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27 01 2009

Lunar New Year was today so we got a couple of extra days tacked on to our weekend. We spent it in Okinawa visiting things like this:

Feeding time at the whale shark tank.

Feeding time at the whale shark tank.

More later.

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Eating a Persimmon

13 01 2009
Not a tomato.

Not a tomato.

This is a persimmon.  We hadn’t seen too many of these things before we came to Korea and neither of us had ever tried one. When we got one in a fruit basket from one of our students as a gift for Chuseok, we didn’t really know what to make of it. The thing was rock hard, but it looked ripe, so we tried eating it. The pulp of the fruit looked like coffee grounds, had a horrible gritty texture, and tasted like nothing.

Undeterred, we got some help from our friendly local organic grocer and ended up with this jewel:

A ripe persimmon.

A ripe persimmon.

Apparently, this particular variety of persimmon is not actually good to eat until it feels more or less like a water balloon. The insides of this one were sparkling orange, had the texture of smooth custard, and tasted kind of like a not too sweet vanilla pudding. Very tasty and incredibly messy.

Sticky and sweet.

Sticky and sweet.

Gooey.

Gooey.





Aaaaah, Brewskies

12 01 2009
A delicious and nutritious bevvie we call "My Other Lover."

A delicious and nutritious bevvie we call "My Other Lover."

It's good in bed, too.

It's good in bed, too.

These are oldies but goodies (greaties?) of our first homebrewed beer.  It was a stout and it was delicious and we miss it something awful.  We miss the rug we detroyed in the process of making this little darling, too.

Here’s a picture advertising the beer we have the most immediate access to here in Korea.  I’m pretty sure “Tok” means “pee-pee flavored.”

"Fresh" in this case means "made yesterday and has no possible chance of having any flavor."

"Fresh" in this case means "made yesterday and has no possible chance of having any flavor."





Lucky

10 01 2009

Feeding an Elephant, originally uploaded by Jake & Kristin.

Seven months ago today we arrived in Korea, full of trepidation, excitement, curiosity, and airline peanuts. We had no idea what to expect from the next day, let alone the next year, and certainly no idea we’d be feeding pineapples to pachyderms by New Year’s Eve.

Fortunately a nice Korean man met us at the airport and ignored our snoring and drooling as he drove us to our new home. Since then we’ve learned a thing or two, like how to teach, where to get Korean beer, why you shouldn’t get Korean beer, and how to not only spend this much time together without going crazy, but in fact enjoy it.

Korea hasn’t been our only teacher though. Over the winter break we visited Thailand. There we learned that elephants like to carry things around with their trunks while they’re hiking and wearing a backpack full of people. Our elephant leisurely munched her way through a six foot long banana tree in a few minutes. We found each slow bite through the crisp stem and gradually softer crunches as the elephant chewed to be rather soothing.

We still have seven months or so to go before we head back to the US. I wonder if the next seven will be as full as the first?





Pungent But Good Omen

7 01 2009

I am superstitious, as anyone who has ever said anything foreboding around me knows.  If necessary, I will make them spend the next half hour finding something made of wood to knock on.  You know, just in case.  And no hats on the bed, because I watched Drugstore Cowboy once and the characters in that movie  were right about so many other things….  And certainly a planeload of Buddhist monks at 12am at the Subahanatapramakhanahla Airport in Bangkok is lucky, right?  That means our plane won’t crash or at very least I won’t be forced to watch a Vin Diesel movie?

As many of you already know, our plane did not crash.  (No luck on the movie).  And though some would argue that it is because it was very unlikely that it would, given the near perfect flying conditions, headwind calculations, statistics, the Korean penchant for perfection, etc.  I am going to go ahead and give this one to the Buddhists.  You know, just in case.

On their way to the Cleveland Conference

On their way to the Cleveland Conference





Back Home

3 01 2009

We are back from Thailand and have had an opportunity to check for any missing organs after a rather treacherous night in Bangkok.  Alles gut!

The beach…

No Cass for miles.  Later, we drank something pinkish out of a coconut.

No Cass for miles. Later, we drank something pinkish out of a coconut.

…was lovely, though we did not spend a lot of time there.  We were very busy doing this stuff and tipping the guides exorbitantly to  make up for hauling our big American asses around:

river tour

Canoeing down the Sok River. Or should I say "being canoed."

Smoother than a taxi in, well, Asia.

Smoother than a taxi in, well, Asia.

Thousands of years worth of bat poo and mussels

Thousands of years worth of bat poo and mussels

It was totally touristy which historically we have been opposed to, but it was fun and we got to see a lot of Thailand that we would otherwise not have been able to see.  Like the morning dew on the fuzz of an elephant’s head, a walking fish, a Muslim fishing village, monkeys, and the place where James Bond apparently lives.

A view from the top.  Of an elephant.

A view from the top. Of an elephant.

Periopthalmus gracilis, to be exact

Periophthalmus gracilis, to be exact

The guilded dome took 300 years to pay off

The guilded dome took 300 years to pay off

The business-end of this monkey was photo-ready while the rest of him was busy assaulting tourists for their bananas.

The business-end of this monkey was photo-ready while the rest of him was busy assaulting tourists for their bananas.

Just to the right of this picture was an outdoor mall.

Just to the right of this picture is an outdoor mall.

Stay tuned for more thrilling tales from our adventure in Thailand.  Happy New Year, ya’ll!