Chuseok Vacation – Kyoto, Japan

Every fall, Korea observes its annual harvest holiday, Chuseok.  During Chuseok (추석), Koreans leave the cities and return to their ancestral hometowns.  In many ways, it is similar to American Thanksgiving (without the turkey!).

Unfortunately Chuseok fell on a Sunday this year (so much for the three-day holiday…), but we still managed to take a trip.  Andy and I choose Kyoto, Japan.

This post is very picture-heavy.  If you’re interested in seeing my photos, click the following link.

Andy at a ramen shop
conveyor belt sushi – this one is tuna
at Fushimi Inari, a Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of orange gates
5-story wooden pagoda at Toji Temple
maiko (apprentice geisha) outside of Gion Square, a well-known theater in the neighborhood
sukiyaki (Japanese hotpot with meat and vegetables) at an izakaya (Japanese pub)
Tenryuji, Temple of the Heavenly Dragon
Andy in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Salmon roe (fish eggs) for sale at Nishiki Market

The trip was super fast 🙁 although it might have been a blessing in disguise, because Japan is certainly the most expensive country I’ve ever visited.  Even more than Switzerland in my opinion, although some people might disagree…

Continue Reading

Andy’s Family’s Visit

Last month, Andy’s family came to Daegu.  Unfortunately, so did Typhoon Sanba – yet we managed to find some things to do.

First, there was a baseball game.

Samsung Lions (Daegu) vs. Lotte Giants (Busan)
Go Lions!!

Then we tried makgeolli and shabu shabu.  Yum!

During the storm, we ducked into an arcade for good old-fashioned fun.

The Champion

We feasted on duck-in-pumpkin… (Andy and I will find any opportunity to do so!)

at Goya in Igok-dong

And finally, we explored Apsan, one of Daegu’s protecting mountains.

I can see my house from here!

Andy and his family also explored Busan while I had to work.  Their trip definitely flew by!! It was really great to see some familiar faces.  Also fun to see Korea from a newbie’s eye – we might still be fairly new ourselves but it’s so easy to become accustomed to the oddities of Korean culture.

Continue Reading

Typhoon: Sanba

Typhoon Sanba hit South Korea earlier this week.  It was hailed as a Super Typhoon, Category 5, but by the time it descended onto Daegu it was little more than a strong tropical storm.  Other parts of Korea were not so fortunate, but living in an inland valley does have its perks.

Whatever the classification, the storm still meant lots and lots of rain.  Here are some shots I took (with my new Nikon 3100 – a birthday gift from Andy!!) during and after Sanba.

Downtown

Downtown

The stage downtown

Ominous clouds over 2.28 Memorial Park

Finally, some sun!

View of downtown Daegu after the storm

Continue Reading

Thailand: First leg of the trip

I recently went on an incredible trip to Thailand.  It would be way too long and wordy to properly explain here, so I’ll break it up into a few parts and share some photos.

The first day was spent mostly traveling (Daegu-> Shanghai -> Bangkok).  Less than eight hours after touchdown, Andy and I had a connecting flight to Phuket and then a ferry to Ko Phi Phi.  Needless to say, we were very tired!

Ko Phi Phi was absolutely beautiful.  It’s a tiny, touristy island located in the Andaman Sea.  It’s so small that there are no roads on the island, and so everyone travels by bicycle or push-cart.  To get to a different part of the island, it’s better to charter a longtail boat.  We got dropped off at the pier in Tonsai Village, but wanted a quieter locale.  100B (~$3) will get you to Hat Yao, Long Beach, which was perfect.

Longtail boats docked at the beach at Tonsai Village, Ko Phi Phi Don
Our bungalow! Paradise Pearl Resort, Hat Yao, Ko Phi Phi Don
Buddhist spirit house in Tonsai Village, Ko Phi Phi Don
Breakfast on Hat Yao, overlooking Ko Phi Phi Leh, the smaller sister island

As much as we loved Ko Phi Phi, we decided to check out Ko Lanta for the next few days.  My cousin and several friends raved about this quiet island, and for good reason.  After just one night, we boarded the ferry to Ko Lanta, which you can read about here.

Continue Reading

Korean Scenery

The Korean Peninsula is covered with mountains.  As a result, most cities are in valleys and people live in tall high-rises.  Some people live in the country, however, and it is a sharp contrast from the concrete jungle.  The buildings and towns may be modest, but the views are not.  I’ve tried to capture these vistas with my camera, but I don’t do them any justice.  Still, I wanted to give my readers a glimpse of the Korean countryside – no apartment complexes to be seen.

Farm between Daegu and Busan
Rice paddies outside Daegu
Between Daegu and Gyeongju
Hanok (한옥), traditional Korean housing
Sunset near Gyeongju
Moonrise
More traditional housing in a farm village

Continue Reading

Daily Life in Korea

Check out some random photos of life in Korea:

A man prepares creme-filled dinosaurs for sale in Seomun Market, Daegu
Filling a bag with guk hwa bbang, a red bean-filled snack, at Seomun Market, Daegu
Spreading oil on a griddle at Jagalchi fish market, in Busan
A Turkish man performing tricks to boost ice cream sales and delight (or disappoint) children
A very un-PC Korean merchant dressed as a Native American

And a lighter note…

A dyed poodle in the latest canine fashions on Haeundae Beach, Busan

Dogs like this are pretty common sights all over Korea.  In Daegu, I recently saw a little white dog with four yellow rainboots.  It was not pleased and was walking in a ridiculous manner, although the owner certainly didn’t seem to notice.

Continue Reading