Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seoul Trip

Saturday, May 22, 2010 0
Ah, Seoul and its 23 million people.  Gotta love it.  The family hopped in the car and took a road trip to this massively crowded city during Spring Break.  It was unusually cold for this time of year but it was still a great time.

One of our first stops was Lotte World, the world's largest indoor amusement park.  There's also an outdoor portion of the park that has a castle that looks eerily similar to the Disney castle.  I was reminded of the McDonald's clone restaurant, McArnold's from the "Coming to America" movie.

Here's a short video from our Lotte World trip.  Fear, laughs, mini-Viagra commercial - this video has it all.

Starbucks in Insadong.

Carol loves these paper lamps.  She was in hog heaven.  Travel tip # 17:  While overseas, if you see something you like, get it.  You just don't know if you'll ever  be back again.  Later on, you may simply forget how much you paid for the thing but the value of the memory just increases with time.

Unfortunately, Jake wasn't a huge fan of the lamps or anything else in the many stores.  He started acting up and got a little extra attention from Dad.  This is Jake's "not happy" look.  Parenting tip #37:  Kids need to know they will be disciplined outside of the house too.

This is the best waffle guy in all of Korea.  You can get a good waffle from any street vendor in Korea but not with the friendliness and charisma of this guy.  The boys love this delicious treat.  They lather the waffles up with cream and syrup.  Makes a big mess but puts a smile on your sticky face.

The first step towards world peace.

We stayed at the Dragon Hill Lodge on the US Army Base.  There's a swimming pool, lots of restaurants, kids play area and shops in the lodge.  These are the flags right outside of the hotel.  You can see Seoul Tower over to the right.

This was taken just a few doors down from our room.  Bow-chicka-bow-bow.

So I had this awesome barbeque meal at one of the restaurants at the Dragon Hill Lodge.  I highly recommend this meat extravaganza.  Who knew it was a precursor for all the great BBQ we'll soon be hitting in Memphis, Tennessee?

We stumbled upon a toy museum in Insadong.  These characters are from an old TV show my siblings used to watch everyday after school.  It was called, "Battle of the Planets."

I really freaked out when I saw this.  The blue and red spaceship on the right is the ship from the "Battle of the Planets."  The gray and red ship is the Argo from "Starblazers."  Ho hum for the uninitiated.  Totally awesome for those that know these two shows.

More cool stuff from the toy museum.  The two smallest waists in all of Hollywood history.

How many of these shows do you recognize?

I think I know all of them except for one.  That officially makes me an old fart.

Maybe my favorite picture from the whole trip.  That's what I call protection.  Until next time -- C2.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jake & the Wii

Sunday, May 16, 2010 0
There are probably many videos like this of kids going nuts with the Wii, but this one is mine:

We have created a Wii junkie!  Up until last Christmas, Carol and I have avoided the whole video game thing.  We'd rather have the boys playing outside, hanging with friends, reading, drawing, etc.  For many kids in the US, it's just hours upon hours of mindless video games.  Kids - what am I talking about?  Adults too.  The other thing was so many of the video games were all about blood, guts or boobs.  While I don't mind seeing that stuff on date night with Carol, I'm not ready for the boys to make it a daily event.

I am a big fan of the Wii though.  The boys can actually work up a sweat on that thing.  The characters are innocent looking and the games are just a lot of fun.  I really don't understand the Wii boxing game though.  I was a dang National Champion boxer in college for goodness sake and my five year old is whooping up on me on a consistent basis.  He can kick my butt while he's sprawled out on the couch.  It's amazing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chopsticks & Scissors

Saturday, May 15, 2010 0
It's no surprise that people love their chopsticks in Korea.  When you get good at using them, it's almost as if you have very long fingers and you're eating with your hands.  The glutton in me still likes the simplicity of a fork or spoon where you can shovel a big old mouthful of grub into your piehole instead of using the chopsticks to eat one kernel of corn at a time.  Painful.

What many people may not know is the prevalence of scissors at the Korean dining table.  With all the noodles and meat that needs to be chopped up, scissors are a very common table utensil.  Check out the video:

This particular meal was really tasty.  Tentacles, nuts, spicy sauce.  Pretty delicious.  Definitely not for everyone though.  Well, gotta go.  I need to cut up a grilled cheese sandwich.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Slightly Strange Sights

Friday, May 14, 2010 0
So here are a couple of random shots of things you don't see everyday.  None of this stuff is shocking by any means - just a

That's quite the unwieldy load in that truck.  You should've seen it move around when it was rolling down the street.  It's an episode of Emergency 9-11 waiting to happen.

This advertisement reminded me of an old joke about three guys at a gentlemen's club.  Carol reminded me that some of our church friends read the blog so I decided not to share that one.  I'm showing restraint in my advanced age.

Ah, nothing like taking advantage of a nice spring day and the sunshine to dry your clothes.  Makes your garments smell fresh and clean - unless you've got a dead fish hanging next to them.  Again, not shocking.  Just a little off.

If you look closely inside the bed of the truck, you'll see a guy actually on the motorcycle talking on a cell phone.

This is one of those claw machines that you put money in and try to grab a stuffed animal toy.  That part isn't strange at all.

What is a little strange are the things inside the claw machine - shoes, belt buckles, a can of STP oil treatment, walkie talkies, a flashlight and other stuff.  Interesting.

