New Years!

We hope you all had a fantastic New Years!

Spent ours in Icheon, a small city with hotsprings. While our vacation (2 nights) was a little bumpy (forgot our swimsuits! no restaurants were open!) we did find a cool place to have dinner one night. Reminded me a little of the cheesiness of a Red Lobster! It was called Rum Boat.

Icheon Rum Boat

Had a small boat right in the middle of the restaurant and everything.

Happy New Year!

Tracy and Sandy Xmas 2012

Chuseok, T&S Style

So, last post I told you a little about what it is like around Chuseok. Now, I would like to share what WE got up to during the break

We went to Lotte World!

Oh, we had so much fun! I felt like a kid! I was practically running one way and then another saying, ‘we can do this and then we can do that, and this, then that, and OH we have to do this, too!!!!’.

It is, apparently, the largest indoor amusement park in the world (I think Galaxy Land in West Edmonton Mall is next) but there is a whole other section outside! It was great.

One major plus was that we went on Chuseok which meant that it was empty. Don’t get me wrong, it was still busy, but relatively speaking, it was dead! We also got a huge discount because of the foreigner special they have over Chuseok (I would assume so they can draw in their most likely customers during the holiday). Normally, you would pay about $80 (CAD) for the two of us, but we ended up getting in for $30 (CAD)!!

The theme was Halloween and so there were decorations everywhere.

There was also a parade with floats, actors, mascots and dancers. Their costumes all had lights, it was pretty cool as far as a parade goes.

We went on a lot of rides because the lines were really not that long. This was our favourite.

I loved it because 1. it was a roller-coaster… obviously my favourite. 2. something new for me was that it came to a stop halfway through the ride then started up another big hill and continued on with the excitement. It was great! It made it feel like two separate rides. The excitement/fear built again as you went up another hill! and yet somehow it didn’t slow down the experience, just gave you a pause for breath. Nicely done Lotte World.

Speaking of which, I should make a quick note about the name of the place. Lotte is a company that has their fingers in many things in Korea. There is the grocery/department store, a McDonald’s type chain called Lotteria, as well as sports teams and food manufacturers. A BIG conglomerate company in South Korea. Check out the ridiculousness of their reach here. Anyways, this is one of many of their projects.

Finally, I should mention that we stayed at Lotte Hotel World, a very snazzy hotel that normally we could never afford! But, again, there were ridiculous deals to be found on-line so we decided to give it a shot. Oh my was it nice. (Only the Four Seasons in Amman, Jordan tops this on my scales! But that’s a whole other story!) I was amazed by the interesting in-room options they provided:

In the drawer by the bed you will find a New Testament (pretty standard in Canada), The Teaching of Buddha (very cool to see), and The Sorrows of Young Werther (what the? what? they give you boring literature to read so you can fall asleep?) which includes a story of where the name Lotte comes from. Lastly, you can see a Pillow Menu. That’s right. You can choose from over 15 different types of pillows. All for your comfort.

For all your business needs! Need paper clips? a highlighter? a stapler? staples for your stapler? Lotte Hotel World has your needs covered!
What’s that? you need a phone while in town? Pick it up off the charger and you are ready to go. All incoming local calls are free.

All in all, we had a great time. It was fun to feel like a kid as well as to get some good relaxation in!

추석 Chuseok

Hi everyone!! We are still here! We have been very busy and so haven’t had time to post! But here is some interesting stuff from the beginning of the month.

The end of Sept. early Oct was Chuseok, THE most important holiday in Korea. People all flee the cities and go to visit their extended families back in the country side. Towns and cities are deserted!

The preparations for the holiday were quite impressive. Something like Christmas I guess but without the decorations. Everywhere you see gift packs! I understand that giving these gifts is more the rule than the exception. But don’t worry, there are a lot of options to choose from!

You can see that some of the staff are wearing traditional dresses

I think one of the best parts of Chuseok for us foreigners was getting to see some 한복 hanbok – traditional Korean clothing. There are entire stores dedicated to custom made hanbok but they also sold ‘cheap’ ($50-$120) hanbok for kids at the grocery/department stores.

THE best part chuseok was that we were honoured to have the chance to wear some of the clothing when a student’s mom and our co-worker’s husband leant us their hanbok.

Canada Day!

Well, this comes a little late doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say I am posting this in light of the patriotism one may feel during the Olympics… yeah…

We headed into Seoul on the Saturday before Canada Day to celebrate with some fellow Canadians. We went to the foreigner district called Itaewon. We wanted to celebrate in true Canadian style: with other Canadians and with some Canadian beverages and food!

We went to Rocky Mountain Tavern, a Canadian themed bar.

It really has the feel of a Canadian pub like Hudsons. It was dimly lit, had a bunch of sports and Canada stuff on the walls, had good beer on tap and familiar food on the menu. To Sandy’s delight, they played TSN on every TV. It was funny, but also very necessary, how explicit they were when it came to the ingredients of their Caesars!

Sandy had to investigate.

They had 4 live bands that night. Two were tribute bands: one for Great Big Sea and the other for The Tragically Hip. It was a blast!

Next we went to Gold Bar. A quirky place nearby. I will leave you with a few pics. (I apologize for the quality of all these photos, my camera does not do well without perfect light!)

Happy (very belated) Canada Day Everyone!