Sunday, September 25, 2011

Drugs, Phantoms and Creepy Penguins

In random news, I discovered (aka Elaine told me) this nifty feature on my blog that allows me to see how people found my blog. I laughed hysterically a little bit when I learned that about 20 views came from people googling "Moustache centipede" "do centipedes bite" "creepy penguin" "justin bieber leg hair" and "gross hairy things."

I also discovered that a ton of people are reading my blog. People, I am making a shout out now. I would really appreciate comments! I know sometimes blogspot makes it difficult (I've noticed I can't make comments when I'm using Internet Explorer) but I'd love to hear from everyone!

After the Seodaemun Prison museum, I went to meet Carrie. It was probably about 5 seconds by bus, but you never know here. Things look much farther away on the subway map than they actually are.

Example: Carrie and I met in Gwanghwamun. After I took a complicated route on the subway, I finally arrived. Look at the subway map:

Notice the pink circles and how far away they look? I discovered the next weekend that they are literally a 1 minute walk away from each other. You come out of the subway at City Hall, turn right and walk through a very short tunnel and there you are at Gwanghwamun stop. City Hall is about 20 minutes away from me on the subway. Oops. Now I know, since I intend to return to Gwanghwamun to visit the interesting museums there.

Another interesting fact about Seoul that I may have mentioned. It is surprisingly small (about 13 miles across according to the official city limits) but no matter how close you supposedly are to the location, it seems to inevitably take about 45 minutes.

The statues near Gwanghwamun were very cool. And there were interesting looking museums there that I just didn't see, because it was too late to visit any of them. I will definitely be returning there. Also, notice the clouds. It has not been boiling hot here for a couple weeks and it is absolutely lovely. It is officially fall!

Starbucks sign in Korean.

The multiple police tanks were making me a bit nervous.

They had a picture display of the Korean War, which said "Thanks Runs Forever."

Elaine and I actually had someone come up to us in the subway and say to us, "blah blah blah blah" which turned out to be "You where nationality?" When we said, "America" he said "I've been to Oregon." Then he said, "During Korean War, America come. Three Eight One One One America die. Thank you America"

Carrie and I couldn't find the museum we wanted and the others were closed because it was late, so we headed to an area near Insa-Dong that is extremely adorable and un-Korealike. Unfortunately, my nice camera has gone kaputt (the battery cover won't latch all the way so I spend all my time attempting to latch it and not taking pictures) so I don't have very good pictures. I am using my extremely old Olympus camera and for every good picture it takes there are about 20 blurry ones.

However I did get a picture of this:

Notice the enormous size? I have no idea what that was about.

Also, I saw this:

And this:

And this:

Here are a couple pictures that turned out ok. I'll have to return there again.

Carrie and I ate dinner at a place that gave us way more food than we were intending to eat.

The food included this fish, complete with teeth

And these smaller fish.

And they had these in a little fountain:
look at their mouths!

We went to a cafe and sat outside for a while after dinner, since it was so un-hot outside. It was lovely.

Random story: While on the way to the prison museum I came across this:

The "Contagion" poster in Korean. I was reading some of the names in my head when I saw it. I quickly figured out Jude Law and Marion Cotillard. I recognized "Lawrence" because it's spelled the same way as my name plus an extra syllable for the "ssss" part of his name. (Fishburne in Korean is Bee-Shee-Bun, so I definitely didn't figure out the last name). I couldn't figure out one of the names and gave up. The next week, when I was with one of the new teachers, Ben, I was showing him some of the letters and read the name I couldn't figure out out loud. I heard myself say "Matt Damon." Apparently I just need to read out loud.

Also, Carrie and I went to Noraebang. Aka Karaoke. Only here they do it awesome. You go to a Noraebang place and rent a room for an hour. Then they have hundreds of songs to choose from and you just sing for an hour into your microphone, which automatically auto-tunes your voice for you. I've been a couple other times, but this was the first time where I got to sing a lot. Naturally, I began with an Amy Winehouse song. I sang for the full 3 minutes, thinking I was being auto-tuned. But, alas, I had not turned on my microphone. Aka Carrie listened to me belting out this song without any help from auto-tune. How embarrassing. I later referred to it as my "Amy Winehouse debasco" when what I actually meant to say was fiasco. I was just embarrassing myself up a storm!

Supposedly, she did not notice that the microphone was off, so perhaps I'm just an amazing singer. Also, she sings Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston about as well as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, which makes me feel inadequate, but it is still lots of fun. Also, the guy kept adding 10 minutes to our time uncharged, until we were in there for almost 2 hours but paid for an hour. Apparently that is normal if the Noraebang is slow that evening.

*Update. Carrie and I went again. I discovered they have all the Phantom of the Opera songs, which resulted in me singing "Phantom" really dramatically, obviously. And they gave us an extra 40 minutes again.

Here is a student story that I found very amusing.

Student 1: Teacher, what is the name of the store where you buy medicine?
Me: The pharmacy.
Student 1: It's not the drug store?
Me 1: Yes, the drug store is another name for it.
Student 2: Teacher, isn't 'drug' the name for *hand gestures injecting drugs into arm and snorting it*??
Me: Yes, we call those 'illegal drugs.'
Student 1: But medicine's also called 'drugs?'
Me: Yes, it's the same word
Student 2: Really!? Weird
Student 1: *2 seconds later* Teacher, what does "Take a Chill Pill mean?"
Me: You say that to someone when you want them to calm down.
Student 1: Oh, so it's not actually a pill?
Me: No, it's just a phrase.

And last but not least, I'm sure they weren't intending to be rude with this sign, but as you can see, that's not quite what happened.


  1. I wish I were a fly on the wall during the karaoke sessions - not just Amy Winehouse (who DOESN'T want to sing like Amy Winehouse?) but also your artistic interpretation of the Phantom songs. That's bravery, I tell you!
    Great conversation about drugs -- so they've heard "take a chill pill"??? And always a good eye for detail on the street. Again, you describe it all so well that we might as well be living in Seoul with you. Thanks.

  2. I am really enjoying your blog. I think you are very brave for eating what you do. I don't think I would be that adventurous. My favorite parts though are the conversations with the children. Its interesting how they interpret things. I am very amused and entertained as usual. Thank goodness you found the Phantom of the Opera songs. That would be fun to sign and the Auto tune being the bonus. Keep us up to date with all your adventures and pictures.

  3. obviously I meant sing but we could try signing it to .. LOL