Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Last weekend we went on a Halloween Booze Cruise hosted by Adventure Korea. We've been on trips with them before - here's one - they're a rad English-language tour company offering weekend trips to mostly English-teacher clientele. When a Jecheonian (that's a person who lives in Jecheon) posted about the cruise I bought tickets as soon as I could. The premise was pretty simple - 50,000 won, 4 hours on a boat, unlimited craft beer and limited unhealthy foods. 

In the weeks preceding I ordered pieces of my costume online and completed some liver training. Tom also ordered some stuff online and it came to my school, which lead to the staff in my office looking at me weird and not talking to me for a few hours.

The day dawned bright and rainy. We caught the train to Seoul and checked into our new favourite Love Motel in Jongno - the woman who owns the place doesn't speak any English and thinks we're hilarious, so when we stomped downstairs in full costume she keeled over laughing. Success!


Honey Boo Boo and her boyfriend Walter White. Honey Boo Boo isn't the cultural phenomenon in Korea that she really should be but my go-go juice went down a treat. I also entertained a section of our subway carriage by putting falsies on en route to the ferry terminal - pro tip - put on the false nails before the false lashes or you'll just end up with eyelids covered in glue.

Tom looked absolutely amazing, and was stopped on the street by several people who wanted to shake his hand or take a picture. I told them not to make him mad.

The boat trip was rad, but mostly because we had excellent company - the beer wasn't that great, the place was crowded and there weren't enough toilets but we played a bunch of drinking games, told stories and generally had a fantastic time. After we'd docked we continued the party in Hongdae and kept our costumes on. 

That's commitment.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall into Autumn

It's real nice in Korea at the moment. The temperatures aren't too crazy - a little cool in the morning and evenings, t-shirt weather by midday - and Korea's looking pretty because of the autumn leaves. My facebook page was flooded with pictures of yellow gingko and red maple. In Autumn, Korean people go hiking. New Zealand people like me sit inside and watch Mad Men and do latch hook, but sometimes we go outside and take pictures. Enjoy!

The main street of Jecheon is lined with gingko in varying shades of green and yellow. It smells awful, but it's so pretty. A bit like Tom.

 The rainbow of trees across from my school.

Gingko and blue skies. Autumn's pretty nice. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Korea from my Phone

Having a smart phone might be the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's certainly the best thing that's ever happened to my ability to take pictures wherever and then put them on this blog without a cord. I love you, phone. 

Below are some pics from things Tom and I have done while not leaving Jecheon. Enjoy!

It's harvest season, this guy's motorbike was absolutely loaded up with peanut plants. Before I came to Korea I had no idea what a peanut bush looked like - I assumed they were taller than me and they're actually squat little things yielding a relatively small amount of peanutty goodness.

After a delicious dinner at the dakgalbi restaurant near our apartment, we went bowling with some friends. It was ridiculously cheap - about $7 each for 2 ... rounds?... and shoe rental. Tom did okay but I royally sucked. My first score was 23, and most of that was from the faulty pin-rearranger (????) which kept knocking them down for me. All these technical terms are showing you my mad bowling skillz.

Last weekend we went to the e-Mart just outside of town to stock up on things we can't buy at the various marts near our apartment and schools. Along with some cut-price NZ cheese (14,000 won a kilo, bargain!) I found this advertising gem.

What could this perky, smiley, attractive young woman be advertising?

Sanitary pads, of course!

Stay tuned for more lazy blogging in future. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Barely Travelling

I'm not sure if it's laziness or Jecheon being not quite as sucky as Buan or poverty or what, but Tom and I have several more weekends at 'home' than we are used to, and we haven't really done much. It's actually kinda nice but we broke up the repetition by taking a trip to Cheongpung Lake last weekend. 

Everything I know about Cheongpung I can't find referenced on the internet (that link above goes to info about the bungee jump on the lake) so here's some internet referencing for future people. Cheongpung's a big lake about 40 minutes from Jecheon city by bus. It's one of Korea's biggest lakes, it stretches from Cheongju to Danang (cities in our province) and features hotels, a theme park, a bungee jump and a traditional village. Jecheon has an annual film and music fest which is held on the lake, and apparently it's one of the best places in Chungbuk to see the cherry blossoms. PHEW.

It was pretty nice too, although has the standard Korean mix of gorgeous natural beauty with ugly-ass manmade grossness. CF:

Pretty lake, garishly painted bungee jump (that crane thing) and weird fountain. That fountain was absolutely immense - the bungee jump is over 60 metres, and at it's height the fountain was easily spouting 20m above it. Huge/weird.

We went to the lake with some friends and tried to take a picnic into the traditional village. Unfortunately one of our party was explicitly not allowed into the park. Tom gave her a cuddle to make her feel better.

Undeterred, we headed to a secluded spot and sat chatting and eating, admiring the lake and playing with Talia. At one point a bus pulled up nearby and out poured about 40 assorted old people, who started drinking makkeoli and dancing to a saxophone player. We went and said hi and were lectured about the importance of Gangnam Style. Oh, Korea. 

After filling up on sandwiches and thoroughly tiring out the cat, we piled back on the bus and headed home. A great day out!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chuseok in Photographs

Last weekend was Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving. I imagine it's similar to American Thanksgiving (or Canadian Thanksgiving) - lots of people travelling, clogged transport, food, family get-togethers, arguments, alcohol, sentiment. For us English teachers it means a few days off work and the last chunk of public holidays before Christmas. Last time we were here we went to Seoul for Chuseok, so this time... we went to Seoul for Chuseok. 

