I had a fun weekend. It was confusing and frustrating at times, but I got to spend it with a great group of friends. Chris and I managed to get lost (very lost) in a taxi yesterday afternoon, but we managed to find our way back. Thank goodness our charades skills are improving, otherwise we might still be wandering aimlessly somewhere north of the airport.
I have been taking a lot of pictures, but the iPod’s camera is not getting the job done. When lighting conditions are perfect, so are the pictures. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem able to handle low-light conditions. The iPod’s camera also tends to over- or under-expose when the light is uneven (which happens often indoors). I think it’s time to start looking for a small point-and-shoot to stick in my pocket. A basic flash would drastically improve my nighttime photos.
I managed to snap a few decent photos this weekend. The first is from a restaurant called Paris Baguette. PB is a HUGE chain in Korea. It looks and feels more western than almost any other chain, with the exception of real western chains (Baskin Robbins, TGI Fridays, etc).
I had a serious hankering for some western food yesterday morning, so I wandered over to a PB on my block. Since all Korean food seems to be sweet, I decided to find something savory. Most of the foods were covered in powdered sugar or glaze, but I got lucky – there was one croque monsieur left. I was so excited to have something western that I decided to eat it in the store. As soon as I took the first bite, I realized that something was wrong. I wasn’t sure what, exactly, but there was something different about this sandwich. It appears that the folks at Paris Baguette said, “I like the croque monsieur, but what would make it even better? How about corn, lima beans, and celery? Perfect!” It turned out to be the single most disappointing meal I’ve had since landing in Korea. But it was expensive…so I ate it.
After lunch, I met with a few friends to go shopping. We met at a subway station north of Bangwoldon and set out for Home Plus. It didn’t take long in Home Plus for me to figure out that it was my nightmare. If you think Wal-Mart is crowded in the states, DO NOT visit Home Plus. My friends thought it was hilarious that I nearly had a meltdown in the middle of the aisle when a group of people surrounded me and blocked the both exits. Amid the chaos in Home Plus, something interesting caught my eye. I had to snap a picture:
It didn’t take long for everyone to figure out that I was not responding well to the claustrophobia. We headed for the checkout area and got the hell out of that store. As soon as we got outside of the store, I noticed a vending machine that was offering some odd products.
This vending machine reminded me of the fact that there are some weird machines in my neighborhood as well. Apparently claw machines (the kind where you try to grab a stuffed animal with the mechanical claw) are pretty popular in Korea. I’ve seen adults playing with them several times. The most interesting one has bottles that appear to contain medicine or vitamins. According to my friend Scott, who has been all over the world, Korean machines can’t compete with Japanese machines. He said that he has seen some weird stuff, like panties, in Japanese machines.
After a mediocre dinner at an American-style restaurant, a few of us decided to find some ice cream. We set out in search of a Cold Stone, which Chris saw in a department store last week. It took about an hour, but we finally made our way into the Hyundai Department Store near Bangwoldon Station downtown and found Cold Stone. The ice cream was better than in the states because it was much less sweet (ironic, right?). After ice cream, we spent a few minutes exploring the store. Hyundai is the nicest store I’ve seen yet. My favorite thing in the store was the uniforms that the woman wore.
Our trip ended on a high note. We passed some top quality Engerish in a restaurant called School Lunch near the information desk:
I spent the rest of my night getting my clothes ready for work. I keep forgetting that I don’t have a dryer, which means that I have lots of ironing to do every day. Once my clothes were nice and wrinkle-free, I was ready for a new week.
Until next time.