Monday, December 23, 2013

More Culture - The Nutcracker

This weekend past I went to my second ballet - I saw 'The Nutcracker' for the very first time. A while ago I wrote about seeing 'Swan Lake' in Seoul and this was my first experience with the ballet, I'm not a huge fan but wanted to see it one time just so I could say that I had. 'Swan Lake was OK, it was a bit boring for me and I did almost fall asleep at one stage in the second act and while I certainly did not hate it I was glad it was over when it was. I thought that if I ever went to another ballet it would probably only be 'The Nutcracker' again for the experience and to say that I've seen it at least once. 

With Christmas almost here 'The Nutcracker' is currently being performed in Seoul this December and a few of my friends decided to go. We manged to get some cheap tickets 24, 000 won each (discount of 20% for Expats and Tourists) and we saw the Universal Ballet performance at the Universal Arts Center.

It was very well done, the scenery and lights were awesome, I really liked the winter scenes and it really looked like it was snowing. The costumes were also great, very beautiful and lots of sparkle. All in all it was a beautiful production and my friends and I really enjoyed it. As someone who knows nothing about ballet I can't comment on the dancing except it looked great, the two principle dancers were beautiful and graceful and the children dancers were really cute and talented.

We did find the theater really hot, we were right up the back at the top (the cheap seats) but the view was great because we could see the whole stage. At intermission we really needed some water but the line for the cafe was huge and there was no water in the vending machines, I think that is one thing that really needs to be addressed. There needed to be some better way to cater to the crowds.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pizza Hut - Getting Pizza Delivered in Korea

I did a post a while back about getting McDonalds delivered in Korea, they have an English site so it is super easy even if you are not so good at reading Korean (like me). I was recently speaking with a friend who told me that he was getting Pizza Hut delivered, I did not realize that they had an English site so was happy to learn about this. I am actually not really a fan of Pizza - well not western pizza, I do like the original ones with the really flat bread and just basic tomato, basil and cheese but every now and then it's nice to have something easy delivered like this.

It is super easy to do, much easier than the McDonalds site I think (at least for registering) however I did think it was interesting that the choices are limited on the English site, if you look on the Korean version then there are more options available for sides and things (perhaps it is a work in progress as I did find out it is pretty new). You can find the English order website here.

I know that you can get other pizza's delivered of course, pizza delivery is a thriving business all over the world however this is the only one I have tried so far. I ordered for the first time on Monday night just gone and it all worked out fine, you have to register by putting in your name and phone number - they will then message you a code which you enter back at the site. You then enter your address which is mostly from drop-down menus so very easy, you can either choose your building name from a list or you can write it in yourself - mine was already listed so I just used that and then there is one more free-form address line so I put my apartment number here. 

My pizza came in about 20 minutes so everything worked out well, the website is very basic and it is pretty easy to follow. I did also find this youTube video about ordering with this new English site so if you want to check it out from the blog 'Kyle Living in Korea' the link to the video is here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Japanese Artist Riusuke Fukahori - Amazing

I just watched a video that is being shown on the Bus TV here in Korea. Was simply amazed by this artist so looked it up when I got home.  

His name is Riusuke Fukahori and he paints fish using a layered resin technique that makes them look 3D. 

Check out the video on YouTube below and also for some more pictures of this amazing artwork check out this article.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shopping: - Haul and Review

As I enjoy shopping (both online and in person) I am always on the look out for new stores.  I recently heard about Tmart and thought I would have a look. is an online shopping site that is based out of Hong Kong - some of the reviews that I read and watched on YouTube were favorable and it is cheap with the added bonus of free worldwide shopping.  I thought I may as well give it a go and see what they were all about.

Tmart offers a wide range of products such as electronics, clothing, makeup and toys and they offer Drop Shipping also. According to the website Tmart claims to have a comprehensive Customer Service including pre and post sale service and they say that they offer an 100% safe shopping experience including adhering to e-commerce safety standards and encrypting all payments. They have a lot of deals and offer a points reward system and there is a 90-day money back if there are problems with the merchandise according to their refund policy which is listed on the site. Tmart has websites based in different locations such as USA, Germany and Russia and also different warehouses. There are warehouses in America, Singapore and in Hong Kong so depending on where you live you can select the closest warehouse and presumably get your items quicker.

