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Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Inside a Korean pharmacy...video

With the end of the intensives schedule, one would think that would give adequate time for my body to rest and heal. Well, think again. My experience with conjunctivitis has come back again (I don't think it was ever gone) but this time it's minor. So, once again I made another trip to the eye doctor for a full examination.

Upon my arrival at the eye clinic, I waited five minutes and immediately was whisked into the doctor's office. I had my eyes checked, eye pressure examined, and an eye exam (my vision is almost perfect, for those who want to know). All this in a span of ten minutes! I was instructed to finish off some existing drops and I received a prescription for another set of drops as well.

This is the part that I love the best--the experience of a Korean pharmacy. Your prescription is filled at lightning speed and it's dirt cheap. Once again, it only cost me 1500w ($1.50US) for my prescription and it was filled within minutes. Another bonus, free yogurt drinks! They are on the counter and free to customers--sweet!

Here are the free yogurt drinks--this is the reason why I keep going to the doctor...to get my yogurt drink fix:

Here's an exclusive video of your typical Korean pharmacy. I was accompanied by one of the Korean staff from work to do all the translation for me. Without her, it would've been one long game of charades to get things done:

Monday, 29 January 2007

The last day of intensives--yay!

One month of working twelve hours a day, five times a week has come to an end. Although I had some fantastic classes, teaching for nine hours a day (not including prepping and marking) is a tedious task. We are both exhausted but glad that the month is over. Tomorrow we start the regular schedule of working only eight hours (we teach for six hours).

Today's last day included some festivities for the kids. My first class enjoyed Back to the Future on my 12" widescreen notebook (probably not the best way for 12 middle schoolers to watch a movie, hehe). I did have some Logitech USB external speakers to help create a better theatrical experience. They enjoyed the movie, although we didn't get a chance to finish watching it. I told them to go rent it or buy it (that would have subtitles; I had to explain what Biff meant when he kept on calling Marty a "butt head").

My second class ended with Jeopardy battle versus another class. It was fun and exciting for the kids since they absolutely dominated our competition. I was lucky to have such a great group of little geniuses--they made me extremely proud they way they answered questions in complete sentences. What can I say, I work my magic in the classroom! ;-)

My last class of the day joined in with a few other classes to watch the movie Cars. After approximately 30 restless minutes, I herded them back to our class for a class Jeopardy battle of "Girls vs Boys"...the boys won, even though they were outnumbered 9 to 4.

Today I treated all three of my classes to some pop, snacks, and candy. They were pretty revved up--it was awesome (now that I think of it, I now know why I have a headache; kids+sugary soda is not a recommended mixture)! I also mentioned to them on last Friday to bring their own snacks as well--this added to an even better experience.

However, with all those extra snacks meant a tonne of garbage. The garbage can in my class is as small as a bucket of paint--it's ridiculous. Every night, the "ajama" (older Korean woman) who cleans my class moves my garbage can away from my desk to the center of the classroom. I presume it's her subliminal message to me--in other words, keep your garbage in the can! The garbage can usually sits in a corner where my desk meets the wall. This makes for the ultimate target for shooting trash like it's a basketball. Here's a picture of the accumulated garbage--now you will understand why the "ajama" probably hates my guts.

Inside that enormous bag of shrimp crackers sits two empty soda bottles and other miscellaneous garbage. Look at the size of the garbage can--if you can find it! ;)

Friday, 26 January 2007

Introducing...Gang Ji Hoon!

My classes during the winter intensives have been a hoot. These kids have been a lot of fun and they are very creative when it comes to interacting with me (in other words, making fun of me). One of my classes (mainly the girls) decided to come up with a Korean name for me. Their name of choice: Gang Ji Hoon--known as someone who teaches the river well, or something like that. I am not actually using this name, but it's funny because they call me that.

Notice the spelling in Hangul...I can spell my own "name!":

On the topic of making fun of the teacher, here's a nice little sketch by one of my junior classes. It's their interpretation of my home in a garden/forest, sketched during a ten minute break (the drawing was pretty awesome):

Upon entering my classroom during my last class (after already having taught six hours and being in the branch for eight hours), I found the artwork (which I left on the board) colored!

The winter intensives end on Monday and immediately after our "regular schedule" resumes on Tuesday. That's right, we don't have a break in between. Our bodies could use some rest, but oh well, that's what sleeping in is for. I will be updating the blog more frequently once I have more time--and more sleep.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Our freezer's new friend: Weis Mango and Cream

Costco in Korea can be a good thing or a bad thing. Whenever you arrive, you feel like you're getting a taste of home. However, once you realize how much money you're spending on "food" it starts to get funny. Every week at Costco, there seems to be new items and a reshuffling of existing inventory. It's always fun to "buy" something new to test out.

