Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Croatian Food Board

I'm messing around with inspiration boards.  They are really addictive.  Here is my yummy food board with Sarma, povatica, pohance, slivovitz, fresh bread pieces, rosemary and soup!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hotels in Korea

I'm not sure that this constitutes as an I Love Korea post - but I do think that owning a hotel in Korea would be a profitable endeavor.  I may post more pictures later, but I'm not sure the next time we will be staying in a Korean style hotel!

A little information about accommodations:  

Many hotels have western style rooms which include a bed.  But most hotels, pensions, and motels we've stayed in are typically without.  For this reason, the cost of running a hotel seems cheap compared to back home.  Koreans just require a lot less when they aren't staying at home.  And most all of the places we've stayed have had a very nice and helpful owner/managers for most of your needs. 

This is a swanky ski resort we just visited during the off season.  There were still plenty of people around, but we got a kickin room with a kitchenette.  Many times, it's just a square room and a TV.
I love that most everywhere you have to take off your shoes.  This eliminates all the mud, water, and misc crap that you can drag into your home.  In fact, I was teaching a storybook to my kids, and a picture in the book showed a little kid playing in his bedroom.  One of my students asked why he was wearing shoes in the house!  It was so funny - and when I told her why, she looked incredulous.
"But, it gets dirty!"
It does indeed.  I used to hate taking my shoes off at other people's houses.  But I have reformed my ways and now I am a true believer. 
 Most places have house shoes if you want to wear them, and of course, the rooms are heated with floor heaters which makes things nice and cozy.
Most all rooms will have a small closet or a wardrobe which include your bedding.  Fancier places have floor mats and blankets, but most places just have a heavy and or light blanket.  Most pillows are hard so your head is propped up when you're rolling around on the floor.
This is a swanky bathroom that includes a tub.  Please note: no shower curtain.  There is a drain in the floor, and the shower head is lower so you can grab it while you're sitting in the tub.   Many times the tubs come without a stopper - so it's more like a sitting shower.  There are shower shoes, and the towels you are given are hand towel size.  Don't ask me how, but now I'm used to using just a hand towel when I get out of the shower.  Okay, you got me.  I usually use more than one of them!  hahahaha!  Most places supply shampoo, conditioner, soap, body scrub towelette and toothpaste.  These are usually normal size - not travel size.  You can't take them with you!
We actually had a table and chairs, AND a small loveseat!  We were in a resort, and the room was for 8 people!  We had a living room area which is rare.
 This is one of the bedrooms.  It had a basic vanity that contained gel, q-tips, lotion, a brush and comb.  The doors slide shut, and you could fit around 5 or 6 people in here if needed.
The kitchenette had a sink, small fridge, and basic table settings.  Soup is a staple at Korean meals, so there are a lot of bowls and plates for side items.
Utensils include only scissors for cutting all things, ladles and a spatula.  There is one small knife, and always a rice cooker.

 Most places, including my apartment, do not have ovens as most dishes are cooked on the stove top.  Flatware in the small plastic box includes spoons and chopsticks.  Maybe a rice spatula is floating around as well.
Again, most places are just a room, blankets, vanity, and a shower head/toilet.  This was more of a pension style resort room.  There were restaurants around the area, but Korean breakfast, lunch, and dinner are very much the same meal ingredients.  So most people are expected to cook in the rooms verses going out for every meal.

To think of it in a business sense, if I could market this style of motel in the states, my start up costs would be NOTHING! hahahahahaha!  Of course, I haven't looked into this seriously........YET!

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Love Korea #2

Part 2 of my I Love Korea series.  

Koreans love being healthy.  

One of the best things that Koreans do is eat Cuties.  Come winter, every street corner will be occupied by someone selling tons of little mandarin oranges.  These babies come by the boxful (a banana box size) or by the bowl full (which ends up being around 10-12 oranges).  They will sell for around 3000 won - which is about $2 and change (depending on the exchange rate).  They eat these like crazy, and I must say, I do too.  They are the perfect snack.  More perfect than a banana, as they come in their own container, but they are less fragile, and don't mind traveling like bananas.  They are easy to peel, and no one minds the old smell of oranges as much as they do the old smell of bananas.

