The Kkachisan Stretch

In a city with so many people in such a small area, very little space can be wasted. One of the covered market alleys near here, with products all and sundry, packs some shopping wallop in few square meters. It's nice to walk down the middle of the narrow corridor and be able to simultaneously grab live eels with your right hand and some daikon radish with your left.


Consumer Frenzy

I often look around at the numerous markets, street vendors, stores, and truck merchants and wonder this: Are there really enough people in Korea to buy the endless streams of clothes, accessories, and toys? And what happens to everything that doesn't sell? It's enough to keep John Maynard Keynes up at night.


Questions answered

As we meander on this mortal coil, there are certain queries most rational humans make. What happens when we die? Does art imitate life? What is love? Is it possible to travel back in time before the birth of your parent to kill your own grandfather?
Last week, we came face to face with the answers to other questions that we hadn't ever thought to ask, such as "What is the difference between a B-52 and a C-54?" or "Is the Chinese-made F-6 superior or inferior to the comparable Russian model, the MiG-19?" Military history buffs, take note - the War Memorial Museum in Itaewon can illuminate even the murkiest of distinctions between different types of fighter crafts, tanks, and weapons. For the rest of us - let's stick to simpler inquiries, like the age-old chicken/egg conundrum.


Like tears in rain

Not only do androids dream of electric sheep, but Korean sculptures appear riddled with existential angst. Not really sure what the problem could be - they've both got the nearby gurgling of a gentle stream and a nice view of the mountains.


Life is pretty plain

So one day this week we woke up and the sky was blue. This seems like a small thing, I know, but after a few weeks of steady rain it felt glorious. Walking through the courtyard of our building on the way to work, I saw a small tarp covered with red peppers drying in the sun. Coming home for lunch, I saw eight or nine tarps added to the first. Which made me think - has everyone in Korea been waiting impatiently for the rain to stop so they could finally dry those peppers? The dried product is now for sale at every veggie street stall. More importantly, the sun has shone for five days.



Where to begin? This is so wrong on so many levels. Firstly, the "Buger" is actually a burger, and this we know because the restaurant was offering the standard "buger, fries, and a Coke" set meal. But the typo is the least of the worries here. A burger, by our definition, is a roundish patty on a roundish bun, not cold cuts on a sub bun. Again, a major gaffe, but perhaps our definition of burger has been too narrow all these years. Which leaves the most pressing concern...now, we rightly concede that different people can appreciate different burgery accoutrement - there's an entire antipodean nation that festoons their quarter pounders with beetroot and pineapple rings, and we're okay with that - but strawberries and kiwi slices?! Where does the madness end?


Chimes of freedom flashin'

This giant billboard posted near City Hall echoes the nation's sentiments. The Korea Herald runs stories and photos daily of both the captives' frightened family members and the local Muslim population praying in their mosques for a peaceful and immediate resolution.


War Memorial

As the story goes, this statue captures a historical moment when two brothers, separated by the division between North and South, met each other on the battlefield, dropping their weapons in the midst of chaos to embrace.



Looking for a caffeinated beverage on our trip to MOCA, we stumbled out of Seoul and right into Bedrock. The menu prices proved not to be prehistoric, so we moved on in search of a piece of Upside-Down-Flint-Rubble-Double-Bubble Cake and a few cups of Joe (Rockhead).


Country Home

Lee and I have been househunting for a place in the country, something smaller and less ostentatious than where we live now. This place caught our eye from the chairlift, but unfortunately, it houses the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Our chariot awaits

Nestled together on a mountain on the outskirts of town, a zoo, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and an amusement park make for a good day trip destination. Actually, we were planning a visit to MOCA and weren't aware of the zoo or the amusement park until we arrived, but upon exiting the subway at the city limits of Seoul, we were delighted to find no need to walk up the hill.


Happy Korean Independence Day!

Forgive us, readers, for we have slacked. It's been three weeks since our last blogging. We are happy, well, still enamored with our adopted homeland, and busy. Our school runs an intensive summer camp for the kiddies to coincide with their Korean school holiday. For us, this means a ton of overtime and little time for much else. We get back to business as usual on the 27th, which should give us opportunity to get back out in search of blog-worthy snapshots.

We also find ourselves mired in the rainy season, making our umbrellas honorary appendages. The Korea Herald's esteemed meteorological prognosticators have promised a few more weeks until the respite of autumn. We have been running at 5:30 in the morning to beat the heat, but even then it is rarely cooler than 25 degrees and 80-plus percent humidity. A prolific sweater in the cool, dry Saskatchewan winters, I look like I've dragged myself out of the pool after a few miles.

Our nine days of vacation were wonderfully relaxing. Due to some hospital visits for final medical checks from January's shenanigans, we stayed in Seoul. We went to a few museums and galleries, rode the subway out to parts of this immense city that we had not yet been to, had some nice picnics in the park, and read. We think the owner of the bookshop will probably be sending his kids to Harvard based on what we spent there over the last few months.

It is amazing to us that we have been here for almost ten months. Tempus fugit. Though, we are still awaiting our first visitors from home. No pressure, but Brian, our colleague from Rancho Cucamonga, has had two visitors already, and two more within the month. And he's only been here since April. Now, we'll make it worth the while of the first OOFALWO reader to get here - we've got a good bibimbap place to take you to, our treat.