Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zombie Walk

If you happened to be walking around Hongdae on Saturday night, you may have stumbled across some rather gruesome looking fellows who were participating in a so called "Zombie Walk". From what I learned from talking to some of the participants, it was a rather loosely organized group of foreigners who decided to dress as zombies and walk about Seoul and see people's reactions.

I guess they rode the subway, walking through subway cars in a very zombie like manner. Not surprisingly, one guy called the police (who told them to not make too much noise because they weren't really doing anything against the law) and another ajosshi punched one of the zombies in the stomach and kicked him. But, everyone was in good spirits and ready for an evening of haunting in Hongdae when I found them. Korean reactions were varied, but my favorite was the girl who shouted "So cute!" when she saw one of the zombies and proceeded to hug him.

All in all, seemed like a fun time for zombies and victims alike.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another Halloween at SLP

This year's Halloween was the most relaxing I've had in Korea yet. My old school would ask everyone to stay late the night before the party, and decorate. Then afternoon teachers would have to come in to help with the preschool Halloween party, then stay late to run the afternoon student's Halloween party. No one ever got breaks because everyone was assigned one room and there wear kids constantly coming in and out. 

At my new school, there's none of that foolishness. We only had 5 rooms for games and things. One Movie room, craft room, game room and spelling bee room. I actually had lots of breaks since there are way more than 5 teachers to cover 5 rooms. I was supposed to do a craft with the evening kids, but I couldn't imagine telling the 5th and 6 graders "OK guys, we're going to make a pumpkin with paper and tie it to a string!" I would have been booed out of the room. So, I put it to a vote. How many want to make a pumpkin? How many want to watch a movie? And obviously, the movie won. So, I put on The Nightmare Before Christmas for them. Without subtitles. As I was watching it I realized that even an English speaking elementary school student would have trouble understanding it. They use a lot of advanced vocabulary. Then put it in a musical form and it's like a recipe for disaster. But, the kids watched it peacefully enough, considering the fact that they were just staring at pictures essentially for an hour.

Anyway, on to the photos: 

First up is my costume. I've never had a really scary costume before. It was super fun to see kids expressions when they turned around and found me next to them. I am a 처녀귀신- cheonyeo gwishin  or essentially a virgin ghost. Everyone knows this ghost as it's quite famous in Korea. If you can't guess, it's the ghost of a girl who died before she was married.

My favorites. I teach them every day. They are hyperactive and wild, but they study hard and are super smart. I'm sad because it was the girl in the middle, Lucia's, last day.

The adorable and super smart Seo Woo. She is 7 years old, but she is super mature for her age. 

The cutest boy in the school, Yu Chan. He is in our 3rd year Kindergarten class. Meaning he's been studying English since he was Korean age 5. His English is amazing. Even if he has trouble sitting still for more than 2 minutes. 

 My Jennifer. She is in 3rd grade. She's another one with amazing English. She studied in an international school in Vietnam before coming to our school.

Jane is another sweetheart. This mask is the total opposite of her personality.  She is the quietest student I've ever seen, sometimes I have to stand next to her to hear what she is saying, and even then it's hard to hear. Which is why I particularly liked the fact that she was wearing a Scream mask....

And this is not from SLP, but I stumbled across this mask seller in Itaewon last night. I particularly liked the Obama mask, although they had a lot of other interesting masks as well.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My favorite video to show for Halloween

Michael Jackson's Thriller!

Michael Jackson - Thriller
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mountain Food

After our hike down from Yongmunsan, we stopped at the restaurant area at the bottom of the mountain for some dinner. The boyfriend was quite excited to see 더덕 막걸리 (dodok makkoli) which is a rice wine made with the root of a plant. Incidentally, the makkoli had been bottled the same day we drank it... how's that for fresh?

We originally ordered two bowls of this 산채비빔밥 or mountain vegetable bibimbap, but after looking at the menu again, the boyfriend changed the order to one bibimbap and one fried plate of dodok.

 Fried 더덕 dodok. It was better than I expected, but still not amazing. 

