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Sunday, 31 December 2006

Happy New Year! We're home!

Happy New Year! Whatever happened to 2006?!

We're home now...after a long, delayed flight aboard Emirates from Dubai. We recently moved into a newer place and it's still a mess. I need to unpack my stuff and get ready for the "Intensives" at work tomorrow. This means we'll be working from 9am-8pm (our break is from 12pm-2pm; overtime is from 5pm-8pm) consisting of three classes at three hours each. It's going to be crazy I tell you! When we first started we did not have the extra overtime class (which was really nice) but this time around enrollment has picked up.

Anyways...when I started this blog I was going to post about our lives teaching and living in Seoul. Along with that includes our travels abroad. So to get things started, I'm going to posting about our amazing trip to UAE and Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah (RAK). You ready?

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Friday, 29 December 2006

We're heading back to Seoul tonight

Wow...our time in the UAE has been phenomenal. Tonight, we will be catching a red-eye flight back to Seoul. I will be posting some amazing photos and stories when I get back. You won't want to miss this so check back soon!!

Friday, 22 December 2006

Hello from the UAE!

Hi everyone...Gdog has made it to the UAE! We are staying in Ras al-Khaimah, another Emirate about 100km away from Dubai. We did a quick tour as our flight arrived at 5:30am local time. All I have to say is Dubai is incredible. The amount of construction going on is unbelievable. Pictures don't do justice, it's just mind-boggling seeing so much work going on. Anyways, enjoy the following pictures--wishing you a Merry Christmas!

The Burj Al-Arab hotel...it was an amazing sight:

I managed to get a shot of the personal chauffeur in a Bentley:

The sun was rising so it made for a beautiful sight:

Look at all the construction cranes in the sky...this is just a tiny fraction of what I saw:

BONUS: Carrefour in the UAE!!! Sweet!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Season's Greetings from The Daily Kimchi!

Whew--I'm tired. We just moved into our new place (it's great) and just unpacked everything after packing it up for transport this morning. 24 hours from now we'll be on a flight to Dubai from Incheon International Airport. This post will mark the last post until New Year's Eve, when we return from Dubai. Think of it as a "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" from the both of us. I will probably post a few pictures of Dubai when I get there, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading and all the kind comments--until next time!

Merry Christmas (artwork by my cousin Sharon--composed with Paint)!

"Why is it so cold?!" -Devante

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Christmas Lights @ City Hall

Previously on The Daily Kimchi I mentioned how I wanted to go take some pictures of the sights and festivities at City Hall. After being inspired by I'm A Seoul Man and SeoulLife.net, I just had to join in on the fun. Here are my attempts at City Hall and Chonggaechun. Comments are welcome.

Pictures from the day...here's the ice skating rink they setup:

Just one of a million people here taking pictures (just like me):

It was cold so we went inside for a bit. On our way back from the Lotte Department Store:

You must visit City Hall to see the lights:

A few from Chonggaechun:

Season's Greetings from Audi:

Shopping at the Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade

We went for breakfast once again to Puffin Cafe in Itaewon with Anyways. This was a couple days after our big snow storm. It was quite the feat trying to make it to Omokgyo station, maneuvering around slush covered sidewalks. We eventually made it there in one piece but our shoes were soaking wet (including our socks--thanks Adidas + Nike).

Breakfast was deeeelish. I had the Puffin omelette and Devante and Anyways shared pancakes and French Toast. Oh, and we each had a scone too. You have to go there for breakfast...it's the bomb (I've said this before).

Afterwards, Devante and I went shopping at the Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade. Basically it just another huge underground mall but numerous vendors. Clothes, shoes, trinkets, etc...can all be found here. I was on the hunt for a pair of lined boots and I found them (20,000w, leather!) just after exiting the Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 2, green; buses here go to every major bus terminal in the country), where the market is located. Devante bought two (*gasp*) pairs of boots and found some clothes for really cheap. The Shinsegae Department Store is nearby and tonnes of other stores too.

Let's get back on topic (food that is) and see what we ate at Puffin. My omellete (prior to being ravaged by both Devante and Anyways--I don't mind sharing, but they robbed me blind):

You know what they say, "don't get mad, get even." In the words of a good friend of mine, "revenge is the best dish served cold,":

Look at the puffins eating breakfast on the wall--how can you not like this place?

Let's get to the shopping part. Devante bought some boots here...they are sexy:

"Just another day shopping--underground!"

The 2000w bargain bin...deals can be found here if you have the patience!

Our Mr. Pizza Experience--next time it will be nude

Let's get this straight: Mr. Pizza is "Made for Women"...so all the guys out there, watch out! This marketing campaign is supposed to push their "fresh" pizza to all the females out there. If you want that coveted "S line" you better start eating Mr. Pizza.

