Monday, 18 July 2011

Mouldy Fruit, Mouldy Life!

[Katherine]: Random aside blog post.....

One of the weirdest things we have come across in Korea is the Korean's obsession with mouldy and rotting fruit. It's very very odd but Koreans seem to leave the fruit they buy until it is mouldy and falling apart and then eat it! Even worse, they try to get us to do the same! I had been offered mouldy fruit a few times at work, but thought nothing of it - thinking it was out of date (unbeknown to the provider). Poor Greg got a much worse deal! His lovely friend and English conversation partner, Won Chul, often bestows gifts on him. Sometimes they are useful - towels and ramyeon and sometimes they are just plain weird! In the spring, he gave Greg Persimmons every week. Now, we don't like most fruit so we never ate the permissions. Greg still kept turning up with persimmons week after week and to our horror we realised they were getting softer and softer and blacker and blacker. We kept just ignoring them and leaving them around the flat (as you do) but one day to our horror one just collapsed in Greg's hand. Unluckily for me he was chasing me with it at the time, so we ended up with Persimmon all over us, the table, the door and the bathroom! We received even MORE persimmons from Won Chul over the next few weeks unti Greg couldn't actually carry them. I think it is the grossest thing I've ever seen:

Apparently, it's a Korean cultural thing to eat rotten mouldy fruit, but not one I agree with! Luckily these days the fruits in season are oranges and melons which don't get half as mouldy - score!

Mouldorama! Can't believe Koreans eat these things!

Cat Cafes and Caricatures

Last weekend we headed up to Seoul. It was really hot and blurgh so we decided to just stay for the night and stay inside as much as possible. We got to Seoul around lunchtime and the plan was to head to Hongdae and find a cat cafe to hang out in. We went to a dog cafe in the same area a few weeks ago and it was ace. I was totally converted to dogs and made lots of new canine friends, and Greg was just overexcited about everything, which is usually a good thing! We hoped the cat cafe would be a similar fun experience.

Unfortunately, we almost died of heat exhaustion trying to find the bloody place. On our way to the dog cafe we had seen about 3 or 4 cat cafes so assumed that they would be easy to find this time. Of course, we didn't account for the fact that we are Greg and Katherine and so of course everything has to be super difficult/annoying for us to do! First of all we went in completely the wrong direction and then when we found the right street we just wandered around for ages covered in sweat and panting (much like our doggy friends, expect they can pull it off much better). The only thing we saw of any interest was a Hello Kitty cafe (not a cat cafe just a themed one), in the building next to it there was a picture of a cat on one of the signs showing the 2nd floor, but it looked like a shop so we thought nothing of it....
Hello Kitty!
Over half an hour of death defying walking later, we had shiny red faces and attractive burns, and we succumbed to asking in the Tourist Information for help. The woman in TI spoke perfect English and pointed us to 3 nearby cafes - grrr!!! We decided to logically head for the nearest one but annoyingly it was the 'cat shop' next to the Hello Kitty Cafe!! I was traumatised and we stumbled up the stairs muttering to ourselves!! That'll teach us to be super lazy and not check things out!
The long searched for Cat Cafe - in the same building as 'Fuckface' - appropriate signage!
The Cat Cafe is very different to the Dog Cafe. When you go in you have to change into indoor shoes, put your bag in a locker and spray your hands with antiseptic. You are forced to pay 8,000 won for the privilege of being in the cafe, with which comes a 'free soft drink'. The dog cafe was free and it was only 5k for a beer, so I know which one I prefer! As Greg pointed out, it was very ridiculous (ie Korean) of them to ask us to spray our oh so dirty hands with antiseptic and then touch money - something which will have been handled by millions of people and is probably one of the dirtiest things you can touch!
Ridiculous indoor shoe/hygiene fashion
The Cat Cafe was a disappointment to us, as well as the long search and the price, there were other flaws. Namely, that the cats didn't give a crap about anyone being there, they were either asleep or ran away from human contact! Unlike the dog cafe, where the dogs were super friendly but not scary, these cats just didn't care! Oh course this could be due to the fact the Korean patrons insisted on just poking them and grabbing them when they didn't want to be touched. If I was a cat I wouldn't like that either! The atmosphere was just rubbish though and we felt well and truly shafted!

Go away!

These cats just weren't arsed!

The only highlight of the experience was that we got to touch a hairless (Sphinx) cat for the first time. It was a tiny kitten and was being manhandled by this horrid couple next to us. Luckily it escaped to Greg (he is an animal person after all) and also came to me - willingly - for a stroke. I am totally freaked out by these hairless cats usually but this one was so small and cute and weirdly felt like velvet! We hung out for a bit and then it managed to escape into a hole - go tiny hairless cat! Hopefully it got some peace for the rest of the day!

Cute hairless cat!

After this one highlight we made tracks, as we were really bored and headed out, shocking the Koreans because we didn't want to brush non-existent hair off our bodies with a roller brush.
Greg rocks the rocking chair before we escape the cat cafe!

On Sunday we headed over to Lotte World. We thought this would be our last visit as the park has been super packed the last few times we went and the outside of the park (where the best rides are) is blisteringly hot. We left the motel early in the hope to get a few rides in before it got busy, but luckily the park was pretty empty. Because it was quiet and because of our ace use of the fast pass system (queue jump Disney rip off) we got on loads of great rides without queuing for long at all. 

We also went on our favourite ride - the Flamingo Boats (it's our bird) and on lots of roller coasters that made me feel sick, due to the lack of queuing my tummy didn't have time to fix itself after each ride!

Sailing the 'high seas' on the Flamingo Boats
We also both got caricatures drawn of our faces. They were pretty good. I had a big chin though and looked a bit mental and Greg looked his usual serious eyebrowed self! We will take them home and hang above the bed classily. The guy who did my caricature was from the US which was random, apparently the Koreans poach them over despite having Korean artists who I assume are a lot cheaper - go Korean efficiency!!

We even saw a crazy Korean show, which was using a Goofy rip-off to promote litter collection (I think!) What more could you ask for?
Getting down with 'Goofy'
All in all it was a hot but mostly fun weekend - don't think we'll be visiting the Cat Cafe again though!
Token Lotte World Picture