Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Korean Street Treat

This deceptively simple, and unassuming little guy is hiding one of the snack food industries best kept secrets. It's amazing, and delicious, and similar to a french fry. Only, its better, much better, so good in fact that I'm thinking about running outside to get one now. Only I won't, because the street vendors obviously aren't open at 10 am on a Monday morning... *sigh*

What I'm talking about of course is the infamous potato... on a stiiiiiick.

The road to my ultimate demise usually starts with a shopping trip to Idea, which is where I most often fall prey to these little morsels. They start out innocent looking enough, raw potatoes minding their own business, hanging out on a street vendors cart in Seoul. A more practiced eye, however, can spot that these particular potatoes are out for trouble right from the get-go. Why else would they be spiraled like that... so enticing-like.

Before you know it, their innocent act is over, and the second they draw you in, practically forcing you to order one, they plunge themselves into a deep frier; doing the best they can to cause you a heart attack right then and there, just from thinking about all the fat and grease that's soon going to be coursing through your veins.

The tongs are ready to fish them out, and you think the worst of it is over until....

... until you notice the dastardly cheese sauce that lies in wait to be sprinkled all over what was once an innocent looking potato. You didn't know that they could be so sneaky, did you?

Neither did I my friends, neither did I....

That being said... its never stopped me from buying one yet.
Potato on a stiiiick, you had me from hello.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seould Meets Ancient Egypt

Despite the fact that we have been experiencing a so called, monsoon season for the past few weeks, we've been having an awful lot of beautiful weather here in Seoul. I think whoever decided to call summer in Seoul the rainy season, had never been to Newfoundland, or the west coast for that matter.

Not that I'm complaining of course, the sunny weather is wonderful... just that calling all of this sun the 'rainy season' seems like a bit of a misnomer. It confuses people.

Getting back on track here... Yesterday Amanda, Meghan, Suzie, Lindsay and I decided to use our Saturday to take in an exhibit about Ancient Egypt at the National Museum of Korea. It was pretty amazing.

The National Museum of Korea is located about a 5 minute walk away from Icheon Station -- not to be confused with INcheon -- and is really quite easy to get to. The building is pretty impressive from the outside, and even more impressive on the inside. Definitely worth a visit if you are going to be in Seoul and are interested in Korean history.

This picture below is significant for two reasons. One, is because I love the painting of the Sphinx and the pyramids that are on the stairs, and two because this is the line up to get into only the Ancient Egypt part of the exhibit, which had a separate line up from the main body of the museum. Notice how it snakes back and forth multiple times before it finally goes into the exhibit (on the left) at the very back of the picture before the stairs. Suffice to say, it took a few minutes to get inside.

Here we are making our way towards it. From left to right featured here are, Lindsay, two Korean men who just happened to be there when I took the picture, Meghan, Amanda and Susie.

After quite a lengthy wait however, we were finally there! We're here! It's Egypt!

kmt = 'Egypt' written in Hangeul

We weren't allowed to take any pictures once we were actually inside unfortunately. It appears that flash photography, or bright lights of any kind are actually quite harsh on the ancient artifacts.

Or... maybe, just maybe... the mummies are afraid of looking fat in their wraps...
Yep, I think that's the one.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Leaving Day

Yesterday, I tried to convince my parents that they could take me home for a little while, as one of their carry-ons. I proved that it was possible by fitting myself into a bag for them to bring with them, but unfortunately I don't think it fit carry on size or weight limitations.

I am not exactly happy to be leaving Korea and all the great people that I've met here in three months time, but I sure am looking forward to being home for a little while. Not much time left, my days here are officially numbered.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Days 11 & 12 : DMZ and N'Seoul Tower ... and beyond!

Day 11 was Saturday, July 8th and it was a good thing we had gone home early the night before, because boy did we ever have an early rise that day... 4:30 AM!!! We were tired but excited, and we even brought Lindsay with us.

Oh? Where were we going? Let me show you...

Back in time, perhaps? A war zone?

Well figuratively yes to the first, and technically yes to the latter. Both! Although I must say the pictures look a little less menacing in colour.

On an interesting side note however, all of the grey building in this picture are owned by communist North Korea. They have creepy soldiers who peer out from behind windows and make obscene gestures to the American and South Korean soldiers who are protecting the tourists... crazy!

If you look very closely in this picture in fact, you'll see a North Korean solider watching our every move with binoculars... double crazy!

Well all got to take out picture on the North Korean side of the DMZ, and saw a whole bunch of other places in the DMZ that we weren't allowed to take pictures of. It was pretty amazing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone else who was interested.


Day 12, Sunday saw me with the family back at the COEX mall to do a little more shopping and we had a really great time. We also went to N'Seoul tower that day which was quite a hike (we didn't take the cable car), but completely worth it for the view of Seoul.

First when you arrive at the base of the mountain, you must either take a cable car to the top of the mountain and then hike to the tower, or you can hike the entire way if you feel so inclined. We had originally intended to take the cable car ourselves, but we hadn't anticipated the volume of people who were present on that Sunday evening. The wait to ride in the cable car was over an hour, and so we decided to hike on up.

As we have been apt to do over the past week or so, we took many a picture, including this one on the right, which is only a small part of a rather large fence. The fence is covered for dozens of metres in locks and love notes. Young lovers go to N'Seoul Tower and put their locks on the chain link fence, throwing away the key to symbolize the eternal nature of their love... *sigh*. Naturally, I fall for that kind of stuff, I thought it was sweet.

Located in Seoul Tower, is also strangely enough a Teddy Bear Museum. Who knew?

We were also treated to a pretty fantastic light show that evening, AND we had Cold Stone ice cream (my favourite). ALL, before we even went up the tower itself. Fabulous!

The view from the top of the tower was incredible! My camera, however, is not fancy enough to help you appreciate it, so I'm not going to put up any of the pictures that I attempted to take. They were very sad attempts indeed.

When we finally got back down from the tower itself, the wait to take the cable car down that mountain was even longer than it had been to go up the mountain.

So down the stairs we went...


I promise that we did eventually reach the bottom. It just took a while. :)

The rest of the week went off without a hitch, but also without a lot of participation from me, as I started back to school on Monday morning. We had a relaxed day today, Saturday, Day 18, with a little On The Boarder Mexican deliciousness, and some final shoe shopping in Idea, and now they're leaving tomorrow. Boo....
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