Market Day 


One of the reasons we love our new apartment is the location. We can walk to base in about 10 minutes. I walk through Anjeong-ri “the ville” to get to base. There are several shops and restaurants. 

On days that end in either 3 or 8, there is a market day. Clarissa and I went to our first market day on Thursday after storytime. 

Along the Anjeong-ri shopping street, on the end away from the base, you will see tents set up the length of the side road. The stands sell fresh produce, snacks, clothes, handbags, live seafood, toys, and even birds. 

Clarissa was most excited about the live crabs and octopus. She kept trying to touch them. She thought that the birds were pretty but too loud. 

She was also very adamant about buying a watermelon. I told her that if she didn’t eat the watermelon, she would not be allowed to choose things on market day. 

She did eat her watermelon. I will definitely make market day part of our regular schedule. The produce is way cheaper and more fresh than the commissary because it is local. 

Beartree Park 


About 10 years ago, the South Korean government decided that they wanted to move some of their governing activities further south. They decided to build a new city.

We drove from our new home at Camp Humphreys about a half hour on rural highways to get to Sejong to see Beartree Park

Admission for Clarissa was 8,000 won. Tim and I cost 13,000 won each to get in. We paid about $30 total. You are not allowed to bring food into the park. They will ask when you try to enter. 

The park was beautiful. It was made up of several different gardens. The path from place to place was stroller friendly. But several gardens had signs to park your stroller and not bring it on the garden path. 

Our first stop was the koi pond. Clarissa had a great time feeding the fish. You could buy food for 1,000 won. 

We visited several different gardens on the way to the food court. 

There was an actual restaurant in addition to the food court, but I don’t know what they serve there. There were four traditional options at the food court. We ordered some bibimbap and mandu and ate at a picnic table outside. It was tasty. I prefer my bibimbap with meat though. 

Next was a garden with some bear statues. Clarissa and I had fun pretending to play with the bears. 

Then was the main event. There were two different areas to feed the bears. You could pay 1,000 won for either a cup of cut carrots or a cup of pastry ball looking things. First, we saw the younger bears. Some of them were asleep. But some of them were pretty good at catching the food in their mouths. 

Then, we went to see the big bears. They were excellent at catching food in their mouths. 

Behind the bears was a small park with animal statues. 

There is an observatory but we could see plenty without bothering with that. The brochure said you could also feed deer and listed a petting zoo and a playground so we had other priorities. 

The brochure was misleading. There were deer in a fenced area. There may have been food available earlier in the day, but by 1pm when we were there, no one was selling food. It definitely wasn’t a petting zoo. There were animals that you might keep as pets. Corgis, Guinea pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats. But you weren’t allowed to touch them. There were also peacocks, ducks, and other birds in an unaccessible area. Both times we tried a “petting zoo” in Korea it was like that too. I think they just have a different definition of petting zoo. Clarissa enjoyed seeing the animals just the same. 

The brochure said you could take a walk with a baby bear. That definitely didn’t happen. There were baby bears in the petting zoo area but there was a big sign that said not to touch them. 

We passed more gardens on our way out. There wasn’t actually a playground. There was an area that looked like they might do shows. But nothing was happening at that time. 

We enjoyed our afternoon at Beartree Park. We may go back again before we leave. 

Random Daegu Adventures


There are a few places that I have been wanting to check out. Clarissa and I have actually done a lot of exploring with friends in the past two weeks. 

Our first adventure was Racoona Matata, a racoon cafe in downtown Daegu. I honestly don’t recommend it for small children. A friend went to check it out with some adults so we thought it would be fine to bring the kids there. It cost 4,000 won ($4) per person to enter the cafe. The racoons were cute. One was friendly but another was very aggressive and swiped at Clarissa’s face when she got close. The worker gave us what looked like dog food to feed them. I did pet them. Their fur was a little sticky. Clarissa was excited at first, but that only lasted five minutes and then was afraid of the racoons. Her friend liked it though. 

