Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Kamal

A few weekends ago we celebrated our friend Kamal's 25th birthday with class and style. Obviously, we went to Hongdae. But not without a few drinks at Now Bar, a rowdy bus ride into Seoul, Rocky Mountain Taven for jello shots and poutine, a roadside bar (?) for some unidentifyable mixed drinks, and finally Ska Bar where we danced til about 6 AM. I shouldn't be, but I'm always surprised when I walk out of a bar in Hondgae and realize it's a beautiful, sunny morning. Birds are singing, drunk people are passed out in the street, and most of our Now Bar posse are still going strong in the bar upstairs.

When I got to Korea and was told of the all night social activities, I said "No way. I will never be able to stay out until 5 or 6 AM." I mean, in Nova Scotia everything outside Halifax closes by 2 AM, if not earlier, so I was well used to being sound asleep by 3 AM at the latest. Then, the first time I went to Now Bar I suddenly looked at my watch and realized it was 5 AM. How did that even happen? I'm still not used to it. Anyways, here are some pictures from Kamal's big night!

All the lovely ladies at Now Bar (minus the birthday girl).

The smoky, smoky Rocky Mountain Tavern in Hongdae. These two guys were playing guitar and broke out some Blue Rodeo. They weren't so great, but it was an ample opportunity for a Canadian sing along.

Kamal, the birthday girl, was in full swing all night! And props on the cute dress.

Annnnd the roadside bar. Seriously, this one was my favourite. Fresh air, some yummy concoctions, good company. This bar is highly recommended.

Happy Birthday Kamal!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lives of Beach Bums

I've already mentioned that we spent an ample amount of time in Busan simply bumming around the beach. Here's some photographic proof (don't be fooled by the sunny day- the wind was extremely harsh!).

The beaches here are almost like the beaches back home with the Highlands in the background. Makes a girl a little homesick!

The only rest the volleyball got that day.

These girls were braver than me, and stayed out on the beach all day long. I barely lasted an hour before succombing to the cold.

Nice vistas.

The laziest beach bums of them all?

Younggung-sa Temple in Busan

Friday, May 23, 2008

Surfing in Busan

For our Buddha's Birthday long weekend, the whole Now Bar crew jumped on a tour bus and went to the coastal city of Busan for some surfing, clubbing, and hadcore relaxation. We left around 6 AM on Saturday morning from Itaewon and arrived in Busan around noon. We checked into our hilarious love motel (my bed was circular and there were mirrors), had a quick lunch, and then hit the beach right away!

"Busan has decent surfing?" you might be thinking, "Gimme a break."

But seriously. I'm sure it's no Australia or Indonesia or some other country famous for surfing that I've never been to, but for the beginner and even the novice surfer, Seongjong beach in Busan has a lot to offer. The waves are pretty big (yeah, yeah, they don't look big in the pictures, but look at the people in the water in comparison to the waves) and the beach is in a secluded area, a bit away from the city. The sand goes out really far, and even when you're not surfing the waves are uber fun to play in. There are affordable hotels all along the beach, and the whole landscape/atmosphere is really awesome. You should go!

The surfing itself was difficult. I could barely paddle the board through the waves! I was almost pummeled to death by several huge waves, carrying me and my board under several times, and our instructers (however Australian and attractive) were really hard on us beginners! I should explain at this point that there's a surf shop along the beach that these Australian guys own. They rent out wetsuits and surfboards and they're also certified instructors.

I would comepletely and wholeheartedly recommend this area in Busan. Go down there this summer and give the surfing a try. You can thank me later.

Surfer pose. This was after running and diving into the ocean for the first time this year. The weather was not ideal, but that's what the wetsuits are for!

Lindsay totally has the surfer persona down.

Here we are, learning how to paddle and then jump up when the time is right. "One... two... three... FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT, UP!" However harsh our instructors were at least the lesson stuck with me, huh.

Don't we look like we know what we're doing? So much fun.

The waves were getting big and scary at the other side of the beach, so our instructor moved us further away. I don't enjoy dragging a huge surfboard in the sand for that amount of distance, but the waves were worth it! I'm totally doing this again sometime.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I don't know why Blogger won't let me upload any pictures today.

