Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Chun Cheong, where everyone waits for the green light

Looks like an Imperial Feast, doesn't it. Ah, a lot of it was uneaten ...

Yes, we are in the land of Korean TV drama. Chun Cheong is about one and a half hours from Seoul surrounded by mountains (and snow in winter). When I was busy in the Expert Group Meeting organised by UN-Habitat and the International Urban Training Centre, my wife visited Nami Island where the famous scenes of snow covered avenue lined with pine trees from Winter Sonata were filmed. I am told Japanese, Taiwanese and even Malaysians are crazy about visiting the Island. It seems the foreigners are more intrigued with Nami Island than Koreans - "it's just an ordinary island" was what the Koreans will probably tell you.

One of the things we noticed in Chun Cheong is that the drivers are very calm. No mad rushing around (except for the occasionaly idiot), drivers slow down and wait for pedestrians and my wife says the taxi drivers are very polite (I haven't taken a taxi here yet). And everybody, yes everybody waits for the green light at the pedestrian crossing. Even when there are no cars zooming past. We were a little embarrassed in the beginning when we tried to cross the street the Malaysian way - anywhere, regardless of what colour the light is. Then peer pressure kicked in and we now patiently wait for the green light. But of course the drivers seems to have no hesitation parking along the yellow line.

Traditional Korean food is quite a challenge. In fact, we had Korean food in Penang some time back and vowed never to have Korean dinner again. A lot of it is "weird" - salty, spicy, sweet, sour - quite confusing. But if you know what to eat, Korean food is delicious. One big problem is that we have not met any shop owner who speaks even a little English and the menu are all in Korean. So, we have get up and go point at the pictures and fake food on display. My wife ended up with pig's blood in a soup once.

Me and My Noodles!
This one was good. Seafood and udon. The bowl comes piping hot.

Ais Cacang Korean Style. It was very good.
We had it at a brand new department store were everyone clear their own table after eating.

My wife discovered Dakgalbi through the Internet and it was our first lunch in Chun Cheong.
Highly recommended. The whole street is full of shops selling dakgalbi.
From the left : Moong Nah, Me, Kim, Cheryl and Bernhard.

We walked around the underground mall after dinner and my wife decided to pick up a few things
After paying the cashier kept indicating the plastic bag and giving a look which said "do you want the plastic bag?"
Yes, you guessed it. You have to pay for plastic bags in Korea (50 won, about 15 sens).
On the roadside we noticed bags of thrash are segregated into various types of recyclable.

Korea is one of the wealthiest nation in Asia but I see a lot of old ladies selling their small stock of vegetables by the roadside near the market - which is good because they are independent and active. And lots of old men and women with their tricycles collecting recyclable cardboards - which is also good because recyclables don't end up in the landfill.

Tomorrow morning we leave for Seoul, the Soul of Asia. See you there!

No comments: