Saturday, January 13, 2018

Thanks for the advice?

South Korea (or maybe just Jeju?) has an emergency alert system that sends you a text when conditions have become dangerous or to warn you of possible danger. For example, we once got an alert telling us about an earthquake that happened on the mainland a few weeks ago. I assume this alert system will be the way we are told that North Korea is invading, God forbid.

Anyway, this alert system has been in overdrive the past week with the high winds and wintery weather. We got at least one a day, sometimes more, telling us about icy conditions, or that fishing off the coast was temporarily suspended because of winds. One alert told us that the airport was shut down because of the snow.

You get the idea.

They look like this:

So what we have to do is screenshot the message, and then go to the Google translate app to get an idea of what it says. On Thursday, this is what Google told me the alert said:

"From today to tomorrow (12th), please feel free to make a road accident, road slip, slip out, etc."

"Fine! Get into a wreck for all I care! Feel free to go kill yourself on the roads! What do I know!?"

I'm 100% sure it's a translation error, but the mental image of a disgruntled civil defense worker on his 7th day in a row of being stuck with emergency alert duty sending out this passive aggressive text makes me chuckle.

Vicariously yours,

Friday, January 12, 2018


It has been snowing on and off all throughout our Christmas break here in Jeju, but the past two days have been pretty crazy. Weather moves fast on this island, so we've gone from white-out conditions where we could barely see the greenhouses across the road to blindingly bright sunlight in the matter of minutes. For a while there, it wasn't sticking and was just pretty to look at out the window, but it got cold enough overnight that we woke up to a blanket of snow--I'd estimate 1.5-2 inches--and it was a frickin' winter wonderland.

We aren't exactly winter people, but we bundled up to go out real quick and take a few photos.

This is why. Neither of us have shoes that are not fabric. I don't even have socks that are heavier than those little half socks you wear with slip-ons so your feet don't stink. Like I said, we are not winter people!!
Thankfully we had a big puffy hand-me-down snowsuit to dress Sadie in and it made her look like an adorable marshmallow. The new aviator hat she just got for Christmas really completed her fresh-from-Hoth look.

Note to self: Get yourself dressed first next time so you don't roast your marshmallow baby on the heated floor while you get wrapped up. I have to admit it was pretty funny watching her try to roll over in this get-up.

Thankfully there was no need to climb inside a wampa for warmth.

She was unimpressed by the super bright snow.

It's a miracle this photo turned out, I seriously couldn't see anything the sun was so bright off the snow. I don't even have sunglasses! Apparently I'm not a summer person, either! 

Love the juxtaposition of the citrus with the snow. 

We were literally outside for less than 5 minutes. Just enough to snap a few photos and say we went out in it. We will have to stock up on winter gear while we are home this summer so we're ready in case this kind of fun pops up again next year.

Vicariously yours,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sadie Sleeps through the World Automobile Museum

Oh yeah. That's a vintage car following what appears to be a small cart-like car thing, being driven by a mannequin dressed in seasonal garb. You're in for a treat. 

After seeing the hilarious display above the first time I went to the grocery store here, I knew I had to partake in the collection at the World Automobile Museum.

"The whole world?!" you ask!
To which I say, "Right?! That's a lot of cars!"

What I suspect is happening is that some rich guy needs a place to store his collection of vintage cars and make a buck while doing it. Well done, that guy. You collection made for an entertaining morning.

We simply HAD to stop at Starbucks on the way. Sadie had a hankering for a babycino. 
 It was a cold morning, so I was a little worried when we got to the entrance and it appeared that the collection was going to be outside. Turns out it was just a few of the cars and, of course, the petting zoo.

This little collection was called "The Transition of the Wheel"

Because, roaming deer and bunnies are a natural complement to cars, right?

So, is this a pre-automobile car? Also, where did you find such a quality horse statue, but such cheap mannequins?! 

I think they were suggesting that this was all the stuff you could fit in the back of a pickup. Doesn't necessarily mean you should try to drive with it loaded down like this! 

Sadie took matters into her own hands and got behind the wheel. 

...We're on the other side of the wall...I don't think this is the side of the wall this sign should go on...

It had been snowing the day before, but it wasn't THAT cold when we went. I find it funny that I get fussed at if Sadie isn't covered up to the public's liking. 

We waited and waited, but that lady never got on the bus! Rude.

When we got inside, the collection continued, as did the hilariously dressed mannequins.

I'm tempted to come back in the spring or summer to see if the armor's outfit changes with the season. 

This random, ornate Steinway was at the entrance...I mean....ok. 

It was a pretty cool collection, actually. Cars from all kinds of countries and throughout the eras of automobile manufacturing. 

Sadie was thrilled.

Unlike other car museums I've been to, we were able to get pretty close to the cars. You forget how MASSIVE American cars were in the '40s and '50s.

They really nailed the Doc Brown look.

This was John Lennon's car....or it's a car painted just like John Lennon's car...or maybe it was something John Lennon would have liked. The plaque wasn't clear. 

But just in case you were wondering where John Lennon was from, these mannequins were there to help. Dressed in traditional Liverpool fashion, of course. 

My favorite part of the museum, however, had the longest line, so we skipped it that day. 

