Monday, May 31, 2010

Now I Know How Lindsay Lohan Feels!

A couple of weeks ago, Ange, Mikan and I went on a trip for Buddha's Birthday to Ulsan and Daegu. We had no idea where we were going until we got to the bus station.. we knew we wanted a beach, and so we opened our travel books and picked a place. Ulsan it was.. we headed to Ilsan Beach.. not knowing we were going to like Ulsan SO much! It was only pretty outside for 1 day out of our 3 day weekend. But, we had the time of our lives on Friday, so it was OK!

1.) Paparazi Creepin'

When we arrived in Ulsan, we took a taxi to Ilsan Beach, it was very quiet.. not a whole lot of people, which was very surprising for a holiday. However, there were PLENTY of people who wanted to talk to us as we were relaxing on the beach. AND plenty of girls that wanted to have their picture taken with us.. after the second group I decided, HEY I want a picture too! See below :)

We found out that this place is well known in Korea for eating whale meat.. makes me sad. But apparenly it is against the law to kill a live whale, so they eat the meat of dead whales they find. Weird, I know. I didn't eat any!
Once we were starving, we left the beach and headed to the city. This city is A LOT bigger than Jinju.. and I think just a bit smaller than Busan (which is the 2nd or 3rd largest city in Korea). YET, people acted like they had never seen a white person in their lives!! We were asked yet again for pictures to be taken.. which always comes with a bunch of laughs and awkard conversation. It was fun until we were just SO hungry that we had to get away! We asked a campaigner (its election time) what part of the city we should go to for fun night life.. he informed us of Samsan, and he put us in a cab, and we were on our way!

2.) Loooove Motel Stayin'

(they MUST have a plethora of 'hoe' business cards taped to the outside for us to even turn our heads and look at the name of the hotel)
We dumbly decided to get a hotel first, instead of eat, so we were 3 grumpy hungry Lindsay Lohans roaming the streets. We went to about 10 hotels, because we wanted a jaccuzi REAL bad, and a nice room. We finally settled on a hotel that had a nice shower.. but all was good, our bed was ROUND! PIMP

We had the best time ever at dinner, it started our night off fabulously.. with some yummy Korean BBQ.. and YES we cooked it ourselves at our table :) And we started our Korean night off right.. with some Soju (Super traditional, Korean sweet potato liquor) :)

Next, on our girls night.. we headed to W Garden which was recommended to us by the campaigner guy.. we actually found him there the second time we made an appearance there! Then, we headed to Cow9, which was decorated SO southern it was insane. We were sat on the balcony, and we flicked the styrofoam looking and tasting snacks off the balcony the whole time while drinking Makali Cocktails. THE best! Makali is also a very traditional drink in Korea and it is normally kind of chunky because they leave some fermented rice in it.

Then, we decided to head back to W Garden because it was so wicked looking inside. And we picked the most random drinks off the menu praying it would be faaabs. SO.. we ended up with a Hong-Kong-a-Go-Go, Mickey Mouse and a Pussycat. In order below. Best choices of the night!

We met a couple Canadian Engineers who were working at a nuclear power plant there.. pretty cool, huh? We hung out and danced with them most of the night.. went to Beat Bar which played awesome throw back songs to the 90's. It was just a load of fun.

4.)Jet Settin' and Passport Losin'
Do express busses count?? And losing my phone instead of a passport (you wont understand this part unless you keep up on celeb gossip... I DID lose my phone though) We took a bus to Daegu on saturday and visited the Daegu Tower and ate amaaaazing western food! It was fabulous! Bah, great! Below is a picture of the Sky Toilet :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Live Traditional Sanjo Gayageum Music

One word: AWESOME


I just had one of the most relaxing days so far in Korea. I woke up early, showered, got ready and headed downtown. The weather today was more than gorgeous. The shade was nice and cool, the sunny parts nice and hot. I started off by heading to a phone store to buy a new phone (I lost mine the other weekend in Ulsan). I stopped by two stores before I found cell phone heaven. Three people in the store spoke broken English.. and I was more than thrilled. This is very rare, and it was just so relaxing and not as stressful as I thought it would be. I ended up getting an awesome phone, way cooler than my last AND its pre-paid.. so we'll see if it ends up being any cheaper :). One less bill, holler! Well that was a surprising success. Then, I ventured to the market. I found some super nice fabric to lay on at the beach and a super cool gift for my dad for father's day! The fabric man was SO nice... I spoke no Korean and he spoke no English, yet we bonded in this sweet way. He lowered his prices and gave me awesome service! And the super cool thing, is when they cut the fabric for you (at least at this place, they always have) they rip it with their hands, rather than using scissors.. and it is in a super straight line! It's pretty awesome! I went to my favorite smoothie place, basically a $1.25 for AMAZING fresh fruit smoothies! To die for!! I decided I was ready to lay down, eat lunch and read a good book! I went and got some Kim Bop rolls (like sushi, minus the raw fish) and headed to Jinju Castle (an awesome temple right downtown on the river!). The castle has a lot of green grass, huge trees, awesome architecture and amazing music. I read a new book I just bought, The Alchemis (fabs, so far) and laid on the green grass with my new blanket, looking over the river. It was so peaceful and serene. The most pleasant part, was reading my book and hearing the huge drum near one of the entrances being beat.. I felt like I was back in the old days with monks roaming everywhere. There were plenty of people roaming around and enjoying the gorgeous day though. As I was leaving the temple, I heard some music and decided to check it out. A traditional Korean dance was going on, and the women were GOREGOUS. Following, was traditional music. Four women and a man played sanjo gayageums (a traditional Korean string instrument) while a beautiful woman dressed in yellow, played the drum.. this was the first live instrument performance I had seen and it was awesome! Nothing like being at the right place at the right time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Time Everyone on the Street Froze

