Posted by: evedlewis | June 30, 2014

THAILAND TALES & TIPS — PATTAYA VS. PHUKET

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My close friend Ivana and I decided to venture off to Pattaya, Thailand for our 5 day vacation in May 2013. We had a great time, and we learned a lot along the way. I returned to Phuket alone in June 2013 for a week vacation, and I have some tips that I would like to share about both areas for those of you planning a trip to Thailand.

For starters, I would strongly recommend that you DO NOT go to Pattaya, unless you enjoy a constant and psychotic party atmosphere. Pattaya is a COMPLETE red light district city overflowing with prostitutes, lady boys and vendors who are not very concerned about long-term customer service. The focus in Pattaya is on QUICK MONEY and SEX. If you are interested in spending money and having casual sex, then perhaps Pattaya is the perfect playground for you. However, if you are seeking a more relaxing and refreshing environment, you will not likely be very happy with staying there. 

I knew that prostitution existed in Pattaya. However, I did not know to what extent. I imagined that the red light districts were hidden like in most cities. However, as soon as we stepped off the plane, I could feel the sexual energy in the air. The ENTIRE CITY was soaking with sin. Men stared at us with hungry eyes and we saw countless older men with their younger thai female companions.  This environment was extremely different coming from conservative Korea, where men barely make eye contact with women.

When we arrived in Bangkok, we stayed in the Nana District in a cheap hotel, which had rats outside and bugs inside. We quickly left the filthy city the next morning and used a bossy taxi driver who forced us to pay 1,000 Baht to Pattaya. We asked him to take us to the bus terminal, but he refused and drove us all the way to Pattaya instead. 

We were very impressed with our hotel once we arrived in Pattaya. The Rome Hotel was new and the staff members were amazing and extremely helpful.  While walking on the beach though, we passed by groves of prostitutes lined up and ready to serve their clients. We were unable to use our VISA card in many places that only accepted cash, we were very disappointed with one of our meals and our trip was dampened by many of the rude attitudes of the locals. We didn’t completely feel like we were on “vacation” in Pattaya, but we made the most out of our stay there.

We were able to escape to Koh Lan island for one day, which was better than Pattaya Beach. However, there were still mangy dogs and trash littered the sand. The island is very small and was not the pristine place that I imagined. Once again, the locals were not completely pleasant and seemed to be annoyed by our presence instead of welcoming. We simply paid 300 baht to take a ferry there and back.  There are many fun tours and packages in Pattaya. However, we opted to simply enjoy the beach and the pool during our stay.

The nightlife in Pattaya is perfect for those who are seeking an overwhelmingly seedy experience. Walking street is filled with clubs, bars and adult entertainment spots. However, for a more rejuvenating and peaceful vacation experience, I would highly recommend that you go to Phuket and skip Pattaya all together.

Phuket boasts a much more relaxing and luxurious vacation experience. There are tons of gorgeous beaches and nearby islands to explore. The best beach that I visited in Phuket among Patong, Karon and Kata – was Kata Beach. The sand is soft and silky and the water is clear and clean in Kata. The waves are great for surfing there as well and there is a nice little town village-type atmosphere. Karon was also a nice beach with beautiful sidewalk streets – perfect for running or walking. The shoreline is very long and wide, and this beach is also very clean and not too crowded. The worst beach is Patong. Patong has a great shopping mall area near the beach. However, the beach itself is dirty (muddy looking) and overcrowded.  Therefore, if you are deciding on the best area to book your hotel, I would strongly suggest that you stay near Kata Beach or Karon Beach.

For the really incredible beaches, you can plan to stay at one of the island resorts at Phi Phi Island (http://www.ppisland.com/index.php) or Racha Yai (Raya) Island (www.banraya.com). Or, you can simply stay in Karon or Kaya and take a boat tour to the islands.  The islands are about an hour away from the mainland – by a 20 minute shuttle bus and 40 minute speed boat ride. (Maybe one hour and thirty minutes at the most – depending on where you deport).  Please note that the prices listed on the website are in Baht.

