Saturday, August 12, 2006

Odd Things

It is difficult to remember my camera is with me always, and therefore I often miss good photo opportunities here in Korea. I tried to catch some things these past couple of weeks to be seen below. First of all, the heat is truly oppressive. Even though the humidity is comparable to Huntsville, and the temperature in Seoul has been cooler than Huntsville, for some reason it seems significantly hotter here in Seoul. This is something I cannot explain. The only explanation that makes some possible sense is something John's wife suggested the other night when I tried to call him at home - in Huntsville I almost never walk any significant distance, because we use our cars to go everywhere. Whereas in Seoul I'll take short walks to get to a restaurant, grocery store, or the train station. Unless someone has a complex meterological explanation comparing a city of concrete and high-rises to a sprawling city build on farmland and pastures, I'll have to go along with her explanation for now.

Speaking of the heat, I'll take the shade from a tree wherever I can find it. Specifically, see the unexpected source of shade this week as I was crossing the street.

I'll Take Any Shade I Can Get Posted by Picasa

Also, this week we drove across Seoul for a meeting one afternoon, and near our destination we got a little bit lost and ended up in a cemetary instead of the modern research campus we were trying to find. But while we were lost, we stumbled on this building named after SY:

SY Was Happy to see This Photo Posted by Picasa

I hope this isn't a repeat photo - not being an experienced blogger, I don't know exactly how to search through all my past photos without actually looking at each post. Anyway, John and I always got a chuckle from this sign whenever we walked by the CGV. This week I was nearby at a bookstore, and decided to snap this photo. I think the intention here is not that you can't bring these kinds of foods into the theatre, but that they don't want you to bring YOUR OWN foods in - they want you to buy the food from their snack bar (however, I don't remember ever seeing squid for sale at the theatres here). Let me add, contrary to what this sign may say, that they don't seem to enforce this rule very well. The few times I have been to the movies here in Korea, I have seen ladies pull all sorts of snacks from their purses to eat. Even one time I was unwittingly party to this flagrant rule breaking as SY pulled a bag of oranges from her purse and gave one to me and her (now ex-) boyfriend. Anyway, as a public service to those not familiar with the international symbol for squid, I present the CGV sign:

Don't Bring Your Squid into the CGV Posted by Picasa

This week at our officetel was much needed window cleaning. They made an announcement (of course in Korean) that essentially said "don't be surprised to look out your window and see someone's face". CH provided me the translation, but to my surprise I actually understood about 20% of it myself. Here is a shot of the brave window washers:

Spider Men Posted by Picasa

We had a meeting with HJ, the lady who does some freelance design work for us on occassion. She is the one who recommended the digital camera I now use. One feature that she demonstrated to me before I bought mine was to make a photo that was black and white except for a particular color you chose ahead of time. Since I bought my camera, I have been eagerly awaiting the next chance to meet her so she could teach me to do that (since I am an engineer, I never read the instruction manual). So finally this week she taught me to do it. Here is a photo based on the color of the Soju bottle:

Digital Camera Experiment Posted by Picasa

And finally I have photographed the deck of Korean style playing cards called HWA-TOO, used to play a favorite Korean card game called "GO-STOP". One of my friends tried to show me "how easy it is" by arranging the cards in their proper order. I'm guessing this would be similar to arranging a normal deck of cards by number and suit. Try as I may, I can't quite get my arms around these cards and the game. I found a link last year to a website that explains the game for those interested. A quick summary: the odd cards at the top of the photo are the "jokers". The columns are like numbers 1 through 12, which are identified as the months January through December, and they also have a flower or plant name as well. Sprinkled thoughout the months unevenly are 5 each BRIGHT cards (having a chinese character in a red circle), 9 each ANIMAL cards (not all of which have animals on them, but don't let that bug you!), 10 each RIBBON cards (consisting of 3 red poetry ribbons, 3 blue poetry ribbons, and 4 plain red ribbons), and finally 24 each JUNK cards. Got it? Okay, let's play. [Credit to Mr. Sloper's website for the above explanations]

It's EASY I'm Told - Yeah, Right Posted by Picasa

Anyone who wants some of these cards, let me know. They only cost $2, and are much sturdier and American playing cards. I think even if you don't know the rules, just arranging them and putting them in a picture frame would be pretty.

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