Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Productive Seoul Trip

Ian and I met up with the Seoul Vegetarian club this afternoon for some Mexican food in Itaewon (the foreign influenced neighborhood surrounding the American military base in Seoul).  The food wasn't bad, but as usual there was too much sweetness and no depth to the flavor.  Koreans also aren't fans of bright spicy flavors (like jalapenos), so it lacked the right spiciness.

The restaurant, Pancho's, created a set menu especially for us that included a side salad (mostly iceberg with guacamole, but I was so stoked for the avocado, I didn't care), Mexican rice, a taco and a bean burrito.  You also could have all the chips you could eat, which they warmed before serving.  So, while it wasn't great food, it was a nice change of pace.

Ian and I spent all our time out today in Itaewon.  We've been looking for a ruck sack for me for our Europe trip.  Ian has an imitation Australian ruck sack that's really cool, so I've been looking for one similar.  We went into an army surplus store today and found authentic, used ruck sacks from all over the world.  We liked the French bag the best, but when I put it on, the metal bracing supports rested right against my spine.  I ended up choosing a Korean ruck sack with a sturdy, square frame, but no metal.

I'm very happy with it.  Its shape distributes weight really well.  We also picked up a couple of inexpensive canvas duffel bags for any day trips we may take.  Either they are "Outdoor" brand or they are knock offs, but we didn't really mind either way.

I meant to take more photos today, but we didn't do much other than shop.  Our meal at Pancho's did have a couple of interesting moments, including a discussion about the new Arizona Immigration Laws that quickly turned sour when the parties involved realized they had no common ground.  I may or may not have been one of the said parties.  I also discussed America's problem of corporate greed with a French woman and a Dutch man who work here in Korea, but not as teachers (extremely rare).  She is an engineer and he is working on his thesis.

So, a rewarding day indeed, but not much photographic evidence.

Good night!


  1. On the rucksacks, it's too bad the one you got does not seem to have a belly band. That's really the most important thing to avoid shoulder fatigue -- it supports the weight on your hips. Walmart has ok ones for about $20, so you'd think they would be available there at a reasonable price, except the key word is "available".

    Once you get to Europe, though, you'll probably be able to trade up to something better.


  2. Glad you guys had a great day. I love a good debate. You are my daughter!

    Your rucksack looks good . Looks like it will hold a lot of stuff. I could have used something like that for my trip. Maybe i wouldn't have needed to heavy bags!

  3. Peter: Thank you for the information, but I don't think I'll be trading my bag in. I don't need a belly strap because hostels have lockers, which means I won't be chained to my gear all the time. Ian's has a belly strap, which is good because his bag is really large and unstructured.

    Mom: We'll teach you how to pack after we get a little more practice with the Rick Steves' method. :D

  4. What's cool about Casey's bag is that it's a military surplus Korean bag. The shoulder straps are designed to distribute the weight evenly along your entire shoulders and the rectangular form of the bags forces it to rest across your whole pack as well. If we got anything else it would be a HUGE drop in quality. These bad boys are fine military grade Korean slave packs, they rock.

  5. I want one! How much did you guys have to give for it? I wonder what it would cost to have it shipped home!

  6. I looked online to see if I could find one like yours Casey, and I had no luck. So let me know when you head back to Seoul, if it is not to big a hassle, I think I will have you pick me up one.