I would highly recommend booking group tours in Phuket. There are several to chose from and a million companies that offer great packages. You can chose a boat tour to the nearby islands, a safari tour, an elephant/tiger tour, a temple tour, a ziplining tour, a cave tour and many others. (You can also book these kinds of tours in Pattaya – if you decide to go there.) I checked a few different vendors and simply chose the sales rep who spoke English well and was the most helpful. You should not spend over 1,500 Bhat for an island boat tour in Phuket. The packages I booked were between 800 and 1,200 Baht in Patong. You can also ask for a discount, if you book more than one day tour with the same company. I enjoyed a few beach tours and a temple tour during my stay.

Thailand Tips:

Driving a scooter here is extremely cheap – but extremely dangerous. I rented one for a day (for just 350 baht) in Phuket and feared for my life while driving. The roads are extremely congested and there are very few traffic signals. The other drivers on the road are very aggressive and will speed around you if needed. You must wear a helmet at all times, and I have heard that the police sometimes ticket foreign drivers just to make money.

 

Customer Service is NOT a top priority. I have traveled to many different parts of the world and received first class service in all of the other countries I have visited. I have always felt like a welcomed guest. I did not feel this way in Thailand. Do not expect star treatment. Some of the vendors and customer service reps were fantastic. However, many others were extremely rude and impolite with very obvious bad attitudes — ESPECIALLY in Pattaya.

 

Bring Cash!!! I was unable to use my Visa debit card in several locations (especially in Pattaya). Thailand is still a developing country and many businesses simply don’t have a visa machine. Make sure you withdraw plenty of cash before leaving your country and exchange that cash into Baht at the airport. I couldn’t even use my Visa card at a Baskin Robbins at the mall. They only accepted cash – even at an international franchise. Make sure you do some research and configurations online to understand the Baht monetary system before arriving.
 

CALL YOUR BANK!!!! Call your bank before leaving the country and let them know when you will be in Thailand and for how long.  Thailand has a very high rate of bank and credit card fraud. Most banks will not allow purchases from Thailand to go through and will flag your account or lock your card if they notice purchases from Thailand.  I had to call my bank to unlock my card just to book my flight to Thailand.  Anytime you travel overseas, you should let your bank know when you are leaving and when you will return so that they are aware of your travel plans.

Be Aware!! Be aware of the rules, regulations, customs and expectations in any country you decide to visit.  Being aware of the culture will help you enjoy your time there more and allow you to be more understanding.  I have read many articles about people getting into fights with Thai locals.  Be aware of your surroundings and do what is necessary to remain safe. Travel in groups and do not instigate or provoke a fight with any of the locals.  The police will likely arrest you and will very likely not be on “your side”.  You are not as legally protected in other countries as a foreigner. Therefore, you should be as respectful to others as possible at all times – even if they are being disrespectful towards you. Many people have been drugged, robbed and beaten in Pattaya. You must be especially careful in areas where foreigners are abused, routinely taken advantage of and exploited.

On a lighter note, you must get a Thai Massage while in Thailand and you must have a Mango Shake made from fresh mangos. OMG!!! Both are divine. It’s extremely HOT in Thailand, so make sure you wear lots of sunscreen and light clothing. You will likely be very sweaty while there. I would recommend a 5 – 7 day trip to enjoy Thailand to the fullest. Make sure you ride the Tuk Tuks while you are there — they are extremely inexpensive and will get you safely from point A to point B. Everything is very affordable there, so you can experience a lot for a very reasonable price. ;) ;) ;)

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Posted by: evedlewis | August 15, 2013

Back In Korea — Back to #Fitness – Running and Races

I’m glad to be back in Korea, where I workout pretty much everyday.  Of course I worked out in the states, but my exercise routine here is a bit more hardcore and regular.  On most days, I jog or walk a few miles on the Jeonju River.  Occasionally, I hike the nearby mountains and play tennis.  This year, I have been also committed to doing Yoga in the mornings before work.  One of my goals this year was to incorporate more Yoga into my exercise routine.  So far, I have been consistently doing yoga 2-3 times per week for the past few months.

