Market Day 

Standard

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 

Standard

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. 

Everland

Standard

Tim lived in Korea ten years ago, so he has seen several things. He said that the best amusement part to go to is Everland. He claimed that the zoo alone made it worth the trip, and he was correct!

Thursday morning we woke up and headed downstairs to the breakfast buffet in our hotel. There were several options available. Some Korean flavors as well as more traditional western breakfast items.

Waze said it was a 30 minute drive to Everland from the hotel. The subway was 43 minutes, so we decided we would rather take the train and not have to deal with traffic or parking.

While switching subway lines, we had to take an elevator. It was the slowest elevator ever. We got there with several people and there wasn’t enough room for us that round. There are six minutes between trains, and it seriously took us longer than six minutes to wait for this elevator. It was two steep flights of stairs and the escalator was blocked in the middle so the stroller couldn’t go through. So we waited…

There was a shuttle bus to take guests from the bus and subway terminal to the gates of Everland. Tim ordered tickets at a discount ahead of time. On the train we realized that we forgot to bring them with us. Thankfully, the email had a barcode so that was all we needed to get in.

We attracted quite an audience while applying our sunscreen. A young college group thought that Clarissa was the cutest thing ever! They wanted to take pictures with her, but she refused. Not that she was happy about the sunscreen either.

The zoo is pretty close to the main entrance of the park. The first animals we saw were the pandas. They have two pandas at Everland and they just arrived in April so they were pretty popular. The line wasn’t horribly long though.

The girl panda is about five weeks older than Clarissa and was actually born on Tim’s birthday July 13, 2013. The boy panda was a year older and also a July birthday. They were resting when we got there because it was already at least 85 degrees. At the gift shop area, Clarissa chose a stuffed panda whom she named “baby Po” like Kung Fu Panda. She held that panda all day!

Next we went to see the birds. There were several different species including penguins and flamingos. There was even an enclosed bird area where you could pay 1,000 won (less than $1) for bird food and feed the birds yourself. Tim decided to try that. The birds did come right up to him and Clarissa really enjoyed watching the birds eat from his hand.

A lot of the larger animals we saw were asleep for lunchtime. The lions, tigers, seals, and sea lions were all visible but sleeping. The polar bear was awake though.

Then we went to monkey world. There were so many different kinds of monkeys! Clarissa was very excited about them.

After leaving the monkeys, there was a crowd of teenagers around a man holding a small animal. We were allowed to pet the fennec fox. Clarissa was very happy about this as well.

Next we saw more foxes, wallabies, and kangaroos at Ranch world before heading to my favorite part of the day, the safari. The line was about twenty minutes long, but so worth it! We climbed into a vehicle that could drive on land and water (reminded me of the duck boats in Boston). We saw camels, zebras, hippos, elephants, rhinos, and more.

A giraffe came right up to our vehicle and the tour guide fed it leaves through the window!

2016-05-19 13.57.45

By this time we were getting hungry. We weren’t thrilled with the menu at the first restaurant. While we were looking at the outdoor menu, Clarissa took a few leaves off a bush. When I looked at her she was trying to give them to her stuffed panda. “I’m feeding baby Po.”

2016-05-19 14.19.32

We decided to finish the zoo and head to lunch. There was one more bird area and a petting zoo. But it wasn’t really a petting zoo… You could pay to feed an animal with a long spoon. But you weren’t allowed to touch any animals.

Then I saw that you could pay to ride a pony or a camel. I got excited for Clarissa. She said she would ride the pony. We paid 5,000 won for our ticket and waited in line. She was fine until I accidentally called it a horse. When it was her turn, I tried to put her on the pony and she flipped out. But we were all hungry and it was naptime so it didn’t happen. Maybe after lunch or earlier in the day would have been better… Next time.

For those who are interested, camel rides are 7,000 won. I rode a camel through the desert once. Not very comfortable. But for five minutes is probably fun.

We were all in much better moods after lunch. The amusement park part of Everland reminds me of Busch Gardens with the different sections of continent themed rides and restaurants.

Clarissa was too short for most rides. But she was tall enough to ride the Thomas train around the magical garden.

All day long refused to smile for pictures but demanded that I take her picture with Percy.

2016-05-19 15.19.18

After that we decided to head back towards the hotel for dinner and some playtime before bed.

Of course, she had to open the door herself!

2016-05-19 18.34.32

Finally, a real folk village!

Standard

When we moved to South Korea last year, one thing on my bucket list was to see a traditional Korean folk village. We saw one last May in Seoul, but it didn’t impress me. It was hot so we didn’t stay long and it really reminded me of the palace we had seen the day before.

On the way home from our most recent trip to Seoul, we tried to see the folk village at Andong. That one seemed to be more of what I was looking for. But it started sleeting and we didn’t stay.

In March, we tried Jeonju. But that was more traditional buildings as businesses and not what I really wanted.

This time, I got exactly what I was looking for!

We left on Wednesday morning and arrived to the Folk Village about lunch time. We bought our tickets ahead of time through Seoul Pass to get a discount.

After looking at our restaurant choices, we decided to split a mungbean pancake and wild vegetable bibimbap. The pancake honestly reminded me of hashbrowns. The bibimbap was great as always.

image

image

We then decided to get ice cream. Tim and I each got a cone. I planned to share with Clarissa. She wouldn’t have it. She ran back to the counter to get her own ice cream cone and refused to eat any of mine until I assured her that I was finished and it was now her ice cream. She was pleased to eat her ice cream after that. She had quite the audience while eating. Several Koreans asked to take her picture. Some Koreans even asked us to take their picture with Clarissa as well.

image

After having our fill, we started to wander through the folk village. It reminded me of Jamestown with the straw rooves and hanging corn. They had several different areas. There was a settlement for a farmer, a peasant, an upper class home, and even a government building. There was also a Buddhist Temple.

