Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Baseball Season

YS#4 has started playing on a baseball team (technically it is "tee-ball", where they hit the ball off a stick, like a golf ball "tee"). She is really proud of her new pink-and-white baseball glove.

Here she is at bat, if this swing wasn't a home run, I'm sure it was a double or triple at least!

Finally, here she is dressed up with her fins and snorkel set:


Here's another Konglish alert. At the gym, I always get a chuckle when I go to the locker room or bathroom, which are clearly labeled as "LOCKER MAN" and "TOILET MAN". I keep thinking these are super-heros, maybe friends with Superman and Batman. I snuck this photo of TOILET-MAN with my cell phone, and I tried to catch another funny Konglish sign without success. I worried that the staff and guests might not want folks taking photos in the gym - I know I would be embarassed to have my exercisign photo published on someone's blog. But I figure Konglish signs are fair game...

My biggest worry is that I'll stumble off the treadmill feeling a little light headed and instead of visiting TOILET-MAN I'll accidentally walk into LOCKER-WOMAN which is just around the corner. Exercise update - I'm up to 1 hour per session on the running machine (that's treadmill for my American friends), but actually each visit to the gym I get 1 hour 20 minutes of walking, because it is a 10 minute walk each way from my apartment. I was going almost every day until last week, when some work has kept me going late each night. I've been off for about 5 days now - I must get back to the routine.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New York City

Speaking of Apples from the previous post, here is a story about the Big Apple. Recently, Young Stumbler #3 took a trip with her orchestra to the city of my birth, New York City. Growing up in the south, I was always teased by my friends as being a "yankee", even though I only lived in NYC for 2 or 3 months of my life. YS#3 was kind enough to send me her photos, the best of which I will steal and publish here on my blog.

First, we have the Empire State Building, and I believe a photo from on top of the sky scraper.

Of course, there is the Statue of Liberty, a normal view and a bit unconventional view, and YS#3 dressed up as the Miss Liberty:

YS#3 has only visited Korea once, yet she must have picked up the "V" finger thing in that short time.

Apple Jazz

I joined the Apple Gym when I returned from Hawaii. CH helped me locate and negotiate the fees, and so far I have been happy. Since I only use the running machine (um, that's Konglish for the treadmill) and stationary bicycle, my needs are simple. This place is similarly equipped as our YMCA back in America, although they don't have swimming or basketball (they do have golf, but I don't/can't play that).

One problem is that because of my size, I don't fit even the largest Korean-sized gym clothes. They normally provide and wash your exercise clothes here at health clubs in Korea. In my case, since I only have one set of gym clothes here in Korea, CH advised me to go shopping at Itaewon for some American-sized clothes. Well, I was successful in tracking down the right store - turns out there are quite a few "big and tall" shops there along the main street. But, because of the gym laundry system, I also had to find a way to have my name put on the clothes. I was directed to a small shop located in a side alley, where an old man running a sewing machine embroidered my name six times onto a black strip of cloth (basically making name labels). I had expected this to be some sort of machine with templates for making the letters - WRONG. This guy was amazing - he completely free-handed my name on his machine in just seconds. Obviously he has been doing this for some time.

Here is one other aspect of the Korean health club which is different from my experience in America. Last week I was sick for a few days and didn't go. On the 3rd day of not exercising, I received a call from the health club staff asking me if I was okay, and why had I not come to exercies recently! Also, they must really be worried about my health, because one day the staff lady kept trying to tell me in broken English how important a good diet was for me - if I didn't diet and exercise often, how I would be spending lots of my time in the hospital! Valid points all.

While in Itaewon, I took the opportunity to visit a live jazz club, called "All That Jazz". Had a good time, although the place was pretty crowded. I was lucky and got a seat at a table right up front.

Moving Dirt

During the Stumbling Girls visit, we noticed some activity on the street below my apartment. At the building across the street, there were a bunch of men moving dirt from within a small walled-off area. For several days, they were shoveling dirt and rocks into bags, and carrying the bags to a big pile by the side of the street. It looked like hard work. On my return from Hawaii, I was surprised to see the area filled back up with dirt, and some structure under construction. After a few days, it was clear they were making an awning to cover the entrance to the underground parking garage. I still can't figure out why those men moved all that dirt, only to have it filled back in again.