In February, I did a “Cardio Fitness Challenge” virtually led by a trainer from Atlanta, named Ray Grayson.  Ray would send out daily “exercise assignments”, and everyone on the e-mail list would have to complete the fitness challenge by the end of the day.  He e-mailed some great youtube videos, which I saved.  My friend Jasmine and I have been dedicating one hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to doing these fitness challenges together through the Spring.  We have been meeting at her place, and I’m so glad to have a partner for these work-outs.  Forcing myself to do lunges, burpees, squats, etc. is quite a challenge.  These exercises are much easier to get through with a partner.  My entire body has been burning, and I love that feeling.  Yes — I’m one of those types.  I love the pain.

I have also been training for a 3 mile race that I signed up for in Gunsan next weekend on April 24th.  I have been consistently improving my speed and distance, so I’m excited to participate.  This will be my first race in Korea, and I plan to sign up for another one at the end of May.

If you are interested in trying the virtual work-outs, go to youtube and search “shutupandtrain”.

If you enjoy working out and keeping fit, you will be glad to know that there are plenty of gyms, yoga studios and outdoor areas for running, walking or biking in Korea.  There are even areas where you will find outdoor fitness equipment.  You should join a Facebook group in your city – or simply do a google search to find running groups, race information in English and/or to find out where the best gyms and Yoga studios are located.

UPDATE: I enjoyed the Gunsan race tremendously, and I have participated in several races in Korea since then (over the past two years). Make sure you connect with others to find out when races take place in Korea.  There are races that occur very frequently at the Yongsan Military base in Seoul.  You can participate if you can connect with a military friend who will sign you onto base and also sign you off when the race is finished.  You can also sign-up for local races online, but you will likely need a Korean-speaking friend to help you, as most of the race sites are in Korean – not in English.

It’s 2013, and I live in Gangnam, Seoul now. I did one race this year, and I have just signed up for two other races. The first race in September is a 10K and the second race in October is a 5K. Check the following websites for more information on these races (info is in Korean).

10K – September 2013 - http://www.seoul10k.com/

5K – October 2013 - http://pinkcampaign.com/marathon/marathon_info.jsp

Posted by: evedlewis | March 7, 2011

Back In Korea — Cafe Lemon Table

How many times has this happened to you: You go out to eat at a restaurant, you finish your meal, you go up to the counter to pay for you meal, and the clerk says, “I’m sorry, your card did not work — please come back and pay later.”

Well, this happened to me in Korea (again), during my first week back in Jeonju, and I’m so glad to be re-united with my people again. ;)  There is a new restaurant in my hood called “Café Lemon Table.” (As of 2/2011)  The “French-inspired” interior and exterior décor is AHHH–MAZZZING — though the food is not really French.  I love the exposed brick and stucco walls, the shinny floors, the vibrant colors, the gorgeous wall mural, the comfy pillows, the beautiful accent lights and the attentive staff.  Ahhhh — Every single detail is perfect.

My meal started with two fresh and flaky, warm pieces of croissant bread sticks, served with honey.  Ummmm — VERY YUMMY.  I ordered the burger and fries set from the menu, which arrived at my table within 5-10 minutes of placing the order.  Though I was not impressed with the taste of the burger, the French fries were superb, and I LOVE the small portion size.  You literally get 10 fries, which I think is more than plenty as a side dish.  I personally prefer the taste of the meat at “Krazy Burger”, but I will certainly go back to this restaurant to taste some of their other dishes like: the mushroom fettuccine, the grilled chicken sandwich, the pizzas, the salads and the honey pie.  I’m especially interested in the “honey pie” — very curious to find out what this will be like. ;)  I’m assuming it’s like a “sweet pizza”.

After eating, I went to the counter to pay for my meal, but my debit card would not work.  The manager and the employees were very apologetic, and tried to run my card several times.  I did not have any cash on me, so I told them that I would come back later to pay with cash.  They asked me to write down my name and a phone number, and they continued to say, “I’m sorry” while wishing me a good day.

