Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pork and Beans

I'm 5 days late, but whatever. Great video.

Got back from Korea on Monday. Our flight from Tokyo to LA was delayed 3 hours. Had a lovely time at the airport getting a 3 hour massage from a half Japanese cellist.* I don't think I can finish my "days in Korea" posts since I didn't have access to a computer for the second week and you know... that thing... with my memory?

What was I talking about? Oh right, second week in Korea. General summary: Jejudo ain't all that, Seoul is damn crowded, subways are good for listening to music while people-watching, and the Blue House (Korea's version of the White House) is guarded by the worst** security in the world -- cops on rollerblades. I actually saw one stumble and nearly fall as he was patrolling. The Korean President is so dead.

All in all, it was a nice trip. Highlights were spending time with my family and relatives, all the good food, and spending time with Grace's father. What a character. I pray I'll never have to meet him ever again.


**By worst, I mean best.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Days 5-8 in Korea

Day 5 (Tuesday)

Because of the rainy weather, we went to Hampyeong (instead of Yeosu) for the 2008 World Butterfly & Insect Expo. I wish I was kidding. The less said about this, the better.

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Started the day back in Daejeon. Mom wanted to go to Gyeongju, a city on the eastside of the country. It was apparently the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty (one of the big three, but not a Celtic), thousands of years ago. Tourists love it.

We departed at 9:00AM and it took us about 3 hours to get there. We visited:

Gyeongju National Museum (mostly old, rusted jewelry and weapons on display),

Daereungwon (bunch of huge tombs clustered together),

and Bulguksa Temple.

Actually for the temple: we didn't get to go in, we only got to the entrance because my mom was too tired and cranky at that point (you have to climb a big hill to get to it). So we just took a picture at the entrance and left. Good times.

After the history lessons, we went down to Busan (another 2 hours) to meet up with my stepdad's old friend. More meat was consumed. Stayed at a motel there overnight.

Day 7 (Thursday)

Came back to Daejeon. Took 3 hours. One thing I like about Korea are the reststops. They have really clean restrooms*, pretty good food and snacks**, and pretty much anything else you'd need while traveling.

I decided I've done enough traveling for now and will be resting the next few days before I meet up with Grace on Sunday for the second half of my trip.

Day 8 (Friday)

That would be today. All I've been doing is eating, sleeping, PC'ing, and TV'ing***. On shuffle. Tomorrow should be the same.

*I mean REALLY clean. There's usually a janitor (always women, on my experience) working her ass off while guys nonchantly urinate on to stalls behind her. There are no paper towels, the restrooms usually have multiple hand dryers, which keep trash to a minimum.

**Goguma (sweet potato), jwipo (seasoned dried filefish), tteokbokki (cylinder-shaped rice cake)... the list goes on. All of my favorites from childhood. MMM.

***There are lots of shows that center around celebrities here. Usually talkshows and gameshows, and they're all I watch. I'm not sure why (maybe my repressed fobbiness), but I find these shows funnier and more hilarious than anything on American TV. I mean really, I have tears because I'm laughing so hard, on a daily basis.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Days 2-4 in Korea


Woke up at 6:00AM. Had light breakfast and headed out to Daecheong Dam, which my stepdad kept referring to as "Hooba Ddem" (Hoover Dam). Wasn't too impressed, but walked around and took some pictures anyway.

Afterwards, my parents took me to some famous pork BBQ place about an hour away in the middle of nowhere in the countryside. I thought it was good, but they kept saying how bad the food had become and they'll never come back again.

Then we went over to my aunt's place in Daejeon. She owns a towel factory right next to her house, which she runs with her husband. For dinner she BBQ'd pork (more?!) for us. I conked out right after, which was about 7:00PM.


Woke up around 2:00AM. Checked email, went back to sleep.

Woke up around 6:30AM. My mom was up, and she made some weird pizza toast concoction for breakfast. Normally I wouldn't eat it, but I had to because it was her cooking. Plus I was really hungry.

The whole family went out to Sang Dang Presbyterian Church, which my aunt attends. The church was massive, probably the size of GKC or Sarang back in Fullerton. We attended the 3rd service of the day at 11:30. It was fully in Korean of course, so I barely understood what was going on. Something about obeying your mother. Zzz. Actually it was pretty cool listening to the Mother's Day sermon sitting next to my mom.

After service we took off to a sashimi restaurant. I'm not the biggest fan of sashimi but I ate the most out of everyone there. Something about being in this country is making me eat as much as Kobayashi.

Then headed back to my aunt's place, but we went the long way around to let the food digest. Ended up going to this recreated landmark filled with old-style houses and buildings from ancient Korean history. I forgot what it was called, but it was fascinating. There was even an art museum inside, with 3 exhibits focusing on the theme of the country. Outside of the area I had a hotdog (which is actually a corndog) and yeot from a seedy vendor. Fantastic.

Finally got back to my aunt's, where everyone napped. At 7:00PM we went back out and had seafood kalgooksu (noodles). Delicious. Said farewell (for now) to my aunt and her family and came back home to Mom's.


Woke up a little before 6:00AM to get ready for our mini-trip to see my other aunt in Gangjin, which is way south near the ocean. It took about 4 hours. She lives in the boonies with her American husband, who's in retirement. My uncle who lives in Gwangju was already there to meet us. My aunt made us bulgogi (beef) with homegrown sangchu (lettuce). Man, I'm eating way too much. After some talk and lots of eating, my uncle had to leave since he had a meeting to attend.

We'll be staying here over tonight, and leave for Yeosu tomorrow.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Day 1 in Korea

More like "Day 1 in airplanes" amirite?

Spent 11 hours and a half on the first flight from LAX to Narita, Japan. Sat in the middle sandwiched between a Japanese businessman and a Korean student. Didn't speak much. Sat through NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, DAN IN REAL LIFE, 27 DRESSES, and DAN IN REAL LIFE (they played it again, to provoke me to do horrible things to them, like singing "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb-a bomb" a la Ben Stiller in MEET THE PARENTS). Fortunately for them, I was too tired at that point to even care.

Spent about an hour at the Narita airport looking around and killing time, waiting for our next flight. That airport is so much nicer than LAX... why is ours so ghetto?

Spent 3 hours on the flight from Narita to Incheon, Korea. That airport is even nicer than the one in Narita. When did Koreans get so fancy? My parents were there to greet me, so we shared a little dramatic moment. I parted ways with Grace, whom I will be reuniting with next week.

Spent another 3 hours on the car ride from Incheon to Daejeon, where my parents live. We got a little lost along the way, even though they had a brand new GPS system that had been purchased just 2 days ago. "We don't know how to use this thing, we're analog people in a digital world."

They live in one of those tall aparment structures, on the 11th floor. Even though it's small inside, I'm just thankful they have a normal bathroom with a toilet and shower intact, and also a computer (which I'm blogging from).

I'm hoping I can update this thing with some pictures later on. When I asked my mom if she had a camera, she pulled out a relic that somehow resembled a Canon. "I can't live like this Mom. I am a 21st century digital boy. I don't know how to live but I've got a lot of toys."

I'm off to see my aunt (Mom's youngest sister) who lives in the same city. 'Til next time.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Big Red Machine

Big, scary dude from TOM YUM GOONG and FEARLESS as a big, timid dude that turns into Hulk's red brother whenever he eats spicy papaya salad, joined by a little girl that can probably kick Matt Serra's ass. I'm sold.

Oh, and he kicks a guy through a plane. Really, I'm sold.

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