Sunday, June 27, 2010
Convenience stores are a good place to get cereal, milk and other items that you forgot when you went on your weekly shop. Well, in Korea convinence stores are often also great places to meet up with mates.
So you buy a beer from inside, grab a plastic chair, sit at a plastic table and drink out of a paper cup. For many this wouln't sound like a great spot to spend a Friday night, but it is!
It is super hot in Korea at the moment and the open air is glorious. The beer is cheap and many people seems to gather outside these convinence stores so there is an atmosphere quite unlike anything I have encountered before. It is relaxed and energetic at the same time!
Lately what has made some convinence stores even more appealing is that that they have been airing the soccer world cup on big screen TVs. It is for this reason that the local Family Mart has become our favourite.
Because convenience stores are open 24hours we never have to miss a soccer game! What's more is if the soccer game was inspiring you and your friends can play some ball yourselves.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Never heard the term before? Well, aparently when Koreans drink they go red....really red! I thought everyone did! But that is not the case.
In essence Koreans will go red a lot faster after having an alcoholic beverage because they are alergic, their bodies simply cannot digest alcohol as fast as your average westerner because they are missing an enzyme of sorts!
Boy, I am happy I have that enzyme. As is I go red when I drink...I think without this precious enzyme I might look something like a red panda.
Grace may have been a bad example as she isn't as red as she thought but this entry made for a good excuse to put a pic up of her.
Just remember the next time you see a Korean that is glowing...chances are they are drunk or well on the way! That's probably why this guy is so excited!
Post by Claudia
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Although Oliver and I have been unable to watch the programs, due to obvious language barriers, from what we have heard the dramas are often exciting and compelling!
Not too long ago my director and his family took Oliver and I out for a day excursion. We went to Guinsa temple (one of the biggest temples in South Korea), the Chungpung Cultural Assets Housing, and a drama set. We visited the drama set of Jumong which has a beautiful location in the mountains. The place was swarming with visitors and it was easy to understand why.
Oliver got a great photo of two locals trying their best to be like the fighting heroes in the drama.
To view more images of the movie set and other great sights in South Korea please visit the places of interest gallery.
Post by Claudia
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Instead...we made every effort to ensure that we got into the soccer fever. I made a couple of attempts on facebook to find other South African teachers who would hopefully be watching the opening ceremony but nothing came of that. So Oliver and I decided to go off to a local sports bar.
Alas, we were the only two souls in the entire place!!! Bummer!! So dressed to the nines in our South African gear we headed across Wonju to the sports grounds...but again..no soccer fever!!! URG! Then we went to a bar which we had heard was popular with foreigners but it was closed. By now we were both getting upset and weren't too sure where to go.
It was in this moment of despair that we stumbled upon a group of foreigners (more commonly refered to as waygooks) chilling outside a GS Mart (similar to a Seven Eleven). A crowd had gathered on the pavement to watch the opening ceremony on GS Mart's big screen TV. So naturally we aquianted ourselves with the waygooks and the night got better and better from there.
We were the only South Africans in the crowd but we stood proud and sang our national anthem on a pavement in Wonju....it was a great moment!
Then we all headed to a local sports bar....suprise suprise...it was the one we were at earlier on in the evening....and there were more waygooks....the atmosphere was definately picking up!
Oh...I almost forgot..Tshabalala you are amazing...you made history...you got the first goal of our world cup!! And it was a beauty!!! Boys...you played so so well!!
Oliver watches the game with sheer determination....
Oh and did I mention we got drunk...very very drunk! Check out the clip below where we try our best to sing the World Cup's official song.
On Saturday it was out of our gold and into red. Despite our monumental hangovers we made our way to Seoul to watch South Korea against Greece. What a cracker! We were surrounded by thousands of people at City Hall in Seoul... the vibe was electric!
Another korean chant
lead up to the winning moment!
And you know what the best part is...there are three more weeks of soccer madness ahead of us!!!
