Two Days in Busan

I love film festivals. It’s a bunch of movie geeks come to experience or exhibit new and exciting films. South by Southwest in Austin used to have a pretty good selection and I’d go and try to predict which short films would be in the Oscars race that year. It was always the short films that interested me because of the animated experimentation factor and intense details needed to tell  a story in less than ten minutes. Continue reading “Two Days in Busan”

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Ganghwado ~ Korea’s Muddy West Sea

One Sunday, we got moving too late for the beach, so we headed to an island north of Incheon at the headwaters of Seoul’s Han River, adjacent to North Korea, Ganghwado (강화도). Continue reading “Ganghwado ~ Korea’s Muddy West Sea”

Yangyang Beach ~ A Snowy Start to 2017

Yangyang is smack in the middle of the two larger and more famous coastal cities of Sokcho and Gangneung. It’s tiny and cute and frozen in the winter. We went there because the Pine Beach Condotel was pet friendly, beachside and turned out to be a nice, clean place. The snow fell the day before and the highway from Seoul was plowed and safe when we arrived at midnight to check in and take a dog walk. Continue reading “Yangyang Beach ~ A Snowy Start to 2017”

E.A.T.ing America 2016

A family trip to America for my sister, Elianne’s, wedding. We started off positive with this big pre-flight meal at the Chinese restaurant at Incheon Airport: spicy chicken, spicy seafood soup, soybean noodles, dim sum, glass noodles, fried shrimp and dumplings. Continue reading “E.A.T.ing America 2016”

Sokcho ~ Seaside Beauty

Descending the winding roads, ears popping, the blue sea comes into view after a long tunnel through Korea’s highest mountain, Seoraksan. The precipitous Dragon Ridge is visible to your right among the scattered foliage, and beyond the road’s horizon, a small town spreads out before you, Sokcho. Continue reading “Sokcho ~ Seaside Beauty”

Boryeong Beach ~ Swimming in October, Noraebang and Seafood

Scraping the last bits out of summer before the Korean fall arrives with chilly mornings and crunchy leaves underfoot, we dashed down to Boryeong. At Daechon beach, we find (as far as I know) one of the only beaches on the West Sea that isn’t just a large tide-pool. Continue reading “Boryeong Beach ~ Swimming in October, Noraebang and Seafood”

Summer Seafood, Spicy Chicken, Mountain Streams & Plenty of Pizza

It’s deep into the sticky Korean summer. High humidity and heavy heat keep us sweating in or out of the air/con. We begin with some lamb-chops. Dusted with rosemary seasoning and very juicy, a bottle of soju and some cold beers sooth jangled nerves. Continue reading “Summer Seafood, Spicy Chicken, Mountain Streams & Plenty of Pizza”

Good Food in June

Summer is heating up, cold, crappy Korean beers are chilling and the spices are never lacking in Korea. Only one beach trip this month, but hopefully more to come. My overall consumption seems to wane in the summer, but my hunger for good eats never does. All the foods presented this month were pretty awesome. Let’s take a look! Continue reading “Good Food in June”

Another Day at the “Beach”

Although Trieste doesn’t have a sandy beach, they do have hard paved stones on which to lie. It’s always crowded, and most people hang the whole day, and smartly bring a lounge chair. But first, I needed lunch. My roommate Marco and I headed to the city. We were headed to a strictly pork restaurant, but as they were closed for August break, we were now lost and hungry. We found an abandoned place and decided it was fine due to the high concentration of meat on the menu.

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I ordered goulash with polenta. It was salty, but just what I wanted.

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Next, we headed to our local, and deservedly famous gelateria, Zampolli’s.

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I had the smaller one, tiramisu with chocolate truffle; he had a triple scoop of nero e bianco and his favorite–dark chocolate without milk…basically looks like tar, but tastes better.

He took a nap and did some work, I went to the “beach.”

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It’s a flesh party with little room to yourself, but once you jump past the jagged rocks that lead to the water, it’s perfect swimming conditions. Of course, you have the classic stereotypes, speedos…

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gelato from a truck…

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cool guys playing guitar and smoking…

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old people playing cards in the shade while admonishing the youngsters…

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and fat guys swimming in the fountain…

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It’s a helluva town. I walked the hour back to my apartment because the buses were chock-a-block. I bought a big beer for 1euro and sang the whole way home with the rhythm of my flip flops keeping time.

4,000 Islands ~ Water Fights, Water Falls and Whatta Beach

The shared New Year’s Celebration of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos in mid-April is water fueled mayhem and renewed spirituality. It signifies the washing away of the past, and being clean for the next year. It’s a time to clean your Buddha and ignore the trash outside. A time to burn incense and drink BeerLao. A time to sing and dance…at 6:00am. My guesthouse Mama, took us to the first day of the water festival to partake of Buddha washing. I found some of their faces (esp. kids) stern and kind in a simulacrum of a young, suspicious Buddha.

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The Mekong, “mother of rivers,” emerald in dry, murkish brown in wet season, slow and surely winding from the high steppes of Tibet down through the green mountains of Indochina before spreading in the fertile alluvial plains of Vietnam felt mystical. It holds a place of honor among rivers as being the scene of a famous movie, Apocalypse Now, much better than the Amazon’s with Anaconda. At the border of Laos and Vietnam, the Mekong, stretches into a 14 km wide mass. Along the fault lines of this throbbing aquatic expansion lie some amazing waterfalls. I visited one on the nearby island of Don Khon, where we could safely swim in the circular current of a random bay.

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At the tip of Don Det, the loading area for passengers and motorbikes being transported to other islands, sits the small sandy area, well-polluted with bottlecaps, cig butts, and plastic bottles, generously called a beach. On this particular Tuesday, there was a funny, curious puppy who liked to steal one poor Canadian girl’s sandals and run. We all watched our free canine entertainment, soaked in sun, treaded water against the current and enjoyed the sunset among new acquaintances.

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