I must admit that this has actually happened to me before (in Korea and in the states).  When this happens in Korea, people are typically understanding and trust that you will come back to pay your tab.  In the states, people usually give you the side-eye, and they don’t care much about whatever “good excuse” you may have for not paying your bill at the time of service.  I understand that people in the states tend to be more jaded and cautious for good reason.  However, I’m glad to be back in a place that feels so warm, welcoming, friendly and understanding.

Not to say that every single place in Korea conducts business this way.  However, my experience has been that MOST businesses in Korea REALLY VALUE their customers, and they really want them to have an enjoyable experience so the customers will return.  The staff members are typically extremely helpful, friendly and attentive (In Jeonju at least).  You will see the workers RUNNING to get what you request.  I RARELY saw a server or employee “RUN” before coming to Korea.  This customer-focused behavior and attitude is just not as common and wide-spread in the states.  There is nothing like being greeted with a smile, being bowed at respectfully and being treated like royalty when you are spending your money on a service.  Also, keep in mind that TIPPING is prohibited in Korea.  You are not  “allowed to tip”, because this high-level of customer service is simply the norm and expected.

Korea also has the “bell system” in place.  Most of the restaurants have “bells” on the tables that you can ring to get immediate attention when you need something.  The wait staff will typically scurry over to see what you want and quickly return with what was requested.  Yes, there are times when a Korean restaurant will not have what you desire, or they may not be willing to accommodate your “special request” (which can be annoying), but for the most part, the staff will bend over backwards to make sure you are happy.

I did frequent a restaurant called “The Boulevard Diner” on Holcomb Bridge Road in Sandy Springs (Atlanta), which catered to customer satisfaction.  The owner, Abass, was very involved with making sure his customers were pleased with everything.  Abass would always come out and speak to all the customers to make them feel welcome and to make sure they were satisfied.  I’m not sure if he would have let me leave without paying for dinner (he probably would have), but he was very interested in customer happiness nonetheless.  In fact, I typically frequent restaurants that not only have great food, but also honor and appreciate their customers.  I have been to a zillion “fancy shmancy” restaurants in Atlanta, and of course, they tend to have excellent customer service.  However, it seems that MOST Korean restaurants care about their customers — not just the “fancy ones.”

This was a brand new restaurant that just opened in Jeonju.  They had never seen me in there before.  I was thankful that the owner allowed me to settle my tab later, and I have already been back a few times with my friends.

My heart glows for Korea, and I swear the people here can feel it.  I continue to receive food offerings on a constant basis.  I was walking with my assistant director this week, and we passed by a fruit stand.  I wanted to purchase two oranges, but the fruit guy insisted that I simply take them for free.  Just recently, I was at a doughnut shop with friends, and the ladies behind the counter gave us all a free doughnut to sample.  As mentioned in a previous post, my friend and I received free blankets from Papa John’s after our meal there.  It’s really weird, but I really appreciate all of these simple acts of kindness.  It’s great to be back in the generous land of Korea for another year.

Update: Café Lemon Table is now one of my favorite restaurants in Jeonju.  The menu selection is huge and the prices are reasonable.  All of the menu items I’ve tried have been tasty (with the exception of the burgers).  A large group of friends and I went there AGAIN for dinner, and we all sampled several food items, which were all exceptional.  I have now had the pasta dishes, the cream cheese pizza, the chicken salad, and the chicken dish with a chili glaze sauce.  At some point, I’d like to try their steak, and I still haven’t tried the honey pie yet.

Cafe Lemon Table is near the Jeonju River Bridge in Jung-Wha-San-Dong.  Right next to the BMW dealership on the main strip.  Check my other post in the FOOD folder for complete directions and a list of other great restaurants in the area.

Posted by: evedlewis | March 6, 2011

Back In Korea — Back with my friends

Although I do plan to be a little less social this year, I’m glad to be back in Korea with my friends.  I have enjoyed spending time with Jasmine for her birthday, and I also went to Seoul last weekend to meet and hang out with a buncha’ other friends.  Amanda is a new teacher here, and she joined Joy and I on our trip to Seoul.  My time was filled with meeting people I have been planning to meet for several months.  I met up with Christine and her husband, Jakara and Courtney.

