Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up (4-Day) - (Korea) Days 180-183

Looking up at part of Lotte World. There are a number of levels, the bottom has an
ice skating rink. On the very top there are "hot air balloons" where you can ride
around and see everything from the top down.

Saturday: I slept in until about 0900 and then did my weekly load of laundry and video chatted with my wife and kids. I also called my dad to make sure he was OK after all the tornadoes hit. I heard on the news that some touched down in Arkansas as well. He said the closest one was about 3 miles away from him and that everything has been fairly well for now. I also checked my LES and found that my separate rations finally went through. Paperwork that should have taken a week or two ended up taking 6 months. It also took me going back to the company on 4 separate occasions. Luckily I had backup copies of all the documents. I also sent numerous emails to the guy who I turned everything into the second time at our company. Finally I will not have money taken out of my check anymore, and I received back pay for the last 6 months. What a pain in the butt!!

I did some schoolwork until I got a call from the young hawaiian asking if I wanted to go to lunch at the KATUSA Snack Bar. We headed there and had a pretty good lunch (love that place…good food and it's cheap). We then walked to Itaewon and I did a little shopping. I was looking for souvenirs for family back home. I wish I had more cash, I could have spent a lot! There are so many odd shops and street vendors out selling pretty much everything you can think of and plenty of stuff you would never think of.

I then headed back to my room and started doing more homework. After a while SPC Roy came over and we went swimming. Unfortunately the hot tub was out of order, so it was only the pool with no relaxing ending. We then came back to the room to change and headed off to the Main Post Club here on post to eat dinner, have a few beers and play some pool. Pool wasn't cutting it and SPC Roy needed to scratch his ping pong itch. We headed over to the Moyer Rec Center and played ping pong for a while.

Once I got back to my room it was time for more schoolwork…will it ever end??? When I finished I watched "Bloodsport". It's a great old Jean-Claude Van Damme action movie that I hadn't seen in some time. It's about a guy who participates in the Kumite which is a full contact mixed martial arts tournament. (Kind of like an early version of the UFC, but with no rules). Ironically the bad guy in the movie is a South Korean. I also forgot the movie is based on the life story of an actual guy named Frank Dux. Pretty impressive!

The entrance to Itaewon. The place looks so different during the day!

A performance of dancers in Itaewon. I guess during the summer they
always have something going on here.

Sunday: I woke up around 0900 again and made a pit stop at Starbucks before heading to PFC Pickle's room to watch the UFC. So glad they play them for free here on AFN. It was a pretty good show with the main event of Rampage vs. Hamill. I've always been a Rampage fan after seeing him as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. He cracks me up. He put on a good fight and beat up Hamill.

I headed back to my room and video chatted with my wife for a while before starting schoolwork once again. I then headed to the gym to work out. PFC Pickle and the young hawaiian met me there. We were going to play basketball, but they had setup the court for volleyball use…grrrrr. We decided to lift weights instead. While lifting weights a guy was in there who I in-processed with when I arrived here in Korea. He said he already found out where he'll be heading and ironically it's Ft. Lewis which is about 30 minutes from my hometown. I wonder when I'll find out where I'm going. I was told not to even ask until July 1st. I guess time will tell.

The young hawaiian wanted to go see The Hangover 2, so we all ate dinner and met up to head off post to the iPark Mall. Unfortunately when we arrived we found out it wasn't playing. I thought the young hawaiian had checked, but he just assumed it was playing. SPC Roy actually met up with us at the theatre and said "Plan B" was to go drink. So we headed to a nearby restaurant and ate some chicken and drank soju. We then headed to Itaewon only to find out my favorite bar (The Rock and Roll Bar) is closed on Sundays. We ended up in a very poor excuse of a bar called "Spy Basement". We were the only ones there and the waitress was very old, she couldn't get any of our drinks right. What's funny is two of us were only drinking beers. We played a few games of pool before heading to another bar where we had another couple of beers before calling it a night. PFC Pickle stayed the night in my room using my roommate's bed since he was gone for the weekend.

