About Me

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I'm a Marine Corps Officer, a Comptroller, a grad school graduate, a loving husband and a proud father. I've been serving my country for the past 10 years. In those 10 years, I've been stationed in a few places and have been lucky enough to visit many others. I've lived in tropical Hawaii, prepped my brain in historic Newport, RI, studied in New York and am now living in Okinawa, Japan. My travels abroad past, present and future are opportunities in which I am both grateful for and lucky to have, all of which I have made my mission to capture in the form of colorful and creative photographs. I'm not much for adventure or trying unusual foods but I think it's time to break out of my confront zone and experience the many oddities and sites the world has to offer!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week Seven

Busy Week, Long Week but a Fun Week!


Here I am at my desk a key punch and a click away from making cash rain from the heavens.  At least that's what every believes happens.  Not so much!


This is what the junior enlisted are doing while the officers are working.  


While the junior enlisted play their card games, the Officers play with straight cash.  Across from me is my Army counterpart laying out korean cash (won) for a small purchase.
From left to right:  Me, Captain White and Lieutenant Walston.


Making my way down the cross street at, "Sam Duk Sobongso", a fire station used as a landmark by cab drivers to drop off passengers.  I walked up this street, turned right at Eblin Lingerie, turned left at the first intersection after Gorilla Burger, walk about 50 meters and enter the chicken restaurant on the left.


Saw this cammie'd out Santa in a store window.  We're in March now my festive Koreans...time to take down your Christmas decorations.  


Here's my 1st Marine Air Wing counterpart, Captain Evans.  Early that afternoon, he expressed his intentions were to order about 34,000 won in chicken.  I told him that's two orders of chicken.  He acknowledged.  Fair warning was given.  Now let's fast forward about three hours to when the waitress was taking his order.  He went ahead and ordered two chicken entrees to the surprise of the waitress who raised her head to look at him, put up two fingers and said two with a bewildered look on her face. He acknowledged once again.  The picture above is his reaction when he got his first order, a whole Dakgangjung Crunch Chicken and realized how much food he'd actually ordered.  Regret was quickly followed by...


...full fledge defeat when the waitress brought over his second plate of chicken.  Oh by the way, his second order was the Red Hot Crunch Chicken.  The name had flames coming off of it.  FLAMES!!! 


This is my order, a conservation helping of oven roasted chicken with shredded scallions and onions with a bowl of white rice.  It was really good.  I was a big fan of the oil based dressing they used on the scallions and onions.  It tasted good on the chicken as well.   The skin had a nice crisp to it and the scallions and onions added great flavor to the entire dish.  Good stuff!!!





One of the Shinsegae Debec Department stores I want to visit.  If I could only get the cabbies to understand to take me there.  This picture was taken from inside of the government rental vehicle which is not allowed to be used for personal transportation.  So, in order to get to anywhere too far to walk, you have to grab a cab and hope the cabby understands where you need them to take you.  Sometimes it takes two or three cabs before you find one that'll take you where you want to go.



Hanging Out at the Eldis Regent


Here are some gifts given to the hotel I'm staying at in appreciation for their service.


Here are a couple gifts given by past Marine Units who have stayed here.  I haven't decided yet whether we'll be bestowing a token of our appreciation for our stay at the "luxurious" Eldis Regent!!!


One of the few nice things about the hotel is the Blue Chicago Restaurant located in the basement next to the creepy gym.  It's rather evident that business is slow at the Eldis Regent to include the seemingly always empty Blue Chicago.  This night was no exception.  Although, as we walked in that night, there was one customer drinking sitting at the bar.  At least we thought he was a customer...



Yes this is my drink.  Please don't ask.  The only non-alcholic drink they had the ingredients to make was the fruity, less than masculine concoction you see above.  

Ingredients: lime juice, orange juice and lemon juice.  


Okay back to the one patron drowning his sorrows with a bottle of wine...let me introduce you to the owner of the Eldis Regent Hotel.  I don't remember his name since it was a challenging understanding anything that came out of his mouth due to well his weak english and slurred speech.  However, we were able to make out it's on the house!!!

The owner being at the bar sitting just five or so bar stools to our left is quite funny.  See, I was in the  process of making a comment to the bartender about how the obscenely over priced menu may be a contributing factor to their lack customers, when she quickly stopped me and looked over in the direction of the drunk guy swigging down a glass of wine and very nervously ask me not to say what I was getting ready to say because that guy was the owner.  Whoops....I may or may not have said some other stuff prior to that, that the drunk owner sitting a few feet from us may or may not have heard. 


Judging by his hospitality, I don't believe he heard or understood me.  Especially since he came over and told us that our drinks were on the house.  I'm not a drinker though.  Damn.  Maybe next time I'll ask for a free night in the Eldis Suite instead!!!


Here's the bartender, In Young who also goes by the alias, Nicole after Nicole Kidman.  We learned a few things about Koreans that night.  I'll share a couple...