I chose a range of items - most of them under ten dollars with the most expensive item being NZ$11.95. I chose items across a few different categories so I could do a review.  I ordered some iPad cases, some camera gear and some jewelry.  I figured this would give me a good indication of the quality and service of the site.

Everything went well at first, the site is all in English as it's based out of Hong Kong so is marketed to an international market.  Registration was straightforward, they ask you to sign up for email marketing and promise discounts and coupons for this. You can pay through a few different means such as paypal, Webmoney or Credit Card. I used my New Zealand credit card for the purchase and again it all seemed pretty simple and worked as well as can be expected from an online store. Worth noting here that although I could see everything in NZ dollars the site charges in US dollars so my credit card was charged a small foreign exchange rate along with the charge.

This is where my experience with Tmart went downhill. My order was placed on the 31th July 2013 for about 12 items. Then on the 3rd of August I received a 'Back Order' email from Tmart informing me that the items I had selected were out of stock.  I was informed I could wait 2-3 weeks for the stock to be refilled and if they did not hear from me this would be what would happen.  On the other hand I could choose to cancel or change my items.  Now I would not have been bothered by this if one or two items had been out of stock but the fact that all of them were really irked me.  I think that it should have been noted on the website if something was out of stock, I did see some other things that had this note on them so they must do it but it seems that they were not up to date which for a big organisation such as this just seems ill-managed. So I decided that I did not want to wait for these things and spend money at a site like this so I cancelled most of the items - I did keep a few of the purchases because I did want to do a review on them and see what the site was like.  

The cancelling process was a bit more difficult that the ordering process, I was not sure if it had even gone through and I had to try twice to get it done. They did send me an email after that to indicate that my items had been cancelled. I also just noticed going back into my order history that all the items still show on my order history and there is nothing to indicate that they were cancelled so this gets marks off in my book.  It should clearly show that these items were cancelled and not shipped.

So I then got two emails on the 6th of August 2013 - one to say that a partial package of items had been mailed and the other to say that a partial refund had been made. The package eventually arrived to my apartment in South Korea on Monday 26th of August - that's about 20 days later so it was quite a long wait. The refund came through on the 7th of August 2013 and it was refunded back to the original credit card.

Well all that aside lets get down to it and see what I got:

1. 14mm Ball Shaped Rhinestone Pendant Necklace (pink)
Price: NZ $5.28 (discounted from NZ $6.81)

I did not really think about the size of this and find the ball a bit big for my taste, but that's more my fault.  I bought it because I got some earrings as a gift that are similar and thought they would go nice together.  It is of medium quality, it looks a bit tacky and just not quite up to the standards of something I would wear.  I will probably give it as a gift to a young girl.

Price: NZ $7.57 (discounted from NZ $9.77)

I bought this one because I liked the design, it looked really nice in the photo but to be honest it looks really bad in real life.  It looks cheap and plastic and the back of it has some kind of glue in patches that is sharp on the edges so would scratch if you wore it.  I still like the design but the materials are horrible, very poorly executed, I will probably just give it away as costume jewelry to someone.

Price: NZ $2.95 (discounted from NZ $3.81)

For the price these are what they are, they look a little cheap but the design is pretty. I would not wear them myself but I will probably give them away to a younger girl again. One of my tween cousins will probably wear them.

Price: NZ $6.50 (discounted from NZ $8.39)

These earrings are the pick of the bunch and I was more than happy with them. If everything had been this quality I would not have had a problem. They look really nice and seem solidly made. They don't look cheap at all and I will be happy to wear them. It was nice to have something wearable out of the lot but I ended up paying a bit for this one good product if you add it all up.

Price: NZ $3.68 (discounted from NZ $4.75)

Hair styling tool, makes a bun pretty quickly and seems to be secure.  I have not worn it out for a day yet only tried it out at home.

Price: NZ $2.26 (discounted for Free Gift with purchase)
This was just a small free gift that was included with a certain amount purchased, you could pick from a few different items.  I certainly would not want to pay for it. It does not work very well at all.

Overall Thoughts:
I thought Tmart was a well executed site, easy to search and maneuver around. It was quite simple to register and purchase from and I liked that they have free world wide shipping. Their communication was very quick and my refund went through when they said it would.

