Tuesday, June 3, 2008

February 5, 2008

Things are going well here in Korea. We just took our first trip to Seoul for the weekend. It was very easy- we just took a bus from the base here to Yongsan Army Garrison. We stayed at the Dragon Hill Lodge, which is one of the military's four resorts around the world. The others are in Hawaii, Edelweiss, and DisneyWorld. It has shopping, restaurants and etc.right there- in fact, there is so much right there we didn't even need to leave the lodge! They even had a little shop selling knockoff bags, right there in the hotel, and I couldn't resist a "kate spade" tote with zebras on it. Think of it- no need to brave the local community to stock up on cheap counterfeit goods. I love it! Also available were old navy outlet fleece hats and scarves, and surprisingly good mexican food. They had some walls that were brick art by a Seattle artist. I can't even think of how to describe it- it was a kind of 3-D mural made out of bricks that all fit together and had a sun motif. It actually looked a little Aztecan (if that's a word). On the way back, we had to sit at the bus depot/activity center for a little while and I noticed something interesting: The Korean people were playing pool and ping pong at the available tables, while the American people were watching ultimate fighting on TV. And don't think I'm being all morally superior here- true, I was explaining how to play pool to Weston instead of cheering for 'Grizzly', but I was also midway through a family sized bag of skittles.

And of course, I went to the base thrift shop, because I am totally jonesing for thrifting! Our thrift shop on Osan is only open on Tuesdays for 4 hours, and I am nannyless and haven't been for a while, so I really needed a fix. The one at Yongsan has more stuff but it is also more expensive but I did get a book on wind and hurricanes for Weston, very handy because Lloyd and I recently had a relatively heated argument about what to tell him causes wind. The worst part is that Lloyd was right. I haven't told him though. On a related note, I recently discovered www.paperbackswap.com where you list the books you're willing to give away. It's free, and if you list 10, you get two credits to order new to you books, and then you get an additional credit for each one of yours you send out. If you're interested, put my email in for referring you and I will get a credit. That would be great, because our library here is small and I am really going through the books...

Weston had a good time in the room, checking out all the amenities. He opened one closet and pulled out an iron. He held it up and said, 'Hey, what is this thing? I've never seen one of these before!" I explained that it was an iron and some people use one because they don't like wrinkles on their clothes. He got his little puzzled look and said, "What are wrinkles?"

We did get downtown to the market, which was very interesting. All the goods are grouped together, so baby clothes vendors are all together, kitchenware is all together, etc. Some of the vendors are outside, and some are inside store fronts. I bought the cutest pair of corduroy lined jeans for Weston, but he won't wear them because they are 'too tight'. They fit him perfectly but are cut skinnier than what he's used too. It's too bad, too, because they are so cute- he looks like a little rock and roller in them. Oh well, maybe Shane will wear them when he gets big enough. Or maybe that's 8,000 won (about $8) down the drain.

One of my books about Korea says Seoul is the second most expensive city after Moscow. Maybe that is out of date, or maybe it is an exaggeration, but we did pay 5,000 won each (about $5) for a cup of green tea and a strawberry soda when we had lunch at the market. Food wasn't bad, though- about $7 for a good sized plate of fried rice or chicken stir fry. But don't let that stop you from visiting!

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