Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reading the Subway Display or How to Not Get on the Wrong Train

So, I've been surprised to learn recently from some people I know here in Korea that they didn't know you can tell which train is coming at the subway stop by looking at the display screen.

First off, here's a link to an interactive subway map. And here's a link to a blog I posted previously with general subway information.

If you can't read Korean, I would definitely recommend learning enough to be able to read, or at least recognize, stop names on subway displays. "Why?" you may be asking. Well, here's why: some subway lines split and sometimes trains won't be going to the end of the subway line. Here's the best example of this: Line 1, the dark blue line.
Just waiting to take you to the wrong place

Let's say in this example that you are in Yongsan shopping for some cheap electronics (green circle) and now you want to go meet your military friend in Osan (red circle) to get some foreign goods from the Air Force base there. However, if you're not paying attention, you could end up in any number of places that aren't Osan. The 3 places that I've circled in yellow are where Line 1 splits. You need to be able to recognize a destination on the display that will get you on the right train going to your destination.

So, here is the display that you will see in the subway stations that have trains stopping that may be going to a variety of final stops.
You are so screwed if you can't read me, bwahaha!

The orange column (number 1) tells you the last stop of the train; the green column (number 2) tells you the current location of that train; the red column (number 3) just tells you the train's motion status. This is the display in Jeongja Station on the Bundang line. As you know, I live in Yeongtong: specifically, at the Cheongmyung Station stop. If I'm coming home from Seoul, I need to make sure I get on the right train to get home so I'm not waiting in the cold for 15 minutes for the right train after I have to get off at the last stop, which happened earlier this weekend when I wasn't paying attention. For reference, here's the part of the Bundang line being referred to in this sign.
Yay! The subway is open!

So, the top row is the train that is going to be at the station next. The last stop for it is Jukjeon (죽전 - you can ignore the "행": it just means "line"), and it is currently approaching (접근) Seohyeon (서현). Since the last stop for this train is Jukjeon and I want to go to Cheongmyung, I don't want to take this train. The second train (row 2) is going to Mangpo (망포), and it is currently at (도착)- or arriving at - Taepyeong (태평). Since Mangpo is past where I want to go, this is the train I'll wait for and take. The third train is also stopping its run at Jukjeon (죽전), and it is currently departing from (출발) Suseo (수서).

So, that's how you read the display and can tell if you're getting on the right train. If nothing else, being able to read the stop names in the subway should be good motivation to at least learn to read Hangul.

Happy subway riding and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Worst Taxi Ride Ever

So, since I'm avoiding going back home and cleaning my apartment so I can start packing soon, I'll tell you a little story. Gather round, boys and girls, for the tale of The Shittiest Taxi Driver in Korea.

'Twas a cold and icy Saturday afternoon in the little hamlet of Suwon City in South Korea. Two young *cough* ladies, we'll call them Arizona and Missouri, had a craving for some Indian food, so they decided to meet at Ayesha by the train station for lunch. After some good food and general hanging out, they decided to leave and go back to their own neighborhood across town.

They left the restaurant and went in search of a taxi to dash them away back home. Now, they could've crossed the street, but Missouri was wearing YakTrax on her shoes so she wouldn't bust her ass on the snow/ice and wasn't up to climbing the stairs and crossing the road to catch a taxi that would've been more convenient. So, she made things more difficult and took her friend around the corner to catch a taxi without having to climb stairs.

They catch a taxi with minimal effort and no ass-busting on the ice, amazingly, since both of them are like a newborn Bambi on ice: one is from the desert and the other can barely walk on dry ground let alone ice. So, they get in the taxi and Arizona tells the driver, "Kyunghee-De kajuseyo." The driver says, "Gyonggi-de?" Arizona replies, "Aneeyo, Kyunghee-de." The driver shakes his head and says, "Gyonggi-de," and starts driving. Arizona and Missouri then both yell to the driver, "No! No 'Gyonggi-de', 'Kyunghee-de'!" The drive seems to understand and nods. Ok, good. Then the driver turns where he probably shouldn't turn. Arizona starts to get a bit worried, but Missouri used to live near the direction they are heading and tells Arizona that sometimes the taxi drivers will turn there and go around the major intersection to avoid traffic jams. But then, where the driver should turn right to head back to the main road, he keeps going straight. Arizona then pulls out her phone and has the driver pull over so she can show him the name of the place in Korean. This takes 4 attempts since he keeps touching the damn screen and flipping the page instead of just reading it. They even tell him "Yeongtong Gu" several times so he'll know for sure which area of Suwon to go to.

