Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Trip Over - OOPS

Well, everything was coming together for a great wrap up of my trip. I was scheduled to leave Tuesday (Valentine Day). Some of my friends chose to entertain me "one last time". On Friday night I met JI and SY for a delicious dinner of Galbi JJim (갈비찜), something similar to American pot-roast, but a little more spicy. Afterwards, we met CH and his wife HS, at the Makia Bar to hear the live Jazz band perform. They have added a vocalist, and everyone had a great time.

CH's Lovely Wife, HS, Modeling Hand-Made Hat Posted by Picasa

Live Jazz Band with new Vocalist Posted by Picasa

Saturday night, JI and his colleague DY took me to eat a new pork dish. I can't tell for sure what it was, it has been translated to me as both pork "buttocks" and "jowls". Those aren't even close on the pig. Anyway, it was great, as is often the case with new Korean food I try. After that, they took me to place featuring live rock bands. (In America I would call it a night club).

Rock Band with Woman Playing Peavey Bass Posted by Picasa

Second Rock Band Posted by Picasa

The events of Sunday afternoon will be a separate post in a few days. Let's pick up when SY, WB (my PD friend), and I stopped at the store for just one loaf of bread. SY wanted a receipt from the store, so she wouldn't have to pay the parking fee. While shopping, we encountered a large display of Valentine chocolates. I decided to buy some for my Stumbling Girls and Mrs. Stumbler. One of the boxes came with a free sample package of three miniature chocolate bars. We all three ate one. Just after I took my first bite, I saw some brownish-red gunk on the inside of the wrapper that didn't look like it belonged (this should have been a huge warning to me, but I just ignored it since the chocolate tasted okay).

We came home, and SY was going to cook a large meal for me. I told her I felt a little full, so she just made some soup and vegetables. I couldn't finish my soup, because by that time I was feeling a bit sick. She left after cleaning up, and my nightmare began. Without going into too much detail, I estimate I lost about 3 gallons (11 liters) fluid in 6 hours time, not including throwing up. I have been dehydrated for about 2 days, and slept almost full-time Monday and Tuesday. As a result, I had to change my return flight. Alas, the next available seat (as of today) was 21 Feb! Only today (Wednesday) have I been able to eat anything close to normal food, and I still feel quite weak. But, I can tell I'm on the upswing and getting better.

This story would have been MUCH better if could claim getting sick from raw octopus or bad kimchi, but a Hershey's bar? I'm pretty confident that it was the chocolate, because of the gunk on the wrapper, and also because SY got sick, too (but not nearly as bad as me). For some reason, WB had no problems. Well, I'd better go drink more water, and call the airline again to see if a sooner date is available.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Misc Photos

No theme today - just some random photos from Korea.

Last night I tried my hand at cooking my favorite soup, sundubu jjigae. Due to some menu and schedule changes, I ended up with all the indgredients in my fridge. And I needed to use them or they would spoil (especially the "sundubu", which is un-formed tofu, reportedly only lasts a couple of days). No big deal, I think. I've cooked Korean food several times now, and this soup comes in a package with instructions. Well, of course they are in Korean! You should have seen me trying to translate the recipe with my dictionary. I got most of it, but had to ask one of my friends online about a few phrases. Come to think of it, a recipe in English uses some not-so-common words and phrases, too. The difficult phrases for me were putting the tofu into the water "spoon by spoon", and also adding the vegetables and other items "according to your taste". I don't have photo of the result, mainly because I was too hungry to take time to get my camera! I also ate this for breakfast this morning - this has to be my favorite Korean breakfast of all time.

Soup Seasoning Packages Posted by Picasa

Looks Easy, Right? Posted by Picasa

At my favorite bar, the owner has introduced a live jazz band. They play three days a week, and are really good. Here they are playing the classic Brazilian Bossa Nova hit, "The Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobin.

Live Jazz Band Posted by Picasa

Today I had an unusually long wait for the elevator, and was studying the gas meter to the nearby apartment. I was surprised how hi-tech it looked. It's been awhile, but the last time I looked closely at a meter in the USA it just had the numbers in the window. This unit has some connection to the meter, and also a servo motor connected to a shutoff valve. I guess they can read all the meters from a central location in the building. As for shutoff, I guess that may be for emergencies, like a fire (althought in that case I think it would be best to shut it off as it comes into the building). Maybe we have these meters in the USA, too. Anyway, pretty cool.

Hi-Tech Gas Meter? Posted by Picasa

Anyone living in Korea surely is familiar with this sight - almost daily advertisements attached to your door. These are the ones I've been lazily "saving" for the past couple weeks. Any time one shows up, I just move to the inside of the door. Every once in awhile, I will show them all to CH, and he tells me the ones to throw away (usually 90% of them), and the ones we keep are usually menus for nearby take-out restaurants. Even those places for some reason keep delivering menus to us - for some of these places we must have 4 or 5 menus.

Two Weeks of Advertisements Posted by Picasa

With credits to Jim Unger, here is my favorite Herman cartoon that I have been laughing at the past few weeks. I got Mrs. Stumbler to scan it for me (thus naming her as my accomplice in copyright violation - we'll go to jail together). It especially applies to one of my Korean friends, who told me he only likes to eat Chicken. ( if you can't read the caption clearly - it says "Chicken for breakfast, chicken for lunch, chicken for dinner, what do you expect?" )

Favorite Herman Cartoon Posted by Picasa

Finally - I just looked out the window, and it's snowing again! Great!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Morning Snow

I finally saw some snow this trip. Woke up to about 3 inches of snow, would be my guess.

Snow From 12th Floor Posted by Picasa

Snow at Officetel Entrance Posted by Picasa

Snow on Car Posted by Picasa

Snow on Bike Posted by Picasa

Snow on Parking Lot Posted by Picasa