Jeju vacation Day 1

So, for my Summer vacation I  decided to sign up for a trip to Jeju Island with Adventure Korea.

 

The First Day  was pretty good.   We went to Gimpo Airport  and had a quick flight up and down.   We were only on the plane for about an hour and it was a pretty smooth flight.

Upon arrival we headed for a restaurant to have Black Pork–a famous Jeju island speciality.  It was pretty fatty and mixed with a few vegetables.  It really just amounted to some marinated sam gyup sal.   I was pretty disappointed with it, since it’s really built up as a specialty of  Jeju.

From there we set off for Udo island, the largest of Jeju’s satellite islands.   We went to a few places. The first was a horse farm by Lion Head Rock.   It’s  what you would expect, a rock that looks like a lion head.  From there we headed for a black sand beach to take some pictures. Our final destination was a White sand beach.

It was beautiful and  quite enjoyable.  The sand was a bit weird.  You really sank into it  rather than walking on top of it, it had a kind of snow like quality.  The water however was beautiful and blue and  you instantly  dropped off into very deep water after only a few steps.

From there we went back to the main Jeju island and to a restaurant for dinner.  Unfortunately  it was pretty subpar.   The food was all remarkably unremarkable.  It really was the kind of quality you might expect from a school lunch.

THe last part of the day was checking into the hotel.  It’s really nice.   From there we headed down to a night beach and set off some fireworks.

All told a pretty good first day.

Rant: On Space

I saw this on  Engadget today.  The Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time. This just makes me ill that we haven’t even developed a replacement and that NASA has to go around with a tin cup begging for money.

And that’s all she wrote for one of the most inspiring things our government has ever done.   We can’t afford to keep the space program up and running.

Or at least that is what the soulless assholes who have no vision for doing something great would tell you.

NASA’s entire operational budget right now costs the same amount it costs to provide air conditioning to soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan.   Not to maintain the bases, or keep the weapons there.  Not to train all those soldiers, not to transport them.  Just to provide the air conditioning when they’re there.

Meanwhile the great computer boom in the economy in the 1990s was nearly entirely from the space program.  In fact if you look at almost every significant technological boom in the last few decades it has its roots in either the space program or the military.

But for some reason it’s easier to get money to murder people than it is to send people into space. I can’t understand why why we can’t get the funding not to put a man on Mars but to put a city of 600,000 people on Mars.

Korean Food Dictionary App

So a while ago I spent 99 cents on O’ngo School’s K-food app.

It’s really a huge dissappointment.   It did a really poor job of helping me with my restaurant going needs.

If you know nothing about Korean food, then I’m sure it might be useful.  But if you’ve already got a pretty good idea what the big categories of Korean food are, it’s totally useless.

Yeah I know what sam gyup sal and soju are.  What i want to know is the difference between different kinds of sam gyup sal or different variations of guk su are.

I really would like to see something that really digs down into the vocabulary of Korean menus.   If anyone knows of an app that takes a really deep dive into Korean food.

Mud Festival Slide Show

Mud Festival: Checked that box


Mud Festival is one of the most famous events in the foreigner crowd in Korea.  Almost everyone goes.  All the groups fill up huge trips down to Boryeong to drink and act like fools while covered head to toe in filth.

I signed up for Lost in Seoul’s trip down to Mud Festival and it was a lot of fun.   After a few hours on a bus, we arrived at Dacheon beach.  There was some confusion getting the tickets which the Mud Festival people just instituted this year.  After standing in the rain for a long time while we got our tickets we got into the festival proper.

There were a handful of rubber slides and other kinds of activities in the main mud festival area.  They were pretty fun.  The water slide and the obstacle course were especially fun.   They also had mud wrestling, a mud prison, a place where you could play muddy tug of war and mud painting.

When  I had my fill of mud I went on Dacheon Beach.  This beach was very shelly and rough to walk on as it was, and then people threw a ton of trash on it.    Still the water was very comfortable and cleansing after spending the day getting hot and muddy.

At night Lost in Seoul had a great barbecue.   Burgers were cooked, and a good time was had by all.   Throughout the festival they  had entertainment ranging from different bands playing on a beach side stage to a grand fireworks display at the end of the first night.

All in all Mud Festival was a great box to check on my time in Korea.  I’m glad I went, and Sally organized a great trip for Lost in Seoul.   