Finally! It seems they might finally have gotten through to the old man (and he was old). They continue on their merry way, but where the driver should have turned to go around the fortress to head to the right part of town, he turns the other way. Arizona and Missouri begin to get very angry when they arrive at the entrance to Gyonggi-de. Arizona then yells very angrily at the driver, "NO! NOT GYONGGI_DE!!! KYUNGHEE DE!! KYUNGHEE DE!! YEONGTONG!!" The driver turns around and starts to head in what seems to be the right direction. Now, if you're familiar with Korean body language and could see the driver, which Missouri could, you would see the driver doing the little head tilt/shake and muttering to himself that means he thinks the passengers don't know where they want to go and are stupid foreigners. Meanwhile, the passengers just want to strangle him.

Finally, the angry taxi ride ends at Arizona's apartment by Kyunghee-de - the driver took the ladies directly to the right place once he got his head out of his ass - and Missouri and Arizona have a much needed drink.


Moral of the story: Some people are just fucking assholes and think foreigners in Korea are stupid and don't know anything - even where the hell they want to go in a taxi when they show the address IN KOREAN. Asshole.

Mother's Grill - Chinatown, Las Vegas

Yes, Las Vegas has a Chinatown. And they have a website. So, if you know me, you know that I absofuckinglutely looooove Chinese food. Especially Springfield-style cashew chicken. Yeah, that's right, we created that deliciousness in SW Missouri. But, I digress. So, when I'm in the US, I have to try to have American Chinese food at least once. So, while taking a taxi back to my hotel one afternoon, I asked my taxi driver, who was Asian incidentally, "So, can you recommend any good Chinese restaurants around here?" And because I didn't want to seem racist, I hastily added, "Or Mexican restaurants?" The nice fella informed me that there was a Chinatown located maybe a mile behind my hotel, recommended a restaurant to check out there, and told me they had a website I could look up to get directions and such.

So, I browsed around the web site and decided that I would take Doug there after he arrived one night for dinner. Who would've thought we'd have a Chinatown nearby? Now, our getting there was an adventure, which I will tell you about now. Apparently I'm shit at telling directions outside of Missouri. I think Korea has broken my internal compass. So, my directions from the hotel to Chinatown said to turn 'x' direction on Spring Mountain Rd...Spring Mountain Rd curves around my hotel, so I had no clue which direction was which, so I panicked and turned the wrong way. Of course. So, we drove the wrong way for a bit looking for a place to turn around and head back the other way with the idea to take a cross road back over to Spring Mountain Rd. Nope. We end up on a highway type road. Shit. I pull us off on a road name that I recognize and kind of head towards what I hope will be a road that can take us back to where we want to be. If not, we'd just stop somewhere random and eat since we had tickets to see Penn & Teller later that evening. Finally, I say to Doug, "Ok, the next light we'll turn left and see where it takes us." We turn left, and I see Hangul (Korean) on a building, then Chinese characters. Doug and I look at each other in startled disbelief - I had somehow bungled us directly into Chinatown! Moral of the story - buy a damn compass.

This is the only non-blurry pic...

We look around at our options, and I inform Doug that we're having Korean BBQ. Since he won't visit me in Korea, I'll bring a bit of Korea to him.
Yes, he is using a fork. The boy can't use chopsticks to save his life.

We ended up going to a place called Mother's Grill. It wasn't bad and it was reasonably priced, I think.
A few of the meat options

There were a few issues I had while trying to order our food. We waited for several minutes for the guy to bring the meat out for us to cook, but apparently since we only ordered 1 order of meat, they were going to cook it in the back and bring it out. A minute later, he comes out with the raw meat and tells me that they hadn't started it yet and turns on our grill so we can cook it ourselves - very nice of him :)
The meaty meat

So, then, since I'm apparently the demanding kind, I asked him if we can have some sesame leaves for the meat. He said that for the type of meat we ordered, the salad was the base for it. I wasn't happy with that since a lot of the leaves in the "salad" were bitter and I wanted sesame leaves, dammit. So I then asked him, "Well, can I purchase some sesame leaves on the side?" He looked kind of surprised and said, "Oh, well, yes. Give me a second." A few minutes later he comes back out carrying a small plate and looking kind of sheepish, "I'm sorry, the leaves are very small, so I'm not going to charge you for them." They were tiny. It was pretty comical to hold up a leaf half the size of my palm - I didn't take pictures of them, my bad. I think I ended up kind of sandwiching the meat between two leaves for most of it.

