<3 Koreans

Why Koreans are the most godly nationality on the planet:

1) StarCraft

2) Nam Hyun Joon:

3) So Nyeo Shi Dae (SNSD):

May 2, 2009 at 4:56 am Leave a comment

CFA begins

I just gots my CFA material delivered the other day. It’s like a book-mountain.

This box is heavier than it looks

This box is heavier than it looks

6x Tome of Knowledge (increases +6 intelligence when carried)

I count... 4000 pages. sexy.

This is what the Archmage reads in his spare time, when he gets bored at the Arcane Sanctuary in the magical kingdom of Dalaran.

April 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

Plane crazy

I totalled 9 plane rides over the entire trip. So did I get sick of it? not really.

1) Japan Airlines – JL1619

Aircraft: Airbus A300-600

Route: Tokyo Haneda – Hiroshima

Tokyo Haneda Airport

Japan Airlines terminal at Haneda Airport

Taking off from Tokyo Haneda Airport:

Landing at Hiroshima Airport:

I wish CityRail would hire that Jap flight attendant lady to do their announcements,❤

Cathay Pacific – CX110

Aircraft: A330-300

Route: Sydney – Hong Kong

Flight CX110 at Sydney Airport

Flight CX110 at Sydney Airport

Take off from Sydney:

Landing at Hong Kong:

Cathay Pacific – CX504

Aircraft: B747-400

Route: Hong Kong – Tokyo Narita

CX504 at HKIA

CX504 at HKIA


April 13, 2009 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Seoul

Just bits and pieces of our 5 day trip to Seoul.

1) Seoul Tower (엔 서울타워)

Seoul Tower isn’t actually that tall – they just cheated and built it on a mountain. To get there, we took the Namsan Cable Car up the mountain to reach the base of the tower.

Seoul tower at night

Seoul tower at night

There is a mini-village at the base, featuring gift shops, restaurants and a teddy bear tree:

Teddy bear tree

Teddy bear tree complete with a korean flag at the tip

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How romantic! Korean couples would scribble a message to each other on a couple lock, clip it onto the metal fence and throw the keys away:

"Lets love happily forever"

"Lets love happily forever"

Beware of the flying keys from Seoul Tower

Beware of the flying keys from Seoul Tower (photo stolen from another blog)

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A fuzzy view of Seoul city

Insa-dong (인사동)

Insa-dong is the cultural centre of Seoul, and easily made it to the top of Zoe’s “to-do list” because she’s a culture nut. The main street features rows of small, family owned shops selling souvenirs, books and genuine antiques all from throughout the Korean dynasties.

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Dinner in Insa-dong

Dinner in Insa-dong

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we were hungry and over-ordered as usual

we were hungry and over-ordered as usual

To preserve the korean feel of Insa-dong, even the Starbucks name was written in Korean rather than English

To preserve the feel of Insa-dong, even the Starbucks company name was written in Korean on the store front.

looking up Insa-dong gil (the main street)

Main Street Insa-dong

Close to Insa-dong was a exhibition gallery for korean pop stars – this one got my attention:

Rain's hand print

Rain's hand print

He has small hands like me

He has small hands like me

Myeong-dong (명동)

Easily Zoe’s favourite destination in Seoul, Myeong-dong is street after street of shopping galore. We didn’t visit the big department stores – it was all about the cutesy clothes shops and cosmetics houses.

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Myeong-dong Station on Seoul Metro

Laneige House (cosmetics, apparently)

Laneige House (cosmetics, apparently)

lost in myeong-dong

It's all young couples and uni students here in Myeong-dong

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Turn left for shopping, turn right for shopping

My favourite banks in Korea

My favourite banks in Korea - HSBC and Shinhan!!! Both in Myeong-dong

Before Myeong-dong:

too rich

too rich

After Myeong-dong:

not rich anymore

not rich anymore

We also were lucky enough to stay in a Hotel Ibis Myeong-dong, for about AUD100 per night (shared between two). Great location, rooms and price. No toothpaste provided however, that was slightly annoying. Apart from that, very much recommended.

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April 13, 2009 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

Historical highlights of Seoul

1) Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Constructed in 1934, this palace was home to the imperial family, before it was burnt down by the Japanese. Then it was rebuilt, then destroyed again (by Japan). Most buildings in the photos are actually brand spanking new.
Gyeongbokgung landscape

Gyeongbokgung Palace and Mt Bukaksan behind it

Gyeongbokgung front gate - complete with real royal guards (for the tourists)

Gyeongbokgung front gate - complete with real royal guards (for the tourists)

Gyeongbokgung front gate, complete with guards (for the tourists)
Tourist moment

Tourist moment

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gone for a stretch

2) Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁)

This palace was basically the remanants of the Joseon Dynasty about 700 years ago. Slightly less grand, but more cosy than the Gyeongbokgung Palace above.

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The throne room

throne hall

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Government officials line up here according to their rank to bow to the king

Throne room with the korean "constellations" on the folding screen in the background (also shown on the W10,000 bank note)

Throne room with the korean "constellations" on the folding screen in the background - compare to the W10,000 banknote below

King Sejeon (top) and the same background to his left

King Sejeon (top) and the same "constellations" background to his left. The trees, stone tablets and red/white circles represent celestial beings

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really small door (chest height) for mini-sized koreans back in 14th century

Really small door (chest height) for mini-sized koreans back in the 14th century

entrance to royal family living quarters

Entrance to royal family living quarters

servants' quarters

Servants' quarters

The King's backyard mini-lake

The king's backyard mini-lake playground

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Frozen lake surface . Yes it is that cold

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April 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

All kimchi’ed out – food in korea

While I stayed in Seoul for about one week, it was interesting to discover many exotic flavours of Korean food. Sydney korean food is much more bland and unadventurous in comparison.