Seoul's actually pretty nice during the holiday as a large portion of the population heads out of the city to visit relatives. I say large portion, I mean 4 MILLION which is pretty much the population of New Zealand. As a result, the streets are clear, the subway is deserted and the transport options are great as everyone else is heading in the other direction.

We caught a train up and tried to check in to our favourite Jongno motel only to find it has turned into a swanky, expensive backpackers. I was more than a little heartbroken as we stayed there almost every time we went to Seoul and had got to know the owners quite well. Nevertheless, we ducked down an alleyway and found another place within our price range (cheap) and it had a circle bed. 

Tom is excited.
Walking back to the subway I had a chance encounter with one of the most dapper Koreans I've ever seen. Jongno is the jewellery district and for some reason it's also populated by swag adjusshis. This guy. I mean, this guy.

We'd made plans to go to a baseball game but before we headed out we went hunting for street snacks. After a tasty chicken skewer we went searching for a place where we'd had really awesome fried fish on the last day we were in Korea last time. The stall wasn't open but a bunch of awesome adjusshis decided we looked alright so they called us over and poured us a few bowls of makkeoli (Korean rice wine.) An hour later and quite a bit tipsier we headed towards Jamsil for the game.

We don't really do baseball in NZ but Koreans go all out. We went to a game last time and this venture was much the same - tickets are a measly 10k, you can buy a tallboy of beer for 2.5k and there's a plethora of fast food joints inside the stadium if you're craving a burger or some chicken. Add to this the amazing atmosphere - the stadium was 70% full of fans who screamed, cheered and danced throughout the match. I think the closest comparision would be a Phoenix game in Wellington - all of the players have specific cheers, everyone bangs their inflatable noodle things together in unison and although I barely understood what was happening I had a fantastic time.

Stocking up
Birds-eye view. Go Twins!
After a stellar evening featuring some great music and cocktails from our favourite Hongdae bar, we rose ... as bright and early as possible.... and made the trek to Seoul Grand Park. The park is a massive stretch of land nestled at the base of a few small mountains. It features a theme park, a zoo, a botanical garden and the Seoul Museum of Modern Art. We opted for the zoo (a little hesitantly) and were pleasantly surprised. Entrance was 8,000 won which included a ride to the gate - 1.5km from the ticket booth! - and chair lift back when we'd wound our way through the grounds. 

This lady and her bitch face, plus we got to feed these deer.

Catching the Sea World-esque sea lion show. 'They're just dog mermaids' - Tom.

Sloth! Super cool. 
Chair lift at sunset.
Sunday night we met with friends and ate an excellent meal followed by a raucous few hours at a great pub. They had an irresistible deal - 15,000 won for 2 hours of cocktails. The score at the end of our time was Anna: 6.5 and Tom: 8, but booze was the victor the next day. Monday brought us hangovers and then to Itaewon where we stocked up on fresh coriander (our patch isn't quite ready for harvest) and some sour cream. Tom had school on Tuesday but I spent the day chilling out, sleeping and trying to shake the cough I've had for about a week. On Tuesday night we had a roof-top barbecue at a friend's place, there's no pictures but I had a wonderful time.

Wednesday was the Korean National Foundation Day so another day off - most schools lump this holiday in with Chuseok, unless your principal is a bastard. Anyway, we had the day to play with and put it to good use. While in Itaewon, Tom managed to procure a cricket bat and thus the Jecheon IPL was formed. 

With the help of a South African and an Australian, Tom taught the American and Canadian contingent how to play and we spend a great couple of hours throwing the ball around... oops.... bowling... and enjoying the autumn sun. Jecheon looked pretty nice that day too - our field was in the middle of the rice paddies and the golden rice looks awesome at the moment.

All and all, it was a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


A hot new thing in Korea is DIY Chemical Foot Peels. All of the myriad beauty shops have their own version, so for about $9 NZD you can put liquid on your feet that eventually helps you shed like a snake.

I got a 2 for 1 pack from Tony Moly for 12,000 won and it came in a box promising creepy sparkling baby feet. What's not to like?

Okay, I'm just going to put this beautiful picture in here because below there are a lot of images of my feet and they are gross. Here is some cosmos, an autumn flower that blooms along the roadside near where I walk to work.

And here are my pre-treatment feet. Dry, pretty gross, battered.

I strapped my feet into some plastic booties and poured a sachet of liquid into each. The instructions tell you to keep these babies on for an hour and a half, so I trotted around the apartment until I popped a bootie and had to sit down before chemical magic was tracked all the way through the apartment.

Post-treatment my feet smelt pretty good (as feet go) and were clean, but not peely. The waiting began. the box says it takes 4-6 days to completely slough off the grossness and true to form my feet looked like this on day 4.


The grossness worsened between days 5-7, and although I was instructed to let things peel naturally I couldn't resist and god damn, it was satisfying.

Day 7, after walking around Seoul in jandals.

I'm now on day 10, and although my feet aren't sparkly they're soft and as pretty as they'll ever be ... ie not very. Totally recommended, if you want a pack and it's legal to post I'll send you some.

Also - photographing the bottom of your feet is really, really challenging.