Lindsay and I have been pretty lazy since Terry and Deborah left this week. We have turned into high school versions of ourselves when we would get snowed in at home. Lots of movie watching, board game playing, staying up late and sleeping in the next morning. It has been pretty pathetic, but even when you live someplace as different as Korea, you still feel like being a bum sometimes.
Yesterday we were so disgusted with ourselves we forced a day trip to Mokpo after we woke up mid-morning. Mokpo is a port city about an hour and a half southwest of Gwangju. For west coasters, this is the place where you catch a ferry to Jeju Island or Shanghai. With less than 300,000 people, Mokpo feels like a small town compared to Gwangju. This is a welcome change. We enjoyed our time there yesterday walking along the water, snapping photos without any aim or goal.
The city was really beautiful with the Yudal Mountains flanking the Yellow Sea. The only thing that detracts from the Korean landscape is the modern Korean architecture. The tall apartment and office buildings make most Koreans cities look completely identical. After the war, American educated Korean architects returned home and designed these homogenous buildings without taking into account the landscape or city. Thus giving every city this unattractive look. In Korea you have to look a little closer beyond these buildings to find its beauty. Believe me, the beauty is there.
Today Korea was especially beautiful when I met our friend Han-na’s mom up the street so she could deliver some homemade kimchi to me. Coincidentally, this kimchi comes from Han-na’s grandmother from Mokpo. Mokpo kimchi is a little more fishy then what you get in Gwangju and oh so good.
It was reported to us last night that kimchi can be found at some Walmarts in the states. Lindsay’s sister, Jessica saw it at one in the Nashville area. If you are on the fence about this food let me sell you on it.
1. Its got garlic. Why we don’t eat more garlic in the states is beyond me. From what I have read lately garlic is a miracle vegetable. Not only does it do wonders for your circulatory system, like lower your cholesterol, it also helps keep you thinner.
2. It has chili pepper. I didn’t know this but chili pepper is chock full of Vitamin C. It has almost 10 times the amount of Vitamin C as any other food.
3. Apparently it promotes intestinal health. One website says: “Kimchi also works to clean out your system by feeding the lactobacteria and bifidobacteria that live in your intestines. These are the “friendly bacteria” that we need to be healthy. Kimchi nourishes them so they can thrive and outnumber the “unfriendly bacteria” that threaten our health from the inside.”
4. It just tastes good. I am not going to lie, you really have to acquire a taste for kimchi. Lindsay’s dad, Terry, tried while he was here. I think if he had a few more days he would have been a full-blown kimchi lover. I go to school lunch ready to eat anything. I think it was there I acquired the taste for this pickled cabbage.
Alright, if that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will. I’ll look into bringing some home next summer. I might even have some left over from the 10 pounds I inherited form a grandmother in Mokpo.