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Saturday, February 28, 2009


The Demilitarized Zone is one of the most fascinating, surreal and absurd places I have ever been to. It is a mere 30 miles north of Seoul, South Korea's capital, too close for comfort imo. The blue structures belong to allied forces; the large grey structure in the back is the North Korean border house (blue structures = allies, grey structures = North Korean)... Here, tourists streaming into allied forces' house.

See the line connecting the two blue structures in the middle? North of the line is North Korea and south of the line is South Korea (so half of the blue structure is in North Korean territory and half in South Korean). If you look closely, you can see a North Korean soldier standing guard... and the soldier standing next to the blue structure is a South Korean soldier.

North Korean soldier close up -- sad, he doesn't know what he is missing... good food, silly soap operas, financial crisis... sigh.

South Korean soldier close up -- the purpose of the stance is to intimidate... there are lots of petty hostilities going back and forth, mostly from the North side (they are so cuckoo). I'll tell you more later.

Another view... there are no women soldiers at the DMZ as women are forbidden to be in combat zone. I am ok with that. (Clarification: I am ok with women not in combat not because I don't think women are capable of being in combat (if I had lived in the 1940s, I would've totally joined the army to fight the Nazis!), but because I am anti-war in general and I believe in diplomacy over brute force, especially this day and age.)

The two sides meet at this table in the blue house if they need to "discuss" anything or hurl insults at each other... apparently there were some ally flags hanging off the wall once, and North Korean soldiers grabbed them to blow their noses... and there was another meeting, both sides refused to back down, so they sat there for 11 hours straight and it is now known as the "Battle of the Bladders." Oi. Boys are so immature. If I were there, I'd be like: excuse me, Dear Leader, I have to go to the powder room to freshen up, later! And I'll stay there until the North Koreans' bladders explode and come back and win the Cold War!

UN Representative Ms. MeowMeow Cat at the table... eek, as you can tell, I was feeling a bit light headed :-)

As I've mentioned earlier, half of this room is in South Korea and half is in North Korea. This South Korean soldier is standing on the North side, which means I was in North Korea! But if you try to get pass him and get through that door to defect to the North, good luck! He'll beat the **** out of you, and I am not kidding.

The grey house to the right is the North Korean "meeting" house... like the blue houses, half of it lies in the North and half in the South. I guess they can be in enemy territory, as long as they do not get out of their respective safe houses, if they do, they'll probably get shot.

Looking into North Korea...

Allied forces' Observation Tower #4, the Bridge of No Return and North Korea in the beyond.

Bridge of No Return. At the end of the Korean War, POWs were given the choice to either cross this bridge or remain where they were, but if they crossed, they could not return. So many Korean families were divided after the War, it's heartbreaking. Sigh, things like this make you want to ask -- why?

Propaganda Town in North Korea. This is hilarious: until 2004, North Korea broadcasted propaganda from this town to the South for six to twelve hours everyday! It is a ghost town as lights turn on and turn off at the same time. When the South built a high tower to hang its flag (South Korea's border village is right across), the North was determined not to be outdone, so they built this humongous structure and put a humongous North Korean flag on top. The flag is so heavy that its dry weight is about 600 pounds! It takes a hurricane to make that flag blow in the wind.

We finished the tour with a visit to the Joint Security Area gift shop! In fact, there was a gift shop at every stop. Hoooray to Capitalism!

And we had some food at South Korea's Freedom Village. Yay, we got fed, double Hooray to Capitalism! Kim Jong-Il, eat your Kimchi heart out!

Back to urban jungle civilization... it was a beautiful day.

And more shopping at Myeong-Dong

Where I bumped into these Turkish dudes selling Shish Kabob Taco in Korea! *Head Shaking in Amazement* The unstoppable forces of globalization. Kim Jong Il's world seemed so long long time ago and far far away.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Myeong-dong and Lotte

At H's suggestion, I took a stroll in Myeong-Dong (a shopping district in downtown Seoul) today...

Krispy Kreme Donut -- I know it's hard to see, but if you look closely, you'll see that trademark Krispy Kreme green/white logo, don't know why but donut stores are HUGE here... Dunkin' Donuts is actually a hip hang out place in Korea.. funny huh, the image of Dunkin's in America is that of a hang out place for cops with early morning shifts, but here in Korea, it's frequented by trendy teenagers. Muahaha, those girls don't know Krispy's is our secret conspiracy to make the Asians fat :-)

Stopped by a Gelato place... all the servers there are young men, they were totally flirting with all the starry eyed Japanese tourist ladies.

Lotte Plaza, an upscale dept store, is right across from's kind of similar to the Galleria Lafayette in Paris in that the food section is humongous and has many different food stations.

Mochi Station! I wanted to pinch all these perfectly shaped mochi buns!

Kimchi Station! Wow, it seems everything is Kimchi-able.

The person to the left gives you an idea how huge these crabs are!

Pretty pastries... see the cute little persimmons?