We ordered early last weekend and I used their website to guide me through the ordering process. I was lucky that the girl who answered spoke some English, but not a lot. I patiently explained to her our address and ordered a regular Mr. Pizza Combo. Want to have an interesting night/meal? Go ahead and order a "Nude Pizza"--that's right, the pizza is so good it will take your clothes off. I must try that next time. ;)

Fast forward 30 minutes later, I receive a call on my cellphone--it's the delivery guy speaking in Korean. I have no idea what he is trying to say but I just keep on repeating our address in Korean and mention "Homever" and "KT" (the major landmarks near us). Turns out I'm a genius because within two minutes he was ringing our doorbell and I was devouring slices of mouthwatering pizza.

The pizza box...that number is universal--it doesn't matter where you call from, you'll still get Mr. Pizza:

My pizza was awesome. Much better than my previous Papa John's experience. Toppings were plentiful and there was the perfect balance of pizza sauce and cheese. I will be ordering again:

Watching The Holiday

So after our chicken galbi experience in Sinchon, we decided to go watch a movie--The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and (one of my favorite actors) Jack Black. I last mentioned The Holiday during my post about Ashley Restaurant in Homever. We watched the movie at the Grand Cinema. We had to get up to the 10th floor to watch our movie! We were a few minutes late but we made it.

The Grand Cinema is located in Sinchon:

The romantic comedy of choice for the holidays:

The movie was...your typical romantic comedy. It was funny but there were cheesy moments that made me cringe at times. Jack Black is hilarious, you just have to watch the movie to understand what I am trying to say. He was good, but it wasn't a Nacho Libre performance by the guy.

On a side note, we've been extremely busy packing and cleaning as we're moving to a new suite a few floors up. I was just on my hands and knees scrubbing down the bathroom (including the toilet). >_<

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Chicken Galbi in Sinchon

So after making our journey to and from Pyeongtaek, we were starving. So we headed to Sinchon with ATL for our first chicken galbi experience. The place we went to was one of the numerous chicken galbi restaurants lining the streets of Sinchon.

Here's the front entrance. The employees love to advertise their restaurant to people passing by:

Here's the inside...a nice feel to the place:

Our first step: head to the self serve kimchi station and load up:

Don't worry, we went back for more after we finished this:

Our chicken galbi consisted of chunks of dark meat, dokbokgi, sweet potatoes, green onions, and lots of cabbage:

Let's fast forward 10 minutes...

The staff cook the chicken galbi (well, they periodically come by to stir) at your table--watch this exclusive video:

I would say that our first chicken galbi experience was good, but not life changing. When we got back to our table from the kimchi station, I found a tiny dustball with HAIR in our grille. It was disgusting actually. I picked it out and threw it on the ground--in hindsight I should've showed it to the management, but I didn't bother. By the time we got home from watching The Holiday, let's just say both our stomachs didn't feel very good.

Voluteering in Pyeongtaek

About one week ago, one of our friends at work approached us about doing some volunteering--basically playing and spending some time with children from displaced families. So this Saturday we took a journey to Pyeongtaek, approximately one hour south of Seoul by train. Our destination was the Eastern Pyeongtaek Welfare Society.

Armed with books, puzzles and candy, these kids were extremely happy to see us! Their ages ranged from 2-3 years old. They were full of energy and they were very cute. We even had a chance to feed them (rice with soup, veggies and...tiny pieces of KIMCHI!). Once noon came around, it was nap time and these kids all started to cry because we had to leave. It was pretty sad but we did feel good about helping brighten the day for these kids. I would post some images of them but I was told to refrain from putting the images on the internet. So here are some pictures of our journey there and back instead (we played with the kids in the Jacob's Home building)!

Our first stop, catching a train at Yongsan Station. This is also the location of the Yongsan Electronics District:

There was a booth displaying cars by GM Daewoo. I caught this guy taking a nap:

What are these things called again?

It was nice to get out of the city and see a bit of Korea's countryside:

On our way off the train...follow these instructions carefully:

We made it...Pyeongtaek Station:

Tickets to and from Pyeongtaek cost about 4500-5000w.

Pictures of the snow

When we woke up this morning, there was about 5-8cm (3 inches) of snow on the ground. Most major sidewalk were shoveled and snow on the road had melted to slush. It's now a lot colder than it was before. Enjoy the pics!

It was coming down very hard:

BONUS: Take a look at this video clip:

Here's the road we follow to get to work:

...and this was the sight in the morning!

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Live update: it's snowing in Seoul!

As of right now, it's officially snowing in Seoul! I recently posted about when it would snow in Seoul--well, now my wish has come true. I will post pictures in the morning! Goodnight!

The world's most expensive maple syrup

Do you love waffles and pancakes? If you just answered an enthusiastic "YES!" to my question, than you must be familiar with maple syrup. Do you want to buy maple syrup in Korea? Good luck, as the selection can be limited. I did find some "pancake syrup" at Costco, but it just didn't taste the same. Buying maple syrup in Seoul can be expensive--really expensive. Let's take a look at what could possibly be, the world's most expensive maple syrup.

