Friday, March 02, 2007

January Cold

We had some cold weather in January, and actually experienced a good snow one time. But since then, the winter has ended prematurely early. Here's a shot of the snow blizzard out my apartment window. This came on suddenly, because only 10 minutes earlier I had been returning from a short trip to our factory, and there were only some very light flurries. By the time I went upstairs to the apartment and opened my curtains, it was a raging blizzard.

Speaking of cold, I came down with a cough that didn't want to go away. After finishing all my over-the-couter cough syrup that I brought from America, I broke down and went with my friend to the hospital (that's just the doctor's office for my American friends). There I was treated with all the various medicines you see in this photo for a grand total cost of about $12 for the doctor's visit and $15 for the phramacy bill! Just a day earlier, my friend CH had gone to a doctor for the same ailment, and since he has insurance, his bill was $4 for the doctor and $2 for the medicine! Simply Amazing.

No, the small packets of parmesean cheese and hot sauce were NOT part of my treatment, they were left over from pizza lunch we had that day and I forgot to clear from the table before taking the photo. You can also notice the Korean method of packaging medicines, sealed in small wax-paper bags. In America we get our medicine packaged in separate bottles for each kind of medicine. Here, the pills are packaged by the time of day and contain all the pills you are supposed to take at that time. For example, I was instructed to take my pills at breakfast, lunch and dinner time, so my small bags were so labeled. Of course, the cough syrup couldn't be put in a wax paper bag, so it was dispensed similarly to the States.

One final comment about Korean medicine labeling. In America the pill bottles are very clearly labeled, telling the doctor, the patient, various details about the medicine and the dosage instructions. In fact, I am almost certain that this labeling is required by law. Recently I had some blood pressure medicine prescribed here in Korea (my supply from the States was finished). The first month supply was given to me in the manufacturer's original bottle, although without any special label. I have had this happen in America, too, so it wasn't anything unusual. But this month the phramacist gave me the pills in a plain white bottle with no labels at all. She was confirming that I knew how to take the pills (once per day), and almost as an afterthought she got a sharpie pen and wrote the korean equivalent of "once per day" on the bottle. The only thing going through my mind at the time was what would happen if I got inspected coming into America with one of these pill bottles in my bags? It hardly looks like a regular prescription, and this labeling would probably not pass muster with the American authorities.

Now for some obligatory food photos. What better way to warm yourself up on a cold January day than a bowl of piping hot fermented soy bean paste stew. This is one of the few Korean foods I have learned to cook. Printed a recipe from the internet and tried it out. It has been approved by a few of my Korean friends as passable. Also, as I was telling Mrs. Stumbler a few weeks ago, if 2 years ago someone had told me I would enjoy a meal without any meat, I would not have believed them. And now I am eating meat-less meals frequently. Lest anyone worry about The Stumbler's dietary health, I should point out that many of these meat-free dishes are high in protein, especially ones with tofu (such as this one).

If fermented soy beans aren't your thing (I'm told many westerners cannot stand the smell of that soup), how about some grilled duck followed by some fried rice:

(Sorry, I couldn't restrain myself - you can see I took a bite from the fried rice before snapping this photo)

If you insist on western food, how about a hot dog pastry or a quesedilla? (Again, I see that I've eaten a bite from the quesedilla before taking the photo - I gotta learn to slow down)

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