Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why I Need a Dish Washer

I'm so lazy, I haven't done my dishes in forever... I make sure mold doesn't accumulate by at least running fresh water over my dishes everyday. However, I always think, I'll do it "tomorrow" because I know I'll use another cup/dish/spoon/chopstick and it would suck to just have to wash one cup/dish/spoon/chopstick by itself.

Oh and I'm cheap too. I don't want to use dish soap on just one cup/dish/spoon chopstick.

Today, I wiped the Spam grease out of my frying pan with kleenex (I'm also too cheap and lazy to go buy paper towels at the 7-11 down the street) so that I could make ddokbokki. Now I have a caked frying pan with ddokbokki sauce.

I miss having my dishwasher in the Venue... at least I could hide the dirty dishes from sight.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nabiya

Since I've been in Korea, I have been volunteering at Nabiya Cat Shelter a few hours a week. It really is a nice way to clear my head of work stress and also as I've mentioned before, I'm sure it helps to rack up some good karma points.

I'm doing some early spring cleaning on my hard drive and I took these pics before I left for Christmas Vacation.
Sunshine will literally give you a bear hug when you walk in.
This is Mong. He's still pretty feral but I really like how it looks like he is wearing a toupee.
Tagun is the Boss Man and puts the other kitties into their place when needed.
This sweet man is Donggri. He's blind in both eyes but is so patient and friendly. I always make sure to pay a few extra minutes to this guy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walking on a Dream

After taking an overnight bus from Bangkok to Surathani, I got onto this local bus that transported us to a pier. On that pier, we waited for about 2 hours before taking us to Koh Samui aka Paradise Found...



The bungalow that Jamie and I stayed in at the Smile House Resort. Koh Samui was the perfect island for my travels. Our beach was quiet, gorgeous water, nice sand, and was a 2 minute walk from our bungalow.
New Years Eve coincidentally landed on the Full Moon Party in Koh Phagnan a quick boat ride from Koh Samui. To witness the magic I had here, watch the video below!



video

Friday, January 15, 2010

Further Down the River

I'm going out of order, but I've been working on these videos now and by golly, I'm gonna put this one up:

Bangkok, Grand Palace, Jim Thompson's House

video

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Very Brady Palace







Reunification Palace in Saigon. Or as I like to call it, "The Very Brady White House"



Cu Chi Cu Chi Coo!

After spending a few days in Saigon, I wanted to venture out into the country to find some water buffalo and also to check out the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao De Temples. I didn't know too much about either but hoped to become culturally enlightened by the end of the day.

Liz mentioned these in her travels through Vietnam. She had likened the Cu Chi Tunnel segment as a Viet Cong Disneyland. Wasn't quite sure what she meant until I arrived in the village. We walked through a big white tunnel and on the other side we saw a few grass huts scattered around the grounds. I followed the crowd to a hut on the left and carefully walked down the dirt steps into a very primal ditch. The walls were dirt, the roof was thatched and sitting in the front was a very modern, hi-tech flat screen. We sat down and watched a propagandist video of the Cu Chi Tunnels history.

"The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968.

The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. The role of the tunnel systems should not be underestimated in its importance to the Viet Cong in resisting American operations and protracting the war, eventually culminating in an American withdrawal." -wikipedia

I had spoken to some of the people on the tour during lunch and had come to the realization that I was the only American in the group. So as we were watching the video, I looked around and realized everyone had begun to slowly inch away from me. I was sitting by myself and it felt like I either had really B.O. (impossible!) or they were afraid any left over guerillas would single me out and they didn't want to get in the crossfire. The movie went on to showcase several child soldiers who won prestigious awards of killing the most Americans in their battalion. A little girl no more than 12 had shot down 32 American GIs in her village. Moving on.

We left the hut and walked onto the rest of the tour. We saw booty traps (you mean booby traps? that's what I said! booby traps!) like the one below. I would not like a pleasant stroll through the bamboo forests to end quite suddenly in this pit below.

Then our guide demonstrated his skinny-ness by hopping into this hole completely. No way the fat Americans could do this. But there were a few Italians who gave it a whirl. Note to Italian girl in the white skirt who jumped in to try to get some cute facebook profile pictures: what were you thinking?!



