Monday, June 27, 2005

Boring Week + Great Food

This week back in Korea has been enjoyable, but a little bit busy. I have been slaving away at the officetel doing some fun work, but it required strong concentration. I am happy for that to be finished. I have continued to consume great Korean food. Mrs. Stumbler noticed that my blog stories seem to revolve around food (besides bar visits). I will be keeping with the food theme this post. During this weekend trip to the store, SY bought me some things that I can cook myself. Admittedly, these are real simple things, but it's a start towards my future career as a great Korean chef! I was real happy when I noticed she was cooking my favorite sundubu chiggae Saturday, because it looked like the main sauce indgredient was pre-made in a poly bag from the store. I was thinking that there would be some hope that I could learn to make it myself, perhaps I could find this sauce in my city in the states. Alas, as we were eating the soup, she commented (and I noticed) that the taste was not quite right - apparently this pre-made sauce is only a STARTING point, and you have to add more spices during cooking. We added some to our bowls which improved it quite a bit.

I prepared dinner for myself last night, the centerpiece was my favorite mushroom. I now know it's name in Korea, but I have no idea what it is in English. So here is a photo:

Favorite Mushroom Posted by Hello

I only ate the one you see sliced up. That gives me three more meals to go....

Friday afternoon CH and I went to a nearby Pizza Hut, and ordered a new style Pizza they offer. It is four flavors of pizza in one pizza - that is not a good decription, but I can't explain it any better. Just after we ordered, I glanced out the windows of this Pizza Hut (it is inside a shopping mall area). Walking by the store were two men, and one of them looked very familiar to me. At first I thought it was my korean friend CT (whom I wrote about in the K-Pop series), but I immediately dismissed the idea. I was thinking it was probably just someone with a similar face and body style, until he walked by our table and saw me. He immediately recognized me, confirming once again that I do not blend in well in a crowd of Koreans. We spoke briefly, and I learned he has been promoted once again to a better job at his company. But he can still help me get into the live K-Pop TV program when I want (something I try to ask infrequently, because I don't want to be any trouble). But there is possibly an upcoming show I want to see, so stay tuned for further reports. I am also behind one installment in the K-Pop series, which I will try to update in the next couple of days.

So after pizza, I wanted to show the fancy take-out (or doggy bag) box they prepare for you in many Korean places:

Just Try To Get This Style Doggy Bag in USA Posted by Hello

On Sunday when I wanted to eat this for lunch, I almost couldn't bring my self to cut off that pretty ribbon. By the way, this is a good example of "western loan" words in Korean - on the bottom right of the pizza box it says "Pizza Hut Home Service". If you knew the Korean alphabet, you could pronounce this and understand what it says - in this case there are no Korean words used. I am not sure why this phrase is written like this. Of course, for a brand name like Pizza Hut, it makes sense not to translate it into Korean (and there may not be a Korean word for Pizza anyway). But I know there is a Korean word for home, and I strongly suspect there is a Korean word for service. Interesting....

Finally, I will end with my story of walking around Seoul last night at exactly the wrong time - during a torrential rain downpour! My umbrella was almost useless. But what was most amazing was the sight on the street as I was walking. I had to keep my eyes on the street, because the puddles were very deep in places. Because I was watching so closely, I suddenly noticed lots of movements here and there in the water which was rushing along the street (it was probably 1-2 inches deep most places - that's 3-5cm for my Korean friends). I focused on one of the movements in the water, and realized that it was a MOUSE! The poor guy was struggling to keep from drowning. I looked around and saw maybe a dozen of them swimming around. And as I was looking, I saw one woman accidentally spear on these guys on the high heel of her shoe !!!! The other recently living creature I saw was a big rat that must have been swimming with the mice, but had been unfortunate to meet a car or truck - he was smashed flat as a pancake. Quite a strange sight - completely new experience for me.

All for now, I hope to take more pictures and make more posts this week.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Back in Korea

I arrived back to Korea Saturday night without incident. I was able to have a good sleep on the plane, and my jet lag, which is normally mild coming this direction, is really no problem this time.

Because yesterday was Fathers Day, I received a small gift from Young Stumbler #4 in my suitcase. I have named him "Sniff Doggy K" because of his big nose and that I got him in Korea. I think this name sounds like a rapper, so I will have him trained to rap in both English and Korean.

