Sunday, December 23, 2007

Guns, Thanksgiving and More Intestines

The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Seems like yesterday that it was New Year 2007. One day I think I'll wake up in Korea all of a sudden and say "Hey, wow... it's 2017 already and I'm 35".

Hopefully by that time I will have bought a house or something.

Is this yet another new addition to the household? Thankfully not. This 4 month old pup actually belongs to a friend of a friend and was just over for a visit. Because it hasn't been in the world very long, it didn't know how to get down if we put it on the drawers like this. It just stood and stared at us until we picked it up. I don't think I was too much brighter at 4 months of age too.

A while back it was (American) thanksgiving day, which is always a novelty to us Aussies. Devin and Tamara from the Gwangan branch hosted a turkey dinner at their house for all of the teachers at CDI. It was really good food.

More than 40 people showed up, but luckily they have a huge apartment. The logistics involved in catering for such a large group is always difficult, but they pulled it off flawlessly. There was plenty of turkey, salad, mashed potato, gravy and pie for everyone. I ate until I could eat no more, and then I felt sleepy and went home.
Have you heard that turkey makes you especially sleepy because it has the hormone tryptophan in it? I heard that a long time ago, but more recently I heard that it's an exaggerated claim and that turkey meat has about the same amount as pork.

In Beomnaegol, there is a cave bar. It's an artificial tunnel dug into the mountainside that used to be an old ammunition depot or something during the Korean war. It's pretty difficult to find if you don't know the way, but a large group of us managed to make the trek from the subway station. You can order food and there's usually water trickling down the sides of the walls. On the right hand side between the stone fence and the wall is a pool of water that has some dead bugs and stuff in it.

The speciality drink in the cave bar is dongdongju, homemade rice wine that is very similar to makkoli. It's the white liquid in the bowl there. As with makkoli, it tastes quite sweet and seems pretty mild until you stand up and try to navigate somewhere. Of all the alcohol in Korea, this stuff requires the most caution.

Who's that meat-head with a gun? Well, it's me of course. A couple of weeks ago we went to a shooting range down near the beach. The price was around $40 for ten bullets, so I chose a 9mm Beretta because it was cheapest. They also had Desert Eagles, Magnums and a Scorpion sub-machine gun for hire. I'm not particularly gun-crazy, but I think that you should try everything at least once in your life. Except things like suicide, cannibalism, reiki, etc.

In the lounge you can see everything on CCTV. The guns are really loud and had much more recoil than I expected.

Here are some of the more hilarious targets you can choose to fire at. Jordan chose the one on the left and managed to shoot the monkey-man in the eye, as well as the hostage. I'm not sure what the scenario is supposed to be for the poster on the right though. Kill or be killed, it's a dangerous world. I'm surprised they didn't have any 'terrorists'.

We recently realised that there's a ten pin bowling alley right near our house. The computer system is a bit old and you can't enter your name on the screen, but it's cheap and fun. Also, when the game's finished you can continue playing for free until the attendants tell you to stop. In this photo, Johnny-boy Ngo (my flatmate) is pretending to throw a ball at another guy we call 'Johnny blonde'. There are a lot of Johns in Korea, so we have to give them different nicknames. At Dongnae branch there is a Korean John that we call John-Actually (because he has a habit of using the word 'actually' to start every sentence) and at our branch we have a John that we refer to as Johnny Diamond. If you're called John and you're coming to Korea, think about choosing a nickname for yourself.

In some of the busier subway stations in Korea you can find ticket outlets for the movies like this one. This way you can figure out what you want to watch and get the tickets before reaching the cinema.

Here are some of my co-workers reading on the subway as they like to do. From the left is Nicole from New York, then Michelle from Ireland and Jordan from Canada. I haven't read a fiction novel since high school, partly because I'm usually busy and partly because I find Wikipedia much more interesting.

And here are the other two teachers that I work with, John and Logan from Philadelphia. At the U2 bar in Haeundae, when there's no band on stage apparently foreigners are allowed up to pretend they're rockstars for a fleeting moment. Well, no one complained anyway.

My students these days are usually pretty good. After teaching here for over a year, I've come to learn a few tricks of the trade and the job gets easier. When the students misbehave in class I make them write out lines like these during their breaktime. These two were written by some naughty elementary schoolers who were noisy and forgot their homework. You can click the photo to enlarge the text.

Last blog post we saw an intestine dish called makchang. In my quest for more intestinal knowledge here in Korea, I recently stumbled across a new kind of intestine called yang-gopchang, which is larger and comes from a cow instead of a pig. It's slightly pricier and slightly chewier. Restaurants in the Hwamyeong area of Busan specialize in this particular variety.

And here's Emily and Miya from the Hwamyeong branch. They're particularly happy in this photo due to the delightful anticipation of consuming aforementioned intestines.

Last weekend we went up to Seoul for the GOA'L christmas party which included a nice dinner and lots of merriment. Unfortunately I managed to leave my bag there and Heather's sister is going to send the contents down sometime. In the bag was my camera and MP3 player, so this blog post is missing a few of photos (I was lucky enough to put the memory stick for these photos in my jacket pocket). But that also means I missed out on taking some shots of Eric and Maria who came down from Seoul this weekend to visit. C'est la vie.

Hopefully it will arrive soon and blogging may continue.