Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bundaegi - mmm . . .

Here's a quick post (that means less than 25 photos) to commemorate our first time trying Bundaegi - Silk Worm Pupae!!

These little guys (well, not so little when you have to put them in your mouth - chew and swallow!) are all over the place in Korea - there are ladies boiling vats of them in the markets - cans of them in the convenience store - and a few of them even made it into Heaven . . .

Here's our friend, Jon Wick, climbing the 'Stairway to Heaven'. When we asked some locals where the fun was at, they told us to go to Heaven. Turns out its the name of a 'happening' bar in town.

We thought we'd have some beer and be on our merry way. . . but that's never the case in Korea.

We ordered a pitcher of beer and a plate of chicken - two minutes later they came out with a barrage of appetizers. Peanuts, seaweed, banana chips, spring rolls, veggies, seafood, ice cream and, last but not least . . .


I don't know why we did it - curiosity, I suppose - but it was before any significant consumption of beer so we were of sound mind. We stared at them for a while - poked - prodded. I went first. "It tastes like it smells" said Fraser some time before we left for Korea(why didn't I listen?) It was quite pungently flavored - tasted exactly like baby insects do. I bit down - CRUNCH - and then - SQUIRT - and then - crunch crunch crunch and it was over. Quickly swallowed and downed some beer. Other than the bits stuck in my teeth, I had conquered the Bundaegi!!!

(here's a pic I found on another website - so you can see the size of these snacks)
Well, our friends Jon and Cassie were able to eat one with gusto and that left only one person - SHAWNA!!! She was a bit apprehensive but peer pressure prevailed so she took the plunge.

He never knew what hit him~

Needless to say, I don't think Shawna (or any of us) will be picking up any more Bundaegi for a snack any time soon.

Soon, our delicious, Korean-fried chicken came to the table and we forgot all about the insects we just ate. . .

Haeshindang Folk Village - a.k.a. The Penis Park!

Well, here we go . . . - an early morning stop at Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and we were off in search of Haeshindang Folk Village on Korea's east seashore.

WARNING: The following images are extremely graphic representations of the male anatomy. Viewer discretion is strongly advised!!! (and this is probably Not Safe For Work in case you were wondering.)



.You have been warned!!!



So, the story goes something like this: 400 years ago a fisherman left his virgin fiancee on a rock close to shore so she could pick some seaweed while he was off fishing. The fisherman was caught in a fierce storm and couldn't return to pick her up. Eventually, the waves swept her off the rocks and she promptly drowned.
Since that fateful day, the fisherman in the village were unable to make a good catch. Rumor spread that the virgin's tormented soul had caused the sea to become barren.
The fish would not return until a strike of luck was to come upon the village. A man, presumably drunk, was in desperate need of relieving himself of the Soju he'd been downing. So, he faced the sea and 'let her have it'. The next day, the fish began to return to the waters and the villagers equated it to the virgin's soul being 'appeased' by the man's wiener.
The villagers began erecting(sorry) giant, totem-like penises and the fish were being caught in droves. ***

Here are the four ladies hanging out by the penis pond.

Here are some stone sculptures representing the animals of the Chinese calendar. Kind of reminiscent of the Easter Island statues, no? . . . maybe not.

Shawna's is the year of the . . . rooster . . . I promised I would stay away from the lame jokes on the blog (there were way to many on the trip that day - the majority coming from me, I'm afraid).

If you could manage to look beyond all of the giant penises, there was an amazing view of the sea to be had.

This fellow was taking a 'hands on' approach (and welcomed the photos).

This, I believe, may be the most bizarre place I've seen . . . so far.

Shawna's face describes the feeling we all had - we were all about 50 penises over the line.

There's even a penis-shaped lighthouse!!

The Penis Cannon

If you look carefully (click on the image to supersize it) you can see the virgin on the rock. Waving for help . . .

There was a small shrine to the virgin where people could stop and pay their respects.

We were able to get right down to the seashore which was nice. I threw some rocks - Suzanne climbed some rocks. . .

