Sunday, January 29, 2006

New Year - redux

Hopefully I can figure out how to post this, as everything is in Korean. But the New Year is upon us. The Lunar New Year. Which for the most part means little to me, but it is a day off from work. And now, hopefully they'll take their Christmas trees down. Yes, they still have Christmas trees up and Santas out. Actually, I've only seen them in one of the underground malls. But nevertheless, I think the time has come. Take them down! I'm not sure which is goofier. Christmas trees and Santas in Bangkok, or Christmas trees and Santas in February.

Another interesting observation about Korea - the gift pack. Apparently, they love to put stuff in a box and call it a gift pack. Some are nice collections of interesting foods and spices. The also have some cool gift sets that include a bottle of liquor and some cool cups or glasses. Some of the soap, shampoo, moisturizer, etc sets are also lovely. And I'm sure the $100 cases of apples or oranges would be welcomed by a really large family or small corporation. But the "home cleaning" gift pack? A box with various sprays and scrubbers to be used for home cleaning. A house warming gift or a hint? I'm not quite sure what the point is. But I believe my all-time favorite is the spam gift pack. You can choose either the 9 can spam gift pack, or 6 cans of spam and 2 bottles of cooking oil - just to complete the spam experience. To make it even more interesting, the grocery store has a gift pack section, where all the gift packs are laid out and an army of Korean women in traditional Korean dress assault anyone who straggles into the gift pack area. I'm assuming that the New Year has brought upon us this feverish gift packing. If not, you've all been warned - be careful of any packages that I send you.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

New Year


* a pint of Guiness runs about W15,000 ($15) in Seoul
* just because they say that the subway is open until 2 am, doesn't mean that the Bundang line is open until 2 am

Places I've rung in the New Year (in order):

Topeka, Kansas
Chicago, Illinois
Normal, Illinois
London, England
Madison, Wisconsin
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Seoul, South Korea