 Koreans also love taking pills.  I had to go to the doctor recently and I forgot my medical insurance card.  No worries.  My doctor visit (in which I was in and out in 15 minutes) cost me only $3.  I then proceeded to the pharmacy next door.  Many people would say this a no-no, as they are usually more expensive.  Not so, Korea!  My meds, which were portioned out for me, cost me a whopping $4.50.
The only bad thing, is that I'm not sure what I was taking.  But, had I really wondered, I could've just looked everything up online - no problem.  Korea has medical doctors and traditional medicine clinics.  They usually don't freak out if you wonder what's going on, and ask to be treated with more home remedies.  But I must say, they price is right and I love that they put them into little bags for me.  Don't worry, I recycle all the packaging!

Shower Shoes

Koreans usually have shower shoes in every bathroom, to do 2 things:
Prevent Slipping on wet floors, and not getting your Socks Wet.  
Most bathrooms are a combo of toilet, sink, and shower.  They have a drain in the floor, so you can get the room as wet as you want, and it will always drain!  No shower curtains, as most Koreans use a removable shower head, a bucket, and a little stool to bathe.  And I'll tell you, they are adamant about bathing.  There is even a movement for not letting foreigners into the public baths because we don't clean ourselves well enough.  It has something to do with getting all the dead skin off and scrubbing the shit out of yourself for a hour.  I love the public baths, but I watched a woman wash her feet for 40 minutes.  JUST HER FEET!!!!
Anyway, I love the shower shoe.  I've always had a weird foot thing in the shower since I was a kid.  I have to have completely dry feet when I get out - or I feel gross.  So I really like the shower shoe thing.  


Korean Rice Wine is wonderful.  It has an effervescent taste and it is just a hint of sweetness.  It's earthy, but does not taste bitter.  I love this rice wine because for 3 reasons:
It's a nice middle between hard alcohol and beer.
It's so smooth, you can drink a lot of it, and you won't get hung over.
Plus one bottle costs $1.50.
Traditionally you would drink this out of a bowl.  You always mix the wine first, not by shaking, but by holding it upside down, and making a lasso movement with your wrist.  But oh so slowly and gently.  Too much will make too many bubbles.  It's not carbonated, it just won't mix properly. 
Delicious.  Best. Booze. EVAR.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Loco Mocos New Look

It has been brought to my attention that the blog looks 'old'.  Anthony mentioned I might spruce it up a bit, so I'm playing around with some templates.  I might go through a few changes before I find the right 'NEW' look for Loco Mocos.

So, we will start with a new series of posts I'd like to to, called
Things I love about Korea.

Everyone seems to remember bad things about a place they have gone to.  Never the good things.  When I go back and read my blogs about Paraguay, it seems there is more ranting and raving, than enjoying and saluting.  So with a few months left here in Korea, I will start to document all the good things I love about Korea, so I won't forget them!  Plus, it's a bonus that Koreans are always taking pictures.  I can snap a shot of anything and not feel awkward, unlike PY.

So here goes:

Things I Love About Korea #1

Vending Machines

Now, there are many different kinds of vending machines here in Korea.  Snacks, Drinks, Ipods, Socks, you name it, Korea has it.  But the great thing about these vending machines is that unlike the US, their food stuffs is dirt cheap.  If you can make a close up, a bottle of water is only 50 cents!  And you can get a mini can of Mountain Dew for 80 cents!  And really, who wants a giant bottle of soda?  I usually end up drinking only half of my Diet Coke, and the other half gets warm while sitting in the giant purse it has to fit in.  When I drink the mini can, I don't hold onto it for later.  I drink it cold, and it is just enough to quench my thirst.  I then put the can in the recycling bin, which are usually positioned next the the machines.
 Please note the water, Mountain Dew, Tropicana, and Lipton Ice Teas - most of which are available in the mini can.  Again, bottled water is never expensive here.  Because....it's......water.
 Not all places, but most places have free water coolers.  This is set up outside a hiking area, but all convenient stores and restaurants offer free water to fill up your water bottles or make instant coffee, ramen noodles, hot tea, or hot cocoa.  Many Koreans snack on cup o noodles type ramen all the time for usually under a dollar.  What a cheap snack item! 
 Although trash cans can be scarce in Korea, when they DO have them, they do it right.  They usually have compartments for tin, plastic, paper and glass.  If the trash can you find isn't separated, don't worry.  The sanitation crews (little old ladies) separate the trash for you with rubber gloves in a back room.  ALL trash is separated in Korea for recycling.

Here are just a few things I love about Korea.  I will continue to post more photos and more I Heart Korea installments.