Tag Archives: South Korea

After a Year in Korea

13 Jul

So I have officially been in Korea for one year and 17 days. My year mark came and went on the 22nd of July. I would have to say it has been an interesting experience, I met a lot of very interesting people even while staying in a small town like Samcheok. I said goodbye to my students and they were adorable till the end. Sadly I failed at turning them into Ninjas/spies but you know they got pretty close. The winter is Samcheok was deadly mainly because I got sick and Bronchitis does not pair well with freezing temperatures, but everyone else did not have the same problem so I feel that was mostly me. I had some great fun and enjoyed all the work I put into my lessons as well as all the conversations I got to both hear and be a part of. I will miss all the people I have met (with the exception of one person and they don’t know who they are).This is a check in WordPress more stuff to follow as I have time off and will be able to write more or at least fix my pictures situation.

Adventures in South Korea: Dakgalbi street

9 May

So May 5th is Children’s day in South Korea and as a teacher I benefited from kids not going to school on children’s day. I took this opportunity to go to Chuncheon a two hour bus ride away from Samcheok. Chuncheon is the place where Nami Island is located (I was unable to go this time because it rained), it is also the place where dakgalbi was first ever made (if you have been to Korea and have not tried dakgalbi you have been robbed of an awesome gastronomic experience).

This is one side of dakgalbi street (it is actually more like an alley, but it is filled with dakgalbi restaurants so we will let them be a street). I would like to point out that right next to this sign is the entrance to a large underground shopping center that people should experience.


There is a map of all the restaurant available and well we only tried three this time but we will go back.


Also they like to have chicken themed things which why-not just take a picture with it all.


The first place was a different type of dakgalbi i have never tried before and by looking at the picture you will notice the difference. This type of dakgalby is just chicken marinated in (an impossibly good) sauce (how do they make it I would like to know the secret to this sauce) and grilled over coals just like bulgogy.



As side dishes you have a greens salad of sorts which contains green onions, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and other herbs (I just don’t know the names of them in English or Korean to be honest).


Lettuce is provided to wrap the chicken you grill and cut (with scissors) and other things like your salad, kimchi, radishes, garlic, and gochujan sauce (it is given with almost any type of grilled food here and I am not entirely sure on the romanized spelling of it). What ever you put in your lettuce wrap depends on the place you go to because side dishes will always change.



These are thinly sliced picked radishes and are an acquired taste but you won’t know until you try them won’t you?




While that was not the dakgalbi we were expecting it was good and for only 11,000 won it is well worth going to try it.


this the other end of the street and there are many advertisements for following festivals in Chuncheon, which include puppet and mime festivals (look them up).







We also found a desert place near the street. it is a waffle on a stick with icream and whip cream on it and it is delicious for 3,500 won you get two waffles on a stick for an extra 1000 won you get four (your call from then on).


Chuncheon is also the site of the very first super popular drama, Winter Sonata which launched Korean dramas as the leading dramas to watch in South east Asia and all over the world (just look at crunchy roll or drama fever most of them will be Korean dramas).



SO that is that on Korean Dramas back to the food!


Second dakgalbi place, this time it was more like we had experience before. The cabage, dok (rice cakes), sweet potato, sesame leaves and chicken in the awesome sauce cooked right in front of you.












Sorry for the food porn.


The side dishes inchoded kimchi, cold radish vinegar soup?, garlic, gochujan, and lettuce.


at the end of the first part when you eat the chicken and the vegetables you leave some of it behind and order noodles or rice. We went for cheesy rice because it is always a good choice.






and it was the best ever.

The next day a dakgalbi restaurant had this and I just had to go in it.(woomi dakgalbi).






is a hungry nerd’s dream!



They are also dakgalbi purist so no cheese here but the sauce has a ginger feel to it so if you like ginger come here.







next after circling a couple time because we got too full of dakgalbi we found an ice cream fish place!





They take a fish shaped cone and fill it with ice cream and fruit. Try it!








Avengers Age of Ultron: A Review

26 Apr

Because I live in South Korea I got to watch Avengers Age of Ultron in Theatres! (well it acctually was out like three days ago here but you know I work).


Apparently South Korea gave the movie a money boost in order for Seoul to be featured in the movie (so this is me telling you that the place where a pretty big fight scene takes place is Seoul). This is why you get to see the Han river (if you have ever watched any Korean dramas you will know) and all the people and structures.


So back to the movie it was really well done, the color and all the effects are amazing! Looks at how they fly together it is all very artistic and you have to appreciate it.


