Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New spectacles.

At home I did not have the means nor a fancy employment to afford as all-encompassing an insurance plan as the one we have here in Korea. Korea's NHI (National Health Insurance) plan offers the same coverage for both native Koreans and E2 visitor/workers... that's us. Two weeks ago we visited our local Chinese Medicine doctor and had a treatment of acupuncture, the initial checkup and treatment totaling 7,100 won ($6.55 USD) per person. Kent actually had some sinus injections that left him feeling "trippy" for no more than an hour. Fear not, they assured us that all of the substances used at the clinic are legal. 

Last week I thought I'd treat myself to some new glasses! The eye exam was free and then I paid for the rims and the lenses. The deal was so good that I thought I should get two pairs. The grand total was 100,000 won ($92.30 USD) and the optometrist made my lenses right before my eyes and I went home 1.5 hours later with 2 lovely pairs of Korean specs. One pair is for home and the other is for looking smart out in public. You be judge of which is which.
Can you see the leopard print?

Anna, you always knew I was this dorky.

I'm trying to convince Kent to invest in a new pair for himself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


For those of you who know us well, you know that we are not extravagant people. We have not been " people of means" who spend willy nilly on any little extra fun. 

With that said...

We treated ourselves to an evening at a little place called Spaland. Not only is not actually a "little place" at all, but it is located  at the Guinness Book of World's Record's Largest department Store in the world, Shinsegae. We skipped the shopping spree and sprung for a date night at the spa. This is like no spa I have seen before, but come to think of it I have only seen one proper spa before. We went after work for the "after work special." We paid a whoppin' 7,000 Korean won (that's $6.45 USD) for a 3 hours of spa-ahhhh time, which includes:
  1. 10 sauna rooms, each with its own theme and temperature. There's a Roman, a Pyramid, a Wave Dream, a Body Sound and a few other differently themed rooms (these are in the general area, which is coed and clothing is mandatory, so don't get any ideas)... more info and photos
  2. An outdoor, foot-bath area with at least 10 baths with differing temperatures
  3. Separate Male and Female locker rooms... and that's where it gets really interesting...

When we arrived we stopped at the shoe locker area and proceeded to the locker rooms which provided the leisure uniforms that are to be worn in the general area. It was totally homogenous in the general area, everyone wearing the same shirt and shorts combination, bare foot and with dark brown hair... the difference being Kent and I had a lot more hair. 

In the locker rooms, everyone is nude. The dressing areas are well stocked with complimentary beauty products. Then you walk out into the bath area and everyone is nude. In the bath area, there are 6 differently temped tubs, from 29*c to 49*c, all made from stone and naturally-fed from hot springs and everyone is nude. There is also a 79*C Finnish sauna room (174.2*F)... for all of you YMCA saunas patrons, the hottest the Y's sauna gets is 120*F and not everyone is nude.

The showers are powerful and have precise temperature markers and everyone is nude. Did I mention that everyone is nude? It's refreshing because everyone is so comfortable scrubbing, strolling, bathing, toweling off and chatting... nude. However, just like everywhere else in Korea, foreigners are easy to spot and although the stares weren't too uncomfortable, they were noticeable. 

We had a great time and that night after the spa was the first night of deep sleep I've had here. There is another spa that's smaller, cheaper and closer to our home so we will add that one to our list of things to do. It's difficult to justify the cost of all the energy that goes into maintaing a place like Spaland and we have heard that the closer spa is totally fed from natural cool and hot springs in the area.  So we hope that's true as we continue to live high on the Busan hog, allowing ourselves these little luxuries. Spaah...ahhhh.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I sure do love snacks...

Maybe it's difficult to find cheese in Korea. Maybe it's tough to come across an Italian-big-momma-lovin-portions style restaurant... but by golly the snack here are fantastic.
In the past few weeks we have been here we have done some serious discovering of the snack situation in Busan. Some of our most recent finds have become fast favorites.

This is a "copy bun"... coffee bun.
Is has become our Sunday morning ritual to venture to an authentic
Korean market, which they call MEGA MART. OOOOOO, Ahhhhhh!

The copy bun's insides are fluffy, white and all mine.

2 kg of strawberries from the next valley over,
5,000 won ($4.61 USD)

You read correctly... that's liquid Confidence
That's a shrimp burger and a mushroom burger and both patties
are double deep fried. It's like they visited Wisconsin.