1000 won (96 cents) of lettuce

2014-07-29

I walked through the traditional market today, to get lettuce for a lettuce-and-chicken dinner. It’s nice; lettuce here is already separated into leaves for salad purposes. Or something.

I walked through the entire market, carefully side-eyeing everyone’s produce, because I’m crazy like that.

Some of the sellers looked suspect. Who am I supposed to go for, anyway? The hunched-over old men and women who grow stuff on their rooftops? Or the shops that look like they have a massive farm or two or more? The pollution and chemicals really do make me think twice here.

In the end, I decided, FUCK IT! Went for a little old lady’s stall that’s in the walkway heading to my apartment. Why her? FUCK IT, who cares. I want lettuce.

I asked for 천원 (1000 won / chon won) of lettuce, which is about 97 cents. She looked at me and commented, “조금?” (so little / chogeum?) and I was kind of embarrassed while I confirmed it. HEY, so what if I’m single and I eat alone!? There’s no shame!

Anyway, I was standing there, watching in silent horror (can’t speak enough Korean). She was clearly packing away an entire head’s worth of lettuce. And also tossing in quite a few pieces of mustard greens, chard, and, uh, some other stuff….. I don’t know my vegetables.

“천원이에요?” I asked, in my shitty Korean. It’s 1000 won? Chon won i-eyo?

Yep, it was. It’s massive and I’m going to have to plow through this quickly. It’s delicious and I’m learning my vegetables. Maybe.

I should ask for 500 won instead, but that seems like a lousy move. That’s 50 cents and it’s in coins. Somehow, I’m pretty sure anyone who buys less than 1000 won (~$1) from a market vendor is seen as a bit nuts.

First baseball game ever

I never went to a baseball game in America, even though I lived less than 30 minutes away from Dodger Stadium. KIND OF. It’s never 30 minutes on game day. I’ve passed by on the freeway on Opening Day, and it gets backed up to the moon and back.

This particular game was SK Wyverns vs Nexen Heroes, at Munhak Baseball Stadium (home to SK Wyverns, and my local team).

I went with a friend and met his two other friends there, for the first time. Buying food and alcohol at the stadium costs about the same or slightly more expensive than elsewhere (1000-3000 won more, at most). We bought fried chicken and spicy chicken for 15,000 won each. A six-pack of beer cost 6000 won, and we bought two packs. Two large bottles of soju, for mekju (beer/mekju + soju  = mekju) for who knows what price. Drank nearly nonstop during the game.

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Each player has their own song. Everyone either knows the song, or follows the lyrics. In the picture of the stadium, you see that red line running along the middle? That’s where the lyrics are.

So you/I get drunk and start singing along. Whenever it’s your team’s turn to play, you and the other fans start singing and dancing. There are cheerleaders, and everytime you blink, they seem to multiply, and not because you’re drunk. There’s two, then four, then six. During halftime, a bunch of kids come up and do an incredibly energetic and synchronized dance routine. And there’s a guy in charge of everything, yelling and blowing on a whistle to get the crowd amped up.

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The cheerleaders start catapulting shirts into the crowd.

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And then I showed up on the Jumbotron!!!! No photo or video evidence of this, unfortunately!

And after the game, FIREWORKS!

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I’m sold on Korean baseball. SK Wyverns are my team forever!!!

Patbingsu and barbecue chicken

I decided to try store-bought patbingsu. I have yet to try the fresh stuff, but I’ll get around to that soon enough, I’m sure. Summer days are pretty humid here. Iced ANYTHING is great.

Ice creams are ridiculously cheap. The shop near me sells popsicles (both juices and ice cream) for 250 won, and cones for 950 won. Patbingsu was 750 won, even though it was listed as 950. AND the retail price on the package says 2000 won.

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The spoon is hidden under the lid.

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Peel back the top, and there’s this frozen thing. I ran it through the microwave for 20 seconds.

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And then crushed it up with that tiny spoon! It was pretty basic: milky ice, four (count ’em!) pieces of sweet rice cakes, and red beans. You can add all sorts of other things, of course: sprinkles, fruit, chocolate, Pepero, jelly candies …

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I also found a cheap(ish) rotisserie chicken near my apartment. It’s a family-run hole in the wall, closed on Sundays! 8000 won for a “barbecue” chicken … as opposed to an order of fried chicken pretty much anywhere else for 16,000 won. For me, barbecue chicken means grilled and slathered with barbecue sauce. But when you think of it, rotisserie chicken = barbecue chicken …?

The cavity was stuffed with a couple of garlic cloves, and glutinous rice. AWESOME! It comes with the usual complimentary radish pickles. And sauces: sweet mustard sauce, a mix of salt and pepper, and a horseradish/soy sauce mix.

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The all-day brunch spot

Around 6 pm, I met up at an Arts Center dessert cafe/all-day brunch spot, with my two friends. Sandwiches, smoothies, and pancakes!

I ordered the “Forbidden Fruit” drink, whatever that was. It was yellow and tasted fruity. (Yeah… I don’t have a future as a food critic.)

These were some of the cakes, which we didn’t allow ourselves to have. :)

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Shoes on sale at Red Eye, an accessories store:

shoes

Ice cream time

icecreamsReally hot and humid day today. I went to the nearby mart to buy a load of ice creams, and they were dangerously cheap. The ice cream bars are 360 won each, and the cones are 990 won. I’m excited and worried about the French Cheese cone.

The Palpico on the far right is just a chocolate ice. I’m not a fan of ices, and that’s been in my freezer forever — need to throw it out.

Sat night in Bupyeong

The area around the Bupyeong Station and Arts Center Station are the “happening” places in my corner of Korea. There’s a few foreigner bars in the area, and tonight’s pick was Shelter! It only had about 10 people at its peak, because another bar (O’Malley’s) was having a 4th of July party (yes, on the 5th. technically it’s the 4th in ‘Murica).

The rap party special!! There was a bunch of Snoop Dogg etc music playing, and a few drunk people playing darts in the corner, and two Korean girls trying out their drunk English on a white guy.

 

shelter

Bartender/owner, whose name I totally forgot because I had too many Somersby ciders. 6000 won each.

 

well-vodka

The well vodka is, uh, just like back home.