Monday, July 20, 2009

Seoul far, seoul good. See how I changed it up there?


We are in Seoul for a couple of days, visiting R&J's friends Rob and Jo. Not that this could POSSIBLY get confusing. Yesterday we toured the Seoul National University where Rob and Jo teach, and then had an amazing Nepalese dinner at "Everest." I didn't bring my camera to that event, sadly, but Indian food doesn't really photograph very well. Lots of earth tones and goo. Yes, that's my official stance. Anyway, we had another feast of many things of which I never remembered the name but loved every bite.

Soccer players at SNU.

Sculpture graveyard by the art building.

Today we are visiting Itaewan, seeing the show "JUMP," getting massages and undoubtedly eating many more amazing meals. I'm not being blase, I just am not 100% aware of our order of operations today. One thing about Seoul, getting to and from places is a major commitment. To get to our restaurant last night, we took a bus to a sub station and then walked several blocks after that. I can quite easily see how frustrating this would be to a person living here.

The day before yesterday, we were planning to go to the mud festival, you may recall. Well, it didn't happen. We got on the highway and promptly got lost. Not uncommon with ambiguous signs IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. So after a couple hours of wandering aimlessly, nomming kimbop and drinkable yogurt, and singing along with the iPod, we came back to Daejeon and instead took a tour of Rosie's campus.

We then went to Manin-san, or Mount Manin, which is adjacent. Immensely beautiful mountain trails, most of which was divided into a "regular" trail and a red clay trail where you can walk barefoot. Which I did until I stepped on a rock and hurt my foot. Of course.

I have the best friends in the world. This is an accurate sample slice of them.

James's album cover shot.

Yep we walked up these stairs. And more stairs. And more stairs.

You of course realize that if I'm doing anything on this trip, it's stuffing my face.

Barefoot in the clay.

Who scared, you scared?!

Tavis as Spiderman.

Check out that view.

Yes, that does say that this is a "placenta chamber." Apparently it's the thing to do for Korean royalty.


Beautiful stream, which was partially diverted into a pool to wash feet off. Do not stick your feet directly into the stream or an elderly Korean man will appear out of nowhere to scold you and then show you what to do, silly foreigner!

Frog next to where we washed our feet after the clay path.

Rosie: "Accio red clay ball!"

This is a "couple tower," where couples can attach a padlock with their names/initials/anniversary date/other significant message marked on it. It shows undying love. Or possession. Which is 9/10 of love. No wait, that's law. Nevermind.

Statue hilarity.

As we were leaving, we saw these guys. The yellow one is Kundori, the Daejeon city mascot. Not pictured: Triceratops. Yes, there was a Triceratops statue next to these two. Why? I have no idea.

After this amazing walk, we stopped by this complex of restaurants and museums constructed by this family who had millions of dollars to spend creating authentic replicas of old Korean architecture. See for yourself.

Amazing view 1.

Amazing view 2.

Anyway, after touring around here, the smell of barbecue had sufficiently wooed us and we stayed for dinner. And I am so glad we did. This was a feast, pure and simple. We ordered:

  • bi bim bop, which is like a mix of rice and veggies and mushrooms and a fried egg. It often includes meat but we order it without for James. He didn't care for this particular one but I liked it; it tasted like sesame oil and woodsy and smoky.
  • hemul pacheon, a potato pancake filled with squid and green onions which is about the size and thickness of a medium pizza, sliced into squares to be dipped into sesame oil. Ohmygoodness, SO GOOD.
  • bulgogi like you've never seen it before. Huge trough of beef, at least four kinds of mushrooms, incredibly moist and juicy and flavorful rice noodles, assorted veggies, and an octopus because why not? All swimming in sauce.
  • a pot of dongdongju, the 2nd-most-distilled version of soju (like sake). Very clean, light, sweet and left me with no hangover the next morning, amazingly!
  • plus more side dishes and random "compliments of the chef" dishes than an army could eat.
This was just impossibly good. And all of that for about $65 total. There is nothing like it.

For reference, this is bi bim bop. This one is plastic. The ones you eat are not.

Hemul pacheon

Random tasties they brought us just cuz. Some creamy shrimp, and above is some sweet potato with other veggies.

Bulgogi. See what I mean? And the side dishes everywhere!


Rob McGeachin said...

Your blog is already indexed in Google of course. I did a search on Kundori Daejeon to find out more about the little guy and this blog came up as the top english hit in Google.

Megan and Tavis said...

That is just awesome. I feel like my 15 minutes of fame have started ticking!