We went downtown today in search of an English map of Daegu. We found downtown but no map. The city centre is not too far from where we live...about a 10 minute cab ride (so that's about three bucks!) It was quite busy down there today and full of sights and sounds to remind you that you are still in Asia. I went to try and buy some clothes and found that I am fitting into a large for the first time in my life! Simple things like asking how much something costs become a series of grunts and gestures (despite our ever-present Korean phrasebook) and the smells...oh the smells. I don't know if it's sewage or dead animals but every once and awhile you will catch a sniff of something so horrid that it makes your head spin. It doesn't last too long but it's incredibly powerful for the few moments it lasts. (Brian swears up and down that this country reeks - permanently, but I don't find it that bad.) There are street vendors selling fruit drinks and bondagi (fried silkworm larvae), and knock-off Fendi bags and oodles and oodles of cellphone accessories. It's crowded and colourful (they may be able to make me drop the ou in school but this is Caroline's blog. This is my world, and the ou and re stay) and you get bumped, jostled and plain knocked-around. There are mopeds and cars driving on the sidewalks and nobody knows English. It's fantastic.
Every once and awhile we will encounter some young kids who will proceed to elbow each other and giggle as soon as they see us. This is usually followed up with a giggled "Hello" to which we respond equally. This response is met with guffaws (more giggles in the case of the girls) and maybe a "Good-bye" as they flee the scene. We usually just laugh and play along like we get the joke. The only problem is I think we might be the joke.
We are much taller than everyone in this country. There are some tall Koreans but Brian is still a head taller than them. Yesterday I saw a tall man and got quite excited that I had found my first tall Korean...the guy turned out to be white. Whoops.
We went to Kyobo today and bumped into some other whities in the book store. They were both from Vancouver. You gotta love Canadians - they're every where! We chatted in the English section for awhile and they seemed pretty cool. I bought The DaVinci Code while I was there. I usually don't buy the bestsellers but I read the book that led to this one being written (The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) and I am interested in Brown's interpretation. Will let you know what I think.
I always knew that tomatoes were fruit. People always get a real kick out of informing you, "Did you know that tomatoes are actually a fruit"? Uh, yah. I also know that the brazil nut is not truly a nut - it's a seed. (I know - sign me up for Jeopardy. Hee.) Anyway, here, the tomato is truly treated as an equal to it's more recognized fruity counterparts. We went to Baskin Robbins today for an iced coffee and they have this wonderful invention called an "ice cream fondue" (again, ingenious). It has little balls of ice-cream, pieces of sponge cake and fresh fruit that you dip in melted chocolate. The fruit looked delicious...bananas, kiwi, stawberries and...tomatoes? What the hell? Yup, tomatoes.