The overall quality of the goods was very poor, I realize everything was cheap but I can buy jewelry cheaper than that in Korea and still have it be nice enough quality to wear as an adult.

I probably won't use this site again, they don't have anything that I can't get off Gmarket here in Korea and it comes a lot quicker (mostly).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coming Soon - Goyang Rock Festival 2013

Some of you might be interested in the upcoming Rock Festival in Goyang City - Ilsan.  This will run over three days starting on Friday 30th August and going through to Sunday 1st of September.  You can purchase tickets for all or various days and it will be showcasing a lot of Korean talent.  The line up includes bands such as Kingston Rudicska, SpeakOut, AXIZ, Gate Flowers and Crying Nut.

You can find more information for line up, venue etc. here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Website Highlight #6 - Hanguk Yeonghwa

Hanguk Yeonghwa is a website about Korean film run by a fellow Ilsanite. You can find reviews of films, information on festivals, interviews and much more on this site.  If you are a Korean film buff or really just a any type of film buff then this site is for you.  Lots of great information, I'm looking forward to checking out some of the films that I've been reading about in the near future.

You can find the site here - Hanguk Yeonghwa, and I have also placed a link on my side bar.  The address is

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ilsan, South Korea

I realized after looking back at some old posts from when I started this blog that I did an information post on Suwon which was where I lived and served as the basis for the previous name (and the current address) of this blog.  If you have seen recent posts this year then you will know that I have since moved to Ilsan so I thought I would tell you a little about Ilsan.

Ilsan (일산) is a district rather than a city, the city that Ilsan is located in is called Goyang City and it is located Northwest of Seoul. It is very close to Seoul and connected by bus, train and subway so getting to and from is almost effortless depending on where you are heading and as I've said before public transport is pretty cheap too.

Ilsan itself is actually split into to areas too, there is Ilsandong-gu (Eastern district) and Ilsanseo-gu (Western district). It is a area that is growing all the time and that has a number of attractions including, stadiums, event and art centers, shopping areas, malls and entertainment. 

One of it's most well know attractions is Lake Park.  Lake Park is a large park that features a huge artificial lake, the park includes various gardens, walking and biking tracks and a musical fountain   I actually live right next door to the Lake Park and it's a nice place for walking and taking photos, I've been practicing my photography over there this week.

There are a number of other parks all around Ilsan, there are lots of bike and walking trails and these parks are popular family spots especially on the weekends.

There are also a number of department stores like Lotte and Hyundai and two main shopping areas called La Festa and Western Dom - these latter ones are like outside malls and include hundreds shops and restaurants both big and small. Ilsan also has a Costco, which if you are not American is a large supermarket/department type of store that sells lots of home wares and groceries mostly wholesale. Here in Korea there are a few locations and they are popular with expats as you can get western food items there that you can't get anywhere else.

There is also a new shopping area and amusement park that opened up this year, it's called 'One Mount' and it has a shopping mall, a winter park and a water park. The shopping mall hosts some western chains like H&M which means if you live in Ilsan you don't have to go into Seoul to go to these stores anymore. The water park has good reviews, I've heard so far that it's pretty fun but can be very crowded, the amenities are nice and it's a good place to entertain the kids as it has about nine slides and 18 pools both inside and outside. The winter park is inside and is like a Santa's village type park that includes an ice road, ice lake and a snow slide. 

So that is just some basic info on Ilsan, if you are visiting or coming to live for a while I hope it helps to give you an idea of what to expect.  If you live in Ilsan or have visited, please feel free to comment and let me know what your favorite things to see and do are.  I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Namdaemun - Camera Shopping

Last weekend I decided to make a quick trip down to Namdaemun Market in Seoul and do some shopping. I've been thinking about purchasing a DSLR camera for a while now and have been doing lots of research online to see what camera I wanted and what price I should pay. 

While I was at home in New Zealand in March and April I got a chance to try out my parents new Canon Eos 1100 and I had some fun learning how to use it.  I have not really been interested in photography until then, I don't really even use my point-and-shoot very much when I travel. I always think about it after the fact - 'oh I should have taken a photo of that' is pretty much my motto.  After doing some research on it I decided that photography would be a good hobby for me, I need something to do, I always like to learn new skills and you can do it anywhere, so it fits the bill.

