Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Family Christmas.

I love the sound of cars driving through snow on the streets.
I love the noises all muffled in the white.
And weirdly, the smell of exhaust accompanied by freezing cold.
I love warm winter drinks and a lit christmas tree in the dark. 

I love spending 4 days with my cousins that I see every 4 years.  And that my grandma, who is 90, is still taking care of business. 
I don't mind that my nieces are getting taller than me. 
And that the wind chill makes it feel like -25°F

I like sledding
and that I got to go in an actual ice fishing hut and watch my cousin cut through 18 inches of ice to get to those fish.  
And playing dominoes, and Trou du Cul

And I really like sledding at 12:01 on New Years with my sister and her husband and my 10-year-old niece.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The food tour

So the first thing anyone wants to do when they come home is to eat all the food they can't find where they live.  I am no exception.
You'd think I would at least go for quality, but no.   

Mint M&M's
Egg Nog filled doughnut
Wendy's Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe
Root Beer (and I don't even like root beer)
Butter Rum Life Saver's
Charleston Chews
Taco Bell (such a dissapointment)
Peppermint Candy Canes
Pecan Pie Latte
Gingerbread White Chocolate Mocha
Dr Pepper
Cinnamon Bears
and we're only on day 3...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My outfit...

"I ride horses"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

drinking & blogging


I should maybe not get too drunk at book club.

I want to move in to the ridiculously nice club called the Little Red Door.  They make cocktails like me: short, strong and straight to the point.

Another thing to add to the "reasons it is good to be short" list:

Happy Meals

I was so sad to be separating from my book club friends: 2 girls going for mexican food and 2 girls who read and discussed the book (because those are the important details).  And since last time I went to the Little Red Door and had 2 cocktails, I learned my lesson (they are very strong) and decided to go to McDonald's and have a bite....by myself....at 23h.  Doesn't that just sound sad.  It did to me.  Almost all the way on my metro home.
But then I got out of the metro 1 stop early and saw some bitchy 18 year old french girl and was SO glad I wasn't her in her little french bitchy box, in her little outfit and glasses and long hair and hat, and her aire of bored irritation.
And I went to McDonald's and ordered a happy meal (because I am short and it's all I need!  Plus TOYs and yogurt!).  And instead of it being super sad and gray, by myself, with a dead phone (so I couldn't even pretend to have friends), I ordered my food at the little computer screen and it told me there was table service.  I sat myself down and some nice girl came over and gave me my happy meal.  And she even SMILED at me.  It was like a commercial.
And I had a really nice 15 minutes, all by myself. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Guess who took a French teacher?  No, it wasn't you.
I did!
He is very nice and very proper.  He comes to my house and, in a very organized format, corrects my French.  I will say that I think he takes a certain delight in it.  They all do, (the French).  They all take delight in correcting you.
It has been beaten into them so hard that they can't help themselves from doing the same.
I almost have sympathy for them
...until they interrupt me,
to explain how I have made a grammar mistake.

And then I want to swear at them in French. Which I don't do. 
It takes a lot for me to swear in French.  I'll swear in my own language, but it takes a special kind of asshole to elicit French swearing. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Meat butter

Why you start with the most rich & heavy piece of the meal, I'll never know.

I like butter
I like butter a lot
This is Meat Butter. Ok well it is some poor duck's liver. 
But it tastes like meat butter. 
It is so rich that you have to put LOADS of salt and vinegary onions confit on it.
And then you load it on some bread. 
And that is your appetizer.  Or in French "entrée"
It's commonly served at Christmas.  Thankfully we will be in angloland this year because it is December 2nd and I am already all meat buttered out. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The End went very fast.

 So we took a fancy fast French train from South to North
Where I made friends with my 2 & 4 year old neighbors after disracting them with magic blank paper and pens.  Blank paper is MAGIC I tell you.  IPADs are overrated. 
Do you see the dragon flies?

And then a fancy, super clean metro that plays a nice little chime when it arrives at the quai.
And as usual, everyone is on some sort of mobile device.

After we got in, we dropped our stuff and went to the National Museum to soak up the last bits of culture.  Including some Celadon pottery.  And Buddha's of all different shapes and forms.
Buddha Buddha

And then it was off to the airport.
Annyeonghi Haseyo...

Monday, November 18, 2013

We totally did.

So they have these places called Love Motels.
You drive in with your lover and the garage immediately shuts so that no one sees your car.
You pay in cash so there is no credit card trace.
and its so classy.
Ok so that is a lie.  WE CHOSE a super classy red/black/white room with fringe and a round bed.  There were white rooms and black/white rooms with regular beds. 
We're just all fringe and red-light district on the inside.

They had family sized products, like all the other hotels.
Except the welcome kit.  They were the ONLY travel/individual products we saw.  2 points for Love Motel!

More highly reccomended than the nicest hotel in the city. (We stayed there the night before, along with the engineers for Ferrari and Mclaren.)

Shinan Beach Hotel.  Boo Las Vegas 1982!