One new item in our freezer right now is a tub of Weis Mango and Cream. This Australian ice cream product is the combination of mango sorbet and ice cream. The sorbet portion contains "Kensington Pride mangos from tropical North Queensland" and the other portion is rich ice cream. I have never tried this before and I must say it was quite the experience. The mango sorbet was refreshing and when blended with the ice cream portion it made for a nice treat, especially in the dead of winter.

Weis Mango and Cream comes in a one litre tub:

I think the picture on the tub hooked me...this tub cost us 5000w (5USD):

...and here is the inside, the mango sorbet on the left and the ice cream on the right:

This review is for those looking for an alternative to Korean ice cream...which I do still enjoy. Remember the pig in the tuxedo bar?

Monday, 22 January 2007

My famous toilet paper tie--finally recognized!

I knew the hard work I put in towards my infamous toilet paper tie would be recognized by someone. That someone is the humor website, Say No to Crack, where they currently are doing a series on Toilet Paper Artwork--who would've thought?! Check out their website, you'll get a few laughs.

Chocolate in Korea: Lotte's Dream Cacao, 72%

Who loves chocolate? Koreans do! If you love chocolate, Korea can keep you happy if you are a big fan of dark chocolate. Western brands that can be found here include Snickers, Twix, Mr. Big (proudly Canadian), and Toblerone just to name a few. The majority of the chocolate market is dominated by the Lotte Corporation, proprietors of practically everything imaginable.

A dangerous theme park? Check.
A five star hotel? Check.
A luxury department store chain? Check.
A fast food chain, named Lotteria? Check.
A nationwide celebration based on Pepero? Check.
A container of dark chocolate shaped into little cubes? Check...err...wait a minute...

Lotte's Dream Cacao line up of dark chocolate comes in two different percentages of cacao content. There's 72% and 56%. You can find either percentage in little bite-sized cubes, or in your traditional chocolate bar format.

Today we have here the 72% cacao content in a container. The average price for a 110 gram container is about 3000w ($3USD) at your local convenience store (it's cheaper at Homever or other big supermarket chains). The taste is not bad; I like dark chocolate and the 72% cacao content is just about right for my liking. As a bonus, the chocolate also acts as an excellent replacement for dice, and students respond well when you throw these at them to wake them up.

Lotte's 72% Dream Cacao dark chocolate...in their words, "Cacao Polyphenol Chocolate. Good Blended Taste"

Delivery: Experiencing Pizza Etang

Pizza in Korea is pretty darn good. So far, we've tried Vincent's, Papa John's, Submeal, Mr. Pizza, and Pastario. Late last week we tried delivery via Pizza Etang, a popular pizza joint that is famous for its 2 for 1 special, two large pizzas for 14900w. We've had Pizza Etang at work for staff lunches and pizza parties for the kids.

Ordering delivery was going to be another task, giving my limited Korean. But being Gdog, anything is possible--in other words, they called me back twice to explain something to me in Korean. I had no idea what they were saying, but nevertheless, roughly 30 minutes later I was eating hot pizza!

The two pizzas arrived piping hot...let's get our eat on! Of course, pickles, hot sauce, and a creamy garlic sauce is provided for your dining pleasure:

Pizza #1...the combination special: pepperoni, green peppers, sausage, and onions.

Pizza #2: the bugulgi special...beef, green peppers, and onions.

Pizza Etang is delicious, but it's a bit on the doughy side. If you like doughy pizza, you will love their pizza. You can't beat two large pizzas for 14900w--give it a try.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

"Solleyball": Loved by firefighters in Korea

Firefighters are always on high alert, in a state of readiness waiting to respond to an emergency. But with all that spare time, what is there to do to pass the time? Well, the firefighters in Mokdong, particularly Yangcheon-gu, love to play what I have termed, "Solleyball."

That's right...the ultimate sport combining the elements of soccer/football (choose whatever title you see fight) and volleyball. These firefighters, in their bright orange jumpsuits have setup a court in the back parking lot of the fire hall. A volleyball/badminton net has been setup along with a court outlined by lines of tape. The rules are like soccer/football, you can only use your feet and head to hit the ball. But here's the twist, it follows the rules of volleyball, where teams of three must work together to get the ball over the net. Bump, set, spike...but in this case, it's kick, kick, kick.

Here's a video of these firefighters having a ball from our officetel...it was incredible. These pioneers of "Solleyball" have really outdone themselves. Watch for the "spike"...they have mastered the move into a super spike/kick:

PS - The buzzing noise you hear in the background is made by our ceramic heater.