After doing lots of research online I decided to go with a Nikon rather than a Canon because I liked the options better.  I narrowed it down to two cameras the D5100 which was a solid beginners camera with good reviews but it was a bit older and they had since released the D5200 which also had good reviews and some extra features.  I decided that I did not want to go over NZ$1000.00 and that I wanted to get at least two lens and hopefully a bag and any other extras that were available.  With all this in mind I headed to Namdaemun Market on Sunday afternoon.

Namdaemun Market
Namdaemun Market is a traditional market located in Seoul, it is named for the gate which it is located next to and is one of the oldest and largest markets in Korea.  The market is huge and is a combination of both street merchants and shops.  It is built in an area not accessible to cars as it is such an old institution that predates them, so the main market is foot traffic only - merchants use wagons and scooters to transport their goods in and out.

The market can be accessed easily by subway, the closest station is Hoehyeon Station, Line 4 when you come of exits such as 2 or 5 you will be right on the edge of the market. Otherwise you can also make your way there from Soul Metropolitan Station but it's about a 10 minute walk.

Namdaemun (Also Sungnyemun)

Ilsan to Namdaemun
I took the bus as I find that unless traffic is bad buses are usually quicker.  I took a red bus no. 1000 from Ilsan-dong gu Office (일산동구청(중)) bus stop and got off at Samsung Plaza (삼성프라자) bus stop - this is one stop before Seoul Station - if you do go to far you can still walk from Seoul Station it's just a bit longer. The Samsung Plaza stop drops you off diagonally opposite 'Gate 1' of the market. You just need to get off the bus and walk up towards the big intersection  - can't be missed as you will also be walking towards Namdaemun Gate. Cross the street twice so you are diagonally across to your left, you will be able to see the 'Gate 1' sign on your right and if you are looking for the traditional market you can enter here.  If you go to your left, away from the 'Gate 1' sign you will walk down a street with lots of camera shops and you will be heading for 'Gate 2' - this is where I did my camera shopping after finding some other blogs that talked about shopping here.

Looking towards Gate 1 - once you get across the street

On the way back you don't need to cross the street to get to the opposite bus stop like you usually do. The red 1000 bus does a circuit so you need to get on the same bus that you got off - it will go on to Seoul Station and then make a loop and head back to Ilsan.

Camera Shopping
So I had a look in a couple of stores for the two cameras that I was looking at. The D5200 ended up being more than I wanted to spend so I found a store that I had read about on another blog that had the D5100 new.  I think I did Ok in price but I did not haggle as I'm not really sure how to do that, I think I should have offered a lower price as I do think now in hindsight I could have gone down a bit.

I got the Nikon D5100 with kit lens (18-55) and a bag, 4 gig SD card, UV filter for lens and a cleaning kit.  I also got another lens (55-200), this one was used but it was the only one he had and he did show me that it worked before I paid. All and all I got what I wanted and I was within my budget so that's what matters. The name of the store was 'YesDica' (just a few stores down from Gate 2 of the market) and I've included a picture of the store below. 

YesDica - Where I bought my Camera
The owner was very nice and helpful, he spoke English, although I'm not sure he understood everything; a few times he just responded 'Yes Okay', but good enough to answer basic questions and get everything sorted out. He showed me the serial number on the camera and that it matched the box and the warranty and assured me if there were any problems I could come back and he gave me his card.

In conclusion hopefully in the future you might see some more photos on this blog - I have also set up a flickr account  - so far only some photos that I took in New Zealand when I was practicing with the camera I borrowed from my parents but I will add to it as I get going and learn how to use my new camera.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

McDelivery - Getting McDonalds delivered in Korea

One of the many great things about Korea is its commitment to making life easier for the average citizen and one way that this is evident is in the range of takeout and delivery services from restaurants. Even McDonalds in Korea has a delivery service.

I've been in Korea a couple of years but to be honest my Korean is not that great, I can say the basics but I'm still pretty shy about using it in most cases as my pronunciation is not very good.  I've know since I got here that you can get McDonalds delivered and I was immediately interested, I'm pretty lazy at the best of times so this sounded like a great idea. There are videos and blog posts about how to go about ordering through the phone order system but it still required some Korean, you had to be able to decipher what they were asking and tell them your address.  The one time I tried to call the person who answered did not speak English and basically just hung up on me so I did not really bother again, I also had a look at the website but it was all in Korean too - there is an app too but also in Korean. So while it was possible and some people had more successful tries than me I had not really looked into it further.