Yes please!
We could have stayed the whole night.
But we didn't.
Because we're classy like that. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Random notes from the edge

Scissors and tissue boxes (napkins) at every table

only 45 year old women servers

Mid-steps in all entryways and slippers

Bathroom crocs

Communal bath products

Nothing smaller than FAMILY sized shampoo and conditioner

Golf driving ranges everywhere

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Green Tea me

I had to learn to compromise.  It wasn't very easy since I pretty much equate 'compromise' with 'lose-lose'.
But now it's called 'negotiation'. And even on vacation we negotiate:
No archeological dig-sites for me in Israel. (Who doesn't want to see ancient cities being dug out of the ground?!) And no obscure, modern art exhibits for B. (Blank canvas with black dot and string.  ugh)
I wanted to see the home of Celadon pottery in Ganjin.
B wanted to see the Green Tea plantation.
Tea plantation was up first.  Since his was so great, I gave up the extra 3 buses it would have taken to get to mine (Our bus total would have been 7 over 48 hours). Glad 5+ years means our tastes are starting to merge. Glad to have not taken another 3 buses after sleeping on the floor, for a museum likely to be mostly in Korean and over 1000 years old(i.e.not much left).  
At least they didn't claim to know exactly where one baby was born. 


And then we bought green tea biscuits, green tea candies, green tea chocolates, green tea.  I am a marketers dream.  
But I didn't buy the face cream.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Busan to the Island

We spent less than 24 hours in Busan. 
Enough time to walk the beach, get lost with our GPS that only speaks Korean, and eat at the famous fish market. 
The nicest hotel we stayed in....for less than 5 hours.  with slippers, of course.

Carrying our LIVE crab from the market back to the restaurant.  

And then back to basics.  We left our friends and got on a bus at 6a.m.
It is slightly more scary when you have to be the navigator and you are not safe in your own car.  And you don't blend in. 
Not even a little bit.

So after 2 buses, we took a boat onto the gray and misty sea.

and because I am sure my photos are getting old for you, I made you a montage.

(L-R)Map of our tiny island, The local temple, stuff of my Korean nightmares
Fishing nets and old ladies unwrapping garlic, BLUE berry, the tail of the dragon island, more nightmares
Fisheries, the lonely statue in the mist, and the perfectly good vegetable pancake that someone decided to throw octopus tentacles on at the last minute.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Land of the Silla Kings

View from above
Another minbak that we stayed in. 
Our room with sleeping mat on the right
On the street
 My favorite café. Alice in Wonderland themed.
Delish desserts.  White chocolate lemon tart, persimmon sorbet, cookies...

tidbits from the Korean Seaside

 Saying hello to the Sea of Japan
 Recently retired warship (a gift from the U.S.) right next to a very small North Korean spy sub that was captured off the East coast in 1996
 That boat is a hotel.
Fishing boats line the horizon at night.  The light attracts squid.

Friday, November 1, 2013

They LOVE children.

The table next to us with our friend's 2 year old.  30 minutes of relaxed eating Woohoo!

And as we were leaving, the hostess felt obliged to give him a free bag of garlic crackers

We sleep on the floor

The good thing about sleeping Korean style (2 inch thick mats on the floor) is that you have no desire to stay in bed any longer than is absolutely necessary. 
Our friends in their mosquito net on their sleeping mat.  Looks like fun!

Luckily we weren't there to sleep.  B got up at 5 (miracle) to walk in the rice fields surrounding the traditional village we stayed in.  I tried sleeping in. on the floor. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Matching couple

Notice also that he is carrying her bag.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A word about teams

Speaking of hiking.  This is a work team.  Team building.
Our friend told us you could tell because of the bags the women were carrying (fancy, not casual)

Apparently during the week there is no family life.  You are with your colleagues all day.  You all go to lunch together at the same time.  You go out for drinks after work at least 3 times a week.  Drinks, then dinner then kareoke with drinks.  And apparently kareoke can come with women.  Team building.
So here is team building.  Hiking together

B just took that photo.  Too bad I've lost my balls to still do things like that.
And just look how well it turned out?!  They all smiled. they thought it was funny.  Then they made him take their photo.
And they all do that peace thing.  All the time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Koreans are professional hikers

We went hiking 3 days while we were traveling.  Seoraksan, Namsan, and Yeonhwado.  One thing you will notice if you ever hike in Korea is the professionalism.  I am not sure if this means they are taking serious hikes, but they certainly look like they do. 

From their trails to their gear
to their 80 year old women who kicked my mountain-girl ass.  (left, in red)
They also seem to be prepared at any time to have a picnic. (Including under overpasses in the city)
They do have beautiful mountains though

and oh so lush.
We tried to time our trip to see the seasons change, but this was all we got
Imagining THAT covering an entire mountain range, makes me feel like crying.

But we did see burial mounds (like the passage tombs in Ireland)
and Buddhas.  A lot of Buddhas.  Life-sized. human-sized. headless.