. . . and Shawna put her new boots to the test.

At this point we had seen more than enough so we took the bus back to Samcheok for lunch.

***My synopsis of the legend may or may not be correct. It is a fusion of the many stories I've heard from fellow travelers and bloggers. It sounds plausible to me, though.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baseball - Kia Tigers vs LG Twins

Hello all!!! Let's play ball!! It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. We met up with some of our friends to check out a Korean professional baseball game in Seoul.

Here's Rachel trying her hardest to convince some die-hard Kia Tigers' fans to switch to the LG Twins. . .

. . .Cassie, evidently, could not be swayed . . .

We bought our tickets well in advance and got there an hour ahead of the game. We had to choose a team to cheer for and go off in search of seats in the appropriate section. Impossible!! The game was oversold so our 'general admission' seats were promptly turned to 'standing room only'. Before completely giving up on sitting we decided to 'chance it' by visiting the reserved seating section (it was sold out but still relatively empty - you can see the red and blue seats compared with the upper level seats in the photo below).

Busted!! - Here's what Shawna looked like 20 minutes later when we were ousted by the ticket holders. Oh well, at least we got to sit for half an inning.

Beer and snacks were readily available. Just holler to a passing Ajumma and she'll promptly hook you up with some tasty dried squid from the basket on her head.

The games here are quite different from the games back home. There is a real 'electricity' in the stadium. There are cheerleaders and organized chants. Cheap beer and twice as many people as the fire code would recommend. The fans only sit with their own kind - red team on one side and yellow on the other - don't mess with the plan!!

The young man in front of us is about to dive into some fried chicken. Luckily he was provided with some plastic gloves to keep the grease off his fingers. You wouldn't want a fly ball to slip through your hands due to some post-chicken greasiness!

We were forced to find a place to stand but standing room wasn't really easy to find either! Families had set up picnics all around the landings at the top of the stands. The stairs were covered with people, too. There wasn't much left - standing or sitting!!

It was kind of a blessing because we were able to see the entire stadium and get out of the sun for a bit. Plus, we eventually found a sweet spot near a beer tent!!

There were people everywhere!

We had a really nice day - the weather was great - the game was great - the beer was great! But, it was nearing the end of the game and we were all getting tired so we decided to check out a bit early. . .

Being a baseball fan in Korea is hard work - just ask this guy . . .

. . . or this guy . . .

We however, still had the energy for a delicious patio BBQ dinner in Gangnam before heading back to Yeoju for the night.

What a nice day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SPECIAL UPDATE: Chocolate Pizza!!!!!!

First off, let me tell you that we get fliers for restaurants and delivery posted on our apartment door almost every day. Pizza, chicken, noodles, the standard fare - but, when this one came, we knew it was something special so we hung on to it: Pizza Country's FRENCH CACAO PIZZA. Well, one day last week, curiosity got the better of Shawna so she picked up the phone and ordered it. That's not as simple as it sounds . . . we're in Korea, remember? So, she mustered up all of her Hangeul skills and put them to the test. After some slight frustration and nervous laughter (for both ends) the message got through: "The waygookins want some chocolate pizza." Thirty minutes later - it arrived . . .

This is most definitely not the first crazy pizza concoction the Koreans have come up with but it might just be the wackiest!

Well, if it was going to taste horrible, at least it came with some Pepsi, pickles, and hot sauce to perk it up with.

Looks like pizza, smells like pizza, but will it taste like pizza?

Let me give you a breakdown of the ingredients (we had no idea what they would be before we ordered it): mushrooms, green peppers, onions, cheese, crushed-peanuts, honey, almonds, chocolate drizzle, and those big balls are chesnuts . . .

. . . not to mention the crust was stuffed with chocolate, too!!

First bite. . .

. . .thinking. . .

. . . thinking . . .

. . . DELICIOUS - The first few bites of the pizza were the savory dinner and it slowly graduated to a devilishly-sweet dessert as you progressed to the crust. Genious!! Shawna and I give it 2 thumbs up!!!