These bottles of syrup were at my local Homever, in the "Organic Foods" section of farMever. Look at the price of the bottle on the left--no, you're eyes aren't seeing things, that says 45,000w (a whopping $48USD!!) for a 235mL bottle of Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup! Turns out it was a pricing error--the price tags are mixed up. The real price is 14,000w ($15USD) for 234mL/8oz of maple syrup--still highway robbery.

If you wanted to buy (just under) one liter (32oz), it would cost you 56,000w ($60USD)! Four liters (or one gallon) would cost 224,000w, or $240USD! Compare the price of one gallon of organic maple syrup to this list of 47 liquids--it's darn expensive!

We can thank Canada for producing 80% of the world's maple syrup! :)

If you opt for the 1 liter jug, you will save 9000w! Yahoo!

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Friday, 15 December 2006

The last homemade lunch for the month

Next week is going to be a busy week for us. It's our last week at work before our upcoming Christmas vacation, we found out we're going to be moving into a bigger suite in our building (we're not complaining, hehe), and progress reports are due. So during all that hoopla we probably won't be cooking as much and will be relying on delivery at work (which is cheap, fast and tasty).

I need to start getting more disciplined when it comes to taking pictures of my lunches at school. You'll see my new favorite dish next week--it's jayookdokbap...spicy pork in a hot stone bowl. I've been addicted to it for the past month.

Here's our lunch from the other day. It's a prawn, tofu, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot stir fry in a sweet and sour sauce, along with some brown rice. It was not bad, one of the better stir fries I've made:

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Sponsored Post: HotelReservations.com

If you remember from a while back, I posted about ReviewMe, a website that pays bloggers to review products or services on their blog. At the time, I was not sure if ReviewMe was going to pay me the $20US they promised for reviewing their site (since they were so new), but low and behold, on the 1st of December I received my payment via PayPal as promised. Ka-ching!

Anyways, advertisers are able to choose from which blogs they want to review their site. I recently discovered an offer in my inbox from ReviewMe to review a travel booking website, HotelReservations.com . I was hesitant at first about the review, but ReviewMe's guidelines state I can write whatever I feel like for the review, as long as I have 200 words. Well, here we go!

When I first navigated to HotelReservations.com the website looked clean and easy to navigate. But honestly, let's cut to the chase--how does HotelReservations.com compare to a bigger booking website, such as Expedia? I decided to book two similar flights with each site to compare them. I decided to reminisce about my trip to Hong Kong in 2004, so I booked flights departing from Vancouver flying direct to Hong Kong. I chose Air Canada and even tried to have similar departing and arrival times. Here are the results:

HotelReservations - Roughly 5.37 million won ($6748.52CDN for two adults, conversion via XE)

Expedia.ca - $4311.28CDN for two adults

I'll let you interpret the results yourselves. A couple interesting features I did notice about HotelReservations.com is that they have an "Internet Price Guarantee" and also have up to $100 Cash Rebates for booking hotels. You might want to check out their website yourself to compare with other sites regarding packages and flights too, as your experience may differ from mine. The End (a.k.a $20 in my pocket for 15 minutes of work). :-) Curious how to get make money like Gdog on the internet? Sign up for AGLOCO (read about it here)!

You know it's Christmas when...

...Christmas lights are up! The maintenance crew spent a good week installing lights outside our building. Here is the fruit of their labor (just a tiny snapshot):

Christmas is widely celebrated in Korea as roughly quarter of the population is Christian. Most of my students celebrate Christmas and they look forward to their well deserved break from nonstop studying and homework. Sitting at the top the "What makes Christmas so great" (essay topic) list includes Christmas carols, receiving and giving presents, no studying, and spending time with family.

Where is the hot spot in Seoul to see Christmas lights? I know SeoulLife.net has a nice snapshot of some lights. I'm A Seoul Man will soon be bringing us some photos as well. I would like to do the same! ;-)

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Our upcoming Christmas vacation

Winter vacation officially starts for us on December 21st. Our plans you ask? Well, we will be making a trip out to Dubai, UAE. What are we doing there? We'll be visiting Devante's parents! We're flying direct to Dubai from Seoul on Emirates (yes, we live a life of luxury). We'll be seeing sites such as the Burj Al Arab (the world's tallest hotel) the Palm Jumeirah, and experience Ski Dubai (an indoor ski park--in the desert!).

From the day I started this blog, back in June, I have posted at least one entry per day (come on, it's The Daily Kimchi--it has to be daily) since our arrival in Seoul. This will be my 288th post in a span of five months. According to my rough calculations, I've averaged 1.92 posts per day.

When we leave for Dubai, The Daily Kimchi will officially be on vacation (it's okay to cry if you are feeling emotional right now). I will maybe post a few pictures from Dubai, but other than that I will be relaxing. My blog will be back up and running on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The blog will be on vacation from Dec.21-31st--so mark this down on your calendar (remember to return afterwards)!

Here's a picture of Tiger Woods teeing off the helicopter pad of the Burj Al Arab:

Here's a shot of the hotel (don't worry, it's too expensive for my blood):

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