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.

2009 Trip to Beijing (Part 1)

So, while talking to a friend earlier this week…or maybe last week… I can’t remember. I’m getting old. Anyway, while talking to a friend…recently, I remembered that I had never written or posted anything about a trip to Beijing at the end of 2009. I might as well do that now.

At the end of 2009, I took a trip to Beijing with a friend. I do not recommend going to China in the middle of winter: it is very, very cold, windy, and dry. The desert just to the north of Beijing makes it very dry. Other than freezing my ass off, it was a very nice trip and experience. I booked everything separately (flight, hotel, tour) and did a ton of research planning this trip for us – I think it came out to about $800 each for a week in Beijing at the hotel, the tour package, and the round-trip flight. First a couple of sections in general about the trip.

We ended up staying at the Tiantan Hotel. It wasn’t too bad – we weren’t there a whole lot anyway. Nearly all of the amenities listed, though, cost extra. They do have 2 restaurants on the first floor: one is kind of a general restaurant and the other is a Chinese restaurant. When I asked the desk people about the Chinese restaurant, they seemed pretty reluctant to have foreigners eat there, so we stuck to the other one. The cost of food wasn’t bad and the food itself wasn’t too bad. I’m not sure if the extra cost for stuff is typical of hotels in China, but it was highly annoying. There were drinks and water in the mini-fridge, which cost extra, but were convenient when you got back to the room after a long day with the tour group. The pack of toiletries in the bathroom also cost extra if you use them, and the condoms they provided also cost extra if you use those. I don’t know if I would stay here again, but I did like the location. If was right next to the Red Theater where the Legend of Kung-Fu show is performed and there was an awesome Muslim-Chinese restaurant across the street.

Tour Group
I have to say that I highly recommend our tour group. I booked a 5-day tour package with Beijing Xinhua International Tours. Even though we didn’t book the hotel through them, they still picked us up and took us to our hotel from the airport and picked us up each morning for the tour group. People of the tour each day were different pretty much. I met some awesome people on the tour, like Gaby, Sergio, and Alejandro, and ended up talking more to them than the friend I was traveling with. We also had a different tour guide each day. I wish I would’ve thought to write their names down – all of them were super nice and very knowledgeable about the areas that we toured with them. At the time at least, this was the best priced tour group that I could find for what you got. They were very helpful and prompt to respond to any questions I had via email before the trip. I highly recommend them if you’re planning a trip to China.

Just a couple of general things about the trip to start. Food in China is really cheap and the servings are huge. I really enjoyed the food, but my friend thought it was a little too greasy (she’s Australian, btw). Beijing was really clean and quiet compared to S. Korea – probably because it’s a communist country. Also, since the Olympics had just been held there the previous year, just about everything was also posted in English, so it was very convenient. People were friendly and didn’t stare at me like they do in Korea even though I was wearing my penguin hat. You will encounter lots of beggars at the touristy areas – they can be hard to ignore even though the tour guides try to do so and also look embarrassed since that isn’t the sort of image they want to project to the tourists. I recommend trying to barter if you buy anything by the tourist areas. I had forgotten my scarf, so I bought one from a lady in a truck by the Great Wall. I got down as low as I could, but I still overpaid, of course. But dammit, it was cold and windy and I wanted a scarf for once (I don’t usually like scarves since they make me feel itchy).

Tour Day 1
The first day of the actual tour was very busy. We started out going to the Forbidden City, then had lunch, then went to the Temple of Heaven, then to a traditional Chinese medicine center, then finally to the Summer Palace. For our package, I also added the Legend of Kung-Fu show to the evening.

Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was pretty awesome. It’s called the Forbidden City because only the emperor, his family and consorts, and other nobles were allowed within the walls.
This was the first building we came to on the side that we entered through

An incense burner

You see these lions all over the place in Chinese architecture. The lion playing with the kitten represents the empress.

You see these lions all over the place in Chinese architecture. The lion playing with the ball/globe represents the emperor.

The number of animals on the roof of a building has a significance, too, but I can't recall what at the moment.

We were supposed to walk through Tiananmen Square to go back to the tour van, but some members of the tour group got sick and there was also an elderly couple, so that threw us off schedule a bit. But here's a picture of the outside.

Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is "the largest ancient imperial worship architecture group in the world where the ancient Emperors prayed for peace and harvest." Lots of amazing architecture here to see. It was also nice to see lots of people out enjoying the open areas by dancing, playing music, exercising, and just relaxing with family.

Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was built for the empress if I remember correctly. It is where the imperial garden is located, but in the middle of winter, that's hard to see. There is a huge man=made lake where people can take boats out in the summer. It was frozen over when we were there, though.
The bridge and the island are meant to represent a turtle (I think)

Legend of Kung-Fu Show
The Legend of Kung-Fu show was really good. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the theater, though :(. I did enjoy the show so much that I ended up buying the DVD afterwards. I highly recommend catching this if you can. I believe it also tours around the world, too.

I'll continue this blog in another post since this one is getting kind of long :)