There were several performances to see as well. There was a horse show and a farmer dance show. The one I was most interested in was called a Bboy Fusion Dance. It was so cool! They did all kinds of flips and tricks to traditional Korean music. Clarissa enjoyed it as well. I started to think that it would be the coolest job ever. But then I realized that it was already 85 degrees in mid-May and would be getting much hotter. And, they do all of these awesome tricks in the dirt. That blew my mind. I wonder how much more they can really do? And they were already pretty awesome.

Then we continued on to see the mansion where they show traditional wedding ceremonies. On one of the signs it said that the groom was supposed to find a wild goose for the bride’s family during the ceremony! Apparently one of the mansions is also the location of a popular Korean drama set 100 years ago.

There was also a traditional marketplace set up, a scholar’s home, a Confucian school, and homes from various islands in Korea. The Folk Village also includes an amusement park, but we didn’t go there.

One our way out, we stopped at one of the shops. Clarissa picked a Lani bus that she could pull around. Tim chose a bookmark and a dragon shirt, and I chose a wooden calendar with traditional Korean background.

image

Then we headed to our hotel, which ended up being an even better location than we thought! It was a block from the subway and nextdoor to a Lotte Mart, across the street from a Home Plus, and near Outback and Pizza Hut as well. They even had a free breakfast buffet in the morning.

Another Seoul Adventure

Standard

Is it really the last week of May?

The house is mostly set up the way we want it.  Never found the screws for furniture.  We have since ordered some online though they have yet to arrive.

Clarissa had her first flu.  At least I think that is what it was.  She had a fever and was generally miserable for a couple of days.  But we got plenty of snuggles in.

image

Tim was sick too, just not as long. Thankfully I stayed healthy. It seems like any time I try to wean her, she gets sick. I guess we will be nursing for a while!

We went to the last PWC of the semester. Clarissa didn’t cry when I dropped her off at the nursery for the first time since we moved to Korea! At the end, her teacher gave her the Elmo that I thought we lost at our first PWC two months ago (have we really been in Daegu that long?)!

This weekend we went back to Seoul. This time we stayed with friends instead of at a hotel. Clarissa loved playing with their dog!

On Saturday, we went to a folk village. It was neat to see the traditional houses but we didn’t stay long because they looked a lot like the palace we saw last month.

image

image

image

Clarissa’s favorite part was the fish!

image

We had lunch in Myeongdong, which has a lot of shopping. Then we headed back to the apartment for Clarissa’s nap. Tim and I were able to go on our first date since moving to South Korea. It was a pretty big deal since Clarissa’s only babysitters so far have been grandparents. But Tim has known these friends for ten years so this is the closest we get to family in Korea.

Clarissa had fun and we really enjoyed our time together. We went back to Coex mall to really explore since Clarissa was getting tired last time. Tim bought a Gundam model that he really wanted. We tried Vietnamese for dinner and it was delicious.

On Sunday, we headed to Seoul Forest. It wasn’t what we expected but there were some beautiful flowers.

image

There was also an awesome playground for Clarissa.

We headed to ipark in Yongsan for lunch and explored an awesome toy store there. It was almost dinner by the time we got home so we ended up staying home for the rest of the evening. We did play in the playground at the apartment. Clarissa is really confident in climbing steps and going down the slide now.

On Monday we headed to Suwon to meet up with Minnie. She brought us to a Korean fusion restaurant. She said it had some western things but it seemed pretty Korean to me!

image

image

They brought out two different courses of food. It was a communal meal where we all used chopsticks. There were several things we had never seen before and we would ask Minnie and she usually didn’t know the translation because it is not something you would find in America. We tried it all and really enjoyed it. We sampled a few flowers, roots, mushrooms, and even octopus. There was also pumpkin soup and pureed leek. Clarissa had some noodles but mostly stuck to rice.

We then headed to Hwaseong Fortress. We were going to take a train to see around it (Tim and I did the full three hour hike in 2012) but it was sold out. It was a national holiday, Buddah’s birthday.

We did get to see the city from a different angle on our walk.
image

image

Driving around we saw a man walking backwards. Apparently it used to be very popular in Korea as they believed it was good for your feet.

Minnie then took us to a small petting zoo. Clarissa was excited about the rabbits and birds. Then she got to feed the goats.

image

We went to a park at one gate (there are four) of the Fortress. Clarissa had a great time running around. Her favorite part was looking at bugs and playing with grass. Tim got some pictures of the Fortress from different angles.

Before we left, we walked down a street that reminded Tim of Insadong. There were food stands and craft shops. Tim and Clarissa bought some candy they were making on the street. They had samples to try. I didn’t care for it but they liked it so they bought some bear shaped candy. I tried some chocolate covered banana. It was different than I expected. At home, my mom would freeze or refrigerate the chocolate so it would harden. But it was 85 degrees outside so it was really fondue because I was able to dip it myself. Still tasted great.

I think we will go back to that area when Clarissa is older. They had several craft stands. The kids were making things out of beads and leather.
I thought it was hot in Seoul this weekend, but then we came home and it was 90. A few times this weekend we would tell a Korean that we lived in Daegu and they would tell us that it was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter because of the bowl effect of the mountains. Before we moved here, I looked up the average temperature year round and it didn’t look much different from Virginia Beach. It will be interesting to see what the weather really is like.