Happy Monday All!
So anytime I see an inexpensive trip through post, I sign Zach and I up. So this weekend, we ventured to Nami Island with the spouses club on post. And sadly, this is the first Korea fail we have experienced, though at almost 4 months here, it was long over due. Nami island is **usually** a 2 hour drive from Camp Humphreys, and is a man made island in the middle of Han River. Many K-dramas and movies have been filmed there, and with the leaves starting to change, we were really excited to experience something new and behold the beauty that was Nami Island. The island has it’s own currency and has declared itself “independent”, though I think that’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else. And don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful there, but it was so crowded that even if you wanted to take a picture of the beauty around, it would be jam packed with the numerous people that had the same idea that we did. Instead of 2 hours, it took us just short of 4 hours to get there, that’s how crazy popular and busy this place was. I thought Northern Virginia traffic was awful, but all I can say is: touché South Korea…touché. Luckily, I signed up for the trip with a couple of friends so the company was fantastic. And it was beautiful, but I’m not sure its worth being on a bus for 7 hours and fighting masses of people to take in a view. There were some beautiful homes along the river near the island and the island had tons of wild life, to include squirrels, which you really don’t see here in Korea, chipmunks, rabbits, and ostriches.
We did get photobombed by one of the rabbits on the island so that was pretty awesome 🙂 Thank you Amia for taking our picture 🙂
Though it was a bust, the best part of the trip was the fact that the area that we visited is where my favorite Korean dish originated: Dakgalkbi. Its a spicy chicken stir fry that has rice cakes and cheese in it. There is a place down the street from where we live that only serves this dish, so we may or may not have gone to two separate restaurants while we were at Nami Island to try the different variations of the dish. It was spectacular!
So as you are looking at the above pictures, you might think that they are a bit fuzzy….that’s a true look at how bad air quality is right now. Its been hazy like this for about a week, and my respiratory system is not a fan. No medicine works in clearing out the Korean crud, because its not a virus or bacteria, its just plain old dirty air. The best way to describe it is if you have ever opened your eyes under water in a chlorinated pool one to many times, everything looks really fuzzy and hazy until your eyes get rid of the chlorine once you get out of the pool. That’s how much pollution is in the air right now. I find myself contently blinking to try to clear my vision and then I remember its the air itself. Korea blames this on China, and the jet stream does move in a direction that would carry pollution our direction, but you never read about Korea taking a little ownership for their share in the air quality, because believe me, they are polluting the air just as China is. Its been interesting to follow to say the least. Especially since the US’s current administration is in the process of rolling back regulations on manufacturers aiming to prevent air pollution. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these regulations cost money, take away from the bottom line, and therefore cause goods to cost more, but after witnessing poor air quality here and being sick for the past week, I’m 100% sure I’m ok with paying a little more money for goods and services if it means I have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Just my two cents 🙂 This picture should be crystal clear but this is what it looks like when companies aren’t regulated in what they release into our environment.
Speaking of government regulations, this past Sunday I wanted to go to Costco to make my monthly trip. However, the Korean government mandates that big box retailers such as Costco, Lotte Mart, Emart (think Target, Walmart) close every other Sunday in order to give smaller businesses a fighting chance to compete. First thing that came to mind when I learned this was how nice this would have been while I was working for Target. Its definitely interesting to learn where the government steps in here and where they do not.
Otherwise, not too much else to report. I just finished up with my last electives for my MBA, so I only will be taking two classes at a time from now until May (thank you baby Jesus, these past two months have been ROUGH!). I’m heading to Seoul tomorrow to do some more exploring and Zach and I are heading to Busan for a 3 day weekend in two weeks. Hope everyone back home is doing well!