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.

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