Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weekend In Daegu

First things first: if my co-teacher's reading this: you don't need to shout into the phone to make it work. The person on the other end will be able to hear you if you speak at a normal human volume, despite them being a long way away. That's what a phone does.

With that passive aggressive rant out of the way, I can tell you about our trip to Daegu. Daegu is one of the bigger cities in Korea and we've heard good things, but getting there takes five hours, two trains, and a bus, so we hadn't managed to get there until this weekend. Anna and Lauren had Friday off school so they went and checked out an amusement park. Anna might write about that, but it seemed like it caused more injuries than fun. I went after school, and after a couple hours being lost in Daejeon (I can't recommend the maps app on my iPod) and a superfast ride on the KTX, I got to Daegu in time for dinner.

Anna and Lauren have developed an insatiable appetite for dakgalbi, a dish of chicken, cabbage, carrots, and spicy sauce which is cooked at the table on a big round hotplate. When you finish this they cook rice or noodles in the pan with all the grease and sauce still in it. It's no bi bim bap or barbecue, but it's not bad. We looked around for one of these places near the Dongdaegu train station, but everywhere seemed to be fried chicken or dwaeji galbi (Korean barbecue pork).

After threats of tantrums if certain people didn't get fed (I'm not saying who, but only one of us was smart enough to go to Costco in Daejeon on the way for a slice of their incredible cheese pizza) we settled on a pork place. These places normally serve pork belly or rib meat which you cook on a tabletop grill and wrap in lettuce leaves. This was probably the best barbecue pork we've had in Korea, the meat was tender and really tasty. There were three different types of pork, none of which weve tried before. The owner tried to explain what they were but he didn't know the English names. He was really nice too, cooking the pork for us and chatting away. There were also some unusual side dishes, including some delicious preserved peanuts. 

Too delicious to photograph before most of them got eaten.
On the way back to our motel we wasted a few thousand won on one of those claw machines. Included in the prizes were a wide range of lighters and a miniature of Hennessey, and it says something about how long I've been here that I've only just realised how strange and dangerous (strangerous?) that is. The machine was rigged up to make a big jolt when the crane reached the top, leading to many dropped prizes and some angry faces. I eventually won a lighter, which I was stupidly happy about.

The next day we went to the Yangnyeongsi Market, a long pedestrian street in the middle of town lined with shops, clinics, and pharmacies selling various natural remedies. There was also some sort of festival going on, with big tents all along the streets selling all manner of strange foods (deep fried ginseng, anyone?) There were also police officers walking around on stilts and people volunteering to paint things on your nails, hands, or face. While I was waiting for Anna and Lauren to get their nails done (typical), a man pulled me over to the hand painting tent and insisted I let them paint a "snake" on my hand. 
You be the judge.

On our way out we realised that one of the gardens in the middle of the mall was full of tiny rabbits. I don't know the significance of this, but it was kind of amazing. There were heaps of them hiding under the plants, but I couldn't really get a good photo. I did get this video, however.

Insert your own "like rabbits" joke here.

Next we went to Suseong Lake and rented a pedal boat shaped like a duck. We pedaled around until we got tired, made friends with a Korean family, and crashed into a tree. Good times.     

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