Friday, September 15, 2006

The Lost Korea Blogs: The Shopping Experience

It was time to go to the store. I had been in Daejeon (i.e. Taejon) for only a weekend and I was missing some of the necessities, most importantly peanut butter crackers. (Peanut butter crackers would become part of my surviviel, *cough* diet, in Korea. Peanut butter crackers and pepsi was how I survived until....)

I was determined to get these necessities so I sat down with my Korean labmates and tried to learn the Korean name for everything I wanted to buy. However, there was no Korean name for granola bars. (I don't think there is a such thing as granola bars, *sniff sniff*, in Korea. I should have followed Mike's lead and brought my own stash of granola bars).

Eric and I decided to walk to the store. Before we hit the store (Garrefour) we got some popsicles. It was real interesting popsicle that had like a starburst fruit flavor.

So we walk across the street and along the river, under a bridge, and finally ended up at the store. We walked in on the first floor and I am like Garrefour is big. Then Eric corrects me by letting me know we haven't gotten to the store yet. So we take the escalator as these girls start laughing at us (We should have holla at them, they were cute).

When we reached Garrefour I realized how people in Korea love cutesy stuff. Everything was in pastel colors. I am like why would I want a bright blue or pink fan or washer machine. You know, I feel many women would love to go shopping in Korea because everything is cute here. As I waited for Eric to get the shopping cart, I walked by and behold the special toilet lids with special features. I don't know why someone wants their toosh warm while on the toilet but like the famous quote, "to each their own" or something like that.

After the toilet lid episode, I went searching for a fan. That's when I realized things are EXPENSIVE here. I was ponder to myself that things should be cheaper. That's when I had another realization: I AM NOT IN HONG KONG. After picking up a pillow and other things, I splurge on what every black guy would get while in Korea (Not women, that is what every guy would do in a foreign country):

A basketball. Yes, I was being so cliche. Oh, did I mention they were selling tape players here. Korea is sometimes confusing because they are high tech and low tech at the same time. I haven't seen a tape player in commercial stores in a long time in the US. Not an expensive one. Tape players should be in dollar store, not be costing $40+.

Our day of shopping finally ended with buying, eh...well trying to buy garbage bags. We ask and ask but nobody heard of this thing called a garbage bag. The closest we got was that we were told to go to the checkout line and ask for green. This information did not help. Later we find out the green bag is the garbage bag used here in Korea and you get the bag at the checkout line by asking the cashier. Go figure, who would have ever guessed.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Lost Korea Blogs: Superman Returns

Last night was awesome. I told my fellow KSI participants in Taejon that we should go to the movies. After all, we were going to see Superman Returns (which came out the same day here in Korea as in the US). There was so much hype building up to this movie that it could be a colossal flop or super success. All I knew was when I saw the preview in the theaters a month ago, I knew that this movie had to be AWESOME. You ever get that vibe from a movie trailer? (Well I got that vibe again from the Spiderman 3 trailer)

The night started out with us walking around campus trying to find each other. Once we found each other we took a cab. Again we walked around to find the cab and once we found the cab, we spend couple minutes trying to figure how to correctly say Primus in Korean. (Okay, so there was a lot of finding things)

Once we got to the place where the move theater was to supposed to be we walked around lost. We finally took the elevator up to the movie theater. It was so different. You have to get a ticket and wait for your number to be called. There was no rush or lines. Also, you select your seat when you buy your ticket. (A great way to avoid those crazy lines in American movie theaters and people saving seats for their friends. You know how you go to the movies you can only find enough seats for everyone except for one person in your group to sit together. None of those experiences in Korea.)

And the movie food and drinks were cheap. Like $3 for nachos and a soda. It was wonderful. Once we got in and started to watch the movie I was blown away. Superman impressed me with its visual effects and picture. It should get Best Picture because the power in the picture was that good. It made the okay plot actually seem good. (Yes, this blog is dated. I know Superman was SO 2 months ago)

After the movie we walked around Taejon. Now, in Korea everybody is out at night relaxing and shooting the breeze. I don't think people sleep here. After walking around for awhile, we saw chicken and beer place. They setup our table on the sidewalk and we waited for them to bring us fried chicken and beer (I had a coke because you know I am addicted to soda).

