Toasty mitts

Written by admin on October 28, 2008 – 4:16 pm -

Autumn just kicked into high gear and temps are starting to drop and if you’re anything like me, I hate it when my hands get really cold. Most of us buy a hot beverage just to hold or simply stick our hands in our coat pockets. The only problem is that the first solution isn’t really feasible if you are engaged in an outdoor activity.

Well I’ve got a solution.. nothing new but I did spot one of these air activated hand warmers at Costco. How it works is that you open the packet and a little sack that seems to have a coffee like powder inside reacts to the air and starts to heat up. It stays warm for about 8 hours and is cheap enough to be used everyday. A box of 20 handwarmers cost KWN 5,000.

Thats cheap enough to keep those mitts warm all through out the winter season.

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Posted in Seoul | 3 Comments »

Lost in Seoul

Written by admin on October 22, 2008 – 4:03 pm -

Ever wish you had the guts to drive and explore a new city or go for a roadtrip without fearing getting lost? Especially if you couldn’t ask for directions due to the fact that the local populace don’t speak english.

What you need is a GPS navigation unit. For starters GPS service is free of charge. GPS or Ground Positioning System is a a system that works by triangulating a user with a GPS receiver with the use of satellites. These satellites are owned by the U.S. military and were primarily developed over a decade ago to determine the position of their ships, aircraft and personnel. This technology has now spilled over to the civilian market and we now enjoy turn by turn directions to our chosen destination. 

In S. Korea, GPS navigation has been available for quite some time now but the major problem for foreigners like me was that the verbal and displayed directions, maps and language were only available in Korean. These days english turn by turn instructions as well as map displays are available by a simple update from the internet. 

The unit I purchased was an XROAD Season 2 GPS. You may opt for other brands but make sure you get one with the Mappy system as they have english updates. One thing I really like about the GPS units here in Seoul is that they provide real-time traffic information. This helps me navigate through the grid locked streets of Seoul especially during the rush hours. I’ve included a video of this in action. Traffic info is displayed for both directions in either flashing red for heavy bumper to bumper traffic, yellow for moderate flow and green for the all clear. Other bells and whistles include the DMB, and PMP.

So if you’re itching to go on the roadtrip without the anxiety of getting lost head over to your favorite electronics retailer and grab yourself one. It’s relatively cheap nowadays with prices ranging from W200,000-350,000 depending on the features that you want.


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Posted in Seoul, Tech, Travel | 8 Comments »

Osan Airpower Day 2008

Written by admin on October 13, 2008 – 4:01 pm -

For the first time since 9-11, Osan AB once again opened its doors to the public for an airshow.

There wasn’t much of a crowd as we arrived fairly early and after we cleared security where they checked our passports and Korean ID we were on our way walking to the apron where all the static aircraft were parked.

Being at airshows early is a must if you plan to take photos of the various static displays since you can get very nice uncluttered shots.  Another bonus is not having to qeue for very long when visiting the cockpits of the various aircraft for a photo op such as the one depicted below.

The flight demonstration started promptly at 11:15 immediately after the Star Spangled Banner was sung. First off was the U2 flyby, followed by the PACAF F-16 Demo from Misawa Japan, then the A-10 West Coast Demo, and finally being capped off by a large scale CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue ) demo which showed how U.S. Forces train to rescue a downed airman behind enemy lines.

Also featured the Osan AB K-9 unit attacking an intruder. I’m amazed at how highly trained these guard dogs are, and although it may seem cruel what their jobs are, you can be rest assured that these animals are well loved by their handlers.

All in all I had a fun day and quite happy that my laziness didn’t get the better of me that day. As a bonus I was able to fill my craving of having a can or two of rootbeer (we all know that rootbeer is not readily available in the ROK) from one of the concession stands. 



Posted in Seoul | 1 Comment »

The sound of jets and smell of jet fuel

Written by admin on October 13, 2008 – 3:19 pm -

While walking through Songtan near OSAN AB I couldn’t help but notice and electronic billboard that first displayed noise. I had to do a double take as these kinds of signs normally showed the air quality, current weather conditions or pollution index. Not this one though. This billboard displayed the current Noise Pollution and also Vibration Index that were caused the the constant military aircraft activity at Osan Airbase. 

I’m speculating that these may be factors as to why real estate prices, specifically rentals are way cheaper in Osan. For instance, I saw a four bedroom house that was being rented for less than USD 3,000 / month. That is relatively cheap considering that a house of this size is bound to cost over USD 10,000/month in the Seoul. Most of the shops and taxi drivers spoke a decent bit of english. 

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Posted in South Korea | No Comments »

Ya Kun Kaya Toast in Seoul

Written by admin on October 8, 2008 – 10:18 pm -

My colleague and I were making client calls when I was pleasantly surprised to see a Ya Kun Kaya Toast store at the Gangnam Financial Center in Yeoksam. 

Kaya or Coconut Jam is similar to the Philippine version of CocoJam but not as sweet, its made from coconut milk, eggs and flavored with pandan leaves.

I have always made it a point to visit any of their shops for either breakfast or an afternoon snack whenever I visit Singapore. They also serve sunny side up eggs, coffee and of course bottled Kaya.

Visit their homepage for more info.

Posted in Seoul | No Comments »