Our next adventure was the Daegu City Tour. For the first year and a half or so in Daegu, Clarissa really enjoyed Tayo. One of the grown up busses on the show is Cito, whose face is on the Daegu City Tour busses. Clarissa would often point and say, “Look! It’s Cito!” 

There are 14 stops on the bus and a full loop takes an hour and 45 minutes. But you can hop on and off the bus as much as you like in one day. It only costs 5,000 won ($5 usd) for an adult. Elementary school students cost 3,000 won and younger children ride for free. We got on at the beginning, Dongdaegu. But I think you can pay and get on at any stop. 

It didn’t matter to me how long we were on the bus, as long as we could say that we rode the Cito bus. It was a rainy day so we just decided on one place to go. I was surprised that there was not a toilet on this double decker bus. The kids needed to use the restroom at stop 10, the Apsan Observatory. Thankfully we found a toilet right near the stop and were able to hop back on before the bus left to continue to our intended destination. We got off on stop 12, Children’s Hall. 

I have not been to Children’s Hall in almost two years. It is a children’s museum. The kids had a great time. I was a little disappointed in that the exhibits that were broken on my last visit were still broken. In addition to the tour bus, there is a subway stop for Children’s Hall on the yellow line. 

Museum entrance is free. There is a “game room” where you can pay to ride mechanical figures. It costs 100 won (about 10 cents). You can also pay that price for the shooting range game. There are things to climb on and ride outside as well. 

We had lunch at Ricco Papa, a chain restaurant in Daegu. They have pasta, pizza, and random other things for decent prices. The best part is that there is a special room for families to eat that is attached to a play place for the kids where they can climb, slide, and jump on a trampoline. 

Our latest adventure was Dalseong Park. There is paid parking available on the street. But Dalseong Park is also a stop on the yellow line. 

The park itself is pretty with trees and rocks. The kids had plenty of space to run, jump, and climb. There is a bathroom facility and a free zoo. But it was a typical Korean zoo so the cages were small and the animals look sad. 

The new Shinsagae Mall 


We like to go for long walks.  When we lived in Norfolk,  we would head to the oceanfront for a walk on the boardwalk.  When it was too cold,  we would head to an area mall.  We walk a lot in Daegu but didn’t have a place to walk in the cold,  until now. 

Tim used to walk Coex Mall in Seoul a lot when he was stationed at Osan so he was really excited for the new Shinsagae Mall in Daegu.  Surely we would be able to get some great walks in a 9 story mall. 

We were not disappointed and have actually been twice already. The first time was on a weekday so it would not be so crowded. We took the subway to Dongdaegu station,  which connects to the mall. 

There were so many restaurants on B1 to choose from,  but we weren’t quite hungry.  The elevator wait looked like it would be a while so we folded up the stroller and took the escalator and explored the first couple of floors of expensive shops.  Clarissa was very excited.  I hope she doesn’t have expensive tastes as she grows… 

We did finally take an elevator to the 6th floor so that Tim could check out Electro Mart.  It was a great store with all kinds of gadgets.  We actually bought two lamps.  

While we waited for the elevator we realized why it took so long.  There were always three elevators.  But at least one elevator was an “express”  elevator which meant that it did not stop on every floor. Then when the elevator stops,  it is full and I mean Korea full where there is no room at all. You can easily wait 20 minutes for the elevator. 

The seventh floor has a really nice toy store that is reasonably priced.  They had a rather large Lego section among other things.  Clarissa enjoyed walking through the tunnels and in the big doll house.  It was hard to convince her to leave. 

There was also a really cute furniture store for kids right next to the toy store. 

On the ninth floor was the aquarium,  and one of the main reasons we went to the mall that day.  We had to get a number and wait in line to buy tickets.  It cost 77,000 won (about $70)  for the three of us so I was expecting a great aquarium. 

I was actually very disappointed.  There weren’t any tanks with large fish at all.  Usually there was only a small tank on one side of the wall.  There were a few lizards,  snakes,  raccoons,  and even rabbits.  Even Clarissa was surprised when we got to the end.  

We did find Nemo and Dory,  so it wasn’t a total loss.  There was also a water play area where Clarissa got very wet.  But the fish in the touch tank were small and didn’t want to be touched. 