The FRIED CHICKEN WAS AWESOME! There was this spicy bbq sauce with the chicken. We even had a bucket to put our bones. Nothing like watching a great movie, and sitting down afterwards eating fried chicken and talking politics. Made me miss home.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

And the blogs continue...

Well friends, I have been pretty quiet on my Korean blog (couple months). So as I prepared to transition to my new blogs, check out the last posts of my Korean blog as I countdown to the new blogs.

My new blog will be poetry (for the ladies who requested it). It will be a blog of my poems and little story behind the poems. Don't worry bros, I will have another blog up for everyone who not poetry readers.

And the new blogs I won't connect to facebook so friends don't worry about my posts (notes) stuffing up you all news feed, lol.

Anyway, the new blogs links will be up soon for those interested. Also, if you want the new blogs linked to facebook, just let me know.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

It almost happen again...

Yep, I almost fell for it again. I was sitting at my desk working with my headphones on when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Okay, maybe it was not a tap and let me stop romancizing the story. Anyway, this cute Korean girl introduce herself to me. I was thinking, "Oh no, not the JeHovah Witness again." After a while I finally understood her. She was simply asking if I wanted to take this class.

Of course, when any cute girl asks you something, you feel obliged to do so. You are hynoptized. This time I snapped out of the hynoptism just in time. She wanted me to commit my time, a week, to a class I did not feel like taking. Instead, I told her I would get back to her and when she left I looked at what the class was offering.

I almost made a horrendous mistake. I tell you beauty can blind a guy. Of course I reminded myself of several things to knock me out of my stupor:

1. All the girls on campus are in a committed relationship; its a fact.
2. Girls that come up to you in a nice way usually have a motive; they need you to do something for them
3. Learn from experience.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

The Club NB - Noise Basement

Jammin to MJ "Thriller" album couple hours before I give a presentation. I should go to sleep but I will probably go to sleep after the presentation. Yea, I am up in the wee early morning. Just got back from Hip Hop Club in Taejon.

It was a truly fun experience. I got in free this time because I was American. I guess they knew I would come back a lot if I like the club. It was a nice small atmosphere. The night started out with a Korean rapper spittin rhymes. He was killin the mic (in positive way). If only I knew what he was saying.

Man, "The girl is mine" Michael Jackson song is playing right now on my comp. Man, I felt that the "darn girl is mine". I put it down on the dance floor. I was reppin for the MD and CC. Anyway, my boy Eric and 영 상 roll to the club with me. It was 영 상 first time but that didn't stop us. I taught him a couple dance moves.

We even got our first drinks free because we were foreigners and it was opening night. Some of these Korean cats could dance too, a lot of them were poppin. Learn me some Korean hip hop moves to dance to Korean hip hop. Once they played songs I knew, I just wild out. It was fun because I was getting the rest of the club hyped along with me.

Oh, and there were some cuties. Dance with a few. Now, if only I can get past this language barrier. Note to self, I will learn more Korean so I will be prepared next time. It's time to slay em like Heman.

And on the way there, how could I forget the brand new subway system built in Taejon. It was freaking gorgeous. Oh my, was it beautiful. They used these tokens with like RFID tags in them or something to get on and off the subway. Pictures coming soon...

I am out to sleep.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yes, Fish and Rice...wait..wait

Today was another interesting lunch experience. I decided to roll with Lou and his labmates. As we walked to the place to eat, I was told that we were going to eat beef and bop (rice). After entering the place, I found that we were not eating beef and rice but fish and rice.

Hey, I wasn't going to complain because at that time I was starving. And second, meat and rice combinations in South Korea is always delicious. No matter what flavoring they use, the meat and rice is usually on point. Anyway, we walked into the store and because all the floor space was taking up, we had to sit at the corner (Yes, I escaped the numb leg experience during lunch for once).

They brought out the bowls and I thought to myself ("What is this?"). It was raw fish.

At first, I was like I am not going to eat this. Instead, I follow everyone by putting this red sauce on the food. The sauce was like ketchup + hot sauce. Then I zoned out and told myself just eat and don't think.