So, that was our Korean BBQ adventure in Las Vegas. It was no Hwasarang and not as good as the BBQ in Korea, but if you've never been to Korea, then you won't know the difference :) There are a lot of restaurants in Chinatown to choose from: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese... So if you want to get off The Strip for a bit, I definitely recommend checking the area out!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Aces & Ales, Las Vegas, NV

So, I haven't found a lot of my pics from last year, but I do have my pics from this year's trip. I'm finally going to write a post about Aces & Ales. This is a bar located a few miles off the strip. It's known more as a craft beer bar and people go there to try lesser-known beers. You can get the address and see their full food and beer menu on their website that I've linked to above. It takes about 15 - 20 minutes to get to the place from the strip, but it's worth it. The prices seem fairly reasonable to me, but then again it's Vegas and I've been living overseas for 5 years, so what the hell do I know.
Aces & Ales

Now, I'm not a big beer fan, but I had been watching Brew Masters on Discovery Channel and was intrigued by the different flavors that Dogfish Head brewery uses (we're a bit behind on TV shows in Korea). So I did a search for what places in Vegas sell their beers and found Aces & Ales. It didn't hurt that they also have a full menu so we could have dinner there as well.

As at any bar, you'll see the regulars there sitting at the bar playing the video poker machines embedded in the counter. The people working are friendly, though, and try to be attentive. We were there fairly earlyish on a Saturday evening and it was pretty busy.

My Dougie and I tried the Black & Blue from Dogfish Head first.
Big bottle o' beer
Nice looking beer

It wasn't bad, but I sadly am just not meant to be a beer drinker - guess I'll stick to my mixed drinks and my hard ciders.

For dinner, I ordered the buffalo chicken macaroni & cheese. It was, really, really good. It also came with some toast. It was very cheesy and the buffalo chicken wasn't overly spicy, but added just the right amount of kick.
Mac & cheesey goodness

I think Doug ordered the chicken cheese steak sandwich with sweet potato fries. If I remember correctly, he said it was really good. Both of us were super stuffed after grub.
Doug and his sammich

To finish up our dinner at Aces & Ales, Doug had a glass of 120 Minutes from Dogfish Head (I think) and I had an appletini :D
He wasn't drunk - he just looks it
Don't judge me - it was delicious

So that wrapped up our evening at Aces & Ales before we headed back to The Strip. I definitely recommend checking this place out if you want to get off The Strip for a bit for something different.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foreigner Bus Ride in Korea

Buses in Korea are extremely convenient ways to get around the area. However, if you're a foreigner, riding a bus can make you feel like a leper. For some reason, whenever I'm on a bus (even the Samsung shuttle buses), the seat next to me is always the last one left and sometimes people will stand instead of sitting by me. I swear that I shower...

Anybody else have these experiences? Or am I just a smelly foreigner?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jester's Pies

I’ve been meaning to post about Jester’s for quite a while. Jester’s is an Australian meat pie chain that has several locations here in Korea. Here’s a link to their locations in Seoul. The only location that I’ve been to in Seoul is the Itaewon branch. 

It's Paint - whattaya expect?

The first time I had Jester’s, my friend Eunyoung brought me a pie at work – very sweet of her. I don’t recall what kind it was, but it was quite good. I do have to say, though, that Jester’s isn’t vegetarian friendly – nearly all of the pies have meat in them. I think the only ones that don’t are the apple & cinnamon pie and the apple & blueberry pie. The pies are also fairly inexpensive as far as foreign food in Korea goes - they're in the 3000 - 4000 won price range.

Mmm, pies.

Mmm...plastic pies

I happened to be in Seoul for Eunyoung’s wedding in August and went to Itaewon afterwards with Marianne and Justin to hang out for a bit. Justin, being an Aussie, wanted some Jester’s.

The happy couple before Marianne started eating Justin's food

She's lucky she survived - you don't come between an Aussie and his meat pie in Korea

I don't recall what kind of pie this was, but Marianne seemed to enjoy it.

The meat pies aren't very large, so if you expect to have it for a meal, you might want to get two. Unless you're Korean. Then you might eat half of one and start saying how full you are.

At any rate, the location in Itaewon is open super late, so stop in and try a meat pie if you're near one of the locations. You definitely won't regret it.

Might I recommend the aptly named for being in Asia "Curry butter chinken" ? Oooh, a racist joke.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Korean Superstitions

I meant to post this around Halloween, but I've been busy and other stuff. Oh well. This post is about Korean superstitions in S. Korea that I've learned about during my time here.

Fan Death

This is probably one of the very first superstitions I heard when I arrived in as soon as I met the academic director of the hakwon and saw my apartment. He told me to not sleep with my air conditioner on or a fan on. Mind you, this was the middle of August in Korea, so that wasn't happening.

It is apparently believed that sleeping with the fan on in a room without ventilation will cause hypothermia or asphyxiation. And yes, people still believe this in Korea.

I'm not sure if this is related, but I've also encountered the heat being cranked up full blast in the winter and then windows being opened. The people by the windows were freezing while everyone else was boiling. I'm not sure of their reasoning behind doing this, but I've seen lots of people do this in places where the thermostats are separate for floors or rooms.

Red Ink
This one also came to my attention while I was teaching courtesy of my students. If you write someone's (a living person's) name in red ink, they're going to die.

