Monday, August 29, 2005

Left The Nest

Last week we delivered Young Stumbler #1 to university. I forgot to take some good photos, and am waiting on her to send me some. I will edit this post as soon as she send them.

Update: photos have arrived. Below you will see her dorm room. I want to point out something about the posters on the wall. If you look at the back of the room, you will see some Beatles posters of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Also, a photo of an old building, which comes from a Chicago album. These posters used to be on the Stumbler's dormitory wall, when I was a young lad back in college! Now my daughter has claimed them for her wall.

YS#1 Dormitory Room Posted by Picasa

Here is YS#1 and her roomate the first week of classes. They look cheerful and full of energy. I promise to post another photo at the end of the semester for comparison.

YS#1 (Right) and Her Roomate (Left) Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 12, 2005

Easy Tropical Week

This week has been relaxing, except for the heat. First, here are the obligatory food photos, again meals I made with left overs from the Korean restaurant.

Korean Leftover Meal #1 Posted by Picasa

Korean Leftover Meal #2 Posted by Picasa

Usually, on every trip to Hawaii I get one or two "aloha" shirts, the bright flowery shirts popular here in Hawaii. These days, Mrs. Stumbler has been telling me "No more Aloha shirts, PLEASE". Yesterday, I walked by my closet, and I saw them all in a row - wow. Maybe she is right....

My Aloha Shirts Posted by Picasa

Finally here is my favorite car to drive around the island:

My Hawaiian Jeep Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Pig Leaves

Today's Hawaiian food treat was some specially prepared pork. It is first wrapped in Taro leaves (don't ask me what those are - maybe from Taro tree?), then an outer layer is wrapped using tea leaves. The whole thing is cooked (steamed?) for a long time. I am told this is typical food you can find at a Hawaiian Luau, to which I have never been. You remove the tea leaves and throw them away, but you eat the pork and taro leaves together.

This pork was served with some chicken soup, which had an unusual squash - it was clear. Also, rice and two kinds of kimchi that my friend's mother (she is Chinese) prepared for us. One was traditional style made from cabbage, and another what I think we called moo-kimchi (무김치) in Korea, it is made from turnips. At least I think it is turnips. In Korea, I saw fresh moo, tasted fresh moo, and had moo kimchi. But I was never 100% clear that a moo was a turnip, mainly because in America I almost never see nor eat a turnip - I wouldn't know one if it hit me on the head.

I will say that the combination of this pork and kimchi had an EXCELLENT flavor. I think now that kimchi with ANY pork makes an delicions combination.

Hawaiian Pork - with Outer Tea Leaves Posted by Picasa

Hawaiian Pork - with Inner Taro Leaves, Ready to Eat Posted by Picasa

Chicken Thigh and Squash Soup Posted by Picasa

I went to the store today to exchange my broken pepper shaker. It came as a set - salt and pepper together, so I went into the store with both of them to exchange. There was nobody at the desk, but two lady clerks were talking at a cash register with no customers. I explained my problem, the pepper shaker was broken. She said, no problem, and the lady by the cash register picked up the identical item, still wrapped in plastic, and handed it to me! I was shocked - how did she have the exact item I wanted right there at her register? Normally I would have to go find a replacement item on the shelf, and bring it to them for the exchange. They just smiled at my confusion, so I shook my head, thanked them, and left. Maybe the Hawaiian store clerks are reading my blog? Weird experience....

Let me wrap up today's post by elaborating some on the beauty here in Hawaii. During my earlier visits, I tried to photograph some of the scenery, but I was always disappointed in the results. You simply cannot capture the beauty of this island on film or a movie. For example, every day I drive along the rim of the most beautiful canyon. Just to catch a glimpse of it will take your breath away, much less to stop and spend a few minute enjoying the scene. The film just cannot capture the panorama of space, colors, smells, sounds of this sight. Especially it cannot capture the sinking feeling in your stomach as you stand on the edge of steep cliff looking over this vast and deep canyon.

Last night, I drove to work after dark, and when I arrived, my eyes were well adjusted to the night. When I got out of my car, I could not believe how many stars I could see in the Hawaiian night sky. Being on a small mountain, away from any other lights, and with a clear sky, the heavens looked like they were having a party. I saw what must have been the milky way, something I cannot see from my city, along with thousands and thousands of stars. I just stood and stared into the sky for about 5 minutes, it was so beautiful. And I didn't even consider getting the camera - no way to capture this experience. I will have to only remember it in my mind.

So to conclude, Hawaii definitely has some good points. And after over 15 trips here, I can still enjoy some of them.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Aloha (알로하)

Well, I am now in Hawaii for 3 weeks trip. I cannot convince my colleagues at the office, but working out here in paradise is not really special after 15 or more trips. The first few trips were great, but after so many times here it is not special anymore. But, I will say that it is more beautiful than my hometown or Seoul. Still, I cannot decide which scenery is best - the flowers and trees or the bikini-clad women. Anyway, here is photo of my condo and a couple of views from my porch looking over the ocean.

Hawaiian Condo Posted by Picasa

View From My Porch Posted by Picasa

Sunset from My Porch Posted by Picasa

I have enjoyed the usual excellent Hawaiian cooking of my two friends here. On my first two days I have had two excellent meals. Friday was wild boar stew and fish soup. Saturday was cow's head stew with kimchi, and fresh home-made guacamole. I understand from my Korean friends that cow's head stew is called 소머리국밥, and is available in Korea... Mrs. Stumbler and I will try next trip in October.

My friends also recommended a Korean restaurant here on the island, which I visited for dinner one evening. It is called "Kimchi #9", which I think would translate to "김치구번". I had a mixed plate of BBQ meats, and I was really wanting some Korean soup. They didn't have my favorite 순두부찌개, but the ajumma recommended a fusion dish that was spicy tofu and chicken soup. I ordered it, but the size was huge - it was enough to serve 4 people !!! So I ate what I could, and took home the remains. I ate the soup, with some kimchi I found at the local grocery store, for beakfast one morning. Speaking of shopping, I found a GREAT bargain on chopsticks - I can buy 60 pairs of chopsticks for 69 cents (W700), so I bought 180 pairs!

Great Discount on Chopsticks Posted by Picasa

Mrs. Stumbler was concerned for my health, because I forgot to buy any fruits or vegetables at the grocery store (well, not counting kimchi). So, yesterday I went again to the store and bought some vegetables for cooking. Then, I realized that I needed some salt and pepper, since there were no spices at my condo. I had to go back to the store, and bought some spices: red pepper (고춧가루), salt (소금), pepper (후춧가루), and garlic (마늘). I always joke about how expensive things are in Hawaii, and I say every item in the store is $5 (W5,000). But it didn't sink in until I was driving away that my 4 bottles of spices cost me $12 (W12,000) !!! In fact, the pepper shaker is broken, so I think I will take it back and ask for a new one.

Expensive Spices Posted by Picasa

Vegetables for My Health Posted by Picasa

So, today's main meal was leftover BBQ, and some vegetables I prepared. Actually, I have no idea what I was doing - I just put some butter in the skillet, and threw in the cut-up vegetables. I added the spices and let it cook. I am quite happy about the taste - it was delicious. I can imagine how it would taste if a real cook prepared it. In hindsight, I think I should have bought a green and red pepper, instead of the orange and yellow pepper - it would have made the food more colorful. I still have 1/2 of the vegetables left, so I will cook this again. I think maybe I will add an onion next time. I welcome any suggestions. Well, more posting in a few days from the beautiful paradise of Hawaii. Aloha (알로하).

Can I Cook??? Posted by Picasa

Monday's Main Meal Posted by Picasa