26 February 2008

Snow Day!

A few flurries started falling the evening of February 24th... we awoke the next morning to find a nice blanket of snow outside.

The view out our window, towards Songtan. Nice to see the view blocked by flurries instead of smog! :)
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19 February 2008

Flower Market

We traveled about an hour from Songtan, to a flower market near Seoul.
It's easy to find- just off the freeway. There are rows upon rows of greenhouses that are filled with vendors stalls. We walked into the nearest greenhouse and were just amazed at the orchids- everything was in bloom- manicured, arranged, and presented just beautifully. Our treasures for the day were a sculpted azalea, a hanging pothos, an aloe plant for the kitchen, a huge potted Amaryllis cousin, three South American tropical plants (not sure what they are), and a vase of lotus bamboo. All for the low price of about $90 US. Evan had lots of fun seeing everything from the backpack- and really enjoyed all the shopkeepers doting on him and suprising him with a lollipop. Yes, lollipop has certainly risen to the top on his list of vocab... "maybe we'll see a lollipop?" "Do I get a lollipop" "They might have a lollipop" And, my favorite... "Lollipop... OK. OK. OK." As if talking about it and giving yourself permission will conjure a lollipop out of thin air.
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17 February 2008

10,000 Leagues Under...

Above, Brynn and Evan posing in front of the entry to the Coex Aquarium- a feature of the Coex Mall. All of which is located underground in a shopping mall in downtown Seoul. The mall featured a labyrinth of parking garages, complete with bowing Korean attendants in fedora hats, which lead to a shoppers mecca. The mall features an eight story tall Hyundai department store which sells Fendi toss pillows, $500 rice cookers, and many other things you didn't know you needed.

Wow. Now those are some crab legs... yum, yum.

Matt and Evan discussing the finer points of the seahorse propulsion system. There were many exhibits- featuring native Korean fish and eels, the Amazon Rainforest, shallow tanks of stingrays and puffer fish, a HUGE shark tank, and a icy Arctic exhibit. And to think it was all part of a mall...
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10 February 2008

Drinking water?

Once in the food court we watched the locals procure their beverages. There was no soda fountain, only a case of glasses with a hot and cold water spigot next to it. It appeared that you grabbed a glass out of the ultraviolet lighted case and filled it at the spigot... seemed easy enough! Matt wandered over and filled up two glasses... hmm... this must be too easy... sure enough, he sat down and commented that he had just seen a little boy put his glass back INTO the case. A one-time happening? No. The ladies clearing tables were taking USED glasses off people's trays and putting them back in the case. I think the US Health Department would have had a few complaints...
We decided not to drink our water, and waited for our number to be called. However, the cup-sharing phenomenon was obviously not weird to anyone else in the room, so maybe if we got really thirsty we would give it a try. All of this after our neighbors had warned us that local restaurants tend to reuse drinking straws to cut down on costs... so don't drink out of straws, or cups...
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This is a Korean menu

We ventured out to Osan, a city just 10 minutes south of our apartment. Matt has adjusted well to driving in Korea- I think it will be a few more days before I try it! We went to E-mart, which is the Korean equivalent of a grocery store, clothing store and household goods in one building. It was near lunch time when we arrived, so we decided to eat at the food court. Luckily, or unluckily, for us the menu was entirely in Korean an depicted by plastic representations in display cases near the cashier. We eliminated any options with black sauce and green chunks... also brown slurry over rice... and any heaping piles of kimchee. Which left us with two choices: #45, and #46. Rice with breaded chicken? or pork? , cabbage salad and a side of clear brothed soup.
We paid at the cashier- exchange rate is about 970 Won to $1. Then wandered into the cafeteria area where they have three separate counters with cooks behind them. It became apparent that our receipt number would pop up on the LED screen at whichever counter was preparing our food. Ah, but something to drink... hmmm....
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