Friday, 19 January 2007

UAE Update 10: Manar Mall in Ras al-Khaimah

You've read about how Ras al-Khaimah is an up and coming emirate in UAE. The definitive mall in for your one stop shopping needs is Manar mall in RAK. This mall has a....get ready...Carrefour (for new readers, Carrefour recently exited the Korean market and was replaced by Homever)!

There were some nice stores inside, a lot of western retail outlets and the food court had your typical fast food fare as well. Notables included McDonald's, KFC, and Baskin Robbins. Being in the Middle East, there was a variety of places serving Lebanese and Indian cuisine. Let's get onto the pictures shall we?

Here we have Manar Mall...at night...welcome to RAK!

We all know I love food, so let's jump to that. Here is the food court at Manar Mall...

...here we have KFC in the Middle East. Delicious fried chicken is served to happy customers of RAK--one of them being me. I tried the KFC and it was okay, but not spectacular. For some reason every time I visit a foreign country I always want to try the fast food.

McDonald's truly dominates the globe. Here it is...smiles were free, as always:

The moment I saw this I knew I had to try it. Have you ever tried a McArabia before? Arabic flatbread is wrapped around chicken with lettuce and tomato. Wow, what an experience!

One night we had Lebanese for dinner. This place had the biggest rotating chicken-meat-on-a-skewer-thingy I have ever seen in my entire life. Here's the counter shot:

...and here's a close up of the pieces of chicken being sliced off...the juices were incredible. There was enough chicken there to feed a small army:

Here's my plate of Lebanese...salad, chicken, flatbread, kababs, tabbouleh, and tahini.

We never did get the chance to try it, but here we have the almighty KING OF BALLS!

Are you full now? Let's hit up Carrefour and see what we can find:

Looks like Lay's potato chips dominates the UAE market:

Hey, not only do Asians love Hello Kitty, but so do residents of RAK:

I hope you enjoyed your visit to the premier destination of choice in RAK, Manar Mall. Ta-ta!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Blog Tag...I've been tagged! 5 things about Gdog

Tag was played by most of us when we were in school as youngsters (some of us probably still play in secret...shhh!). Anyways, the traditional game has now gone high tech and made it onto the internet.

While I was vacationing in UAE, I was tagged by Ed Lau over at the.[ED]ition (who was tagged by John Chow). I was so busy that I never did have the chance to respond. The premise of blog tag goes like this: once you are "tagged" by another blog, it's your turn to write five things your readers don't know about you. I was recently "tagged" again by Katie over at the TEFL Logue, so I guess I should finally get cracking and respond. This should get interesting...here we go:
  1. My profile mugshot is not my real picture. I am not a dog, although one would think so after referring to myself as Gdog. That picture is actually Devante's dog (who is living it up in UAE I might add). So, let's set the record straight: Gdog is not a canine with internet access in Seoul, South Korea. I am not a real dog. I am teaching abroad, pretending to be a dog with a blog.
  2. I love all things to do with computers and the internet. I started using a PC back in 1994 and I've been hooked ever since. I was never a self proclaimed computer nerd before that. I lived a normal life that involved a strange phenomenon called "exercise"...and square meals. Now I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and lack of sleep (I am currently over 400lbs and climbing; I wash myself with a rag on a stick). Who would've known? You know you're addicted to checking your email when...hold on, let me finish this after I check my email.
  3. I am addicted to FOX's hit show 24 and am unable to stop using Jack Bauer quotes at work (and in the classroom). Want to read up on random Jack Bauer facts? Click here. "WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!"...my question is, when does Jack sleep, eat or go to the washroom? Also, his cellphone battery life is extremely impressive!
  4. On the topic of addictions, at one point in my life I was addicted to eBay, both selling and buying. It's a great feeling winning an auction during the last minute of bidding--but it's an even greater feeling selling useless junk and having people bid on it! The most memorable sale was...NOTHING! I created a "test auction" selling "nothing" for Valentine's day and someone bid, won, and paid me $1.00! I was an eBay Powerseller (along with an eBay Store) at one point and my feedback rating still stands at 99.2% with over 720 positives.
  5. I am saving the environment with my current watch, a Citizen Eco-Drive (thanks Devante!). An energy cell (with none of the chemicals used by conventional batteries) stores energy absorbed by the solar panel covered dial face. This means I will never have to change the batteries on my watch...for a lifetime. Eco-Drive is the way to go! Now, if only alternative forms of energy were used to power our cars...when will that ever happen (if you've read this far, I am not 400lbs and do not suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome)?
You just read five things about Gdog that you probably did not know before (unless you're a family member or friend). I hope you had fun reading this, because I had fun writing it. Good night!

