Random Daegu Adventures

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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 

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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. 

Mittens’s first visit with a Korean vet

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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. 

Swan boats on Suseong Lake 

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The first time we went to Suseong Lake,  I saw the swan boats and thought they looked pretty cool.  But we were heading to dinner with friends so it wasn’t really an option.  

Clarissa and I met up with some friends at the lake in June so I planned to try them then.  I got Clarissa all excited about the swan boats.  But they weren’t operating on a Friday morning. I figured it was just a weekend thing. 

So when Clarissa and I were invited to Suseong Lake with friends this Monday morning,  I wasn’t thinking about the swan boats.  

We arrived to the lake to see our friends and I saw that the swan boats were out.  I thought that maybe Clarissa and I would have to do them after our friends went home. I didn’t say anything to Clarissa,  but she quickly noticed that they were there and asked to ride them.  

One of our friends wanted to do swan boats as well.  All 5 of us (2 adults and 3 small children)  were able to fit in our swan boat without a problem.  We honestly could have fit another toddler /preschooler if we wanted.  It cost 18,000 won for 30 minutes,  which I think is a reasonable price. I think you pay per boat, regardless of the number of people. They do have life jackets for small children through adults. 

We had a great time around the lake.  The kids each had a turn steering the boat,  which meant we did a lot of circles and stayed on a small section of the lake.  But they had so much fun.  

I did most of the pedaling,  as our friend was too tall.  The four year old could kind of pedal.  Clarissa was a little short and the two year old didn’t try. 

I would definitely recommend the swan boats as a family activity.  We may do it again in the spring once Clarissa grows a few inches.  Next time,  we may hit up the little amusement park as well. 

Clarissa’s first movie theater experience 

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Last summer and fall,  Clarissa was obsessed with the movie Finding Nemo.  There were two copies at the library.  So most weeks at storytime we would return our copy and borrow the other one. She received the DVD as a gift for Christmas so that we didn’t need to borrow it anymore. 

When we heard that Finding Dory was coming out,  we knew she had to see it.  We thought that at almost three years old,  she would be able to sit through the movie in the theater and actually enjoy it. 

The movie was supposed to come out in June.  Tim had a four day weekend for the Fourth of July so we thought that Friday would be perfect because it wouldn’t be as crowded. All week I talked up the movie.  Tim brought home the book from TDY (business trip).  We talked about how the movie would be on the big screen and we would have to sit and be quiet but we would get to eat popcorn. 

Thursday night after I put her to bed,  I went online to look at movie times and was surprised to discover that the movie would not be out in Korea for another week. We were so upset. 

The next morning,  Clarissa woke up ready for her movie and I had to tell her that I made a mistake and we actually couldn’t go to the movie until next week. She was surprisingly satisfied with my explanation. 

All of the English movie times were during the week. Tim took the next Friday afternoon  off and we met him at the subway to go downtown. 

We headed to the food court at Hyundai Department store for lunch.  Tim ordered grilled eel at the bento place.  I ordered bibimbap.  Clarissa ate my rice. 

After lunch we had an hour to kill so we decided to go for a walk.  As we walked past Miso City,  we noticed that there were some traditional houses so we decided to check them out.  There was a bit of a walking tour,  complete with stamps.  Clarissa wanted me to stamp both of her hands. 

After we completed the loop we went back to Hyundai Department Store to buy our movie tickets.  We ordered some popcorn and had to wait a few minutes before we could go to the theater. 

When we bought our tickets,  we received two small posters.  Clarissa would not let me put the Dory poster in my bookbag for safe keeping. 

She did very well in the theater.  She sat in her seat for most of the movie.  She only had to sit in my lap for the last 15 minutes or so. 

Once the movie started Clarissa was too interested in the big screen to eat her popcorn. But she was pretty quiet.  She asked a few questions but was a reasonable noise level throughout the movie. 

It was a great family outing.  I wonder what our next movie will be… 

Car Repair in Daegu

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We bought our car in January, and Tim had his first car accident in Korea about two weeks later. It was a very minor accident involving a taxi. They seem to come out of nowhere often!

Neither our car nor the taxi had major damage, mostly scratched paint. We waited until Tim was off for President’s Day to take it to be fixed.

Several people at work recommended Sanho Garage. If you are coming from Camp Henry, it is on the road right before the turn to Camp Walker gate 4.

We brought the car in about 10:30 that morning. We just parked the car in the back and walked up the stairs to the office. The manager went back downstairs with us and looked at our car. Mr. Chang spoke excellent English. He was very familiar with USAA insurance, but our cost was less than our deductible anyway.

He told us to leave the keys with him and come back for the car after work on Wednesday.

