Sudafed-less in Seoul

8 04 2012

“I’ll just take the cough drops please,” I told the corner store pharmacist.
If I go to bed early tonight, my immune system will surely kill this cold, I thought.

Well, here we are on Easter Sunday. I still have a cold but no pride and no Sudafed.
Tomorrow, we take mid-terms, and every pharmacy is closed. I can’t even return to the corner store for the pharmacist to watch me eat crow.

So drugs being a non-option, I commenced the quest for chicken soup today.
You know how it is when you’re searching for something specific.

I could not find chicken soup at any restaurant or market it seemed.
Spam soup, yes. Shellfish bouillon, check. Chicken soup, fail.
Maybe the Chinese restaurant will have hot-n-sour soup.
Not on this side of town. Maybe not outside of America.

Being sick in a foreign country sucks.
I had almost reached the pity police, when I passed this store front two minutes from home:

chicken soup restaurant!

Dear God, I know not your methods.

I ordered the 반계탕/ pan gye tang—one half chicken served in its stock with spring onions and two urns of fresh kimchi and baby garlic on the side.

What a comforting meal.

before ordering the requisite rice, flip yo bird.

The soup came with a sake service and house-made ginger tea.
If you are sick in Sinchon, I will take you to 장수보감 / chang soo boh kam, which serves only chicken soup.

In the meantime, am I supposed to learn something from today?
Have faith;
Be patient;
Ask for help;
Check arrogance at the airport?


8 12 2011

We’re supposed to get -6C weather tomorrow. Yay.
I can’t complain. The weather’s been decent enough to run and go for a hike.

On Sunday, I ran around Yonsei University, which is up the street from my homestay. The hood I’m in is called Sinchon (not to be mistaken for Sincheon) and it’s equidistant from Ewha Women’s Uni, Yonsei and Sogang U.

My favorite part of Korea is that no matter where you are, if you go up, you’re bound to start scaling a mountain. So a short, let’s-burn-some-of-this-rice run turned into a hike up Ansan (mountain). I won’t try to describe the hiking here except to say it’s especially restorative here in Seoul, where the air sucks. Hiking is the national past time. Come visit. You’ll see how serious Koreans are about hiking, all outfitted in windbreakers and visors, walking sticks and pocket radios.

If you get tired hiking, you can stop at one of the fitness parks on the side of the mountain (as if hiking weren’t enough) and play badminton, hula hoop or work out on the fitness equipment.

I’ll start carrying a camera. In the meantime, Manouchka Elefant has Ansan images.