Olleh! the quest for Wifi

So for the longest time I had wanted to get  Wifi access on  my ipod touch while I ride the subway.

There stores however had proven to be kind of useless.  I’d go into one and they’d tell me for some reason it was impossible.  It was a weekend, it was at night, it wasn’t the third Tuesday of every month at twelve o’clock when the bells ring.

So after having gotten the run around for a good while I fatalistically set out for another go at it hitting up their Global Service Center in Itaewon.

Still they couldn’t set it up but the lady handed me a card and was like call this number here.

So this morning I called the number.  And it was the wrong number.  But fortunately they were able to set me up with the right number and connect me for me.

So I finally got it set up after all, tonight I rolled into the subway and it was like 8,800 won (about 9 dollars) a month to get my ipod touch online.  If only I’d known about this from the beginning.

The Koreana Adventure

I was on a boat last weekend.   I took a tall ship cruise with WinK (When in Korea), off of a Facebook group.

The best part of the journey was the people.  Everyone on the trip was super cool.   A lot of fun stuff occured just as a result of the people who  went on the trip with me.

The worst part of the trip was the weather.   It was miserable all day Saturday as it rained and poured and at one point turned our hiking trail into a very scary place as it turned to nothing but mud.

So the best and worst part of the trip were things beyond the organizer’s control.   It was a bit dissappointing when  we weren’t able to go see the dinosaur footprints we were supposed to go to see because a few people were feeling motion sick.   Almost everyone I talked to seemed befuddled at this so it’s not like half the group was puking over the side or something.

Still it really was very cool sailing the high seas on a tall ship.  And jumping off into the ocean was awesome as well.  I still can’t believe two guys swam to shore to get Makgeolli when the tide was too low for the ship to dock.   Hats off to you two gents.

Thai Garden


Thai Garden was a delicious Thai restaurant  in Itaewon.    We ordered several different dishes and they were all excellent.

We got a really great chicken and vegetables dish, a green curry a noodles dish, and a  soup.

The chicken and vegetables, were delicious.  The stir fried  vegetables were nice and fresh and the chicken was delicious.

The highlight of the dinner for me was  the  the green curry.  The vegetarian dish was full of flavor and very enjoyable.  The soup was also quite fabulous, it was spicy and full of tons of excellent foods.  It had a bit of a sour edge to it.

 

In addition to all this food they were also running a 2+1 on Thai Chang beer.  We also shared a bottle of Spanish tres velas red wine.  The drinks were on the whole just okay but the 2+1 was a nice touch.

The service on the other hand was exceptional.  The waiter was a Thai gentleman who was super friendly.  They let us stay a good deal past closing time to finish our  food.  We were given a private room for our dinner of  four.

I’d highly recommend a trip to the Thai garden in Itaewon.     It’s just down exit two after about a five minute walk lok up  to the second floor.    I’ve never been to Thailand, so I can’t comment as to the authenticity of the  food but  my friend seemed to think  it was excellent. 

Game of Thrones review

Well, that was a wild ride.   This week Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of the book by the same name came to an end.   It started out a bit slow, just like the book, but by the end it was quite amazing.

They made some alternations to the book, but most of them seemed pretty well reasoned.  They got rid of a lot of the history of various houses and people’s because it would have been too cumbersome to show on television.

One of two of the characters seemed a bit different than what I expected.   I thought Tywin Lannister would be quite a bit different.  But they nailed my favorites, Jon Snow, Ned Stark, Danerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister were dead on.

The show, because the novel was so deft at this, really does a good job of turning the fantasy conventions on its head.  I mean they killed off like several major characters in the first book.   King Robert dead, Khal Drogo dead, Ned Stark dead and in Robert’s place are five seperate claimants to the throne.

Buddae Jiggae is the best awful food in the world

Budae Jiggae, is something which literally means troop soup.   It dates to the Korean war, where soldiers would  take their  food tins and put them together.  I’ve now been to the nationwide chain of restaurants known as Nolboo Budae Jiggae and smoked meat fish several times.

The food is kind of disgusting to hear it described.  It’s a bunch of  spam and hot dogs and spices, kimchi.  All thrown together  and put in a pot.

However it’s delicious.  It’s meaty and spicy.  I get it with  a portion of ramen noodles in it and it’s excellent.

Nolboo Buddae Jiggae is everywhere, I’ve probably seen 50 locations since I’ve been in Korea.