I'm walking to work as usual this morning at 10AM, it takes me about 25 minutes. I wasn't running late, and I took my normal path. I cross the first major intsection, not realizing anything weird.. until, a lady grabbed my arm and said something (I thought she was trying to get me to eat at the restaurant stand that was infront of us) so I shrugged my shoulders, gave an awkward smile (like I have NOOO idea what you're saying) and kept walking. Then, I walked about 20 steps, and a guy at a crosswalk was telling me to not move (I guessed), I wasn't intending to cross the crosswalk.. so I tried to keep walking. Then he used his orange wand to instruct me not to move and he held out 2 fingers.

I'm thinking, what are you doing? Construction?! Why is everyone listening to him? This is retarded? Then I realized I had been hearing a siren and it wasn't turning off.. it didn't sound like it was moving closer or farther away.. and I was just confused!

Then, I saw a guy in a business suit slyly walk by like he didn't see anything happening, so I walked off too.. quick! I had to go to work!

Well, I take about 30 steps, turn around and realize that none of the buses are moving, none of the cars are moving, all of the people are standing or sitting in one spot, and the people with wands have random yellow nazi looking armbands on. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!

So, I called my co-teacher at the Kindergarten, and she wasn't helpful. Had NO clue what I was talking about. And I realized! HEY! I'm right by Dunkin' Donuts (and there is a girl that speaks English well that works there). So I walk in, of course no one is in there.. because no one is moving outside! And I ask her what is going on.. I pull her to the door and say 'moving, NO! what?! crazy!' , and after a bit of thought she explains that it is a drill for earthquakes and air defense stuff. I'm thinking to myself, wow, this city really is intense and crazy!

Anyways, I wasn't late to work. But it is honestly the weirdest thing I've experienced yet, especially not knowing the language!

Post Office Happiness

My best friend's birthday is coming up. So I decided to mail her something very Korean. It is small, glass, light and a very distinct shape. I have mailed one of these 'things' before and it cost me about 6,000 Won.

Well... I went today to mail it.

To begin with, she asked if it would explode by saying 'Plane' and then making a bursting gesture. I said, 'No, thick glass'. Oh, 'glass-uh?'. 'Ne, glass-a'.

The post office lady typed a bit, and then pointed to the screen. TWENTY-TWO thousand won??! And I try to explain it cost me only 6,000 Won the last time.. what was going on?! I wrote down 6,000 Won and 10 days on a piece of paper. She wrote down 22,300 and circled 300 and said for the box (30 cents).. not my issue. So I try to explain again. She is confused. I put my hands up in the air and acted like I was flying a plane. Then, a light bulb came on. She pulled a different paper out of the drawer and I wrote allll the informaiton down again on this paper. She tallies it up and writes down 18,300.

WHAT THE HECK?! So I started allll over again, "one month ago.. 6,000.. price increase?!" Anyways, we just spoke in broken English until she wrote down 'confirmation'. YES! That was the issue, I said 'ANIYO' (no) and a guy pointed to a teeny-tiny slip of paper that was purely for customs. Haleluia! Problem solved.

Shipping cost: 3,300 Won
SUCCESS! After a half an hour, literally!

Then, she gave me my change, and put a little gift with it and said Sorry! Hahaha, the gift was a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with holder. I LOVE Korea!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Have Realized...

... that I have been in Korea for 3 months... and it feels like 3 weeks!

I have also realized, that I am already really comfortable here. Please see below:

1.) I am no longer afraid of the Hospital Gang that I walk past every day to get to work. (Picture soon).

2.) I rarely look twice.. well.. three times.. definitely never four times like I used to, when I walk past a restaurant and see an IV just dangeling there on its stand with the sick person hanging out in public like they don't have a needle inserted into their hand and acting like they don't have a hospital gown on.

3.) I still laugh everytime I see someone wheeling around their IV in a grocery store... maaaybe I'm not quite over it :).

4.) I am totally used to the Koreans running away from the sun... literally... today, I saw one lady with a jacket over her head, tons of umbrellas, and a lady run across the street and start walking once she got into the shade.

5.) I feel badass when I wear a tank top/spaghetti straps to work because evveeerrryone else is wearing jackets and white gloves.

6.) I had a new student in my 5 year old class today. His mom told us his English name is Dragon. My jaw dropped and I laughed for a while. It was a little awkward at the beginning of class calling him Dragon, but then I realized he answers to it (which is awesome) and it is super fun to say in a deep voice with a little rawr at the end :)

7.) I no longer find it weird when people stare at me, or random old ladies feel me up, or when a mom forces her kid to talk to me to practice their English.

8.) I am used to seeing seriously funny sayings on business signs (in English), mispellings and horrible grammar on t-shirts, and knock-off Louis Vuitton bags that have 'LW' on them instead of 'LV'.

In short, I LOVE YOU KOREA! You make every day different and funny!