#1:  Many Koreans also have an American name that they choose themselves.  Not only do they choose whatever name they want but they can change their "American" name as frequent as they like.

#2:  The day Koreans are born, they are considered to be one year old.  All Koreans also turn a year older on 1 January.  This means that if a Korean is born on 31 December, on 1 January they are considered to be two years old.  

During my time in Korea, I've noticed that most Koreans especially the women are very well dressed and put together in a classy not trashy way.  Most Korean women wear really nice outfits which typically are made up of some type of dress or skirt with a set of nice heels and stylish accessories.  Even when it's sub freezing temperatures, you will find the women out and about in skirts and high heels.  So we asked "Nicole", "...why does every Korean look like they fell out of designer magazine..." and her response was that Koreans are very trendy and like to dress fashionable.  Dressing up and not down no matter the situation is literally a way of life here, a far cry from the American culture.


Peanuts are the bar, nah...how about some jerky!!!


I'll give the small pub like restaurant its due credit...the atmosphere is great, the artwork is classic and the not so live music is not too bad.  You can never go wrong with a little jazz and blues.



The owner told us that someone was coming down to sing in 30 minutes.  Well about an hour went by and no singer so I decided it was time to take matters in my own hands.  It was EPIC!!!

Not really...I'm totally posing.  


Day Trip to Seoul to Pickup Some Documents




In route to track 10.


A KTX bullet train on the opposite track.





My clerk noticed this vending machine while we were waiting for our train.  For about .40 cents you can get a shot of some type of coffee either hot and cold.  Very convenient and cheap.


Here's our train pulling up.  For about 36,000 won or $30, you can get an economy ticket from Daegu to Seoul.  Add another 20,000 won and you can get yourself a first class seat with free wifi, a bottled water, a snack and a few more inches of leg room.  


View from my seat.




I managed to snap a picture of another KTX bullet train going in the opposite direction.  As you notice in the picture below, the speedometer located on the overhead television says 287 km/h or 178 mph.  I would imagine the other train is going around the same speed and in the opposite direction so I was a little impressed I was able to snap such a good picture of it.



One of my favorite soundtracks.


Walking up the stairs after getting off the train in Seoul.  I don't recommend taking a picture while walking up a set of crowded stairs.  I almost bit it big time in front of a lot of people!


Another "New York" inspired food establishment.  Rarely do they live up to their name.


Seoul Station in Seoul Square.




Me again!


Crossing the road to catch a cab to Yongsan.



Quick picture from inside of the cab of the front of the Korean War Memorial Museum.


After traveling 259 miles from Daegu, we have arrived at our objective at MarForK.  Now to secure the package.


Inside of the Marine Forces Korea Headquarters:  Display of small arms used during the Korean War.  

From top to bottom you have the .30 cal M1 Garand rifle, 7.62mm PPSh41 SMG, and the 7.62mm 1944G Carbine.


Awesome wooden Eagle, Globe and Anchor.  Motivate!!!


Memorial right outside of the MarForK HQ commemorating the Battle Mt. Dol Sol (Punchbowl) during the Korean War.



I'm So Hungry I Could Eat a Bear


Saw a sign for this 2nd floor restaurant that advertised a delicious looking steak dinner.  Well, myself and a friend were looking for some good chow so we went up to check it out.  We get upstairs, bypassing the sign shown above and walk into this room decorated with dozens of teddy bears.  Well, a few teddy bears weren't going to keep me away from that steak dinner that was calling my name.  

We sit down, examine the few choices on the menu and decide to go with the restaurant's signature steak entree.  So the waitress comes up and asks for our orders and of course the very dish that's advertised on the cover of their menu and on all of their signs is not available.  Of course!  No steak at a steak restaurant.  Makes total sense.  Luckily there were a couple tasty alternatives on the menu.


Here's the salad I ordered.  I don't remember what it was called but it had lettuce, bacon, mushrooms, corn, cornflakes and onions.  Tasty!


Here is my entree.  It's called the Boston Pork Butt Henlaf.  The pork was pretty tender and the sauce was really tasty.  It wasn't steak but it did the job!


View of both meals.


Captain Evans and I.


Teddybears!!!!


Had to do it.


Teddybears and alcohol.  There's a first time for everything.



These micro-machine vans roll around the streets blasting club and house music.  It seems like every establishment in downtown Daegu is playing some type of techno music.  Koreans love it for some reason.


Saw this cupcake bakery while walking and couldn't resist.  I wanted to take pictures of all the other goodies they had in the bakery but the lady running the place said I couldn't so I stole one from outside.


Here are the lucky cupcakes that made it to my room.  I paid about 8,000 won for the two.  Sadly the cupcakes tasted like cornbread instead of cake.  They still tasted good but not like what I expect a cupcake to taste like.


Off to the DMZ this weekend and possibly Seoul.  Until next time!!!

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