Also on the 9th floor is a carousel.  It is only for kids aged 2-7. You have to show that you have spent at least 30,000 won at the mall for entry. The ride was probably about 2 minutes.  But Clarissa loved it! 

There is an outdoor play area as you exit the ninth floor.  It looks like they are building a kiddie roller coaster.  There were several things to climb on and the view from the end was really cool.  

They also have arcade games inside on the 9th floor.  Bring plenty of coins.  Most games were 1,000 –  2,000 won.  

The map said there was a bookstore on the 6th floor of the parking garage so we headed there next.  There was not a foreign books section.  I don’t know if the English books are just scattered throughout the store or if they just didn’t have any. 

Also in the parking garage building is Vaunce,  a trampoline place.  Clarissa stayed with Tim so I could check it out before she saw it.  It looked better suited for elementary kids.  Large trampolines,  music,  foam pits,  and ropes to climb.  Plus it costs 11,000 won per hour.  

We did eat lunch and  that day since we were at the mall for almost 8 hours.  Pei Way is like the food court version of PF Changs.  The food was excellent and the prices were reasonable. Dinner was Johnny Rockets which was fine. 

Tim and I went back to the mall for date day. We went back to Electro Mart but mostly hung out on the eighth floor.  There are several restaurants and part of the level is set up to look like a city street.  We had Ron Thai for lunch.  There were several things to choose from. Some menu items were expensive and they would not let you customize orders (like add chicken to curry).  But our food was good. 

There is something called Shinsagae Academy where they have classes you can take.  It looks like they have adult ballet on Saturday afternoon right before they they have Clarissa’s age ballet so we need to look into that after our spring travel is over.  

The main event of our date was Star Wars. Tim wanted to check out the new movie theater.  We really enjoyed the experience.  It was called Dolby Atmos.  The sound was really good as in it seemed to move whether it was supposed to be in front of you or behind you.  The lighting was nice as well.  There was a blue light at appropriate times.  The seats were huge,  leather,  and padded.  Very comfortable.  But not for short people.  My feet barely touched the floor.  Next time,  I think I will put a baby seat on the floor for my feet.  But Tim liked the experience better than IMAX and that’s a pretty big deal.  

So basically,  we highly recommend the new Shinsagae Mall.  Just skip the aquarium and if you can,  leave the strollers at home.  The escalators are much faster. 

Clarissa’s first girls weekend 


Recently a friend of mine was telling me about an appointment that she had in Seoul.  She would have to stay in a hotel overnight and her husband would not be able to go with her.  I thought it might be fun to have a girls trip.  So I invited myself and Clarissa to go with her.

We had to reschedule because William got sick.  But it worked out better because we added a day to the trip and ended up being there for the Thanksgiving price instead of normal price. Score.

We left a little later than expected Thursday.  But traffic wasn’t bad until we got to Seoul. The kids had so many snacks on the way that I was surprised that they were hungry when we got to Dragon Hill Lodge. We unpacked a little and then headed to Itaewon for dinner.

We ate at Vatos Tacos. The server asked if we wanted high chairs and I initially said no. But the chairs were bar stools, so we ended up needing them anyway. They brought out five massive hard tortillas and some salsa. Clarissa said she wanted chips, so I thought she would be happy with that. But she was hungry so we ordered french fries. William had a quesadilla, but they browned the top and Clarissa thought it was pizza, so she helped herself to that as well. I had the chimmichurro chicken tacos. It wasn’t listed as spicy, but I thought it was. I prefer hard tacos, so it wasn’t my favorite meal.

Then, we jumped on the subway to Insadong. Insadong is fun because once you round the corner and turn right, you get to a long line of carts selling artsy and Korean things. So it was a great place to find Christmas presents. Clarissa also found an apron she “needed” for making cookies.

I thought there was an ice cream shop on the way back to the subway. But I was wrong. So William got a donut at Dunkin Donuts and Clarissa was still adamant that she wanted ice cream. We headed back to Itaweon for Baskin Robins. On the way back to base, April stopped at Lush. They have some really cool bath things in there. She bought playdoh bath soap for the kids.