Recently however a friend told me that he had ordered online, I was surprised and asked how  - it seems that the site now has an English delivery form.  Great news if you have been wanting to get some McDonalds delivered right to you door. It's really easy, I tried it tonight and it worked fine - my food showed up in less than half and hour.

Here's how:

Go to the McDelivery Website,
This is different from the McDonalds Korea website.

It should look like the image below and it had the options for Korean or English at the top, you can change it to English and then in the top right had corner is a registration link and your login place if you have already registered.

To register you enter your details, make a log in and password - you have to activate the account when they send a number to your email address. After that you can enter your address, you will need to know it in Korean but most people have it written down somewhere - it's all drop down menus so you just select the ones that match for your city, dong, gu and there is a place to write any additional details if you need to clarify.

Once you have done all that you can order what you want, the prices are all there and it adds it up as you go - you can select different drinks or sauces, if you want one item or the set - it's all very easy.  Once you order it gives you an estimated time of arrival and you can track your order.

I also had a quick look at the app - I have it on my android phone and it has been updated now too - it just goes to the same website and you can select English or Korean.

If you need a quick junk food fix it now couldn't be easier. Thanks McDonalds Korea!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Moving in Korea

If you have been in Korea for more than a year you might find yourself having to move house.  Sometimes within a city and often times to a new city.  Moving is always a stressful time no matter what country you are in but Korea we have the added hurdle of language.  If you speak Korean then obviously you have a step up and can deal with this pretty easily but if you are like me with limited Korean it can be a challenge.

I recently had to move from Suwon to Ilsan, I was pretty worried about it all as my company were little to no help in the matter. I ended up only getting about two days notice from when I had to move, I was told on the Wednesday that my new apartment would be ready on Friday afternoon and I was expected to start work on the Tuesday but I had to go into the school on Monday to meet everyone and get my schedule.  So that did not give me much time to work with.

I did some research online and found a few companies that did moving. Many of them offer two services one is where they come in and pack your whole house for you and then transport it to the new house for you and the other is where you do the packing yourself and just hire a driver to transport it to the new house. The first option I think would be better suited to if you have a whole household, perhaps a couple or family type situation and if you have a lot of things or a lot of nice things.

The video below is a segment from Arirang TV on their 'Korea Today' series and it takes a look at the moving companies in Korea and the services that they offer. It's a real all encompassing service where they pack everything, transport it and then unpack it into your new apartment for you - they even take care of the cleaning. Great if you have a lot of stuff to move as it's quick and efficient.

I have a fair amount of stuff but it's still only one room really and none of it is really expensive, I don't plan on being here forever so while I do like to shop I try to limit myself by keeping that in mind. I also needed someone who was able to do the moving on two days notice and I did not what to pay too much as I was off work for a month and my company pays at the end of the month so I had to wait a month and a half for my next full pay. A lot of the advice I read said about getting an estimate, this is where someone comes and assesses you things and will quote you how much but I did not really end up having time for that either.

I had a look on the internet and came across a few companies that would do moving in Korea and catered to foreigners. The one I ended up choosing was the first one I rang, I had contacted another one but this one got back to me faster so that was it. It was recommended on a local facebook message page for my area and I had seen the advertisements there also. I rang first to check they were available on the coming Saturday and that they could do from Suwon to Ilsan - from there I had to fill in the online form and then they rang me back with the price which was 200, 000 won. 

On moving day I was a bit behind, I had all the big stuff done but I underestimated how long it would take to pack up all the little stuff.  The driver did not speak English and this hampered things a bit but he was very nice and capable so we manged to get it all done. I had expected him to speak English as the guy that I spoke to on the phone had, the one time that we had some major communication issue he phoned his boss to translate and we worked it out.

Elevator Service Fee
It turned out that I had to pay the security man in my building for using the elevator, I had no idea of this and did not understand what he was asking.  We got it sorted out once the guy from the moving company talked with the security man for me  - it cost 20,000 won in my building in Suwon and then when I go to my new building in Ilsan it was another 30,000 won.  At least the second time I knew what they were going on about and could pay quickly to get it sorted out.  Something to be aware of if you are using this kind of moving company - the smaller less commercial ones.