This origin of this one is more historical. Koreans only write names of deceased people in red ink in the family register and on the funeral name banner.


The number 4 in Asian cultures is similar to the number 13 in Western cultures. The Chinese word for '4' is very similar to the Chinese word for "death," so it's considered bad luck. Some buildings will skip the 4th floor altogether, or they'll use the letter 'F' instead. So if you get in an elevator in Korea, you'll often see '1', '2', '3', 'F', '5' on the buttons. The building that I work in at Samsung has 38 floors and we skip the 4th and 13th floors completely. If you watch the screen that displays the floor number, 3 and 12 stay on the screen for an unusually long time.

Hair Washing and Seaweed Soup

On the day of an important event, like taking an important test or something, you're not supposed to wash your hair or eat seaweed soup.

If you wash your hair, you'll wash away all of your knowledge. Seaweed is slippery, so if you eat seaweed soup, everything you've learned will just slip away.


In Korea, different birds have different meanings. The two that I've heard the most about are crows or ravens and magpies. If you see a crow or raven in the morning, you'll have bad luck, but if you see a magpie in the morning, you'll have good luck.

Nail Clipping

I have no idea about the origin of this one, but you're not supposed to clip your finger or toe nails at night. If the clippings fall on the floor, a mouse could eat them during the night and become your doppleganger.


Yup, poop. When I first came to Korea, stuffed toys shaped like little piles of poo were popular and I'm beginning to wonder if this superstition is why. If you dream of poop, you'll have good luck. I actually had a Korean friend tell me about a dream she had about rabbits pooping all over her apartment - and she was happy about this dream since it meant good luck. I told her it meant she was going to have a shitty year :). I'm such a good friend. I believe the origin of this one goes back to when there were more farmers in Korea. Animal poo is used as fertilizer, so the more poo you have, the more you can fertilize your crops. Ergo, better crops, better harvest, more money.

Wedding Bouquets

Ah, the wedding bouquet. You knew they'd have to have one considering the importance that the culture places on getting married. This one goes that if you catch bouquet when the bride tosses it, you need to get married within 3 months or else risk not getting married for X number of years or something. You can catch another bouquet in that 3-month period to extend your marriage time frame, though. Another one with the wedding bouquet is that whoever catches it has to burn it 100 days after the wedding to ensure that the couple will live happily ever after.

Well, that's all I've got for Korean superstitions. I'm sure I've missed some. Let me know of any I've missed or any superstitions from your own culture in the comments :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Taxi Driver Randomness

So, just a random little story for y'all today really quick.

One day last week after getting my morning...well, ok, let's be noon coffee at Starbucks before work I went out to flag down a taxi to go to work. I catch one, hop in, and say hello.

Driver: Ososehyo!
Me: Hi, um, Samsung Jeonja Jeong Mun.
Driver: Samsung Jeonja Jeong Mun?
Me: Nay.
Driver: Ok, buddy! Hahaha! Ok, buddy!!
Me: o_O

So off we go to Samsung.

This morning, I go to Starbucks to get my...noon coffee before heading to work. I head out to catch a taxi, but I get distracted by the caramel that has wrapped itself around my straw at the top of my iced coffee and miss 2 taxis as they go by. I do catch the third taxi I see and hop in.

Driver: Ososehyo!! Samsung Jeoja Jeong Mun?
Me: Um, yes. Jeong mun.
Driver: Ok, buddy!!
me: o_O

It's the same freaking taxi driver I had last week! What are the odds that he would happen to be driving by again and be the taxi that I happen to catch after messing with my straw in my coffee?! So, not only do all of the taxi drivers behind Samsung recognize me and know where I live, some random driver in Yeongtong recognizes me and knows where I work.

I guess all I have to say about it is "Oh, Korea."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kim's Club - Ingyedong New Core Outlet

So, I was going to Ingyedong yesterday (Saturday) to pick up a few groceries even though I live 2 blocks from a Homeplus. The problem with living so close to Homeplus is that you feel weird taking a taxi home even if you have a lot of stuff - at least I feel weird doing that. So when I go to Homeplus, I only grab a few things that I stick in my backpack. I don't like carrying bags in my hands for very long since it starts to hurt quite a bit - carpal tunnel issues. So I will take a taxi over to the Ingyedong New Core outlet and go to the Kim's Club in the basement.

If you're not familiar with Ingyedong, it's a nice area - I used to spend a lot of time there. I'll try to give a rough map (I'm on my netbook using MS Paint so....yeah...) with some landmarks that people might be familiar with in the area. Kim's Clubs can typically be found in the basements of New Core Outlets or sometimes as small stand alone neighborhood markets.
Yup...that's all ya get

To get to this area from Yeongtong, you can take a taxi and tell the driver "Ingyedong New Core," but pronounce "core" like "co-ah." In Korean, I believe it's written as 뉴코어, so pronounce it this to keep the drivers from looking at you like you've grown a second head. There are also two buses that go by the outlet - the 2-1 and and 13-1. It takes about 30 minutes or so on either one (catch them going away from the Homeplus in Yeongtong).