 I thought the bibimbap was a bit expencive (6,000 won) until I realized that we got this huge pot of dwinchang jjigae to go with it for free. I can't believe this is only one serving!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hiking Yongmunsan

This past weekend we had decided to go to Soraksan for the weekend to do some serious hiking. But between not being able to get the bus tickets we wanted and the fact that my boyfriend had to teach at our Korean class this weekend it wound up being impossible. So, instead, we opted to climb Yongmunsan a mountain an hour or so outside of Seoul. I went to Yongmunsa , a temple at the bottom of this mountain around this time last year and found it a great place to do some leaf peeping.

 The leaves were out in full splendor and I suspect they should be worth seeing for another week or two if you haven't gotten out of the city yet.

The hike was a bit harder than expected. Though we only hiked for 4 hours and didn't make it to the top of the mountain, but only a minor peak (we didn't start hiking until 2 pm) my knees have been feeling the pain today.

As you can see, there was a lot of scaling of rocks to get up to the top. Actually, it seems a little dangerous if you're not careful.. one slip could send you down the side of the mountain... literally... as the path goes along the ridge of the mountain, steep sides on either side of the path.

But, as always, the view from the top is worth it. The fall colors were fantastic and the air was fresh.

When we came down, we passed through Yongmunsa, the temple we visited last year. The really noteworthy part of this temple is the 1,100 year old ginko (은행) tree. The tree is massive and is pretty hard to get to fit into the frame of the photo. It was about 6:30 by the time I took this photo, it was getting very dark. We got out of the mountain just in the nick of time (as usual). 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

고양이 천국 or Cat Heaven

My boyfriend likes to call our neighborhood "고양이 천국" or Cat Heaven, because it's pretty hard to walk home at night without passing at least one if not several stray cats. I'm not quite sure why there are so many cats, but it could be the close proximity to the Jungang market, plus restaurant waste bins left open and people who buy them snacks from the convenience store here.

We'd never spent much time with the cats, until Friday night.

Usually when we call the cats, they just glare at us and run away. Sometimes we've taken some fun photos of them along the street, but they're not exactly friendly to strangers.

Friday night as we walked home we called to a cat walking down the street, and, strangely, the cat came running toward us. It rubbed up against us and wanted to cuddle. The boyfriend figured she must be hungry and ran into the convienence store to buy one of those nasty sausage sticks to feed it. The cat gobbled that up without hesitating.

Then we walked home and the cat follwed us. We were curious to see if she'd come up the stairs to the third floor, but she wandered in but then wandered back out. We brought out a can of vegetable tuna for her to eat. She ate the whole thing! I was a little afraid she was going to follow us up to the house after that, but I should have known better. Cats know they are cute and adorable and know that people will do anything for them if they act cute and cuddly. But as soon as they get what they want, they go on with their lives as if nothing ever happened. She walked away and got into a fight with another cat on the street.

I feel bad for all these street cats, though they seem to get enough food to eat in our neighborhood. One day I passed a cat carrying a whole fish in it's mouth that it had evidently found in the market. Other days I see them pass me carrying a plastic baggy of food that looks to me like cat food someone must leave out for them. This cat clearly has the cute act all worked out to get free food when she wants.

Sincheon's "Jeonju Makkoli" and Street Food

Ever since our trip to Jeonju early in the summer we've wanted to drink some makkoli, Jeonju style, again. At some point or other, my boyfriend found this place "전주 생 막걸리" in Sinchon and we decided we had to check it out. We'd been talking about it for ages when my boyfriend finally decided that Friday night was the night to go. We just went with the two of us, and with some other friends it would have been more exciting, but anyway, maybe we'll go back because it was quite nice.

