Saturday, 4 October 2014

Some things I did in August

Wow, it is October already! I hope I can remember my August highlights.

In August I finished all but one test to get a Korean driver's license. The only thing I still need to do is do a public road driving test. All that is keeping me from doing that is that I don't have a car to practise driving on the right side of the road on. I only to do so for maybe two hours, just to get a feeling for it, since I'm already quite comfortable driving--it is just that I'm comfortable driving on the left side of the road. Sadly I do not have access to a car and since I don't have a license I cannot even rent a car.

A very fun outing in August was when I impulsively decided to go for a hike along the North Han River. I took the train not to far from my house to Daeseong-ri (about an hour away) and then walked along the river to Cheongpyeong. It was very scenic and beautiful. When I get a car I hope to take frequent trips to more rural, natural parts of Korea like this area, which are a little more difficult to get to via public transportation.

On my little excursion I also climbed up the underside of an express way bridge. It is something I've always wanted to do -- go explore the understand of an express way.

That evening I staid over in Chuncheon. The evening started out quite stressful as I accidentally left my mobile phone in a taxi. Luckily I was able to track the phone with Samsung's Find My Phone service by going to an Internet cafe and phoning the phone and connecting with the taxi driver. That evening I slept in a jjimjilbang (Korean sauna) which was not that nice as it is a bit noisy and the floor is rather uncomfortable to sleep on, especially after many hours of hiking. The hot tubs were quite relaxing though.

The following day, before returning back home I went to a restaurant called Peace of Mind Bakery & Book Cafe. What an interesting place. It is basically a museum of sorts, with some exquisite calligraphy, and other oddities.

For me the pair calligraphy inscribed on bamboo was the most unique of the vast collection.

Another trip I did in August was to Taean. Honestly, I don't like Korea's west coast. The beaches are usually muddy and the ocean is grey and ugly. However, I've been eyeing Taean on the map of Korea that I have on my wall for some time now. It is a large national part known for its pine forests. On a whim a friend and I decided to go and we ended up going to Manglipo Beach 만리포 해변. It was great. It is a beautiful beach -- not muddy, but sandy, with a great vacation atmosphere, but without being overly crowded as is the case for the many of the east coast beaches. Also, it is a mere three hours by bus from Seoul. I did some zip lining and just enjoyed the fun atmosphere.

By accident I discovered a sculpture park in Seoul. I went to a driving school to find out if I can rent a car there just for some driving practise, but they only have package deals requiring you to a thirteen hour course, including the written tests, etc. through them. So while I didn't make use of their service, I did enjoy the beautiful sculptures populating the premises. Apparently the property owner is a sculpture collector and just places them all around the property. I plan to go back there soon, once the fall foliage start to change colours. I'm sure it must be gorgeous then.

One evening I decided that I'm going to make a custard. I made it from scratch, without a recipe using coconut milk, and delicately scented with cinnamon, cardamom, and jasmine flowers.It was quite tasty but not as thick as I had hoped for.

Speaking of desserts, a nice place selling mango bingsu opened up close to my Taekwon-Do gym. It is probably the best mango dessert I've had in Korea so far. Sadly, since Korea is not a tropical country, it doesn't really have a tradition of mango desserts as one would find in for instance Hong Kong or Thailand. Nevertheless, the mango bingsu at Roys is very good.

And, here is a picture of me from the Taekwon-Do gym...

Oh, and I went to the Han River one Sabbath afternoon with some friends for a picknick, which was nice.

Well, sadly that's about all of the highlights I can remember.Hopefully I'll get to writing about the things I did in September before October has passed as well.

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