Monday, August 15, 2005

three-day weekend

well, it's monday on my three-day weekend. i bought two hours for the computer, and paid in coins. i thought it was funny because the guy counted them a few times, and said something which i figured meant i didn't have enough for 2 hours, so i pulled out a bill and was just like "um, two..." and he said "oh, two hour?" goes to show you never know when a person will speak english.

yesterday was pretty interesting. i've been frustrated because i don't have the money yet to take a bus or train somewhere cool and touristy- like a temple, mountain, or another city- so i'm stuck with walking and seeing what i can find. i've been exploring, and mainly finding uninteresting things- just the same businesses over and over. finally, i walked out a little ways past the school and found the science expo center, park, and art museum. it was so nice to find a quiet section where i could sit and write in my journal, and it smelled like flowers and grass, not like the stuffy city. i also saw an ultimate group playing, made up of foreigners, which must have been the same group i had read about before. i didn't want to bother them because they seemed busy playing, but on my walk back from the other end of the park, as i was passing them again, two of them were pulling out on their street bikes and beeped and waved at me. (i was so obviously a foreigner, even from a distance- i think my height, oversized sunglasses, and obnoxious "i love ny" tshirt gave me away) but at least they're friendly!

another nice thing that happened: my death blisters are in their weird healing process- they're itchy and sometimes break open. well, i was wearing sneakers most of the day, and i think that irritated them. i changed into flip flops before i went to the pc bang, and i noticed one of my heels was dripping blood- great! i went to 7-11 after i used the computer to get a snack, and the nice lady working there gave me some band aids as i was paying. the blood was mostly dried by that time, but it was a nice, very appreciated, gesture.

i've been mentally comparing the prices of different items as i see them. for the most part, food is a lot cheaper here, with the obvious exception of western foods. the galleria has a grocery store, which i finally checked out yesterday. they have a decent selection of cheeses (they have philly cream cheese, brie, and camembert), and of course they're more expensive than they should be. i also found some prego sauce for 6,000 won i think, pretty steep if you ask me, but i have the feeling i might be resorting to that sooner or later. they definitely don't have a ton of tomato products here. i wonder how many tomatoes the country grows in relation to other more common fruits and vegetables. or maybe they have to import them, i don't know. finally, i noticed a little organic section. the foods there were way too expensive, and i don't think i'm going to be investing in any of those products no matter how desperate i get.

alcohol-wise, i've also been interested in the prices. some things are definitely more expensive, and some things are surprisingly cheap. whiskey isn't too bad- about 30,000 won for a bottle, depending on the brand. yes, it's expensive, but not as expensive as i thought it would be. red wine is pretty expensive (the yellow tail that i saw was about 11,000 won, but it also came with a bottle of olive oil for some reason, and that is expensive itself), but chardonnay isn't. i also saw some champagne running for 3,000 won. i can imagine the quality can't be that great! i've tried a few things so far- some bek se ju or something like that, a traditional rice wine. it was pretty good. i also got something else that i think must be somehow related to soju, because it tasted a little like vodka, without the nasty after-effect you get when you take a shot of it (not that i was sitting there taking shots of it...) i keep seeing raspberry wine, i'm very interested in trying that too- never even came across reading about it when i was doing my pre-korea research! i wonder if it's anything like plum wine (which i've seen a lot of too).

anyways, i guess that's it for now. i'm getting pretty hungry. speaking of hunger, i did notice something kind of funny: i usually don't have much of a sweet tooth, but i keep having cravings for pastries here. i have the feeling it's connected to the fat i'm not getting in my meals, as korean food is pretty low-fat. so, for some reason i keep wanting to eat a candy bar or pastry or something before i begin to eat my real meal- and i'm not really a candy bar kind of girl. weird how that works.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you ever get a chance, you should travel to Mt. Sorak. I'm not sure how far away it is, but it is really lovely. Also, two temples to check out are: Hwaamsa, and Naksansa. I think I spelled those correctly...

Have you encountered really wide streets with a lot of traffic? You probably already know this, but there are this steps going downwards and you go down those and cross under the street. I made the mistake of trying to cross the street, not knowing that you're supposed to use those underground paths, and let me tell you: those cars stop for no one.