Enough about me, how have you all been?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Welcome to Eggchop

My lack of posting has been leaving me disgusted lately, but really, there's not a lot I can do about it these days. Although I'm not extending my contract at Maple Bear (not because it's a bad school, I just want a nice summer vacation at home and Maple Bear became a non-option for extending because of that), I am looking to return to Suwon in early September, so all of my efforts these days have been put into finding an adequate job in an adequate area of the city. That being said, it's not that hard to find a job in Suwon, ever.

A few weeks ago, Patrick and I were lounging around the huge park in Ingyedong (downtown Suwon) and catching some rays when we decided to walk down the main street and find a decent place for dinner. Lately, Ingyedong has proven itself an excellent place to go for some eats (although you could say the same about Yeongtong, Suwon Station...Korea in general...) and recently some new, hip looking restaurants have sprung up on the main drag. We finally decided on Eggchop, although neither of us really knew what kind of restaurant it was.

Turns out they specialize in omelette rice! I'm not much of a fan myself, but since it was not just any old omelette rice, but fusion omelette rice I decided to go for it.

This was my choice for the evening: omelette rice with a side of rolled pork cutlet. the green sauce is sweet basil. It actually wasn't so bad, the fried rice inside the egg had kimchi in it and it tasted really nice. But I probably won't go back to this restaurant- I just don't like omelette rice.

Patrick got sweet and sour pork omelette rice. I thought it was more sour than sweet, and he thought it was more sweet than sour, so... really, not a great meal on the whole. A little disappointing, Eggchop! Although the presentation was nice. I find Koreans always go a little overboard with the sauces, though, and this meal was no exception.

If you are a fan of omelette rice, or believe you could be, than Eggcop is probably the place for you! Just not for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Genevieve and Scott Hit Up Suwon!

A few weeks ago my friend Genevieve (from university) came with her boyfriend, Scott to visit me and see the sights in Suwon. It was heaps of fun, let me tell you. We met up at Suwon Station and went out for some jjimdak (a delicious chicken stew with lots of potatoes, carrots, leek, and dok with rice noodles on the bottom) and afterwards went to check out our only real tourist attraction- that's right, we went to the fortress. Yawn. It was cool, though, because Patrick, Gen and Scott all had never been there before. And I like playing tour guide.

So we walked most of the five mile fortress wall, and then bussed home and went out for some delicious Indian buffet (there's an excellent place by the Samsung headquarters- I believe it is called "Mayura"). At the buffet we lucked out because it was special vegetarian night and the owners were making piles and piles of Mysore Masala Dosai- my new favourite dish. It's a crepe made from pureed rice and lentils that is brought fresh to your table. Then you fill the crepe with this amazing curried potato filling and top that with chutney and then fold the whole thing up and eat it like a sandwich. Heavenly! After eating we went out to Now Bar, naturally, and partook in quiz night (we lost; the questions were biased!) and then had a sweet time drinking cass-ah and having super-nerdy picture drawing competitions. Yeah.

Here's Gen after making it to the top of the fortress!

Scott, tolling the bell of Filial Piety.

Genevieve; contemplating.

Nice scenery, nice Patrick.

More nice scenery.

Our impression of Hilary Clinton. If you can guess our two interpretations you get a prize! prize... but try to guess anyway.

Patrick's interpretation of a Liger.

Kim and Aidan joined in the competition. Check out that concentration.

Lisa admires my work of art.

A solid night of drinking and this is what we have to show for it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


After months of five day weeks with little time to rest and re-lax, we have finally been able to enjoy some long weekends! Two weeks ago we had a long weekend for Children's Day, and this past weekend was, of course, Buddha's birthday, so we definitely tried to pack as much fun into these weekends as possible. On the Saturday of the Children's Day long weekend, Patrick and I made our way to Yeongjong-do (Yeongjong Island) off the coast of Incheon City to check out a beach we had heard good things about. We were supposed to go withTracy and Tara, but there was a Fozzie emergency (remember Fozzie?) and they weren't able to accompany us in the end. But we had a pretty good time!