Post by Claudia
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Here are some of the basic phrases we use:
- Hello (An-nyung-ha-se-yo)
- Thank you (gahm-sa-ham-ni-da)
- Goodbye (An-nyung-hi ge-se-yo/ga-se-yo)
- Where is the bathroom (Hwa-jang-shil)
- How much? (Ul-ma-em-knee-ka)
- Yes (ne/ye)
- No (A-ni-yo)
- Please (cho-se-yo)
- delicious (massh-e-ta)
Those are just some of the basics and so far they have served us well! However, a couple of weeks ago Oliver and I decided enough was enough! We were tired of walking down the street and not understanding any of the signs, or going into restaurants and not being able to read what to order. So what did we do? We learnt hangul!
Hangul is the Korean writing system and it works off of sounds. The vowels include the following sounds:
The consonants include:
You might think that now that we can read what we see, we understand what we see! Well, no. not most of the time anyway! This is oviously because Koreans have different names for things, for instance "bbang" is "bread" and "mul" is "water". So we may be able to read it but if we don't understand the word it won't make much sense.
However, there is a fair amount of Konglish, english words written in Hangul on sign posts. For example, the sign below says Suh-tah-buk-seh Kho-pee (Starbucks Coffee). Pretty cool right!!
And this one says Oh-lea-O (Oreo) cereal...Mmmmm
We still have a long way to go before we will be able to communicate effectively but we are getting there!
Post by Claudia
Monday, June 7, 2010
This past weekend we got a chance to celebrate the fact that South Africa will be hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup! At the South African braai in Seoul everyone was kitted out with South African memorabilia...everything from South African flags to vuvuzelas and face paint.
There were South Africans everywhere and most of us were barefoot, you have no idea how good that felt! And yes, there was meat...lots of meat!!!Mmmmmm
We love you South Africa and we wish you the best of luck for the massive festival heading your way. For all of you back home...I hope you enjoy every minute of it!!!
GOOD LUCK...we will be watching!!!! MAKE US PROUD!!! Whooohooooo
Getting there is no easy task. Well, actually it is, but it's not as straightforward as one might think. After getting off the bus from your city, you climb down a few flights of stairs and into the amazing tunnel system that is the Seoul subway system. It really is an amazingly efficient sytem, that lets you get pretty much anywhere in the city within a relatively short space of time!
While navigating this underground system, and climbing on this train, or getting off at this station, we obviously go through a lot of different stations. The stations range from very basic transfer stations from one line to the next, to massive shopping and restaurant areas, with all sorts of advertising and displays happening everywhere!
At one of the stations we came across what I reckon is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. From far away it looked like just a Kia display, showing off two of its latest models, but upon walking closer (which we did to take photos of the large Zakumi) I noticed that they had a whole bunch of soccer balls as part of their display. Turns out, as you can see, the balls were all the official soccer balls, that have been used in past World Cups, from 1970 all the way up to our own ball, Jabulani!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
According to the old saying when in Rome you should do as the Romans do! Well, we have been applying this same logic in Korea: When in Korea, do as the Koreans do!
One thing Koreans do really well is make rice. I mean it's what rice dreams are made of! Sticky and gorgeous! Dare I say that Koreans have perfected the art of rice making.
How you might ask? Well, its with a nifty gadget called a Rice Cooker.
In South Africa people love their coffee, you can get a super expensive coffee maker and enjoy the luxury of a good cup of java in your own home or you can buy an ordinary coffee machine and have a cup of coffee that is still pretty amazing but doesn't cost you an arm and a leg. Well, it's the same thing in Korea, with Rice Cookers.
When Oli and I went shopping for our Rice Cooker, we were blown away by how advanced some of them are. They had enough buttons to confuse you (some with like 30), others where the size of microwaves, and looked really slick and important...and let me tell you they carried a price tag to match!
We opted for an ordinary Rice Cooker, it is compact and cherry red...and yes, it makes amazing rice! It has only one button, the on/off button! Thank heavens, because it came with a Korean instruction manual that we couldn't decifer if we tried!
When I showed my director's wife a photo of our Rice Cooker, she described it as "cute" so I don't think it matches to the awesomness of some Rice Cookers but we don't care...we love it!
How it works...you clean the rice, throw it into the machine, add some water, and leave! Easy peasy!
The funny white spatula thing next to the Rice Cooker is a Rice Fan...you use it to dish up and mix your rice! Yes, rice is an art!
Now we can make amazing dishes at home! How awesome!
So Oliver and I are very proud to own our very first Rice Cooker.
Post by Claudia