Let’s start with Korean Air (KE724 Osaka-Seoul)

1) Korean Air catering

Worst tasting ham-and-cheese sandwich ever. Although the canned pineapple piece (yellow box) was sweet and delicious.

Perhaps the worst tasting ham-and-cheese sandwich ever. Although the canned pineapple pieces (yellow box) was sweet and yummy.

2) Chicken Galbi Fried Rice (Myeong-dong, Seoul)

In the Myeong-dong district where we stayed, there were so many cafes and eateries catering towards uni students and young couples. One particular restaurant lured me in with the “famous chicken galbi” (photo below). It’s like a giant-hot-plate version of “Pepper Lunch” in Chinatown in Sydney where the raw meat is cooked at the table.

Marinated chicken galbi friend rice (W5,000, $5,50) - no rice yet on hot plate

Marinated chicken galbi fried rice (W5,000, $5,50) - no rice yet

Marinated chicken galbi - with the rice sizzling away... yummm

Marinated chicken galbi - with the rice sizzling away... yummm

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3) Myungin Mandoo (Myeong-dong, Seoul)

Also in Myeong-dong was a cute little specialised dumpling house

Entrance to Myungin Mandoo in Myeong-dong

Entrance to Myungin Mandoo in Myeong-dong

Dumpling soup - mandoo guk (W4,500 $4) and Dumpling soup w/ rice cake - tteok mandoo guk (W4,500 $4)

Dumpling soup (mandoo guk, W4,500 $5) and Dumpling soup w/ rice cake (tteok mandoo guk, W4,500 $5)

"Kim-bab" korean version sushi (W2,500 $3)

“Kim-bap” korean version sushi (W2,500 $3). Tastes a slightly different to the usual Japanese variety. No wasabi to accompany it either!

4) Bonbap (City Hall, Seoul)

This is a chain store that specialises in korean healthy bimbimbaps. For dinner, we had a choice between this, or “Outback Australian Steakhouse” in the middle of Seoul.

Entrance to Bonbab in City Hall

Entrance to Bonbab in City Hall

Zoe picked up the "fresh vegetable Bimbimbap" (W5,500, $5.80)

Zoe's pick - Fresh vegetable Bimbimbap (W5,500, $5.80)

Spicy pan-fried pork with Kimchi and Tteok (W6,500, $6.80)

Spicy pan-fried pork with Kimchi and Tteok (W6,500, $6.80) - much, much more spicy than it looks. I needed about 1.5 litres of cold water to take down this dish.

5) Clam Noodle Soup & Bimbimbap at Incheon International Airport

As expected airport premium – very average but overpriced food.

Clam noodle soup (W9,000, $10)

Clam noodle soup (W9,000, $10)

Bimbimbap (W8,000, $8.40)

Beef bimbimbap (W8,000, $8.40)

6) Angry Whopper at Burger King, Myeong-dong

Not to be missed – try out the “Angry Whopper Jr. ” meal in Korea.

Angry Whooper Jr. poster at Burger King

Angry Whooper Jr. poster at Burger King

The only difference is that the tomato sauce was swapped out for chilli sauce in the burger, apparently.

Angry Whopper Meal - burger, small fries, small coke, 3-pack chicken dippers (W5,400, $6.00)

Angry Whopper Meal - burger, small fries, small coke, 3-pack chicken dippers (W5,400, $6.00)

My arteries complained a bit after dinner here, but my stomach’s ecstatic moans of contentment drowned them out.

7) Korean Honey Court Cake at a street stall, Myeong-dong

Traditional korean court cake (W5,000, $5.50)

Traditional korean court cake (W5,000, $5.50)

10pc, freshly made and individually rolled

10pc, freshly made and individually rolled

Multi-talented street stall people

Multi-talented crazy korean duo who run the stall

Want to see them in action? And how the court cake is made? I took a video on my Sony camera and uploaded to youtube:

It is basically made like this – 1) start with block of honey 2) Stretch the honey and dip into bowl of flour 3) Twist twist twist twist which doubles the string count. Keep twisting until it makes 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512… 16,000 strings. 4) Roll strings and fillings together (dumpling-making style).

April 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Starcraft-ing in Seoul

#1 To Do in Korea – Walk into an Internet Cafe and play some Starcraft.

“StarCraft Syndrome” has penetrated deep into korean culture, where the game has become quite popular. By “popular”, I mean:

1) I’m sitting in the train, and right there on the public TV screens is a live StarCraft game being broadcasted on prime time national TV with rapid korean commentary.

2) The reception girls at the hotel (Hotel Ibis Seoul), when I asked one of them about StarCraft, she replied with “Zerg game??”

3) Apparently even korean schoolgirls knows that bunkers need to be loaded with marines before it can attack

4) (I stole this from another blog): 3174851565_c946a21abb_o

Anyway, you get the point. It was about 11pm on a Wednesday night when I left Zoe to hunt for an internet cafe around Myeong-dong district in Seoul where we were staying.

Entrance to internet cafe

Entrance to internet cafe

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I 1vs1'ed this guy in Big Game Hunter (he actually speaks english)

I 1vs1'ed this guy in Big Game Hunter (he actually speaks english)


Preparing for "OMG ZERG RUSH KEKEKEE"

Preparing for "OMG ZERG RUSH KEKEKEE"

Unsurprisingly, I lost that game. Then I lost the next game afterwards, oh well.

April 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

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