December 10, 2013

Some people dream of white sandy beaches…..

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Ok, if you haven’t been on a photo shoot with me or don’t know me very well then this may seem a bit strange. Well, thinking about it, even if you know me it might sound a little strange. Anyway, I just went on a dream vacation, not to Hawaii, but to the DMZ which if you don’t know is the border of South and North Korea. What ??? Yup, it was on my top 5 list of things to do along with the Transiberian Railway, Mongolia, Morocco and Jerusalem.

Why in the heck would anyone want to go to the DMZ?

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Well, the answer for me is mystery and curiosity. Let me be clear in saying that I have no sympathies for North Korea. My grandfather fought against North Korea in the Korean War and used to tell me stories while we fished. I think their leaders are crazy. How can you resist looking at crazy though? I can’t. I understand people are living in extreme conditions over there and it maddens me but you have to laugh about the leadership over there a little. I mean come on. Not only did they discover a unicorn lair there last year but their leaders also invented the hamburger, got 11 holes in one their first time golfing and they chose our worst citizen (Dennis Rodman) to visit for “diplomatic” purposes. You can’t make this stuff up.

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That is North Korea in the distance. I wasn’t allowed any closer with my camera.

All laughing aside though North Korea is full of people who have little touch with the outside world. I have read so many books on this region and frankly still so little is known and that blows my mind.

The DMZ is not the only reason for going to South Korea though. Truthfully, I think South Korea has the most under appreciated Asian food in existence. That is my opinion. Seoul is home to over 15 million people and I swear there is like 1 restaurant for every 10 people. The food is everywhere and it is

OFF THE CHARTS!!!

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Forget about what you have heard about kimchi. If you can’t get past this fermented spicy cabbage then you are missing out on so much. The soups, the barbecue, the gimbap (basically sushi), the Kalbi grill, etc… are unforgettable. And honestly, to me there is nothing more interesting than open air food markets and Seoul has a bunch of them. The Gwangjang market is the oldest in Seoul and I swear 90% of the stuff I saw there I had never even heard of. It is like an open aired museum with shoulder to shoulder activity. There is a palpable energy in food markets. Food brings people together. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that I could spend an entire day in one market. Pretty impressive for someone who can’t stand shopping at home, eh.

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Oh yeah, for you people who do like Kimchi, did I mention that I am a graduate of the Kimchi academy? Yup, I went to Kimchi school in Seoul. It wasn’t planned but I am so glad I did it. It was a blast!!

 

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My fellow graduates. The Heng family from Singapore. They are hoping to come visit us soon and go to Yellowstone. They were fantastic!!kimchi

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