Here's a man riding a big tricycle in the subway.

A group of Koreans hanging out on the beach in their thongs - during the winter.  Notice everybody else with jackets on.  Yes.  Thong Man strikes again.  No jumping rope this time.

This is outside a nightclub in Haeundae Beach.  It's a very distinguishable landmark and great for giving directions.  "Yeah, go past the Paradise Hotel, take a left at the big hairy penis and you'll see my apartment on the right."

Enough silliness for now.  Have a great weekend.

Punishment Basket

Check out this basket:

It's no ordinary basket.  When little Korean kids accidentally wet the bed at night, some parents would make them strap on this type of basket and haul salt around.  Or something like that.  My Korean friends out there, please correct me if I'm messing up the explanation.

I think wearing the punishment basket was some sort of public humiliation to motivate the kids to not pee in the bed anymore.  If it was a successful technique, I'm thinking Longaberger might have a great idea for its newest line of baskets.  I know that's pretty manly of me to know what Longaberger is.  I'm gonna drink my Fresca now. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Soju and Beer

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 0
Here's an interesting sign we saw at Haeundae Beach the other day:

Here's a closer look:

Who wrote this thing?  Otis from the Andy Griffith Show?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thong Man!

Friday, May 7, 2010 4
Thong Man is famous here in Busan.  He's been on local television shows and is a fixture at Haeundae Beach.  Google "Thong Man Busan" if you're bored.  Warning, you might burn your retinas.  In Busan, he's more recognizable than the Mayor, Bruce Lee or Robert Downey Jr., well, from the backside anyway.

Koreans are typically very conscious about staying out of the sun.  Pampering their skin and avoiding those UV rays are two of the reasons why they look so young.  Koreans aren't prone to flashing a lot of skin either, sun or no sun.  That's what makes Thong Man so special.  His savage tan makes George Hamilton look like Dracula.  And his "look at me" attitude is something to behold.  For example, to maximize the amount of people that lay eyes on his bronzed posterior, he'll hop on a waverunner and go zipping up and down the beachfront, standing up of course so the masses can gaze upon his cheeky glory.  Amazing.  Don't believe me?  Check it out:

For the record, I didn't take this picture.  It's from one of the travel blogs that chronicle the adventures of Thong Man.

So there he is on Haeundae Beach, throwing the frisbee around with his other scantily clad buddies, or jumping rope right on the boardwalk, in a tight little banana hammock.  The jumping rope piece leaves little to the imagination.  Not that I was closely inspecting but I thought I saw two pigs wrestling inside that microscopic piece of clothing.  Oh yeah, and he does these things in the middle of winter.  It's quite the spectacle.

Needless to say, I will forever treasure these two pictures:

Carol was horrified when I pleaded with her to take these pictures.  We had an opportunity to snap a shot with Thong Man during a random walk on Haeundae Beach a couple of weeks ago but Carol just wasn't mentally prepared.  It took some intense training to break down Carol's walls and prepare her for such an important photo opportunity.  After a month of Matt Foley "down by the river" style motivational speeches from me and a large amount of Red Bull, Carol was now ready to snap some pictures, clenched butt cheeks and all - Thong Man's butt cheeks, not Carol's.

And so on a cold, jacket wearing day while on a quaint family stroll down the boardwalk, I see way off on the horizon, two canned hams.  No, it was actually the famous glutes of Thong Man instead.  He's casually flipping the frisbee to his half naked friends, jiggly parts flapping around with reckless abandon, indecent exposure charges a mere spandex tear away.  Of course, there are the locals, huddled up in their fleece, warm jackets and scarves, gawking as if they're watching a giraffe give birth next to a burning car full of circus clowns on the highway.

I broke out the camera with great urgency, like I was about to snap a shot of the thought to be extinct dodo bird.  I handed the camera over to Carol and hoped for the best.  In my best cool walk, I meandered over to Thong Man.  Not normally star-struck, I have to admit that I was a little nervous.  I felt like I was asking a girl out to the prom.  We started out with small talk.  Thong Man immediately disarmed the situation by flashing a big smile.  No problem with the picture.  He was so cool and cheerful.  I did my best not to gaze my eyes in a southerly direction.  I didn't want him to think I was a stalker or something.  Thanks a bunch Carol for snapping the pictures.  You get the special wonton tonight.

Seriously, I admire the heck out of Thong Man.  That's attitude right there.  Thong Man, if you ever run across this blog, know that I have much respect for you and your crew.  You should have t-shirts printed in your honor.  Maybe with a logo that shows off that attitude.  Something like "No Fear."  That's actually kinda catchy.  I gotta look into that.

Along with the great attitude and the ability to really enjoy life, one other thing that Thong Man reminds me of - and this is important now - is that all it takes is ONE.  One other friend.  You see, Thong Man isn't alone.  He's out there with one or two other thong-clad friends.  When you've got just one friend, it makes everything right.  You can do your thing with your friends, no matter what that thing is - Dungeons and Dragons, volunteering, traveling to Korea to teach, hanging out, or wearing thongs on the beach and playing frisbee.  Napoleon Dynamite is a pretty dorky dude.  But he had one friend, Pedro.  And with that one friend, everything was right in the world.  All it takes is ONE.

Thong Man, I salute you!
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