31 December 2014

New Years Eve

Dear Coco
New Years Eve! It was a bit chillier this morning when we woke up, but we warmed up after a cup of coffee in the Whoever Coffee and Herb coffee shop.
Walking past the coffee shop was this large and bouncy Old English Sheep Dog. Up till now most of the dogs we have seen have been teeny tiny toy dogs.
We walked up to the Yongdusan Park where there is a big tower, and several camellias - some of them flowering.
Far below we could see the fish market we visited yesterday,
and a Hotel Hound which we thought would be fun to stay in one day.
We wandered home slowly, past shops
and people,
then checked out of our hotel Dong Shin, and caught a taxi to the KTX Station down the road where we caught the KTX to Daegu.
The journey took about 40 minutes, going at speeds of 306 km per hour which impressed the Alph very much. If South Africa had such a train we could get from Cape Town to Johannesburg in 7 hours. It had been snowing as we got closer to Daegu and the countryside looked very pretty all dusted with white. When we arrived in Deagu, back to our hotel Crystal, it wasn't snowing anymore, but there was piles of it in the roads and on roofs and vacant lots.
We have a different room, with a different view - of the same tower we walked to earlier. Simon dropped us and went off to do a few chores and go to the gym, while we relaxed in the hotel. We are wondering what Simon has up his sleeve for tonight. I will say goodbye now, as I am sure I wont have time to write again today as we will have to stay up to see in the new year.
I hope you won't have too much trouble with fireworks but I don't think any of you are scared of bangs like poor Dougal. Tomorrow we are off to Cambodia too - and I don't know if that will have such fancy internet as Korea has, but I will write again as soon as I can.
lots of love, The Food Lady

Mind-boggling Busan

Dear Coco
After our late night last night we all woke up rather late this morning, but after a delicious cup of coffee, we set off down the road behind our hotel which was full of Christmas trees, lights and golden statues, like this little Teddy Bear.
I spotted another Dachshund in this shop.
Busan is the second largest city in Korea and one of the things it is famous for is an international film festival that is held each year and it seems that this area is the centre because there are a lot of references to it around.
Another thing it is famous for is its fish market - the Jagachi Fish Market -which was close to our hotel. This is an enormous fish market that goes on and on, outdoors and in a huge building on the docks, where there is a market downstairs and restaurants above.
We had an early lunch on the first floor - which was amazing! On the menu was sashimi or raw fish - which we tried - all of it freshly sourced from downstairs.
We then wandered round the docks to walk off some calories. This is the Jagachi Fish Market building from the water front. Everything is on such an enormous scale here.
Looking west from in front of the Fish Market. 
Hundreds of crates of squid. I am amazed that there are any more left in the sea!
Simon hailed us a taxi - which are plentiful and relatively inexpensive - and we drove through the city to Taejongdae - which has a national park on one of the hills (Busan is also quite a hilly city like Deagu) that is a good place for a walk and some views.
There were a few people out walking there including some dogs. This one caught my eye!
Looking down the cliffs of Taejongdae over ships and some islands It was really hazy, but on some days you can apparently see Japan.
The Alph making friends with one of the resident cats.
Walking down the tree, and camellia and rhododendron-lined road; there are no cars but an occasional tram ferries people up and down.
Very beautiful!
We then hailed another taxi which took us over the most amazing bridge - the Busan Harbour Bridge - which was quite thrilling.
The taxi dropped us at a beach with a view of another amazing bridge called the Gwangan Bridge. We walked along the beach and saw quite a few dogs,
and some rather sad cycads far from home.
As we walked it got darker (which happens at about 4 thirty) and lights started to come on.
As you can see, Busan goes on and on!
When we got back the bridge was all lit up, and the lights shimmer and move, and change cycles. Luckily it was a really mild night.
We went in search of a pub that Simon wanted to take us to, past some fun signs and
and through a tunnel ushering in the new year
till we found the pub.
Then we took the number 41 bus back to our hotel where Simon found us another Korean barbecue restaurant for supper. Myummm.
We wandered back along the lit up street which was belting out Christmas carols. I felt like I was in a movie!
Some of the lights were jellyfish-shaped which reminded us of our experience in the fish market this morning.
Then I spotted some bags in a window that made me think of you my Coco! Hope you are not missing us but judging by all the photos of you that Phil and Kerryn send us, you are having a great time!
lots of love
The Food Lady

29 December 2014

Into the tomb ...

Dear Coco 
Last night we stayed at a guest house in Gyeongju with two noisy Korean cats. You can see one trying to follow the Alph into our room. 
This is the inside of the room. We slept on the floor which was heated. Very comfy indeed.
Here we are waiting for Mr Choi and Mr Kwon to arrive to take us on day two of our tour of  this city.
We were quite glad that we had someone to take us round as it was quite a large city.
We visited some ancient tombs which are these dome shaped earthworks - with a king or a queen from the ancient Silla dynasty buried deep inside.
One of the tombs had the 12 animals of the Chinese horoscope carved in relief all around the domed tomb. and one of them was a dog - which I discovered was my year in the horoscope.
More lovely pine trees ...
This tomb had been excavated and people are allowed to look inside ...
Right in the middle was the big wooden coffin of the king - filled with gifts.
It is school holidays and there were lots of people and kids out and about -but no dogs.
We had a lovely lunch of noodle soup and vegetable pancake in this restaurant - you have to take off your shoes first - as you do in most places here. 
After a fond farewell to our two hosts - Mr Choi and Mr Kwon - we caught the train to Busan, the second biggest city in Korea, arriving in the dark at about 7 pm. Our hotel is in a rather nice and vibey area near the docks.
We had a few beers at a pub, then found a little restaurant where we had a  Korean barbecue
and more Korean beer - rather good!
Then it was time to wander home to our hotel and fall into bed.
Hope all is well in Cape Town Coco. I am missing you very much!
lots of love from the Food Lady