So why do I come all the way over here to pick up a few groceries? Several reasons, really, and I don't have pictures because I didn't feel like juggling my camera along with my shopping basket to take them. One reason is that they are never packed with people like Homeplus and E-Mart. One reason that I avoid Homeplus is there are just waaaay too many people. Kim's Club is never packed like that, so I'm not fighting my way through people to look at vegetables. They also have a broad enough selection of products and a few things you can't find at Homeplus. It's a smaller store, but they have enough stuff that it doesn't matter - a nice mix of local and imported goods. I picked up some frozen raspberries for a friend while I was there because they can't really be found anywhere else. They also have frozen blueberries, mangoes, cherries, and strawberries. The frozen food section is really quite nice: frozen pizza, tater tots, french fries, mandu, and other stuff. The dairy and cheese section isn't as full as Homeplus, but you can still get a nice variety of items. They also have a small selection of household goods like towels, bathroom stuff, pots and pans, etc. They also have a nice, but small, wine and beer selection.

So if you need to pick up a few groceries or other items and don't want to deal with crowds, you should give Kim's Club a shot - you might find your new market :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pho Mein - Everywhere

Hey folks! Just a quickie post about a Vietnamese/Thai chain. I'm starting to get a bit cranky about not being able to find my pics from Vegas from last year. It's very frustrating. Anywho, you'll spot little "Pho" chains all around Korea: Pho Bay, Pho Mein, Pho King (no I'm not kidding), among others. While hanging out with a couple of friends on Saturday, we went to the Pho Mein in the I'park Mall in Yongsan Station. I didn't take a lot of pics - sorry!

So, Pho Mein has a selection of pho as well as some Thai dishes, like Pad Thai. I believe dishes have an average price of around 10000 won, which is fairly typical. I wouldn't say this place is very vegetarian friendly, though. The spring rolls here, which are usually filled with only vegetables, have seafood or pork in them. The branch we were at also offered a pot of jasmine tea on the table for free, which is nice. The service was also very quick.

I had the chicken fried rice, which was really very good. It was a bit oily, so if you don't like that sort of thing, you shouldn't eat here.

Denise and Marianne both ordered the chicken pad thai. It looked really good and they both said it was good, so I'll take their words for it :).

I forgot to take more pics of the place, but oh well. You can spot Pho Meins all over the place. If you're in a hurry for a quick lunch or dinner, it's not too bad of a place to stop in and grab a bite. Remember, though, that a lot of the dishes will have meat or some sort of seafood in them. Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flying Pet Peeves

So, I’m still looking for my pics of Vegas from last year *sigh*. I know they’re on one of the external hard drives or computers – I just need to find the right one. Until then, here’s a post of my traveling by air pet peeves (in no particular order – they all annoy me equally).

1. Security Line
I know, I know – everyone bitches about security at airports. With all of the rule changes, the body scanners, and the incompetent TSA employees, who can blame people for complaining about it once in a while? I actually don’t mind it so much since I know they’re just trying to keep the flights safe, and I, for one, enjoy arriving at my destination safely. But there are two areas that annoy me: feeling like I have to do everything at breakneck speed and having to do two security checks back-to-back.

When I travel back to the US, I usually have multiple electronic items in my backpack that I use as my carry-on: netbook, external hard drive, camcorder, camera, iPod, and 1 or 2 cell phones. I have to pull all of this out of my bag and put it in the little tray. Then I have to also take off my shoes, belt, and if it’s the winter, my coat. There are usually going to be people behind me, and I hate to feel like I’m holding a line up, so I feel like I have to just dump everything out of my bag quickly and strip down as fast as I can. Then I have to put everything back in place after I get through the screening area – also at a breakneck speed. Luckily, at Incheon Airport for this last trip home, we didn’t have to remove our shoes and belts. I think Koreans were just tired of smelling foreigner foot stank.

Now, for the security checks, this is about connections in Japan specifically. A lot of my flights connect in Japan (usually Narita in Tokyo) since it’s cheaper to do so. But it’s really annoying to get off a plane and go right back through a security checkpoint and be right back at another secure area right after. Why? Why in the world do we have to do this? It’s just frustrating if you’re already on a tight connection schedule to have to waste the time going through a security checkpoint that really seems to serve no purpose. You even have to throw away a bottled drink if you had one from your previous flight. Very annoying.

