First Day in Seoul!

Jet-lagged and travel-ragged, we took today easy. We wandered down to a space-themed park just minutes from Uncle Sam and Aunt Hye Sook’s house, and had a blast (pun only partially intended).

The kid activities were fantastic, and the park was ringed with exercise equipment for adults. But not just the chin up bars and balance equipment I’ve typically seen in US exercise parks. This one had gliders, ab rollers/bike/thingys (I’ve never seen anything like some of them, actually), elliptical trainers, and a fully-equipped weight lifting area. We all had fun playing this morning!

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Aardvark also wanted to take pics:

She’s still learning. We’re actually impressed that there was even one with our heads in it, out of the 12 she took.

These UFO/Space crawler things were so neat – inside was painted with constellations that glowed from pin prick light flowing through, and had a really cool echo that distorted your voice when you spoke while standing inside them.

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Bonus points if you can spot the photo bomber in the background, on what was my favorite piece of exercise equipment – I want one for our home!

The park is part of a riverside park that stretches along the north bank of the Han River, and we wandered along it for a stretch, dodging the hundreds of cyclists speeding past (it looks like such a fun bike ride. We might need to rent bikes and ride the length of it while we are here) before the heat and humidity got the better of us Californians.

We stopped for a snack at this little shack that was no bigger than a shipping container. It was mostly beverages and meat snacks (think beef jerky, teeny hot dogs, and more) but they also had some cheese sticks. Although we haven’t changed money yet, Don had some won on him leftover from his last trip to Korea, so he picked out a drink and one of the cheese sticks, this one labeled “Double Cheese” in English, with the rest of the label in Korean.

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This is the drink he chose, explaining “I have no idea what this is. Let’s try it.”

It turned out to taste exactly as described: like pine trees. Like, really, really strongly of pine trees. It was like drinking Christmas.

img_4242We sat on benches in the shade of this lovely bridge overpass and unwrapped the double cheese stick. It was wrapped a little like a sausage or beef jerky and took some finagling to open. I was so hungry I took a big bite…

…and was shocked. It was just not what I was expecting. I thought “double cheese” would be something like, say, colby/monterey jack blend.

Nope.

This was nothing like that. It was not even like cheese, as far as I could tell, other than its consistency.

Don could tell from my horrified look I was not loving it, but determined to be mature about it, I told myself to ignore my instinct on the flavor and just chew and swallow the bite and be done with it.

But I quickly realized that couldn’t happen. There was no mind-over-matter-ing this; I needed to either spit it out or I was going to start gagging.

I found a trash bin and went to spit it out as discreetly as I could, and when I returned Don, who had taken a bite by then, was exclaiming, “This is awful!” And Don is¬†typically a brave eater (he’s eaten chocolate covered silk worms in Korea in the past, for instance). It takes a lot for him to find something disgusting!

It turns out that there were chunks of some kind of fish in the cheese stick. I think the taste of canned Christmas leftover from my sip of the Pine Bud Drink helped disguise the taste of fish specifically (Don makes fun of my for being overly sensitive to the taste of anything that reminds me of fish) but not to the general grossness of whatever it was we were eating in the Double Cheese Stick.

Ugh. Went home and had to have some kimchi to wipe the taste out of my mouth!

 

 

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