We were very happy with the price and the service. The car looks as good as new. You can’t tell it was in an accident.

They do take credit card.

Parties and Exploring Daegu

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We had quite the exciting weekend.

On Friday, Clarissa and I walked to Daiso to pick out Eva’s birthday present. Clarissa had a hard time remembering that we were choosing things for her friend and not for Clarissa to keep. She may have played with Eva’s magic wand for an hour to make sure that it worked…

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Friday night, Clarissa and I met her friends at Sky Jumping Land. It was my first Friday night traffic driving experience. I must say that I did very well. In the car, Clarissa kept asking me where Sky Jumping Land was in addition to asking me the name of the person who was singing each song multiple times. It was quite funny.

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Sky Jumping Land is a new location. It was very clean and bright. The staff was nice. The address is 1244-4 Igokdong, Dalseogu, Daegu. I just put 1244-4 Igokdong in waze, and it worked though. I ended up parking at the McDonalds next door. It’s near Seongdeo Lotte Cinema, the 3rd floor of the KB bank building.

Saturday afternoon we went to another birthday party. This one was easy to find because it was at the library on base. Irony was that my facebook memory that morning was meeting the birthday girl’s parents at the library last year. Hanna was born four days later. The party was fun. Clarissa enjoyed playing with the toys as well as opening the birthday gifts for Hanna.

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After the party, Clarissa and I headed to KUMFA. In South Korea, the population is declining, so the government gives parents a stipend for their children. Culturally, it is very taboo to get pregnant if you are not married, so single mothers are not eligible for this stipend. When I recently discovered this, I was quite angry and am still trying to figure out what my response to this should be. There is an organization called KUMFA- Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association that acts like a crisis pregnancy center to help these women. They don’t receive government funding, so they are in need of donations. We brought all of Clarissa’s baby things with us to Korea, so we decided to bring them everything we were not currently using. Clarissa helped me bag everything and we talked about how all of her things were going to help moms and babies. I don’t think she understood, but that’s okay. If you are interested in dropping off donations, let me know and I can give you the contact information.

On Sunday, we decided to do some exploring. I will say that it is much easier to explore places further out now that we have a car. We finally went to see the Arc. Clarissa was confused when we arrived because one of her favorite books right now is Noah’s Ark. So she wanted to know where the giraffes and elephants were! It didn’t help that when we arrived we heard a rooster crow. She was determined to find that rooster…

The Arc itself looked pretty cool. It was a little hazy so we couldn’t see as far out as we would have liked. But the river was nice and there were plenty of walking trails.

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They had several shops nearby to rent bikes and Segway. There is also another vehicle that is just a wheel that you stand on.

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We also saw the dam while we were there.

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Near our parking lot was a little plot of land. There was a farmer there tilling the soil so Clarissa and watched him for a while and he smiled and waved at us.

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Then, Clarissa finally saw her rooster! She was thrilled but disappointed that I wouldn’t let her get close enough to touch him. There was also a dog. And as we were getting into the car, we saw horses in the distance. Apparently, you can also rent horses there! Clarissa and I got pretty close to the horses as well.

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We didn’t want to go home yet, and a friend had mentioned Emart Traders the day before so we decided to head there next. It very much reminds me of Costco, without the membership fee. Though they do have a credit card that you need to get the maximum discount on certain items. They sell clothes, appliances, and electronics in addition to groceries and household items. They also have many bulk items. The signs label aisles in both Korean and English.

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For our purposes, Emart Traders would probably only be worth the trip if I was hosting a party or event and needed things in bulk. They did have decent prices on produce, but I can get that closer to home.

There was a food court as well, but the line was very long so we decided to skip it. We headed towards Camp Walker and decided on Hami Mami’s for lunch. Tim has been there before, but it was my first time. Hami Mami’s is located outside of Camp Walker, gate 4. It is on the corner of the first little road.

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Tim and I both ordered a breakfast. Tim got eggs, hash browns, sausage, and french toast. I had eggs, hash browns, and bacon. Clarissa had french fries. The food was all delicious.

There is a bathroom, but you have to go outside to get to it. It is also a squatty instead of a western toilet, so you are better off going to the bathroom on base before you go. But the restaurant itself is clean and the staff is friendly. They do speak English. The prices are excellent. Our total was about $20.

After our meal, we stopped at the commissary to pick up some soy milk. Clarissa said that she heard a rooster while we were in the parking lot. I jokingly said, “if the rooster is inside the commissary, he’s in trouble” (because he would be food). Clarissa’s two year old self was quite concerned for the rooster and wanted to go inside very quickly to help him (since I said he was in trouble). She didn’t believe me when I said that there wasn’t a rooster inside the commissary and she actually looked down each aisle to be sure.