Sunday, 20 November 2011

Snack of the Day: 땅콩 꽈배기

땅콩 꽈배기 (Peanut Twists) are something like dry Crunchy Nut cereal, and something like Sesame Snaps, although not quite as good as either and probably unhealthier. Basically a very crunchy, sweet snack with bits of peanut stuck to it, although the peanut flavour is not strong. Actually they tasted alright, but left me with a greasy taste in my mouth and guilt for eating such unhealthy crap.

Ingredients: Wheat flour, refined sugar, rice oil, starch, sweetener (fructooligosaccharide), fried peanuts, wheat starch, palm oil, unrefined sugar, dextrose, flavouring, caramel, artificial nut flavouring, whole milk powder

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Year in Pictures

The year's not quite over yet, but here are some of my favorite pictures so far from 2011. Most of them were already published on my other blog. Photographed around Korea, Japan and Taiwan.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tip for getting around Seoul

I'm rubbish at directions. Luckily, if I want to find some place and I'm not sure how to get there, I can just look it up on Daum 지도 before I go.


If you can read and type Hangeul, and understand the names of places in Korean, just go to daum.net and click on '지도' in the blue menu bar. Voila, you can see a map of Korea and just search in Hangeul for the place you wanna get to. To the far right is a little webcam icon, '로드뷰', which will give you a navigable street view when you click on it and drag the icon to where you want to look. This is the same idea as Google Maps Street View, but personally I find Daum a hundred times better. It covers the whole of South Korea's cities and main roads, including even BOAT routes around a couple of islands, Hallasan's main mountain trail, and the insides of Seoul metro stations.

There are billions of nifty tools on this map service. Buttons on the left allow you to search for bus routes, hotels, and other stuff with one click. A small ruler icon on the far right lets you map a route and it will calculate the distance in metres and the time it would take to walk or cycle. The '스토어뷰' (Store View) actually lets you see INSIDE stores and restaurants. And at the top of the map, you can see how the weather is in the area you're looking at!

Well I hope this information is useful to someone. If you're a foreigner in Korea and savvy enough to read and understand enough Korean to get around, you probably already use this map service. If you don't, I recommend it. In my opinion it does so much more than any other online map service I know of, and is quicker and easier to use than most. I use it to find out how to get from subway stations to mountain trail starting points, to calculate cycle routes and how long it would take me to cycle somewhere, to retrace my steps when I've forgotton where some cool place is and I want to find out how to get there again, and sometimes just to waste time virtually sightseeing around Korea on my computer screen. Thumbs up for Daum.

수락산

Today I tackled Suraksan. It's a really nice mountain to hike because there are several subway stations around the bottom of it so it's easy to get to, and it's not half as packed with people as its neighbour Dobongsan.

I started from Suraksan station (Line 7). From exit 1, walk straight and take the second right. There are food stalls lining the street and enough other hikers around so you know you're going the right way.

The trail from there is quite easy. Not spectacular scenery but pretty enough, and although it's not difficult to climb it does get quite steep towards the top.

I hiked up to a plateau with a signpost which pointed the way to the top. The area around here was pretty crowded but I didn't see many people actually going up to the top. It seemed a bit tricky so as I was hiking alone I didn't bother going up further and just followed the signpost down towards Jangam Station (also Line 7).

This route was a lot quieter, and had some nice views. It was very rocky and difficult to negotiate a foot-hold in places, especially with all the autumn leaves covering the ground. Not exactly difficult, just rather slow-going. Also, there didn't seem to be a well-defined trail but rather I was just scrambling downwards and hoping for the best!

Towards the bottom of the mountain I passed a temple, and then I was led as expected to Jangam Station. All in all I was only hiking for a couple of hours.

Next time I might try starting from Danggogae station (end of line 4).