2. Airplane Bathroom Sinks
I hate the sinks on airplanes. How the hell are you supposed to use those things properly? You have hold the handles down for hot and cold water at the same time to get a stream of water that isn’t boiling/freezing. You can sort of use your thumbs to hold each one down and kind stick your fingers under the stream, but that’s kind of awkward. The closest that I’ve come to being able to use it decently is putting water on one hand, squirting soap into it, lathering my hands up, then rinsing one hand while holding the water on with the other hand, then switching for the other hand. And once the water does come out, if you don’t have your hands at the right angle, you splash it all over yourself.

3. Recliners
I’ve talked about this before in relation to buses, but it’s annoying on planes, too. I know that we’ve all paid for our seats, blah blah blah. I don’t care. If you’re going to slam your seat back all the way and reduce my available space by several inches while making it damn near impossible for me to do anything at all with my tray table, I’m going to bump your seat every chance I get. My row-mates and I are not fans of having to do the limbo to get up to go pee. On my last flight, the flight attendants made people put their seats in the upright position when they were handing out meals, so at least we weren’t trying to eat from under a seat back.

4. Sleeping with the Light On
This is just a common courtesy: if you’ve had your overhead light on to do something, turn the damn thing off if you decide to go to sleep. I’ve had a few flights where the person next to me has had their light on to read, do paperwork, check their bomb schematics, whatever, and then decided to go to sleep with the light on. These little lights put out quite a bit of light, and if people have a hard time sleeping on planes anyway, this can just be more than a mild annoyance – it can completely keep them awake for the whole flight. I’ve thought about reaching across the person and turning their light off myself, but that seems a bit awkward. So, what I’ve tried to do now is try to make sure I have my sleeping mask with me for all of my flights.

5. Stupid Questions at U.S. Immigration
I really hate when I've just gotten off of a 10 - 12 hour flight, probably haven't slept any because the person next to me left their light on, and my shirt is wet from the stupid bathroom sink, and then the immigration official decides to ask me the stupidest questions, or really just any questions in general. I've been asked "What do you do in Korea?" "How long have you been there?" "Do you speak Korean?" "Where are you going?" And my personal favorite after learning that I work for Samsung, "What kind of phone do you have?" Really? Does it really matter? I appreciate the attempt at being friendly, but if my eyes are bloodshot and look like I just stepped out of a shower, please just stamp my passport so I can try to make my connection.

6. Overhead Hoggers
This is going to seem racist, but Asians on international flights are the absolute worst about this. Seriously. I’ve been on many, many international flights from Asia to the US, so I feel comfortable in making this stereotype. They’ll have their carry-on: sure, that’s fine, stick it in the overhead. The women (and men) will have their massive purses, which they will also stick in the overhead. THEN they’ll have 3 or 4 little bags of bullshit that they’re purchased from duty-free or somewhere else in the terminal that shove in the overhead, too. Then there’s their coats if it’s winter time. Come on, really? Shove some of that shit under the seat in front of you. On the big planes with a 3-5-3 seating arrangement, 1 person has pretty much just taken up the storage space of 3 people. On this last flight, I noticed something weird on two different flights. This older Asian couple got on the plane with a carry-on each and 2 smaller items. Let’s say the row numbering for the section started at 20 and their seats were in row 28 (they were behind me at least by a few rows). They stopped at the beginning of the section and put all of their stuff in the overhead storage for row 20. o_O Why would someone do that? You’ve not only taken up all of the storage space, but all of the storage for a completely different row! Why?! In what universe does this make sense? It was very early in the boarding process, so I know their area was clear for storage. I use my backpack now as my carry-on so I can stick it under the seat in front of me and have easy access to my stuff and not have to worry about overhead space, but it still annoys the hell out of me since I try to be respectful of others that I’m traveling with.

Anywho, that’s my traveling pet peeves so far. What annoys you when you travel?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegas, Baby!!

Yeongtong Yummies is in Las Vegas for vacation! Woohoo!! As is such, I'm feeling lazy and might not post much during this week. But I might get a burst of energy and post about places here before I actually leave. I've been here before, so I'm forgetting to take pictures of places...which reminds me that I need to find my pics from last year.

Since I'm here, though, I might as well post something. My flights over were pretty good and I met a couple of really nice guys that I exchanged contact info with, Harry and Robert. I'll try to actually keep in touch with them even though I'm pretty bad about that sometimes :/. I've discovered I don't like driving in Vegas, at least around the strip, without a navigation system. Having my Garmin back in Missouri spoiled me, I guess. I'll get the car out later to go pick up Dougie from the airport (yay!!!) and see how that goes. I've gambled a bit to pass a bit of time, and I've of course lost. Oh well, such is to be expected, eh?

Oh, and Happy Chuseok to everyone back in Korea! See ya next week!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Simple Shoe Saga Pt 3

It's been a while since the poor little guys had a post about them - they were starting to feel neglected.