The amount of action and brutality does not hurt either it was a great action film. There were moments where the team talks about their feeling and (OMG Bruce and Natasha are a great pair!) The Hulk has a calming down technique developed by Black Widow. Which comes a bit out of left field because well who saw that coming, right?


Pietro and The Scarlet witch who at the beginning are against the Avengers but later see things clearly in a way are super awesome, and good casting in my opinion because while The Scarlet Witch is awesome we all know she has twisted scared child side to her that Elizabeth Olsen portrayed.


After some in-team fighting as it often happens and Thor going to so god-like things (as is his thing to be the god of thunder), the team with the help of their Linchpin Nick Fury get back together and form a plan. Which works and they get the help from the Scarlet With and Quick Silver on the way. They also get help from a new superhero which has been dusted off the Marvel wall and made a large contribution to the Young Avengers along with Wanda (I am trying to give clues without giving away spoilers of the movie because it has not been out everywhere else yet). But if you are a follower of the Avengers or Young Avengers comic series you will be happy and will promptly hard-core nerd-out!

It was worth the three year wait, and I can’t wait for more Marvel movies!

Adventures in South Korea: Insadong

18 Apr

Around January Solal or Korean New Year (also known as the Chinese New Year) comes around and day off are awarder to people who work in South Korea. Because of that I tried to do touristy stuff, which led me to Insadong the most cultural touristy part of Seoul.


Now this is a lovely mural at the entrance (Iam not sure if that is the entrance really I just took a bus from Gangnam) Now remember the mural because it will be important.


Just less than a block away from this mural you will find a trick eye museum. I was unable to go in because the group I was with had already been there (eye roll, to crummy tour guides).




The above pictures are still trick eye museum.


The street to the palace has a women’s university that used to be a palace which is pretty awesome.



But this is the Unhyeongung Palace (which was the goal for our visit even though it is super easy to get distracted by all the shopping near the area). Heads up the Palace tour fee is free during Solal (not sure if this extends to other holidays)









This is the throne room/court (you can tell because it looks fancy).









This would be the King’s room, notice the art behind the couch/bed thing? (yup the mural at the entrance of Insadong)


There is an importance of this mural but the person I was with was unable to explain it.






In the above picture you can see the influence of the western culture (because chairs are not a thing Korea likes to do if they want to be authentic).


These would be servant rooms because they are super simple and they are across the King’s room.




There is a secret garden that you have to wander into (because my group did not really have a pattern to this)


We did find the undol system bellow the King’s room (no secret garden yet).


The kitchen because no palace is complete with a kitchen (is anything really complete without a kitchen?).


We found it!!!!!



This would be a wishing fountain but your wish only come true if you get a coin in the center pillar looking thing.


What do we find in the secret garden? The courtesan house! But only the best ones got a permanent stay in the palace and the secret garden.



Adventures in South Korea: Survival Game

14 Sep


So, I did stuff!! (yay me!) I have never been to paintball but according to this awesome show community. Getting two teams together and battling it out for ultimate survival, in an arena with paintball guns sound like the best experience ever.

So I saw some fliers showing paintball in them in South Korea and I decided that this would be he time I would make a plan and make people go (unfortunately being here for only a few months, and having a bit of a social awkwardness to my name, did not grant me enough social pull to make people come to it, but more on that later). I also admittedly am not really good at the making plans thing.

But this time I did my homework, I searched the internet for places near Samcheok and I found nothing (this was mostly due to the fact that, most of the websites where in Korean, and the little English did not quite make sense to me) so I did what I always do (since I have been in South Korea and became aware that this was an actual thing) and called the ever so helpful  1330 tourist info line. They gave me a number of the closest Survival game place (because according to the internet this is what they call paintball games here).

I have to say the man does not really speak English but he made more of an effort that the other places I tried to call which was nice. I set a time and he gave me a price along with his address. The price was actually great 10,000 won per person per hour, and well the address I sort of had to go to the actual info center to get a better address (because I was way off).

The owner even went as far as messaging me on Kakao talk (which if you don’t know it is an awesome message system widely used in Korea).

So Where is this place in Gangneung (remember the place I wanted to go to but accidentally got sent to Gangnam instead?). I handed the address to a cab driver who had to input it in his GPS (this may not sound like a big deal but usually cab drivers have been everywhere and never need to input things on their GPS systems).  This place is a bit remote, we (the three of us awesome enough to go to this) were dropped off on the side of the road (only 6,00 won for the cab ride from the bus terminal btw) and I then proceeded to call the man and ask him how we wound ever get to this battle ground (Battle Ground is actually the name of the place), he told me to wait at the parking lot where there is a restaurant and tennis/sport court and he came to meet us and lead us to the battle grounds.