To get to Yeongjong-do from Suwon, you need to take the subway to Dongincheon Station (about an hour and a half with one transfer) and from there make your way to Wolmido Ferry Terminal. For about 2500 won (less than $2.50 Canadian) you can hop on a ferry and 20 minutes later you're on the island! It may seem familiar to you. That's because it is! Yeongjong-do, home to many nice beaches, resorts, and golf courses is also home to Incheon International Airport and was most likely your first Korean destination, like, ever. However, rest assured the peacefulness of the beaches are not periodically shattered by planes flying overhead. You'd never even guess there was an airport close by.

That being said, the peacefulness is generally shattered constantly by the crowds of Koreans, fully clothed, drinking and smoking and wreaking havoc on the otherwise beautiful scenery. The restaurant owners will drag you off the street if they sense any kind of weakness in you to eat in their "freah seafood" restaurants. The sand is not white, nor is it fine (more rough in texture than smooth), and if you want to make use of the beach umbrellas be sure you have 5000 won on you to pay the crazy adjima that sneaks up on you. Seriously, I'm still trying to figure out where she came from!

Did we enjoy ourselves? Sure! Exploring a new area is always a good time. Will we go back? Nah... there are so many other islands around Incheon that I hear are nicer than Yeongjong-do. We couldn't swim in the ocean because I was too ashamed to be wearing a bikini in front of the fully clothed Koreans. But I would still recommend going to see it for yourself! Afterwards we made our way back to Incheon for some galbi and a trip to see my favourite bartender, a funny middle-aged Korean man with the largest vinyl collection I have ever seen. if you're ever in Incheon, check out the Music Cafe- it's totally worth it.

The smile is fake! Patrick is sick of me taking his picture. He actually took the camera away from me after this one.

Eulwahangi Beach. I'm not sure about the spellling...

Crowds of Koreans after fresh seafood and a change of scenery.

Rusty, old fishin' boats.

Igneous rocks?

Taking a rest...

Kids (both old and young) searching for the odd sea creature.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Let's Learn About Traffic Safety!

It was decided at the beginning of our new school year that we would be taking our kids on monthly field trips rather than bimonthly. It's fun, for sure, but I'm wondering if my bosses are running out of ideas for good field trips. We went on one last week, although one could hardly call it a field trip as we piled the children onto their buses and got them buckled up only to drive for two minutes down the road and unpile them once again.

We went to a traffic safety school for kids, which would have been a lot of fun had it not been cut short due to the weather. The kids went inside and were forced to stay quiet and listen by several uniformed adjimas while one adjima lectured them on the dangers of the everyday pedestrian. Then they were forced to stay silent while they made us watch a hilarious (and informative) anime cartoon about a little boy from a faraway world who was too careless on his personal hovercraft and was therefore sent down to earth to learn about traffic safety with a mystical (and knowlegable) bird to guide him. Let's just say the informative and mystical bird ends up being hit by a bus. I mean, I couldn't hold in the giggles let alone 60 small children.

We then went outside where they had set up a child-sized traffic simulation where they had mini cars, mini traffic lights, mini cross walks, even mini walking bridges.

The kids said "Teacher, this is not fun."

I said "Just wait, maybe the ladies will let you play in the street after we learn about safety."

But the traffic area was purely for educational purposes, and no, the children could not have fun. Safety is not supposed to be fun! But afterwards I let my kids run around the lawn for awhile and they loved that part.

I said, "Now Thomas J., this little girl is scared to sit by herself. Will you look after her?" And boy did he ever! Look how proud he is of himself. What a cool guy.

Bright Kim is too cute and photogenic for words. Someday soon I am going to get a video of him so can all hear his lovely vocal chords.

Alex and Sally, being instructed (and jerked around a bit) by their "Safety Adjima".

Alvin was only allowed to sit in the car while the children practised crossing the road. I think it would have better prepared the children if he had been allowed to drive through a red light at random, don't you think?

Afterwards we were hanging around waiting for the buses and the kids had a blast. Here's me and my boys!
Miss Jessica and all the kids.

Alex is such a good kid. He knows so much English and he has never once misbehaved! Plus the perm is adorable.


Su-chang remains my favourite kid by far. He pronounces his F's like P's- "Miss Janine, I'm PINISHED!" and "One! Two! Three! Pour! Pive!" He slays me. And now he has new dorky glasses that I absolutely love. Oh Su-chang.