Food food everywhere... alright, I am exhausted now, gotta get up early tomorrow to go to the DMZ...Kim Jong-il, here I come!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tour of the Ninja Restaurant

Since I came to Seoul, I've been operating around a 0.1 mile radius (sadly, I am not kidding). Tonight, we went to the same restaurant for the third night in a row (ok maybe 2 and 1/2 nights in row since it was its sister restaurant) so I thought I'd give you a mini tour of the restaurant complex. Here is the main entrance:

Courtyard. Apparently this complex was featured in a Korean drama called "Gourmet." Hehe, if I could only run into cute Kdrama stars!

Ninja Restaurant during day time. See the eerie nightshot here... wooo... ghosts...

Kimchee jars! Hmm, maybe I'll hide one of these in my luggage and bring back authentic kimchee to LA!

Another view. Ok, time to go inside and eat!

OMG. I think I've just had the most delicious K BBQ ever! The meats were so good: tender, juicy and flavorful. All I did was dip them in a little bit of sea salt... So good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hello from Korea(town)!

See, more evidence that I am really in Korea. We went back to the same "Ninja" restaurant...and this is all mine, kekeke.... so stuffed!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Korean Dinner

I went to a traditional Korean restaurant for dinner tonight. No, this is not a setting for a ghost story, tho it looks so. The lighting is a bit off...

See, all bright and nice inside. I particularly liked the traditional wood beam roof.

Appetizer porridge and soup... refreshing.

I like this appeitizer dish a lot. You put a little bit of everything, shredded mushroom, carrots, beef, etc. in the little wrapper thingy and dip it in mustard sauce. Simple and delcious. Ok, had a lot more food, but forgot to take pictures, oh well. All in all, a very pleasant meal.

Deja Vu

Yep, I am back in Seoul. Had some bimbimbap on my flight...

And now I am at some generic hotel overlooking a golf practice range... maybe I'll do some putt putt later on. The practice range may seem a bit familiar to those of you who have lived in LA cuz we have one just like that in Koreatown... but honestly, I am on a business trip in Korea, not Koreatown! This is not an elaborate hoax to evade my creditors! Really! wink wink.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Getting shipped off... again.

Oi. Ok, it's kind of tough to leave home again. But I guess somebody has to work hard to save the world economy :-) Yep, Cat, Princess in Shining Armour to the rescue. And the modern weapon of choice - laptop and blackberry! Charge!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Love Anthony Bourdain!

Ok, Anthony Bourdain is now officially my favorite TV personality... sorry Colbert :-) Bourdain is ourtrageous, funny, but respectful and thoughtful. I am watching an episode on the Phillippines... I want that roasted suckling pig!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Runyon Canyon Park

What a beautiful start to a day -- hiking in Runyon Canyon Park, checking out celebrity dwellings, supposedly Matthew Perry and Miley Cyrus live in one of the houses down there... see the Hollywood sign in the far distance?

My tush muscles got a good work out from these steps!

View of the Wilshire corridor and Koreatown from Hollywood Hills...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Write to Christie's!

Christie's is aiding and abetting looters and thieves!

On February 25, Christie's will be auctioning off two bronze animal statues, looted and stolen from the Chinese Imperial Summer Palace (圓明園 or Yuan Ming Yuan) by European forces in 1860. The two animal heads, a mouse and a bunny, were severed from a water fountain at Yuan Ming Yuan. Somehow, they ended up in the designer Yves St Laurent's possession. Mr. St. Laurent passed away last year and now his estate is auctioning off the two bronze animal statutes. Although the Chinese government has requested Christie's to return these two bronze statutes, Christie's has refused and contends that the title is clear. What the f*** Christie? Are you practicing law without license? The title clearly belongs to the Chinese people. I am super pissed off because I actually visited Yuan Ming Yuan once, and here is what's left of it after the Anglo-French forces looted and ransacked the place.
Photo courtesy of j.janice

I call upon all people who believe in fairness and justice to write and call Christie's International in protest. Below is Christie's contact information:

Sales people in charge of this auction:
Mathilde Courteault:
Tiphaine Nicoul:
London, +44 (0)20 7839 9060
New York, +1 212 492 5485

Happy Thursday!

Here is a happy picture to share with you. Hmmm, nothing beats food porn. Oh yeah, yours truly is giving the donuts the evil ears! Muhahahaha!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Shen Jian Bao in Shanghai! Ahhhhhh! Soooo good, golden and crispy on the bottom, fluffy and soft on top, mouth watering pork filling! Ah... Whenever I see SJB, I am reminded of just how much better we Shanghainese are over all other Chinese (best cuisine, prettier, urbane, prettier, oh already said that, kekeke). Yeah, we could be kind of full of ourselves sometimes, but what can I say, we are the Pearl of the Orient! Hmph.

Photo courtesy of yunny

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Which cutie do you want?

Kiss a Cutie? or U R A Cutie? or Sweet Cutie? or Valentine Cutie? Whoever came up with this cutie campaign for tangerines deserves a marketing award. The cost of these cuties: $10 for a 2lb bag! Yep, you gotta pay premium for these stickers. Aarrgh, I had a fifty cent coupon that I forgot to bring, really kicking myself.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wanted: House Husband ;-)

An uncanningly accurate depiction of this afternoon at Cat's little abode, down to the head scarf and the overflowing pot on the stove. Mop Mop, clean clean! Grrrh, brushing toilet sucks.