The driver did all the heavy lifting, I just packed the things and gave them to him.  He took them down and packed them on the truck and on the other end I stayed in the apartment and he brought everything up.  It took a about 4 or 5 trips but he didn't want any help. I think I was just getting in his way.  I accompanied the driver in his truck to the new place, we had a little trouble finding it but the driver finally figured it out, he had to ring someone again but he found it so that's what matters.

The truck was just a middle sized open one, as it was raining I was a bit worried.  He covered everything with a tarpaulin but a few things did get a bit wet.  Like I said I don't have anything really expensive so it was not an issue for me. A few things got scratched, like my bookcase, it must have been rubbing against something else on the truck.  It would have been best to have put some sheets or packing materials between things.  I was not too worried but if you have some nicer furniture you could just make sure you cover it with something before it is packed in the truck.

All in all I would recommend the service, all the initial organizing is in English, they were reasonably priced and the driver although he did not speak English was really nice and helpful.

The company I used is called Move in Korea (MIK). They have a number of different services so if you are moving in Korea I would recommend you checking them out.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Funny Video - K-Idols speaking English

This is a clip from a Korean variety show where some Korean celebrities had to translate a Korean phrase into English.

Might be something that you can show to your class for fun - see if they can do better than the stars.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Welcome to Ilsan - New Home/New Blog Name

Well I am back in Korea after a lovely long holiday back in New Zealand and I have officially moved from Suwon to Ilsan.  This means that I have to update my blog name from 'kiwigirl in Suwon' to 'kiwigirl in Ilsan', I am not going to update the address as I think that would be too confusing.

I moved a few weeks ago now and have just been settling into my new apartment and getting used to a new school.  While I am still with the same company, each branch has it's own way of doing things so there is always a learning curve. 

So far Ilsan is Ok, it seems more suburban than Suwon however and there are loads of bikes around on the footpaths. The city seems to be trying to encourage their use by making them available for hire all round the city. It's just annoying because they are on the sidewalk so you risk getting run over every day.  I would not mind so much if they were on the roads.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about Ilsan but so far I miss Suwon, I'm sure things will get better once I learn my way around and meet some people.

I've been a bit slack for a long while on the blogging front.  I will try and post a bit more over the coming weeks as I get out and explore Ilsan.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Korea in the News #6

Hmmmm should I be worried about coming back to Korea - my family is getting a bit anxious as I fly back in the second week of April.

North Korea declares war on South Korea

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The last few Weekends - Itaewon and Insa-dong

I have not really had a chance to post much recently, I'm still trying to sort out all the details for when I go home and my upcoming move when I get back to Korea in April. That being said I have been meaning to do a blog post from last weekend and now that this weekend is almost over I figured I would just combine them and make one post.


Last weekend was actually Seollal (Hangul: 설날) - or Korean New Year. This means we had the Monday off after the weekend for a nice long weekend.  I didn't do much but I did go to Seoul on Monday to meet a friend for lunch in Itaewon. She was a bit late so I ended up going to 'What the Book?' English bookstore to wait for her. I got a book and a magazine, I pretty much never leave there empty handed.

I was meeting a Korean friend that I met while doing a camp, she was my co-teacher and we got along really well.  We decided that we should meet up and enjoy some delicious food - she likes western food more than Korean food so we are on the same page.

We went to Suji's, it's a place I've heard was good but also that it is super busy, especially on the weekends.  The only time I've been going to go there with friends a while back it was way to long of a wait for a table so we went elsewhere. On Monday there was only a short wait, some of the places were not open due to the holiday so it was good that Suji's was.

It was really nice, everything came quickly and it was simple but well prepared and tasty.  I had a cheeseburger that came with wedges and a coleslaw - the coleslaw was a bit more heavy on the sauce than I ideally like but that would probably be my only complaint if I had to make one.

