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The Public Ineffectual

For entertainment purposes only.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Don't just study....you should do some 'boy hunting' too *

I'm staying in a serviced apartment and its really very comfortable (2 bedrooms, 1 and a half baths). My aunts brought food for us so the crux of my first breakfast was 3 types of kimchee!

The is a rather affluent neighbourhood called Kangnam and this place is clearly a center of good eating. Seoul apartment complexes tend to be run by big corporations that consist of many identical anonymous looking buildings. The one across from the hotel looks so ghetto by North American standards and yet, my aunt says, 2-3 bedroom place goes for about a half million.

Grandma is a very careful eater - eats nothing spicy and doesn't over indulge. She and I went out to a little resto for lunch that served Japanese and Korean food. I really should have ordered the kimchi bab which is fried rice with kimchee but served on a big hot metal platter so that it goes crisp on the underside. Grandma is almost deaf and nearly blind so I had to attempt to tell her what was on the menu which was a really start-stop affair. Its a tiny but lively place so you have to yell for her to hear anything and I can barely read Korean so I read out 2 menu items and just stopped because we were already causing a total spectacle. Anyway, she had the momil guksoo (basically cold soba) and I had the udon. I watched her polish the whole thing off with tremendous satisfaction.

I managed to get away for a couple of hours by myself. The Starbucks here has wireless but only works for PC in this PC-centric nation (this was before figuring out my access situation). A frappacino costs about as much as my lunch! I went to the huge boulevard and just did some people watching from a bench and sat peacefully until a couple of women started evangelising. Ugh, 'scuse me I have somewhere NOT to be. The cell phone culture is out of friggin' control and yet unsurprising. If I'm any guage, my people like to talk a lot. Women here are so very "done" and I'm feeling decidedly "undercooked". The sheer anonymity is kind of nice. Got in a bit of window shopping at a store called Qua (bit like Zara) and Missha . The clothes at Qua are cool and fashion-forward though reasonably expensive for Korea and for the record, their shoes were awful. I haven't hit the markets as yet. Have to be careful with shopping at the markets because the quality is usually OK for the price but the style sensibility can be a bit....um....well...FOB-by.

Spent the day so far eating and showing grandma some photos on the computer. My mom and aunt are downstairs at the sauna getting a massage and scrubbed within an inch of their lives right now. The special feature of this sauna is a "jewel room" that looks like a fairytale grotto that is supposedly lined in jade and gold.

I might head out to the DMZ as much to see the last bastion of the Cold War as much to see the autumn leaves and mountains. I don't quite know how to feel about it, honestly....

I am not above making fun of the Korean deployment of english, so here is your first installment of:
Konglish of the Day - soap brand called "Sexy Mild", club around the corner called "Banana Sexy Club" and a brauhaus called "Oktoberfest" that has a special on "lauagne". WTF? I think its lasagne.

* In quotation marks are grandma's exact words

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