Friday morning was her appointment. We had breakfast at the buffet downstairs, which was excellent. It was only $10.95 for adults and the kids were free. I had never eaten at Greenstreet for breakfast, so I as plesantly surprised.

The kids and I headed to the playground while April went to her appointment. They had a great time. There are two playgrounds at the hotel. One is supposed to be for toddlers and the other for big kids. They ended up using both. I didn’t know that the dinosaurs could move. But during the course of our visit, they were hungry, ate grass, and moved to the little house so they could eat lunch at the table.

After a quick snack from the Shopette, we headed to Children’s Grand Park. Clarissa was very excited to see a “real” Tayo bus. We got to climb into and “drive” Gani and Lani. I may or may not have been more excited than she was to drive the bus…

Children’s Grand Park is huge! We passed a playground on the way to the zoo but convinced the kids that it would have to wait. The zoo was pretty good once you get over the size of the cages. I have never seen as many species of cat in one zoo in my life. They seriously had ten different cages for cats. The poor elephant lives by himself. But there are plenty of monkeys. The kids loved it. They even fed the deer. 

We wanted to go to the children’s museum next but it was already 4:00 and they close at 5 on the other side of the park. So we walked by Snow White’s Castle. It was a restaurant. We didn’t eat there because we heard “Let it go” while we were still outside and Clarissa had to dance.

Clarissa and William really wanted pizza and ice cream for dinner so we decided to leave then and go back to Itaewon to beat the dinner rush. We had to walk by that playground on the way out and ended up staying for another hour. The kids loved the playground but I really don’t recommend it for preschoolers. It would be great for elementary aged kids though. And it was an accessible playground so you could go up the play structure in a wheelchair, they had special swings, etc. At one point, Clarissa and William left the playground (we followed them) to wander around the park themselves. Clarissa kept telling me that she wanted to be “alone with William.”

They both fell asleep on the subway back to Itaewon. April and I were pretty excited about this so that we could have a quiet dinner. But then we realized that all of the restaurants were on the second or third floor and required stairs while the kids were asleep in the strollers. Plus it was raining. We just decided to go back to Dragon Hill for dinner.

Clarissa woke up during the walk and remembered the promise of pizza and ice cream.  We ended up at Pizza Hut for dinner. By the time our pizza was ready, she decided that she just wanted ice cream but I told her she had to have at least one slice of pizza first. She remembers everything. So after her first slice of pizza she decided that she was ready for her ice cream, which she only ate half of.

Back in the room, I brought purple nail polish for Clarissa’s first girls weekend. I thought it would be fun to introduce her to something girly. She sat kind of patiently while I painted both of her hands. Then when she realized that she needed to be still even longer for her nails to dry, she demanded that I take the nail polish off. It was pretty for two minutes anyway. William woke up during the nail polish so they got to play a little while before bed.

On Saturday, the kids slept way later than I expected them to. But April and I really enjoyed sitting in bed chatting. We drove to Osan for lunch. I wanted to introduce her to Sawatdee, but there was construction and it had moved. It took a while to find it, but this guy passing out flyers for his Indian restaurant helped us find it. Clarissa and William enjoyed the fish tank. William loved the spring rolls. Clarissa was all about the rice. April and I enjoyed our yummy Thai dishes as well.

We then headed to the PX for some shopping. I found the baby gloves that I like for Clarissa and she insisted on a pink pair of mittens. April and I both found several clothing items we liked. Clarissa and William stayed in the cart together and did various things like hang shirts off the side for “Christmas” and “shoot the lights” with their clothes hangers. When April tried on her boots, Clarissa wanted to get out of the cart. She kept trying on adult boots and saying “I’m a cowboy.”

After our shopping adventure, they had earned a trip to the playplace. And we of course got ice cream before we headed home. Both kids fell asleep rather quickly on the car ride home so April and I enjoyed some girl time on the way back where there was random heavy traffic. Who knew Dajeon was popular at 8pm on a Saturday night?