Which were really nice actually there are several, crates that can be used as shields (you do have to be careful because this gets real and that means really big spiders everywhere) and trees.

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ok so here is the thing this was not paint ball, this was more like laser tag. You got fitted with sensors and the gun lets you know when you are out of lives.


That being said, it was like being n a video game, once you got shot you had to re-spawn and hope someone does not shoot at you as soon as you do. The gun vibrated as game controllers do when you got shot and it would even make a death noise. You had to press a button in the gun to recharge, and head shots felt awesome to do.


I have to mention the bugs, there were many of them and also the bugs in Samcheok are fairly unreal, and awesome to look at.

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The whole experience was really great, and like I said earlier larger team would have been nice specially if you get theatrical about it. But the owner gave us water in the middle of the game and was really cool and exited (he actually told us he had made all of his own equipment, how awesome is that?!).


If you are interested, The name is Battle Ground in Gangneung acreoss from the beach and a military base (not sure if that speaks to you or not, but the beaches in Gangneung are really nice). The phone number is 010-3263-5620 if you are interested, if you get into it it will be awesome.

Adventures in South Korea?

1 Sep


Boredom has once again become my worst enemy!, and what is a person who gets bored easily to do? 

Well I started out baking, my apartment did not come with an oven but because foreign English teachers are constantly changing, I was able to get a toaster oven for about ten US dollars. 

So I do what I do when I get bored or stressed and I baked, luckily there was an event and I was able to give my freshly baked cookies homes to be digested in. but after the second dozen tiny jam cookie I realized that I either need more friends to give the cookies to or I would end up gaining all of the weight in the world! (yes physics people I am exaggerating here)

Right being the nerd I am, I have tried to put my efforts to Doctor Who, since it has started and you know there is also work. But I have this immense amount of alone time (don’t get me wrong I like alone time, I crave alone time specially when other people are around).But some times it feels like an outside force enforces the alone time I that I get, and as anyone who has read the Empirical studies on people and aloe time can tell you, the choice to be alone is way different than being force to be alone. which makes people use electrical shocks to dull out the boredom of forced alone time.

Anyways I have taken up origami (I have made a center piece out of paper cranes), SO now I have combined the cookie making with the origami and the result were the pictures below.
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If you are at all interested on the cookie recipe or origami tutorials let me know ( I really recommend the cookies and if you are a food person I am thinking butterbeer cupcakes to come, assuming I find all of the ingredients in South Korea)


Till next Saturday or when ever I have more to write about!

Adventures in South Korea: Mureong Valley, Donghae, South Korea

17 Aug

Mureong Valley, if you want to cab her you can say Mureong chegok (because they will not understand valley). There is an option of taking the bus here but I did not do that so you may have to go to the information center in Donhae (yes this valley in the town of Donghae in the Gangwondo area. A 1.650 won bus ride or you can just cab to the valley). 



So once you get off the taxi you will see the shops all around, good place to get souvenirs along with places to eat and drink. 





After you are walking for a while you will get to the area where you can buy your admission tickets which are not at all expensive. Once you have passed the gate feel free to wander around the valley. 















There is a couple of rivers so you can pack a bathing suit and towels (most Koreans had tubes and other bloating devises along with tents they do not kid around with comfort they will carry all this stuff around). You may also want to have a change of clothing because well you never know when you may thing you can make it to the other rock in the middle of the river and then you don’t. 







There is a temple where people can come and stay to enjoy the nature and what not else of the valley.






















These are rather small but they find strength in numbers so be prepared to work out your thighs. 






This was the chosen spot for a break/ picnic a small but deeper than my legs are long led me to believe I could make it across with out having to get my clothes wet (It did nit workout so well for me). 







After finishing the rest of the hike it was time to see what the shops outside of the valley entrance had to offer and came upon Makgeolli (in it’s truest form and we had it with a Korean soft drink called Cider because it tasted better). 




The following is what they call a Korean pizza, which is essentially a giant potato pancake (it was great and even though the amount of hiking did not equate the caloric intake it did not matter).



When the day came to an end a taxi took us to a tore where wine was bought to be enjoyed at the Donghae beach (it was also a bit rainy yet the summer heat was very real). 



Happy travels and drink responsibly!