I started chowing down and then it happen: The FOOD WAS DELICIOUS. Ooh, it was good.

Most importantly, it left me full for awhile. I tell you, some raw fish, rice, and red sauce is good. I do it again and again.

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All about the umbrella

So I find out that monsoon season started the other day. That means for the rest of my stay its going to be RAIN, RAIN, and RAIN. It hasn't been so bad so far. Just a little bit of drizzle.

The other day I was going to walk outside when I was stopped and advise to have a umbrella. I was like I don't need an umbrella. However, I was told that the rain is ACID rain so having an umbrella is a must. I was told it would burn my hair. Whether this is true or not I don't know but here everybody is rocking the umbrella and have the umbrella opened even when it is only drizzling.

I first started carrying a umbrella when I was going to play basketball at the courts. I went to open my umbrella and it totally broke down. Such a piece of crap. Now I was unprotected from the RAIN. What should a guy do?

Well, today my host gave me an umbrella to borrow. Nothing cool but hey, you have to work with what you got you know.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006


It's getting serious. I am here watching the Ghana - Brazil game in Korean. Funny how they got perfect spelling of Ghana players names in Korean. Anyway, this game is no joke. I was rooting hard for Ghana. And they BLEW all these opportunities.

They were controlling the ball. I was discussing the game with another guy who was watching it with me. He didn't understand English but that didn't matter. I tell you offsides is the wackest thing to grace soccer. It slows the game down too much. (Note: I am not a soccer expert)

I don't know, I am thinking that I am starting to take this world cup games too seriously. I am hooping and hollaring. Falling out my seat on missed opportunities. Something about being here in South Korea got my soccer juices flowing. Gave me pride in rooting for a team. No, not the US. I can care less about US soccer. They didn't even put my man Adu on the team. Just wrong.

Instead, I was rooting hard for Korea soccer team. After all, there was reason to root for them. They give their countries hope. They are a symbolism that the impossible can be possible. That N and S Korea can and will reunite. There's passion behind rooting for that team. That's why I am into the World Cup right now. I can't identify with Ghana but they somehow give that same vibe. Or maybe because the Brazilian players give off an air of arrogance. They are like the lakers in their prime. Fear, hated and respected to some extent.

Down 2-0, can they pull off the miracle? Give me that passion like Korea did (below).

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At the Hot Soup

I went to the Hot Soup place with my coworkers. Let me tell you, I did not expect the soup to be this HOT. First, I will explain what hot soup is. Basically, it is a combination of meat, vegetables, noodles in a pan of sauce. This food is fried in front of you as you sit on the floor waiting for it to cook. Okay, that's like every Korean restaurant. Although they have the same way of cooking, the food tastes different at each restaurant. (It's like how every Chinese restaurant in the US has the same food on menu but the food taste differently no matter what you order. How Chinese restaurants make General TSO chicken taste like 50 different ways I will never know.)

Here are some of the things I learned while eating Hot Soup at this restaurant.

1. Water and Rice are your friend: You got to understand that this food is HOT HOT. Don't even think about drinking a soft drink with your food. You need something to soak up the spicyness which rice and water are good for. I would suggest Milk but point.

2. Yoga Skills required: My legs kept going numb as I sat on the floor. I don't know how they expect me to sit on the floor in Indian style when the last time I sat like that was as a child. My advice is to take some yoga lessons before you come to Korea so your legs won't get numb while sitting on the floor. Then it will just be your butt getting numb but that's a whole other discussion.

3. Chopsticks mastery: Go to as many restuarants as you can that require the use of chopsticks before you come to Korea. Nothing more embarassing than not being able to use chopsticks and being the only person that has to use a fork. The hardest thing to master with chopsticks is pickign up noodles (Note: remember the circle rule when using chopsticks).

4. Tissue: The food is so spicy that as you eat you have to use a tissue. You got sinus problems, go eat some spicy Korean food. It works wonders. And yes, they had a box of tissues at the table.

After we ate lunch, we went passed a store and Park bought everyone desserts. I got a Kiwi Icee. It was GOOD. Don't sleep on the desserts. They are delicious. However, I will not forgive Korean 7-11 for not having slurpees. That is just sacrilege.

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