Mittens’s first visit with a Korean vet


We adopted Mittens from the vet on post.  Someone found Mittens and her siblings on the roof of a building on Camp Henry.  

So far,  we have brought Mittens to the vet on post for all of her shots.  Once she went into heat in September,  we knew it was time to get her spayed. I called the vet on post but apparently the waiting list for surgery is so long that they would not even add her to the list until January.  So we decided to take her off post.  

Several people recommended Hyundai Animal Medical Care Center.  I called and was put on hold for the vet assistant that speaks English.  She told me that I could just walk one morning about 10:00 with Mittens any day except Thursday or Saturday.  I just had to make sure that I didn’t feed her after midnight the day before. 

We decided on Veterans Day since I could use the car.  Tim stayed home with Clarissa and Mittens and I set out for our adventure.  I didn’t have an exact address but I knew it was on the main road.  Instead of turning left to go to Camp Henry,  just keep straight and then make a u-turn. 

Two different people told me that there was no parking there but you can just park at the police station next door.  The parking lot was full so I had to venture down the one way streets and find a place to parallel park. The road was so narrow that I had to stop the car and fold my mirrors in.  I was quite impressed with myself for pulling it off without hitting or scratching anything. 

Then Mittens and I walked to the vet clinic.  I had been warned that there was another vet clinic close by,  but the name was different so I knew that wasn’t the place. When we got to the vet clinic,  it was fairly large and clean.  We were greeted in Korean and English.  

The English speaker stayed and had me fill out some paperwork.  Then we went to a small office to discuss the surgery.  With the pre-op blood work,  anesthesia, spaying surgery,  and follow up medication cost 423,000 won ($370). 

They brought Mittens back for her blood work for a few minutes.  I stayed in the office. They brought Mittens to me while they waited for the results.  She was fine until the dogs in the big room started barking at each other.  Then she started getting antsy. They showed me a printout and the Korean doctor went through each item like blood sugar and liver function and said,  “no problem.”

A few minutes later they came back for Mittens.  The surgery itself took about 10 minutes.  Then the doctor came in and said that the surgery was over but she needed some wake up time.  It took about a half hour for her to start to wake up. They took me back to see her and then said I could take her home in about 30 minutes when she was done with her IV.  Most cats don’t eat for a few days,  so the IV will help give her some nourishment. It ended up being another hour. 

I was there for a total of about three hours.  The place was clean,  a pleasant temperature,  and the staff was friendly. Overall,  I was pleased with Mittens’s care. If you have an emergency or your pet needs surgery or an x ray,  I would recommend them. But for many things,  I think that the Camp Walker vet is cheaper. 

Hyundai Adventures


One of our first days in Daegu, we went to dinner at Hyundai Department Store and saw sushi on conveyor belts and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  But we knew it wasn’t practical with an 18 month old in tow.  But now that we have a babysitter that we love,  Tim and I get to do some things we might not trt with Clarissa.  

It took us a year and a half, but in September, Tim and I had a date day and finally tried the sushi place. It’s located in the food court on B1. 

It was pretty cool.  You sit down and just take the plates of sushi that you want as they come around. Each sushi is on a specific plate.  The plate design has a price.  You eat as much as you want and then they add it up at the end and you pay. 

The sushi was delicious and reasonably priced.  I recommend it for a date night. 

Last week at Hyundai,  Tim saw a sign for a video game art exhibit.  We decided to check it out.  Tim liked the artwork .  While we were there,  we discovered some interesting activities.  

On the ninth floor of Hyundai Department Store there is a kid sized train.  You can either pay 1,000 won (less than $1) per ride.  Or you can buy a drink at the shop and get a free ride.  While we were trying to figure this out,  a college kid came by with his drink and asked Clarissa if she wanted to ride and gave her his ticket. 

There were also kids riding around on rolling horses and zebras.  They had timer necklaces so it looked like an hour rental.  There weren’t any English signs and Clarissa wasn’t super interested so I didn’t ask about the price. 

On the seventh floor,  there was a model train that Clarissa thought was really cool.