Notice, despite ideological differences, the similar taste in footwear.

Please disregard the copious amounts of perspiration. I made it through the first segment of the tunnels.
My new friends. We decide to let's just call it a day.
video

And here's a lil video of our guy playing Peek-A-Boo!

Pho, Pho, Pho! Merry Xmas!

After a restful sleep, I woke up at around 7 ready to begin my day of exploring Saigon. The honks and motors outside got me out of bed. Wandering aimlessly through the streets near my hotel I searched for anything resembling the cafes that Brandon mentioned. He wrote in an email about lounging outside a cafe, drinking coffee and eating a chocolate pastry. That's what I wanted. Unfortunately I found nothing of the sort and was bombarded by men in rickshaws or on motorbikes asking me where I wanted to go. To escape this, I ducked into this little side street.

I looked around and found a street vendor with stout plastic chairs and tables. I looked at the two men smoking and drinking their morning coffee. Next to them, a young boy was slurping down a bowl of pho. The lady approached me and I pointed to the coffee. Pleased with my find I sat down and waited for my coffee to drip.


I love this stuff!! After enjoying my first cup of Vietnamese coffee, contemplating if I should have another, I relished this feeling of being in a new place, having no idea what to do or where to go. For the better part of my travels, I had been in the mindset of knowing as much as I could about my destination, carrying a guide book in hand. Vietnam has been the first place where I was a true nomad. I knew what I should check out, but I'm so glad I chose to aimlessly wander the city versus "touring" it. I do feel that these two types of exploration will give you two very different impressions of a city.

Biting at the bit, I started to trek the streets. Saigon reminded me of the French Quarter, especially in the old district. Strolling the streets, I noticed these banners lining the sidewalks. I had to keep reminding myself that Vietnam was communist, or as Mikey likes to say, "Mini-Communist." Nothing says Holiday Cheer like the Hammer and Sickle.

Lunch time! I liked the spring rolls but not the dipping sauce (too fishy) and then came the time to eat my first bowl of pho. I had high expectations because friends have basically given me the impression that I would love it. Stephanie likened it to galbi-tang (which I looooove). Liz compared it to a beef chicken noodle soup.

The waiter brought it out, ok well it looks delicious. So I grabbed my spoon and took a big mouthful. At first, I didn't taste anything. Then I tasted beef. Then I tasted.... cilantro. Blech. Some people love cilantro. I am not those people. I can tolerate moderate sprinkles of cilantro in salsa or whatever but a mouthful of cilantro made my gag reflexes start to act up. Discounting the cilantro, the aftertaste of the pho was not too pleasant either. A little too salty? Personally, I was disappointed that I didn't like pho.

It was like, "Hey! Vietnam! You're awesome! I like you a lot! But. listen. I really can't stomach your food. Really, I wanted this to work out, but I don't think it will."

So coffee: + 10
spring rolls: + 5
dipping sauce: - 5
pho: -15

Castaway on the Moon

It's been awhile since I've seen a Korean movie that I've LOVED. Today, this came into my life:


So cute. I think I will turn into a weepy mess the next time I eat jja-jjang-myun.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Guidette in Training

Fellow readers,

My sincerest apologies for not putting up any recent updates, including my travels. Unfortunately, my life has been consumed by juiced, tan, guidos that like to fist pump to house music.


But I've caught up on the Jersey Shore episodes, so we should get back to our regular blogging this weekend!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Tardy Christmas Carol


video video

My blog posts will be a little behind as I put all these crap together. After months of whipping my kids into shape, we finally had our performance. I'm such a proud little stage mother. If you ever watched those pre-school pageant documentaries you no doubt witnessed the stage mother with the crazy eyes. The camera zooms in on her in the back of the room. She gestures wildly like someone having a seizure, a smile plastered on her face, singing along with so much energy you would think she's strung out on something made in a trailer park meth lab. That was me on Dec. 23.

You will watch these videos. And you will think they are adorable.

Now I know how my parents felt when they made everyone they know watch me in Little Shop.