This is one bar in Itaewon that I do not want to visit...
although it may make for some interesting photos.

SPC Roy on the left and the young hawaiian on the right playing pool in "The Spy Basement"

Sometimes the bathrooms in Korea are fully functional, but they lack privacy.

Sometimes the bathrooms don't want you to put the toilet paper in the bowl...
then it gets a little stinky!

Monday: I woke up about 0830 and started to get ready. PFC Pickle and I then headed to the food court for lunch and headed our separate ways. SPC Roy rented a car and picked me up. We then headed to the office to pick up our KATUSA and SPC Mick who had to go in to turn everything on for a ROK meeting in our conference room. (This is the meeting that pissed me off a few days ago when I found out we had to come in on our days off…I get to go in tomorrow). We headed off to a theme park in the middle of Seoul called "Lotte World". The theme park is about half inside and half outside. It has a couple roller coasters, some water rides, some big drop rides as well as a number of other smaller rides. It kind of rips off Disney in a few areas…their main castle looks very similar to Disneyland's Cinderella Castle. All in all we had a good time. SPC Roy brought his young son and I helped him watch him which was fine because I had a bit of nausea. I believe this was caused by riding in the back seat on the way in (motion sickness), or too much soju last night. It was probably the combination of the two. I went on a few rides, but was happy just people watching and checking everything out…am I getting old??

When we left we headed to a Thai restaurant…that was until SPC Mick spotted a TGIF. I thought we should eat anything except American food while here, but SPC Mick was pretty excited about it. It turned out to be pretty good, and I was able to get some ice cream over a warm brownie so I can't complain. We then headed back and dropped off SPC Roy's baby. Once we were baby free we headed to have some more drinks. I actually didn't want to drink at all after last night, but I was out voted. We drank a huge pitcher of beer and or course there was more chicken ordered. (SPC Roy tells me Koreans do not drink unless they eat as well).

I got home late, but stayed up a while…..I had plenty of schoolwork waiting for me.

The trolly in Lotte World. Just like any other theme park, there are a number
of employees dressed up.

Looking down at part of the inside portion of Lotte World from the "hot air balloon " ride

Outside with me posing in front of the castle centerpiece.

Tuesday: I woke up around 0900 and video chatted with my wife. I was planning on going into work at 1000, but got a call from SPC Mick telling me I didn't need to go in until noon. I video chatted a while longer. It is my second anniversary today (well in the states, since I'm a day ahead it was actually yesterday for me). 2 anniversaries and I haven't seen my wife yet. I'm hoping the third time is a charm and I get to spend it with her.

I headed to work and opened the conference room up, then turned on the system. The meeting didn't actually start until 1300, so I actually sat around watching TV for an hour waiting for the ROKs to arrive. I could have come in around 1245 and had time to spare. Once they arrive and were good to go, I took off. I headed back to my room and had lunch while video chatting with my wife some more.

I headed to the PX and then to get a haircut, but the place was packed. Everyone decided they needed a haircut today. I left, I don't have time to sit around for that. The rest of the week they will always be at least one or two people just waiting to cut your hair as soon as you walk in the door. I headed back to my room and did some schoolwork.

SPC Roy came by and we went to the gym to play basketball. The gym was packed, so we decided to go to the bigger gym "Collier Field House". This gym is much bigger with the main court and side hoops as well. The only problem is that it's located across the post, so if I don't have a ride I never go there. We started shooting around and about a half hour later the young hawaiian came in with one of his co-workers. We ended up playing 2-on-2. They beat us pretty bad the first game. SPC Roy didn't want to play again, but I told him we needed to beat them! I got on fire and from then on it was over. I lit it up and there was nothing the young hawaiian could do to stop me. We beat them 11-2 (one point per basket). Of course we had to play one more game as a tie breaker and we beat them again pretty bad. It gave everyone a good workout and we left happy because we kicked some butt.

We celebrated by going to Pizza School and grabbing some pizza and eating in my room...an end to a pretty eventful weekend.

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