Thursday, January 17, 2008

Photo update.

come on, people. comment already! I think I'm the only one reading my blog anymore!

*with the exception of BradJ*

or is this your passive-aggressive way of telling me to start writing shorter posts?

So the Tell Me song is a ridiculously huge dance craze. It was about five below zero (celsius) this night, but these hardy girls were still out, shaking booty, doing the "Tell Me" dance to advertise soju (which the original "tell me" singers, the Wonder Girls aren't even old enough to drink yet).

Plus, watching these, adult women dance, didn't make me feel like a creep, the way watching the 14 and 15-year-old wonder girls do.

I can't imagine how these poor ladies stayed warm: it's not like they have any body fat to store heat, either, unlike hairy Roboseyo, whose chest hair is like constantly wearing an extra t-shirt.

Buying pirated movies always includes the chance of some unintentional comedy in the subtitles. This is from the movie, "Lust, Caution", a huge hit here in Asia, and controversial enough in China to have some of its erotic scenes censored.

The Chinese subtitles were probably simply run through Google Translate and edited in. Love that stuff.

For hours of entertainment, go to this site, which runs any phrase through Google Translate, into another language, and then back to English, to see what kind of mangled concoction comes out. It's hilarious.

My line from this site: "If what you have doesn't make you happy, having more of it probably won't, either," translated to Korean and back again, goes like this:

"To spread out and it was happy what will be extensive not to make, to be possible it compared to be, in addition."

Sometimes chalk outlines can make you cry.
(this was child-sized, right near where my former student was killed by a bus)

If I were the mayor of Seoul, I would make incredibly tough penalties for drivers of delivery scooters who go onto the sidewalks, and even tougher ones for their employers, who pressure their delivery people to skimp on safety for the sake of delivery time. You should see the craziness -- helmetless, flying down the sidewalks, gunning over crosswalks or through red lights -- it's insane.

It snowed in Seoul.
this happened.

And in front of City Hall, they built an ice playground, now that it's properly cold.

I like cold. I like seasons, I decided. I much prefer my seasons to behave as they should: if I saw a cat gathering nuts in the fall and hiding them in tree hollows, I'd probably freak out, and when early January feels more like late October, I get nervous, even as I enjoy the outdoors.

This is the shape of Admiral Yi Sunshin, one of Korea's greatest military heroes. He is also commemorated in a statue in Gwanghwamun, the beating heart of Seoul's Downtown.

Here's the real Admiral Yi, right out directly in front of the main gate of Seoul's most important Palace, generally recognized as a naval strategist on par with any in history.

OK, that wasn't the REAL Yi Sunshin, either (he's dead now) -- just the original statue that the ice sculpture imitates.

There was also an ice rink there, but it looked pretty poorly maintained -- uneven, with puddles and cracks and lots of carved-up snow, as such crowded outdoor rinks end up being. It'd be romantic, but onerous to skate there.

One thing I love about Seoul is that there are little back-alleys like this all over the place.

And if you head in there, you can find random little places buried around corners

with kitchens full of old ladies making INCREDIBLE traditional Korean dishes, with portions that'll fill you up, for about five dollars, sometimes less.

This one makes Kalguksu -- just plain old Korean-style soup -- but it's famous. It's been around for decades, the prices are still the same as they were in 1984, the decoration and atmosphere is nonexistent (or worse), with tacky posters on the wall at best,

(i mean, if this counts as atmosphere to you, you're laughing!)

it's crowded as heck (you bump elbows with strangers as you eat), there's only one thing on the menu. . .
but people line up out the door and down the alley to have a bowl during their lunch break. And Seoul is loaded to the rafters with little holes in the wall like this: in Canada, if a restaurant gets a good reputation, they usually introduce the "reputation surtax" whereby they charge as much as they can while still running on their rep; in Korea, that sometimes happens, but often part of a place's excellence is the pride they take in giving top-notch food at low low prices.

Plus, Korea is historically a peasant culture. The most famous foods are the kinds a farmer might eat when he comes in from a day in the field -- hearty, simple, and cheap. France or Japan take pride in the refined foods they served the upper class, and you'll still pay through the nose for five-star sushi or escargot, but the strength of Korea's cuisine is in the simple, hearty, healthy fare. Wonderful. (Plus, it's SO easy to eat healthy here for cheap.)

I don't know what's going on in here, but I'm not interested.

two I didn't take: from an expats in Korea facebook group:

parking for princesses only:
and. . . this baby knows what they're for.

take care, everyone! Hope you enjoyed my picture tour of the last three weeks!



bradj said...

Hey, I'm commenting! I realise that I can't substitute for all of your regular readers. But at least a "with the exception of bradj" clause would be appreciated! :-)

I like these -- especially the Vancouver-esque traffic snarl. "Ah, cold, slippery stuff is falling from the sky! Quick, let's all drive into each other!"

Roboseyo said...


no, no, I drive an SUV! of COURSE I'll be OK!


what's wrong? I'm driving even more carefully than usual: I shoulder-checked, and I'm not even trying to invent a new lane (lane 2.5 of three)