Let's continue this game of blog tag...in no particular order...
...considered yourself tagged!

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Kit Kat chocolate's Korean cousin

Do you like Kit Kat bars? I saw this tonight at Homever while we were in the check out aisle...I believe it's Kit Kat's Korean cousin that was lost at birth, KicKer...I didn't buy it, but maybe I will next time to give it a try. They definitely love their chocolate in Korea. Maybe I'll post about it one day. But in the mean time...

"Give me a break, give me a break, give me a break with that KicKer bar!"

Does this commercial from 1988 bring back any memories?

The Dot Com Mogul: John Chow

Have you ever wondered about how some people make a living off the internet? If you have, look no further than the blog of John Chow. Residing in Richmond, BC, John has been a pioneer when it comes to all things to do with technology and the internet. His tech website, TheTechZone.com is his number one moneymaker. His personal blog, JohnChow.com is one of the fastest growing websites on the internet. Along with his other websites, this enables him to work at home and raise his young family. This self proclaimed "dot com mogul" makes his living off the internet and enjoys expensive fine dining.

I first encountered John's blog during a Google search. I was surprised that he was from Richmond, which is relatively close to Victoria. His blog is educating yet full of interesting posts and the things that make him tick. His success is based on his ability to reach out to his readers. Reading his blog is entertaining and simple. John publishes how much he makes a month off his blog to the world, which is extremely rare. I got the idea to sign up for Agloco from John as he was one of the first to post about it.

If you're curious for an inside look into the lives of those monetizing their time spent online, check out John's website. I am reviewing John's blog in exchange for a link on his website. He has given the chance for everyday bloggers to review his site for a link exchange. Since his website is so popular, a link back to my blog will help increase readership. The Daily Kimchi is always looking for new ideas and ways to reach out to all the potential kimchi lovers out there. John, do you love kimchi?

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

UAE Part 9: Visiting...Starbucks in RAK!

There is no better indication of globalization than finding a Starbucks location or McDonald's, regardless of where you are in the world. Well, in this case it was the Starbucks located inside Manar Mall (you'll read about this soon) in Ras al-Khaimah. I am a fan of Starbucks, even though their prices absolutely gouge your wallet. One of the weirdest locations I've ever been to was the one located inside The Forbidden City, in Beijing in 2004.

Here is the menu at Starbucks in both Arabic and English:

Every Starbucks is not complete without their bakery items (I'm not a big fan of their bakery items...I call their taste...how do I say this...STALE!):

Here's my drink of choice...a tall caramel coffee frappuccino, blended twice, and no whip (this location was smoke free here, but about 10 meters away in the mall itself...people are just smoking freely):

The total damage for our drinks...28 dirham (AED), or about $7.60US. This is much cheaper compared to Starbucks in Seoul...it's ridiculous here!

Here's the amazing view from this location...palm trees and the water...it was awesome:

...and finally, here are the sugar packets in Arabic (raw sugar on the left, white sugar on the right):

The bonus picture: Gdog posing with strangers outside the Starbucks located inside The Forbidden City (note to the guy on the far left: you can run, but you can't hide):

Dinner next door...for 5500w

When you're sick with the flu, you don't really have an appetite. Well, late last week after sleeping all day and night, I decided to walk to the BBQ place next door for a cheap, hot meal. This is what you get for 5500w ($5.50US)...a beef and veggie dish in broth, rice and five side dishes (all you can eat; including kimchi of course!)...why should I be cooking again??

Monday, 15 January 2007

The Daily Kimchi's "Food" posts...bored?

I had a reader post a comment recently about wanting to read all of my food posts. Well, I just took a few minutes to go through and label all of my food posts. For those long time readers of my blog, this will be a trip back through time. For new visitors, I would highly recommend checking out these posts (since November)...they are fun, entertaining, educating, and of course they will make you hungry. ;)

Check them out here, or by clicking on the label "Food" at the bottom of this post. For those still on dial up, this page may take a while to load, so grab a coffee and come back.

UAE Part 8: Roaming camels and goats in RAK

In my UAE Part 3 update about "Up and coming Ras al-Khaimah," I noted that you would be reading about roaming goats and camels in the future. Well, I am delivering on my promise today, finally!

In Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), there is a lot of desert and open areas. Near the mountains bordering Oman, about 10 minutes away by car from Devante's parents house, we saw some roaming camels! I have never seen camels before in my life so this was pretty cool. There were two of them wandering about in the desert sun. These camels have thick string tied around their front hooves preventing them from wandering far away. My guess is they belong to someone in the area. As for the goats, they were everywhere just roaming around eating grass (there was a recent rainstorm) and probably sand and/or rocks. Let's get onto the pictures and videos!