 The interior didn't look very special, but when we ordered our makkoli (6,000 for two bottles of Jeonju Makkoli in a kettle) the panchan (side dishes) immediately reminded us of Makkoli Town in Jeonju. While not quite as numerous, or elaborate, upon ordering our kettle of makkkoli, we got a dish of silk worm larvae, ginseng, some kind of sea creatures, along with vegetables. With just two of us we never got to order more makkoli to test whether we could get more entertaining side dishes like in Jeonju, where you get more and more elaborate side dishes with every kettle of makkoli ordered. We also had to order real anju, as opposed to getting it included with the price of our makkoli. But that was ok since we got to choose what we got rather than hoping to get lucky and getting something good to come out. We ordered spicy buchu (scallion) pancake. All together, for two bottles of makkoli, all the panchan (which come with the makkoli) and the buchu-jeon we paid 12,000 won. Not bad I think.

 After the Jeonju Makkoli joint we stopped by a street food stall before hopping the subway to get home. We had some ddeokbokki ( spicy sauce with rice cakes), and twigim (fried things).

Our 튀김... 만두, 고추, 계란, 김밥, 오징어 (dumplings, hot pepper, egg, kimbab, and squid, all fried) coming to a total of 2,500 won. Plus 떡보기  for another 2,500 won.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

GFC as opposed to KFC

 In case you weren't in the mood for KFC, you can always eat some GFC (Good Fried Chicken). We agreed and thought it was quite Good. You probably will too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jeju Guide: Jungmun area part 2: Waterfalls and Cliffs

After finishing swimming at Jungmun Beach, we drove over to see Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. This is another popular destination in the Jungmun area because of its three tiered waterfall, bridge  and some other sights along the way.

Here I am at the first waterfall. It's hard to see here, but the water is actually coming out of the cave on the the sides of the main waterfall. I've heard that if you go after sunset, the cave is illuminated sothat you can see the water coming out of the cave in a new light, so to speak.

 The second falls. We were too hungry and never made it to the third.

The second falls from afar.

Seonimgyo Bridge. If you are able to get a glance of the sides of this bridge, you can see 7 nymphs in wrought iron.

On you way out, stop by the orange grove on the side of the parking lot. You can buy some overpriced tourist stuff here, but I just took a photo and left.

Jusangcheolli Cliffs are about a 10 minute drive from the waterfall and not far from the beach. The cliffs have a very interseting formation that would have been better viewed durring the day, rather than as the park was closing for the eveing. It is one of the few places in Korea that isn't illuminated at night.

Blogger issues...

Has anyone else been having issues with Blogger's new post editor? I like some features like uploading many photos at a time and being able to change the size later with one click.

But, I've found it's nearly impossible for me to format my posts in firefox, my preferred browser. So, I've started using Chrome to do write my posts. But now I'm having issues with posts not saving, alignments changing on their own and just general frustrations all around.

I can't publish my posts because it's telling me that the HTML tag is not allowed. But I'm not editing the HTML. Which means that blogger produced  a tag that it won't accept. -_-

Is it me or blogger?? The old editor was clunky and annoying, but at least I could always get everything done.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jeju Guide: Jungmun area part 1: Jungmun Beach

 Jungmun Beach seems to be a very popular place with foreigners and Koreans alike. I saw more (western) foreigners here than I did on any other part of the island. But I can see why. Beautiful views, world class hotels, a great beach where you can actually surf and a location very close to Seogwipo, the second largest city in Jeju.
 Here you can see us sitting on the 쉬리 (shwiri) bench. It sounds more to me like the "shitty bench" when you say it quickly, but there's nothing shitty about it. It's a bench made famous from a movie filmed here a while ago and people make a point to come by and sit in this bench and look over the ocean from here when they visit this spot. It's located near the Shilla Hotel, high on the cliffs above the beach.

As you make your way down to the beach, you may come across some of these guys. Harubang are protectors and gods of fertility on Jeju.

 Now for the beach! Yup, it's a nice beach, with lots of waves!

 The weather was actually just warm enough for me to get in. And the water temperature was not very cold at all. It was quite enjoyable.

 There were quite a number of surfers in the water. I can't vouch for how good the surfing is, but by the number of people trying to surf it must mean it's good enough. I didn't see many people getting up on their boards though.

 A view from above of Jungmun Beach. Be sure to stop by, especially if you're a beach lover.