It's been a bit rainy this summer at times, so they've been regulated to looking out the window and wishing they could go play.
If shoes could look sad, this would be it

There have been a few nice days where they've been able to be taken out to frolic, though.
In a shop here in Yeongtong

Taking a break while walking back home

At A Twosome Place after convincing me to go out even though it looked like rain

At A Twosome Place today

They're trying to convince me to take them to Las Vegas, but we shall see. They are still super comfortable, but I dunno. They don't get to go to the office anymore even though nobody can ever really see my shoes since I wear long jeans, but still. Don't want them to see people frowning at them - might get their feelings hurt.

They do know that the other pair of Simple shoes aren't as comfortable and my new pair of Simple shoes is at my brother's house. They also know they can't be replaced *sigh*. Shoes can be so manipulative ;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Burger B - Hongdae, Seoul

So, I spent last Saturday in Hongdae with a few friends wandering around a little bit and checking out the craft fair they have on weekends. For lunch, we ended up going to a burger place called Burger B. Hongdae can be a bit confusing, but I'll try to make a map: unfortunately, I'm on my netbook right now, so it'll be drawn in Paint. If you put the entrance to the university on your left and walk about 2 blocks down the street (go past Condomania and the Caffe Bene), Burger B will be on a side street on the right side. You can see it from the main road, so just glance down the side streets.
o_O I'll make a better one later...

The inside of the restaurant is fairly spacious with large booths available. There is also a patio out back with 4 or 5 tables, which is where we sat since it was such a lovely fall day. I had a good laugh at the women's restroom - I didn't get a picture of it, but let's just say they believe in the buddy system at Burger B.

Pricing is fairly typical for any non-Korean food restaurant, so you can expect to spend about 15000 won per person for a meal here.

The menu is fairly diverse for a burger place. They have several different kinds of burgers available. They don't come with fries or anything - they have one set that does, though.

They also offer some other sandwiches and side dishes.
Yes, that says "Gastro Pack"

They have the typical choices for drinks: soda, beer, ades. They also have a few different flavors of milkshakes. I ordered a peanut butter milkshake; Justin ordered a chocolate milkshake. The peanut butter flavor was distinct while not being overpowering. There were also some small peanut pieces in the shake.
And they were delicious

I ordered the gorgonzola burger. It was really quite good. My only complaint is that Korea tends to serve burgers medium-well, and I prefer my meat well-done. So, keep that in mind if you go here: you may need to ask for your beef to be well-done. Some places (like Mr. Big) will argue with you that the meat won't taste as good, but hey, you're the one eating the stuff.
Gorgonzola burger

I was so intent on enjoying my milkshake that I forgot to take pictures of my friends' food. :( However, Justin had the pulled pork sandwich and some chili fries, Denise had the shrimp burger, and Marianne had the gorgonzola burger, too. Everyone thought their food was quite good. We also ordered some mac & cheese to share. I believe the consensus was "oh my god" on the mac & cheese.
It was good

Overall, I think I would eat here again. The milkshake and mac & cheese were both really very good. I would've enjoyed my burger more if it had been well-done, but oh well. So, if you're in the Hongdae area and looking for a new place to get your grub on, give Burger B a shot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Wow, my little blog just passed 10,000 views today! That's an average of about 480 views each month since I started it 21 months ago - almost to the day even. That might not seem like a lot compared to other blogs, but for me just doing this little blog in my spare time expecting just my brother and sister to read it, it's quite a bit!

So, I want to say thank you to everyone that has read my blog! If you've ever found a post useful or even slightly amusing, don't forget to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Stumbleupon, or whatever social networking site you use. Also, click on the link to the right to subscribe to get notifications of new posts!

I'm also thinking of doing a giveaway contest when I come back from my vacation at the end of the month to celebrate 10,000+ views, but you'll have to be a subscriber to enter the contest :).

Also, if there's anything you're curious about concerning Korea, Yeongtong, Suwon, any kind of place you want to find, any areas of Seoul you're curious about, or whatever, leave it in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer it! What kind of content do you want to see in the future? I do this blog for fun in my spare time, but if I can provide useful content for people, even better.

So, again, thank you and happy blogging!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today's Advice: Don't Fall Asleep on the Cat

So, many of you know that I have a hard time keeping on a regular sleep schedule and falling asleep in general. Last night was no exception to this, so I gave up and got up around 2am to take some melatonin.

Her Royal Fuzziness, Bessie, also got up and got a bite to eat and then joined me back in bed. Except this time she decided it was cuddle time and took over my pillow completely. I decided kitty cuddle time was a good idea and her purring might help me fall asleep and snuggled up to my kitty to go to sleep, which she so rarely lets me do. For those of you that don't know what the beast looks like, here she is.
Ooohh, the light!!