Look at these guys, just chilling on an overcast afternoon:

This was the closest I got to one of them...I didn't want the camel to be spooked, spit on me, or attack me:

Here's a video just for you...camels are pretty "cute"...is he smiling at me?:

A little ways down the road, you can check out some UAE pride:

This sign was pretty funny...

Let's move onto the goats...look at these guys having a ball:

We have all heard of goats climbing mountains...but have you actually SEEN them on a mountain? Click on this one for a close up:

Check out this video, taken nearby the Hilton Beach Club...these workers, either Indian or Pakistani are playing cricket in the dirt fields--with their fans watching close by, the goats:

I hope you enjoyed this post about goats and camels. I have something special for you before you depart...how about a glass of kamel milch (taken at the Hilton)?

Sunday, 14 January 2007

The view from our new officetel at night

Just prior to our Christmas vacation in UAE, we moved into a bigger officetel on a higher floor, on the other side of the building. It's a lot quieter since we're farther away from the highway and higher up.

Here is the view from our window...those are the Hyperion Towers in the background, million dollar luxury condos that are also the tallest buildings in Korea were the tallest buildings, now surpassed by the Tower Palace Towers in Gangnam (thanks Daniel!); the SBS TV tower (notice the helipad) has celebrities visiting periodically, as Korean teens are always camped out by their gated entrances:

Check out some previous pictures of Mokdong here and here.

Vincent's Pizza...with sweet potato filo rolls

One of the first places we ordered home delivery from was Vincent's Pizza--they speak English! Anyways, Vincent's is not bad and their prices are very reasonable. We've tried pizza from different establishments in Korea. Let's take a trip down memory lane...
Yesterday we decided to be adventurous and order this new pizza they had on their flyer. It's a pizza that contains a ring of sweet potato and cheese filled filo pastry balls around the perimeter. This large pizza came with a baked pasta and arrived in about 30 minutes.

This pizza came with a thin crust (I prefer regular dough) and as you can see, there are little filo pastry rolls around the crust. They tasted sweet due to the sweet potato inside...now this is what you call interesting pizza.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Moving from Blogger Classic to the New Blogger--the first step

Blogger recently came out of beta and part of the switch for "classic" users involves migrating your old Blogger login to your existing Google Account. I just did this tonight and with that came a few new features available to me. I have yet to make the switch over to the new template where you can use drag and drop to rearrange the layout of your blog. If I do this, it will remove the existing modifications I have done to The Daily Kimchi.

One new feature I am going to start using is the use of "labels" for my blog posts. This way, readers can easily search for related posts. You want to read only about food? Click on the "food" label at the bottom of the post...how hard is that? Anyways, over the next few days I will be attempting to label all my previous posts of interest. By the way, I am slowly feeling better. Ta-ta for now (these are my drugs talking...kind of like Paula Abdul)!!

Friday, 12 January 2007

UAE Part 7: Tower Links Golf Club in RAK

To fully live a luxurious life in UAE, in particular Ras al-Khaimah, you can't go without a full golf membership. Well, on top of their membership at the Hilton Beach Club, Devante's parent's also have a full family membership at the Tower Links Golf Club in RAK. This place was amazing, a full 18 hole course (the back nine holes are floodlit for night play), two driving ranges, putting and chipping area, a stacked pro shop, gym, restaurant, you name it, it's all here.

Our schedule was very limited so I did not get a chance to rip up a few rounds or two. However, I did get to experience their driving range on real grass (it still boggles my mind how much water is wasted to keep the grass green and healthy in the DESERT!) and unlimited buckets of balls--it was great. Upon pulling into the parking lot, an attendant immediately came and whisked away our clubs and loaded them into a power cart. Next thing you know, we were being chauffeured to the driving range.

Here are some typical cars in the parking lot...all kept nice and clean, even in dusty desert conditions:

The pro shop at Tower Links--Devante's mom is known to spend lots of money here on Christmas presents:

Here are a couple views from the pro shop, overlooking the course itself:

On the way to the driving range, I liked this advertisement by BMW:

First up, the putting green...by the way, this experience reaffirmed that I suck at putting:

Here's a view of the driving range...it's looking mighty green:

Here's an action shot of my perfect swing...too bad I was out driven by Devante's brother who was hobbling on one leg; did I mention that I hate golf?! Argghh!

Here are the power carts we rode in...nothing special but everything was brand new:

To think that Devante's mom gets to come here everyday after visiting the Hilton Beach Club (or vice versa) makes me chuckle over and over.

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