin. She stayed calm and dealt with it fairly well. He kept stepping forward like he was gonna hit her, but she stood her ground and just kept saying leave.

He almost made it to the door, but then turned back around, started yellin and screamin again. The Hapkido instructor gave the cops a call and just stayed calm. The guy obviously hears him and looks at his and says stay out of this, you don;t wanna get hurt (or somethin of the such) and continues berating the poor woman.

'Course the whole time I'm thinking... this guy has no idea there are a table of Hapkido people who arn't too happy with his antics. Anyways, he and his shy buddy take off and so we think all is ok. Back they come in 1 minute with a couple bottles of Soju to show the lady up. He never really drank any..sat up..yelled more. Then chucked one of them (full) against he wall by the kitchen. The women came down and lost it on him, and both there were kaiseky's and ship'pal's tossed all over the place between them (SOB and fuck to translate them). I thought we should have tossed him out of the place by then, but the instructor wouldn't let us get up. There was another table across from us with two middle aged couples and a 4 year old girl. I felt the worse for the little girl..poor thing has to witness that. Anyways, her dad and another little skinny guy has to get up and keep this drunk fuck from hitting the women. Finally, as always, the cops show up after everything has happened (even though the copshop was right across the street) and they take the guy outside and calm him down.

Supposedly if you get rowdy and crazy like that there is no drunk tank here in Korea. A $60 fine and he's on his way.

The women who ran the Hause was really ashamed and brought us a couple rounds of free beers, but it was us who felt more sorry for her.

So, off to the taxi and on our way home from the crazyness. Actually we just got into more. The taxi was flying through red lights and stop signs Harbin style and as we pull up to a red light with cars in front a blue truck with two guys pull and and start swearin at this guy as he passed them without his signal (that is why there were mad, Sungku translated). The driver says and points to pull over. So..we bust a right, pull over and the truck pulls in front. Out jump these two scrawny little things, taxi driver jumps out, rips off his shirt to show a whole back tattoo of a dragon and grabs these little guys.

No full punches thrown..but he taxi has both of these guys by the collar and is just swinging them around everywhere. The one guy gets on the cell to call up the buddies. The taxi driver just keeps walking around and throwing these guys on the ground, they get up, he gets them by the collar again.

Me and Sungku watch for a bit thinking they will end it at that, but after two minutes this is still goin on, out we go and into another cab.

Holy my. Not our night. Sungku was right rattled but I enjoyed the drunken displays and crazy ness a bit. Kinda reminded me of Harbin! We left unscathed so it's just another tally in the old Asian randomness nights.

Havin' a party at my place this Saturday, so hopefully more positive stories next week!