I did doze off and woke up maybe 45 minutes to an hour later. Now, if you're a drooler, using a cat like Bessie's butt as a pillow is not a very good idea. You wake up something like this:
With your cat stuck to your face

So, moral of the story: don't fall asleep on the cat if you don't want to wake up with her stuck to your face.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

2009 Beijing Trip (Part 2)

Continuation of my Beijing trip blog

Tour Day 2
On the second day with the tour group, we went to the Ming Tombs, the Badaling Great Wall, a jade store, and a silk factory.

Ming Tombs
I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with this. It was pretty much a *points somewhere* "That's where the tombs are." You can't actually go into the tomb area, so it's kind of a lackluster visit there. There is a museum, though, which has some interesting stuff.
Mr. Monkey was disappointed

So was Sherman

The Great Wall
First of all, pictures really can't do The Great Wall justice - you have to see it in person. The Great Wall started out as a bunch of little sections of walls to keep the Mongolians out until one of the emperors decided to link all of them up and make one giant wall along the northern border of China. Due to this, The Great Wall is not just one wall stretching along the border, but a looping and backtracking fortification made out of many different materials. Lots of sections of the wall have fallen into disrepair and can't be visited. Now, there are several sections that are maintained for culture and for people to visit. We visited the Badaling section.
Sherman and Mr. Monkey enjoyed the Great Wall

Tour Day 3
On the third day with the tour group, it was actually just me and my friend, so it was a cozy little tour with just us and the guide. We went to the Panda House at the Beijing Zoo, then the largest Lama Temple of Beijing - Yonghe Temple, then a Hutong Tour, then visited the Olympic green, then we had Peking duck before an an acrobat show that evening.

Beijing Zoo (Panda House)
It's pandas!!! Nuff said :).
Of course I had to buy a stuffed panda

And Mr. Monkey couldn't feel left out

This one was still for so long, I wasn't sure if it was real. It finally came down when they called for it to come inside for a bit - very slowly, though.

Olympic Park
I'm a huge fan of the Olympics, so I was super excited to go here. However, we couldn't go inside the buildings because they were being renovated for re-purposing. It was also extremely windy and very, very cold, so we didn't stay here for very long. These two structures are built along the central road in the city, so it's pretty much a straight shot for the wind to whip down.
The Bird's Nest. This was being turned into an indoor ski park.

The Water Cube. I can't remember what this was being turned into.

An exclusive hotel in the shape of a dragon located at Olympic Park

Me freezing my butt off

Hutong Tour
The Hutong Tour is a tour of the old streets of Beijing. "Hutong" means "well." They get this name because there used to be water wells at the end of streets. We got transferred to a local expert on the area and dragged around in a cart by a poor guy on a bike We were served a homemade lunch in a lady's home, too.
The poor old man that was carting us around. He was huffing and puffing, too.

In the home where we had lunch, there was a koi pond in the floor

Lama Temple - Yonghe Temple
This temple was pretty cool. This temple is for Tibetan Buddhism. It also has the largest Buddha statue carved out of a single piece of wood.
Map of the temple grounds

This represents heaven and earth
Pictures weren't allowed of the statue :(

Peking Duck Dinner and Chinese Acrobats
I forgot my camera at the hotel in the evening for the dinner and acrobat show :(. I highly recommend both of these if you're ever in Beijing. I mean, come on, the duck dish is named after the city. The Peking duck was quite good. The entire meal was good, actually. I couldn't really taste any duck - it was dipped in a sauce and wrapped in a rice paper (I think) by the servers and given to us to eat. There were several other dishes to enjoy as well - all were very good.

The acrobat show was amazing, to say the least. I really wish I had some pictures of it, but I don't :(. They tour the world though, so if you ever have the chance, you should definitely go see them live.

Tourist Traps
We went to several tourist traps with the tour group. They're probably contracted to do so and probably get paid for it. We went to a pearl shop, a jade shop, a silk factory, a tea shop, a Chinese medicine clinic, and a ceramics/studio place.

I did end up buying a few things a couple of the shops as gifts or souvenirs. I did get a bit sucked in to the tea shop and spent more there than I should have :/ Oh well. I really wanted some silk bedding stuff, but that was a bit too expensive *sniffle*.

Well, that about covers my trip to Beijing. We were supposed to leave on January 2nd, but ended up leaving a day early - the airline had changed our flight to a later time on the 2nd that we wouldn't have been able to do, so we just left a day early. It was actually a good thing since a blizzard came through on the 1st and delayed our flights by a few hours anyway, and the airports ended up shutting down on the 2nd. I'm not sure how that would've worked out with my Chinese visa since it ended on Jan. 2nd. Ah, I forgot to mention visas - if you are going to China, you need a visa. For Americans, it's about $120. At the airport, there was a guy in front of us that didn't have a visa and he was angry about it and yelling at the airline desk people - his own fault for not checking, though. At any rate, I recommend a trip to Beijing if you're able - it's a pretty amazing place.