Archive for November 2006




Correction….

So, I did the math and turns out I made a mistake there in my last posting. It wasn’t 3 lbs of potatoes – it was 11lbs of potatoes! 2 pots of soup, one batch of fries and a frittata later, I still have half a bag!

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Add comment November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving – Korean style

As we near the US holiday of thanksgiving, I can only be really thankful for one thing……….We get 2 days off school!!!

Yes, even in Korea they allow us to celebrate this holiday. And, in the true Korean spirit, there is much gift giving. It started yesterday when we all arrived home to find a 3lb bag of sweet potatoes on our doorsteps. Apparently some parent donated them all to the school to give to the teachers. How sweet! Now, does anyone have any great ideas for using them all up?

1 comment November 16, 2006

Vietnam

I was actually really good on this trip and kept a journal of our trip. So, this posting will be mainly photos and excerpts from my journal. (wow, doesn’t that sound fancy you say).

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-002.JPGHallelujah! We made it to the hostel. One flight, an airport taxi, 2 fights with cabdrivers, 3 wrong hotels, 5 blocks walking with backpacks and one smelly alley later, we made it. We had heard that local cabbies would try and take you to the wrong hotel in order to get more money or commission from the other hotels, but we hadn’t realised how rampant it was. When we eventually made it to the hostel, we walked in looking haggard and the owner took one look at us and handed us a beer. We had made a good choice in hostel!

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-005.JPGIt had a great rooftop ‘honor’ bar. There was a bathtub full of beer, you helped yourself and just remembered to tell the owner how many you had. By the way, that is Colleen in the picture who came with us.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-015.JPGOur first night there we ventured out to a restaurant recommended by the owner and had the best meal. We each chose 2 entrees, an appetizer and a dessert. Plus we drank beer and the entire bill was just under $30!. The best choice by far though was the crab. It was Leah’s first time eating it and despite being nervous about it, once she started we had to fight her to get to it!

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-023.JPGActually, our first day there and we decided we needed some pampering. It had been a tough start to the year after all!. We went to this salon recommended by lots of SIS teachers and it is the only one mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide! We all got highlights, cuts, manicures, pedicures and Lindy even got a quick massage. We were definitely relaxed.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-039.JPGSo relaxed even, that we were too tired to hold the bowl and the spoon!

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-044.JPGIn the middle of Hanoi there is a lake with a big temple on it dedicated to King Laloi (check with Lindy, our tour guide for the full history).

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-046.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-048.JPGObviously we liked this shot!

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-061.JPGHere is proof that we did do something cultural. vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-053.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-055.JPG

Most of the days however, we weren’t too concernced about getting around to all  the sights. We had already packed a busy schedule so we wanted to have a fair chunk of down time as well.

Frequently, this meant sitting in a cafe by the lake trying numerous alcoholic concoctions. vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-072.JPG

Once we had finally shopped till we dropped in Hanoi (silk robes, silk dresses, silk quilts and pillowcases, trousers, shirts, bowls, pictures and other memorabilia – including a new bag to hold our new stuff), we flew down to Hoi An. This is a beautiful area in the center of the country famous for its laid back atmosphere, beaches and the fact that it is right beside Danang where the first US troops landed in the war. See Lindy, I did listen to you occasionally!

When we arrived, a tropical storm had just passed through which had nearly destroyed many areas. Even in Hoi An, the beach was about 2km further inland than it normally is. Our hotel had no power which meant that we really had no option but to shop some more and sit on the beach.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-076.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-079.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-081.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-088.JPG

Unfortunately, our stay here was very short as we had tickets to head on down to Ho Chi Minh City. Looking back, we really should have revised our travel plans. Here we were feeling relaxed (massages on the beach are great for this) and enjoying the slow pace (even though we rented motorbikes for our time there which was fantastic!!!!), when we suddenly arrived in Ho Chi Minh – loud, fast, busy, dirty and prostitutes everywhere. It was not our idea of a relaxing time. We arrived really late at night but didn’t realise the full moon festival was on and that all the hotels were full. We were sitting there debating what to do in the lobby of a hotel when suddenly an older western gentleman and a young Vietnamese woman left. We raised eyebrows at each other – seriously, who checks out at 11pm? Suddenly, the hotel had a vacant room. We asked to see it, noting that only one bed had been used and strongly expressed that they MUST change the sheets on the beds.  That night, we argued over who had to sleep in the ‘hooker bed’ and then fell asleep amid our piles of silks. The next day we tried to do a few cultural things but after being hassled by countless cab and bike riders, we settled on the war museum- which is fascinating and depressing, followed by a vegetarian lunch. By this point we were exhausted and with no place to crash becuase our fliight was at 1am.  I hate to admit it but we rented a hotel room for 4 hours and napped, watched movies and chatted. I admit it was not perhaps the best use of time in Vietman but it certainly felt good.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-098.JPG

Add comment November 16, 2006

Brian’s trip

I know, I know, I’m horrible at updating this thing. Hopefully, I at least had a good excuse this past week because Brian was here visiting. You didn’t really expect me to spend my time on the computer with him here? I do have to admit that the trip didn’t start out very well……..I was 2 hours late in picking him up from the airport! The bus to the airport is normally only an hour and a half. I allowed myself two hours, thinking that I would have some leeway because of customs and luggage. Unfortunately, that night was some of the worst traffic. It made the news because there were so many traffic jams. I ended up on the bus for 3 and a half hours, hoping the entire way that Brian would just wait in the airport for me. I made it to him right as he was looking up my address to head out on his own.

After he realised that I didn’t forget him, the trip went well. We climbed up mount Namhansanseong (about a 2 hour hike which included 253 steps at one point) and suffered cold winds and slight drizzle to get an amazing view of the city (unfortunately the yucky weather days are usually the clearest for seeing the city), and then some local food.

 vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-115.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-116.JPG

I tried really hard to give Brian a taste of Korean food and I think he really enjoyed it. Some of the highlights he mentioned were the pork dumplings and the rice triangles with crab and seaweed. We also did a ton of touring around. Well, Brian did way more than me. He ventured out on his own for 3 days while I worked. vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-123.JPG

Of course the highlight for me (other than just being able to lay on the couch with him) was the halloween party at our apartments. Brian got to meet almost all of the teachers and learned just how crazy most of them are. Of course, I didn’t let him get away with not having a costume so we dressed up as a pair of nerds! Here are some photos from the night to give you an idea……..Can you guess what they are?

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-133.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-135.JPGShevin as a turkey

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-137.JPGThere was a good catholic student there too!vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-138.JPGAlong with the priest.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-140.JPGaw, aren’t we cute?

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-141.JPGNerd meets Marilyn.vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-149.JPGand then meets scary 70’s pumpkin head.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-143.JPGHere we are. The three L’s. Cowgirl, nerd and roller girl.

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-146.JPGvietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-147.JPG

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-148.JPGThese guys were dressed as the Korean cleaning staff.vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-154.JPGThose spray bottles held soju!

There was one genuinely scary, Halloween outfit though…vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-156.JPG

Now for the last photo. Brian, I think this should be your new MySpace picture. Either that or on your business cards?

vietnam-brians-visit-and-halloween-131.JPG Hopefully, Brian will write here soon and tell you his impressions of Seoul so that you will all come and visit me!

Add comment November 2, 2006

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