They had these little cars you could drive around on a track that went by replicas of world landmarks!! They had teeny little horns, and drove on a teeny little roadway! There was even a teeny little stop light and crosswalk around the front of the museum where you had to stop for pedestrians entering the building!! It looked hilariously entertaining, but the line was like 45 minutes long, so we couldn't be bothered. Must save that for the next visit!

Vicariously yours,

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Black Pork Street-- it's a thing

Next on my list of tourist attractions was a little spot called "Black Pork Street." Jeju is famous for its black pigs, apparently, which are just what they sound like: pigs that are black. Their pork doesn't look any different than other pigs, but apparently it tastes different. I can't really tell the difference, but when in Jeju, black pork you must have.

Capitalizing on this sentiment, I was told there was a place in the city called Black Pork Street that was just a bunch of Korean barbecue restaurants that just served black pork. I was intrigued.

I wasn't necessarily disappointed, but I was expecting a lot more restaurants. From what I could tell, the only restaurants went from the gate in the photo and the grey building at the end of the block. There were about 4, maybe 5 restaurants, all of which looked delicious.

Because we have a baby, we got there early and some of the restaurants weren't open, so we went to the first one, which appeared to have been featured on a TV travel show. Figured we couldn't go wrong. 

I think it says "I love Jesus" every time. 

The floors were heated and it was a super cold snowy day, so Sadie had no problem with hanging out on the ground. It was a traditional Korean set up, so we all sat on the floor anyway. 

The sides and meat served were immediately better than any of the other barbecue restaurants we've been to.

I'm pretty sure the little black hairs were still in the skin...I stayed away from those pieces.

Sadie was impressed with the service.

I'm excited to go back to Black Pork Street and try a different restaurant. I foresee it being the birthday dinner location or special event treat. 

Vicariously yours,

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sadie Sleeps through Dongmun Market and the Underground Mall

The area of the island where we live is a little remote, and folks often complain that there's nothing to do on the weekends. Tyler and I are used to making our own fun from our days in Kuwait, so in that spirit, I have made a Jeju bucket list of all the hilarious tourist attractions that I see signs for and say to myself, "I have got to go see that!"

Thus, one of the items on my list got marked off a few weeks ago when we went into the city to visit the Dongmun market and something the expats have dubbed the "Underground Mall." It was really interesting to see a Korean market, especially because we had just visited the Kuromon market in Osaka a few weeks before.

It was a cold snowy morning when we went, so folks seemed to be surprised to see us--non-Koreans-- braving the market with a baby. 

There were several stalls aimed at tourists. Jeju is famous for its citrus, so dried fruit dipped in chocolate or paired with something else is a popular souvenir found everywhere. 

The tchotchkes made of the igneous rock from the island is also a popular souvenir. Not pictured: the honey liquor that comes with a penis shot class that is supposedly an aphrodisiac. Also a popular souvenir item. 

Seafood is definitely a constant theme in Asian markets (really, all markets we've been to overseas), and this one did not disappoint. The Japanese market was all about fresh fish and exotic seafood, and the Dongmun market appeared to be all about fresh fish (as in still swimming in a tank) and a different spin on exotic seafood. 

Unlike other markets, there were entire stalls just for dried fish here. Whole fish, filleted fish, fish parts. All dried and ready to be used in soups. 

I'm not sure if it's a uniquely Jeju seafood item, but there were all kinds of shellfish! Lots of abalone, gooey duck, scallops...
...and some that I'd never seen before! 

Lots of tanks crammed full of live fish, shellfish, or octopus, some of whom were more proactive about getting out of their current situation than others.


These vibrantly silver fish are unique to Jeju, and are called hairfish because their tails are just a thing hair-like strand. I guess they're more like eels than typical fish. We haven't had any yet, but we've been told we must try some before we leave the island. 

Right next to the Dongmun Market is a shopping center that expats just call the Underground Mall. It's exactly what it sounds like. A shopping mall under ground. To hear others talk about it, it has everything, but really I felt like it was a cheap strip mall with souvenir shops and cheap clothes. Nothing that would fit someone like me, and sadly nothing that would fit Sadie yet, but it was a fun place to wander and people watch. 

We were all happy to be inside and away from the cold.


The whole place had a very '80s feel.

Within a few minutes of being warm, Sadie was out.
One of my favorite parts of shopping overseas is the English that shows up on clothes and accessories. It makes me feel like this is what Asian people feel when they see a tattoo in their language that says, "Serenity"...but actually it says "no moving" or something similarly badly translated. 

Harkens back to my Tiger Beat days. 

I read this in Christopher Walken's voice. 

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this store sold denim.  

After a couple hours of wandering we were hungry and the one restaurant in the underground mall that was open was too crowded to seat us. Sadie was so hungry she resorted to eating her shoe. 

An interesting part about eating at restaurant here: You order your main dish and they bring out a side plate for everyone at the table with you. ....Am I supposed to share this? ...cause....Joey doesn't share food.  

I'm glad we got to mark the market and the mall off our bucket list. It's good to know all the stuff that's sold in the market and it's worth a visit with friends and family that visit. Hint. Hint.

Vicariously yours, 

Oh yeah...the underground mall did sell SOME things in Sadie's size...