Saturday, October 11, 2008

A festival, a visit to Seoul, a visit to the hospital...

On Wednesday afternoon Lucy took me to a story-telling festival in Sangu.

It seems festivals are very popular in SK. A festival is kind of what we know as a show (Royal Show, Bathurst Show, Rand Easter Show etc) on various scales. I would say the one we went to is somehwere in the region of the Bathurst show in size.

Lots of stalls: cultural, agricultural and commercial. Lots of food and drinks to try: Koreans are very proud of their culture and I couldn't turn down any of the offers of weird and wonderful food, drink etc.

I have decided that my least favourite 'Korean-favourite' is the rubbery rice-cake thing I wrote about the other day. It is so rubbery and tastes funny - they love it though and I think I will just have to get used to it. They often cover it in bean flour - which I got a chance to try and grind: photo right!

More pics will follow - our laptop is now up and running but alas still no internet at home until we are officially registered as 'aliens' hopefully next week!

Yesterday (Thursday) we went on a school outing to Seoul. We saw a musical show called 'Nanta' (English version apparently a broadway hit and is called 'Cookin'). It was very well done - minimal use of language so I could share many laughs with my teacher colleagues and the students. What a bunch of giggly girls. We too the Grade 2 (14yrs) class - they are so enthusiastic and I had so many of them approaching me to try their English and to ask me questions - very sweet. We then had picnic lunch in the park. We got take aways (errrr US=takeouts!) Another new experience for me. I will post a photo soon but let me describe this meal to you: 3 boxes and 2 plastic bowls with foil covers.:
Box 1: rice (K rice is sticky and like styve-pap almost - fortunately, as one is expected to eat it with chopsticks!)
Box 2: sheets of seaweed. (To wrap around rise: it is dry tastes like seaweed and adheres to the top of your palette -yum!:()
Box 3: An array of K culinary delights: Kimchi (2 types - one looks just like cooked grass with flecks of chili, the other red-pepper cabbage-NATIONAL FAVOURITE), pickled ginger (*nice!), marinated beef (vaguely familiar!), small whole dried fish with chilli, small sausages and processed meat patties in batter, whole chillies in batter (a trick! they're disguised but HOT!), gimbap (suchi-style rice in seaweed with fish - nice and plain but tasty - definitely my favourite so far), yellowy yoghurt: very sweet.
Bowl 1: water (yey!!!_)
Bowl 2: yellowy soup with leeks and spinach and traces of fish (not too bad actually!)
All in all the meal was fine. I tried everything and could avoid having too much of the less enjoyable and could focus on the rice, gimbap and soup. The ginger was also nice!

After lunch we went to the Kyobo Bookstore in Seoul: It is huge! Exclusive books, step aside! Also a large foreign books section (yey!) so I could get us some dictionaries and more phrasebooks: If we are to feel at home here we need to learn the script and the language as a No1 priority, there's no way around it. I went to buy tea the other day - decided to drink green tea s it tastes OK and is about 1/10th the price of normal tea. But alas I didnt; buy green tea I bought brown rice flavoured green tea - um, not very nice. and now the whole grocery cupboard smells like it. hmmm. might have to get used to it but please, not yet!

I did notice that signs etc in Seoul had more English translations (even saw some westerners on the street!!) etc but Sangju really is quite rural for Korean standards and hence pretty much NO English around.
So, we get to the hospital visit. To get the essential 'alien registration' we need a clean bill of health from the Korean authorities. So this morning, off we went to the hospital. It looks good: quite high tech, clean and well-run. Rural Sangju even has an MRI machine - weird?! So I get told to go into a little closet/room and take off my cloths and put on the gown. The gown is short!! Lukcily there were pants too (tight and short!!) so when I emerged into the reception area I was almost decent. Go to the chest x-ray machine. 'Please remove your brassiere'. back to closet, remove bra. back to chest x ray machine. X-ray. Done 'Please put on your brassiere'. back to closet put on bra. back to lady at x-ray machine. 'no put all on' back to closet, put on all clothes, leave tiny gown and pants behind. relief. less for the ppl in recepetion to stare at! Then blood pressrue, weight, height, blood sample, urinate in a little stick with colour indicators (just got enough out!)
They had told us not to eat and drink before the health check for 12 hours which we had done. The lady now gives me a cup and wants me to produce more urine! Is she nuts? Well I tried, to no avail. Get told to drink water. How fast does she think my kidneys work?? No results. walk around a bit. nothing. drink more. nothing. Julian and our tecaher waiting. After 20mins, GIve up. Take cup to school and try again later! Gosh, what a palaver, and all with hand signals and gesticulation and minmal vocab. This is a crazy experience!

Cheers for now, thanks for the emails, replies etc x


EEbEE said...

HA! you get given random bowls of cabbage to eat!

i don't think i could go through with that Yess, firstly i'd be limited to vegetarian stuff (do you even get halaal meat in SK???). Secondly, i love veggies but stay away from cabbage at all costs!

I'm pretty sure they have my ultimate *EEEVIL* dish of all time there.

>Cabbage with pork, wine and raisins (BLEUCK!).

(i left off stuff that average people don't usually eat...random genitalia, digestive organs and general fearfactor stuff)

Wendy City said...

eeeeh the rice cake!!

It is NOT very good, now is it? haha. Today for lunch we had jellyfish and then these little fishes with the eyeballs and everything. haha.

Have you tried their traditional cinnamon drink? Delish!