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March 21, 2006


This is the morning view from the window of my lofty perch.

This is the evening view.

Today was spent recovering from jet lag (heh, it's jet *push* going this way) and reconning the Yongson Garrison, where we'll be meeting and greeting people tomorrow. Making sure we kind of know our way around so if we run into an unscrupulous cab driver (not yet, 5 cab rides so far) we can argue with him, but more importantly, getting a sense for the time it takes to move around the area so we can be where we need to be *when* we need to be.

My traveling companion Pete was disappointed to find out that the suit-maker at the Yongson PX had upped his prices. In fact, Pete's spent enough time over time in Korea he was a little surprised at how much closer many prices were to stateside prices than he remembered.

We went to the Electronics Mart (a block of city space given over to electronics and myriad vendors, large and small) where Pete did score some memory for his laptop.

After doing our leader's recon, we headed back to the hotel to catch up on email, do some prep for tomorrow, and work on those tasks that haven't disappeared just because we're in Korea...

Dinner tonight was at a Korean restaurant in the attached shopping center. The place was part of the Shinsegai department store and called... Hoorwon I believe. We sat at a table with a gas burner in the middle and ordered Beef with mushrooms and noodles stew - which was prepared at the table. I allowed the locals to titter behind their hands at my total lack of chopstick skillz - which worked to get the very pretty waitress to offer lessons. Hah. You think there is no method to the madness... I still suck at it, but I'm not wearing too much of the food, and I got hovered over by a purty young thang. What's not to like?

I also tried Sooju, a local hard liquor. Potent, but deceptive. Didn't like it enough to try it again, however - unless it was just that particular brand.

In this part of Seoul you almost have to take a taxi to get to 'genuine' Korean cuisine.

But you can find this kind of place all around. Which is not surprising - since it's my favorite restaurant in Kansas City (an opinion SWWBO does not share) it was only natural I would find it here - without looking.

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It's *also* a part of the attached shopping mall. Which had these odd fellows guarding the entrance - or perhaps they were there to secure the World's Largest Bronze Simulacrum of a Ball of Twine. It could also be a nekkid baseball... I dunno.

I *did* perform my first true consultative service (albeit gratis) in Korea. While Pete and I were wandering the supermarket in the basement of the shopping center (very much like Harrod's Food Stalls - full of the familiar and exotic) I was stopped by a young Korean woman who enquired if I was an english-speaker. She knew I was a hairy barbarian, but didn't need a german one. She had a question about a play script she was reading for a class - the scene was about parochial school, and has a character talking to another one about his grades. The phrase in biggest question was "Ah, I see by your marks you sat in the back of class." A comment which, based on her experience of assigned seats in class, confused her.

I explained the type of student in American educational institutions who *prefer* to sit in back. A light went on, she brightened up, and then said, "Ah! The rest of this now makes *much* more sense!"

We all went on our merry ways.