I would definitely recommend Suji's if you are looking for some nice basic western (American) food, however it is busy so if you don't like waiting in line you might like to have a backup plan.
How to get there:
You can use either Itaewon Station or Noksapyeong as a landmark for this restaurant, but it is closer to Noksapyeong Station. If you are coming from Itaewon Station you have to walk all the way down the main street  - past McDonald's, past Santorini Greek Restaurant and when the road turns left around the corner Suji's is on your left just round the corner a bit., if you follow the sidewalk you should find it no problem. The picture above is what the outside looks lik -  once you get inside, the restaurant is up the stairs.
I also took the opportunity while in Itaewon to visit the Foreign Food Mart, I have spoken about this one in previous posts. It's all the way down the other side of Itaewon from Suji's but I had not been for a while and wanted to grab some stuff to take to work with me as I will be leaving soon. My friend had never been before so she was interested in seeing what they had, she lived in America for a while and was happy to find a few treats of things she enjoyed over there.
                                                                               I got a few things, Salt and Vinegar crisps, a Cadbury chocolate bar and two packets of Tim Tams to take to work - I also got some banana/chocolate sweets from Holland that looked interesting. These are my goodies from the trip - a good haul I think.
                                                                               It was sooooo cold after that that we had to go to a cafe to warm up, we went to Jubilee Cafe which is just outside exit 3 of Itaewon Station on the corner.  I've mentioned this one before in a previous post about Itaewon as it is a pretty nice place. It's a chocolate cafe and they do several kinds of hot chocolate (among other things), last time I just had a classic one but I was a bit more adventurous this time and had a blueberry flavoured one.  It was nice, very sweet though.
This weekend I went to Insa-dong. Insa-dong is a neighborhood in Seoul where there is a real mix of the traditional and the modern. It's well know for sightseeing, antiques and art gallerys.
A friend of one of my friends will be leaving Korea soon and wanted to get some souvenirs - of course where is the best place for this? Insa-dong. I decided to tag along as I have a trip home at the end of the month and figured I could do with a few pressies to take with me.

Above and below are some pictures I took of Insa-dong, the souvenir shops, street food and hole in the wall vendors make up the majority of what you can find on the main road of Insa-dong.

Insa-dong is always so crowded, it's a real tourist destination. There is always lots going on, sometimes there will be music or performances (like the in the photos below).
There are also heaps of street vendors selling jewelry, wooden crafts and other various items. This one sells ice cream in the long tubes (pictured) which seems really popular, even in the middle of winter.
It was really really cold on Saturday, I find that the best places to shop are the big centers that have lots of different sellers all together in one store. You can find all the things you need in these and it's warmer than walking from one store to the next. I got a few of my things from this one and I have purchased stuff from here before too. They have decent items at a reasonable price.
I manged to get a few final souvenirs so all in all it was a good day out in Insa-dong.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Korea in the News #5

Korea was again in the news, this article highlights one of the problems that as foreigners we see here in South Korea constantly.  The attitude towards animals is really low, I think a lot of it comes from the fact that they are just not educated on how to interact with animals.  There are not many wild ones left and pets are expensive so many people don't have them.  It means that they just don't know how to deal with animals and the emotional connection is lacking. 

Burning dog sparks public outcry in S. Korea

One of my good friends (a lovely, educated woman who is a mother and principle of a private school) was telling me how she was once (a long time ago) given some baby rabbits from a boyfriend and she put them in her handbag to carry around.  They of course died and she was very sad - I could not believe that someone could be so silly.  Of course they died, they are fragile creatures  - who in their right mind would put them in their handbag?  But the thing is, as I came to realise, she did not know that  - she had never had an animal before, had no experience with animals and had no idea what to do or how to look after them. What I and many of us would see as basic common sense just did not apply sadly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The New Year - 2013

So this is a little late, being as it's over halfway through the first month of the New Year but hey, better late than never.

So Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you are sticking to your New Year resolutions.

I have not posted much lately as I've been pretty busy and with the holiday period everything always gets behind.  I did a couple of English Camps in other cities, one over Christmas and then one this past week gone.  I don't think I will be doing that again for a while, I always come home sick.  It is a good way to make some money however as they usually pay pretty well and you stay there for a week with room and board so you don't spend any money in that time.  I'm going home for a friends wedding in March and will be staying for about a month and a half so some extra money was needed.

When I come back in April it looks like I will no longer be in Suwon, this presents difficulties in that I named my blog - 'kiwigirl in Suwon' and made that the url as well.  I, of course, was not thinking long term at the time of creation. So it might become a bit confusing but we will see how it turns out.

I won't be doing the Music Mondays for a while, I might start again after I get back in April but everything is going to be pretty hectic so I will just post when I can.