Thursday, October 29, 2009

"And the Heavens opened up and He said, 'Let there be Music.'"

Maybe this is taking my already narcissistic blog to an entirely new level of self-absorption, but music is my reason for living and I know I have pretty good taste ;) I am adding music I've been currently been enjoying to this blog. Songs will be located just below the "About Me" section to the right; I hope to post a few new songs every few days/weeks/whenever I damn well feel like it.

(Newbies: If you want to hear a song, press the play button [right next to it] and the player can easily be minimized by pressing the < arrow on the furthest right side of the player.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A BT Birthday

My great Scorpio (cusp!) friend from UT, Mr. Brandon Taylor turned 26 (27 in Korea...they think you are a year old when you step out of the womb...) Friday October 23rd. (My half-birthday, for those of you playing along at home.) We went out Saturday for Russian food (lots and lots of meat and vodka, not surprised are you?) and to Hongdae to celebrate. Found some crazy awesome bars and danced the night away. Just how I like my Saturday night.

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Man of the hour.
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Loads of Russian restaurants in Dongdaemun.
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Janes Groove. I had to pretend Jasmine was my girlfriend with not one, but THREE relentless/sketchy dudes.
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Had to leave you with something incredibly creepy, didn't I?

명동 (Myeongdong)

Myeongdong has the best retail shopping in Seoul. There is a Forever 21. Need I say more?

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Franklin enjoying a mango cone.

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Every person that gets one of these cones takes a picture. Ahem.

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There are more evangelical bicyclists than you'd expect in Seoul.

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So Asian. Frank is a trooper too.

남대문 시장 (Namdaemun Market)

Namdaemun Market may be my new favorite place in Seoul. It is one of the oldest continually-running markets in Korea and the largest in Seoul. This market takes up about six city blocks and there is more crap than you have ever seen in your life. I always wondered what happened to all the clothes/bags/jewelry that were made and never I know. That being said I found some incredible street food and stores - hidden to the untrained eye down 3 foot alleys between buildings. How the heck does someone make a livable income selling only gift bags or MC Hammer pants? God only knows.

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She'll hem your new jeans while you wait.

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Every few feet a store owner would empty a box of stuff into the middle of the street, screaming and clapping that for 10 minutes you could buy his wares at a steep discount (or at least I think that's what all the fuss was about...).

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Screen Golf

Korea is obsessed with golf but seeing as there aren't many wide open spaces in this concrete jungle, they've resorted to a rather brilliant way to play. World meet screen golf. Screen golf, world. This is hilarious. It took us 4.5 hours to play 9 holes. We were in the "bad" room.

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The times they are a changin'...

I guess I've never lived in a place where the leaves change color because these get me every time. Elizabeth thought my fascination was ridiculous. It's getting chilly up in here.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

A Korean Wedding

Tina invited me to her bosses wedding this past Sunday...I was expecting a traditional Korean wedding but Laura (the bride) wanted an "American" wedding. Lets just say an American wedding in Korea is a loose interpretation, the only thing American about it was the fact that she wore a white dress. For starters: the bride and groom don't kiss, no exchanging of rings or vows, no bridesmaids/groomsmen/flowergirls, some guy got up and serenaded them via karaoke (mic problems + bad voice = it was akin to William Hung's American Idol audition. I couldn't help myself from laughing so hard I cried).

You give money instead of gifts and only odd amounts are acceptable (and if you didn't give money, you weren't given a buffet coupon...ask me if I got one...ok I did but only after a Korean guy went up and convinced the guy to give me one.) They had a traditional Korean ceremony after lunch but it was in a tiny room that I had to sneak into to get the last shot.

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wedding flight attendants?
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Culture Exchange & Late Night Football

This Saturday we went back to the Culture Exchange party in Sinchon...a fun way to meet foreigners and Koreans who want to learn/know some English, get drunk and make new friends. This time we had a crew of about 20 people so I didn't meet as many Koreans as the last time. After the party, a few of us brave/die-hard college football fans ventured to a bar I coerced into playing the UT/OU game at 1am. The game wasn't the greatest - it lasted forever, we barely won but it was 5am in Seoul and OU still sucked.

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I didn't feel like talking to this guy about my camera so Dave pretended it was his....gave him a bunch of fake model numbers and tried to sound like he knew about lenses/focal lengths/ISO, etc. He didn't but this guy totally bought it.
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Dave was pissing me off all night, rooting for OU even though he wants to go to UT law school. Just wants Virginia Tech to advance, he says.
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My homegirl, Jasmine.
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Sad Hello Kitty. meow. James.
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Dave. That guy in the background is Steve Buscemi's doppelganger from Oklahoma.

Why I <3 Dongdaemun...

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they have everything for sale here, literally.

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The Halloween store.

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Fairy princess.

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Staring contest.

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Korea: Good for Health

We went shopping in Dongdaemun Saturday and stumbled upon a pretty massive building fire. I suck as a photojournalist because I don't know how it happened but it was pretty crazy...

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Monday, October 12, 2009

여의도 (Yeouido Park) and 이태원동 (Itaewon)

My Korean friend Judy planned a picnic at Han River Park (part of Yeouido park) this Saturday. The turnout was much larger than expected (due mostly in part that I invited 10 people, expecting one or two, not all ten to show up :).  We flew kites, ate fried chicken and played Catch Phrase for two hours after dark with a few frustrated Koreans and one possibly brain-damaged guy from Minneapolis.
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Cass. The Miller Lite of Korea.
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Sophia, Marina and Franklin.
After leaving the park for Itaewon and a terrible experience at a "Mexican" restaurant (I've said it once, I'll say it again, New Yorkers can't make Mexican food), Jon and I went to get double espressos to try and facilitate a second wind. We took our coffees back to the bar where everyone was but the doormen wouldn't let us in with outside drinks. A sign for an 80s bar "Footloose" upstairs intrigued us so we nonchalantly waltzed in and snooped around. We were amazed with how intimate, ornate and empty the place was - albeit ignorant of the strange looks we were receiving from the bartenders.

When Jon started giggling and gyrating near a gold pole in the middle of a bar, a tiny Korean woman in 4-inch stilettos approached him and the following conversation ensued.
Woman: "Excuse me....[pointing at me] she cannot be here."
Jon: "Why?"
Woman: "No women allowed here."
Jon: "What? Why not?"
Woman: [quietly] "We are working women here."
Jon: "Ohhhhhh. I see." [Commence non-stop laughter.]

Needless to say we bolted. Some pretty hilarious stuff happens when you can't read/speak a language.
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Jon. Mastering the Canadian hipster hobo look.