Fathers Day Present from Young Stumbler #4 Posted by Hello

Yesterday SY came and cooked some delicious Korean food. There was some left over soup, which I ate for breakfast. Ah, it was so good to eat....

Breakfast Korean Style Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Cooking Korean Style

Well today I finally tried to prepare some Korean food here in America. I purchased some kimchi last week, and have been collecting some indgredients for "kimchi samgyeopsal".

Before Cooking... Posted by Hello

Ready to Eat.... Posted by Hello

It was good to me, but nowhere as good as this food in Korea. I was the only one who ate lots of kimchi, although Mrs. Stumbler ate some. And just like in Korea, the kimchi was DELICIOUS when served hot. I am hoping when I return to Korea next week that SY will teach me to cook sundubu chiggae....

Monday, June 06, 2005

Salty Bath

When I left Korea, I bought Mrs. Stumbler some perfume and bath products (with great help from SY). One product is some bath salts:

Soothing Sea Salts Posted by Hello

Well, just the other night I remember that SY told me this salt was for both men and women, so I decided to try some in my bath. As I picked up the bottle, I was curious what it said underneath the Korean sticker. I peeled the sticker, and I was amazed at the capabilities of these bath salts:

"Stiff muscles relax and unwind, sinking spirits rally, tension floats away, and skin sheds its stressful facade when weary bodies slip into blissful waters. These fragrant, mineral rich salts from the Dead Sea have long been known for their ability to draw out impurities, soothe and revive sagging spirits. To turn your tub into a totally tranquil retreat, pour a handful under warm tap water. Stir to dissolve. Sink in and inhale the calming aroma of Orange, Tangarine, Vanilla, and Cardamom."

I think I need to bring home an entire CASE of these salts next trip!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Vacation Bites

While we were having lots of fun in Disney World, I was having a small problem. Every morning I would wake up with 2 or 3 bites on my arms or legs. At first, I thought it was mosquitos (모기 for my Korean friends). But the bites would turn black in the middle, and this is not like a mosquito bite. I decided they were spider bites, but it was a mystery - why were spiders biting ME, and not Mrs. Stumbler or the Young Stumbler kids? Very strange. Anyway, after the vacation was over and we arrived at home, I counted all my bites. I had 21 bites on my arms, legs, hands and feet! Here are two bites on my hand (those of you who know me can confirm that this is actually my hand because of my crooked finger):

Two of my Spider Bites Posted by Hello

As I was unpacking my clothes, I took one pair shorts that was clean from my bag, and I tried to put them on. As I put my leg in the shorts, a spider fell out onto the floor! I carefully caught it on some paper, and took some photos with my camera.

I Finally Caught Him - A Brown Recluse Spider Posted by Hello

I compared this photo with some on the internet, and it is the Brown Recluse Spider, common in my part of the country. Normally, just one of these spider bites can be life-threatening, and sometimes surgery is required. I am VERY lucky to have 21 bites and no serious problems. I am still puzzled why they only bite me, and where they come from. I think maybe they have a nest somewhere in my camper. Currently all the bites feel much better, and they are all getting smaller each day.

Vacation Wrapup

Okay, let's finish up this series of photos from our vacation. The rest of the week was spend in the Disney Theme Parks: Magic Kindgom, EPCOT, MGM-Disney Studios, and Animal World. Also two "rest" days were spent at swimming water parks. So here are the remaining photos of vacation.

The Brave Stumbling Girls and Scary Animals Posted by Hello

The Day Begins at the Water Park Posted by Hello

The Peacock was Afraid of this Little Rabbit Posted by Hello

Cool car in our campground Posted by Hello

Cinderella's Castle Posted by Hello

Statue of Walt Disney and Mikey - That's how it all started, a man and a mouse Posted by Hello

Young Stumblers #2 and #4 Riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant Posted by Hello

Young Stumbler #3 Driving - WATCHOUT, DANGER !!!! Posted by Hello

One of My Favorites - Buzz Lightyear Posted by Hello

This is Minnie Mouse's House Posted by Hello

And Mikey Mouse's House Posted by Hello

Taking the Boat to the Campground Posted by Hello

This is Mission Space - Very fast one that the Stumbler was afraid to ride Posted by Hello

Concert B.J. Thomas - This is the "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" Singer Posted by Hello

Dinosaur Drawn Cart in Animal World Posted by Hello

My Good Friend Posted by Hello

American Bald Eagle Posted by Hello

Young Stumbler #4 Goes Pony Riding Posted by Hello