We spent Friday night at the Dragon Hill Jim-Jil-Bang (Bath House) near Yongsan Station.  I must say that spending the night in a Bath House is VERY different from spending a few hours getting pampered there.  For some reason, I’m not bothered by soaking in hot steamy water with a bunch of naked women.  I don’t have any reservations nor fears about naked bodies nor germs (IN WATER).  But for SOME REASON, I was a bit disturbed by the thought of sleeping in a crowded, closed room with a bunch of hot breath. Lol.

After soaking in the baths for a while, I made my way up to the sleeping rooms.  The first room was jammed pack, and there was no space for me to sleep.  The second room was dark and jammed pack as well, but I found a small space next to a sleeping baby and a young woman.  I slowly pushed open the door and carefully stepped over dozens of legs and feet.  After laying down on the hard floor, my paranoid thoughts about all the hot breath overwhelmed me.  The room was filled from wall to wall with rows of bodies.  Tons and tons of bodies in pajamas.  Many women were snoring, and others were tossing and turning.  I honestly started to feel a little suffocated.  Thoughts of slave headquarters and concentration camps continued to surface in my mind, as I tried to close my eyes to rest.

A few people opened the door and peeked into the room with their cell phones leading the way.  The light from the doorway pierced through the darkness and annoyed me each time.  At one point, the young boy sleeping next to me rolled over and threw his arm around my body in a gentle embrace.  At another point, the woman on the other side of me rubbed against my leg and put her knee into my side.  I had no pillow, no cushion and no sheets nor covers.  I knew that I needed to get some sleep, so I had to push away all my inner thoughts about getting sick from my mind.  Eventually, I stopped focusing on all the hot breath and went to sleep for a few hours.  When I woke up, we booked a hotel room for the next night. ;)  I’m proud to say that I have had the experience of sleeping over night in a Bath House now, but I’m not too sure if I’ll ever do that again. ;)  Perhaps, the trick is to get a spot in the room early enough, so that you are passed out and sleeping soundly before the crowd comes.

On Saturday, we spent time at the Co-ex Mall during the day, and then we went out for a FABULOUS night of dancing in Itaewon.  On Sunday, we met up with Christine and her husband for lunch, and then we went to a “Love Jones” screening at Roofers in Itaewon in the evening.  After the movie, there was a discussion and a poetry night.  I didn’t expect to have “too much to say” about “Love Jones,” but we had a really good discussion and the live poetry was fantastic.  We had a great time and headed back to Jeonju late on Sunday.

If you are interested in events and happenings in Seoul, join the “Brothas and Sisters Of South Korea” page on Facebook to get in the loop.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=25747883752&ref=ts

If you are interested in a great Jim-Jil-Bong in Seoul, I recommend going to the Dragon Hill Spa near Yongsan Train Station (Tell the cab driver “Yongsan Yuck”).  See my full write-up of the Dragon Hill Spa in the Jim-Jil-Bangs folder.

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Posted by: evedlewis | March 5, 2011

Back In Korea — My First KCC Basketball Game #YAY!!

One of my co-workers (Sunny) invited me to a professional basketball game, so Joy and I went to meet up with her and her friend (Greta) a few weekends ago.  I was sooooooo excited to go, because I have wanted to attend a pro-basketball game in Korea since last year.  The building appeared to be a huge stadium on the outside, but I felt more like we were at a high school gymnasium once we found our seats on the inside.  The court seemed smaller than a typical professional court.  Perhaps the floor only seemed small because the gym was so small?  I’m not sure.  Either way, we had a great time, and the teams played well.  The crowd was wild and supportive, and I was amused that the audience used “hand fans” as noise makers to cheer for the teams.  #SO ASIAN  — ha ha ha.  They took too many breaks during the game in my opinion, but other than that, I really enjoyed watching my first KCC game in Korea.  I think our team (KCC) is the best or the second best in Korea right now, and they should be going to the play-offs this season.

According to Wikipedia, our team is actually ranked as the #1 team in Korea with 4 Championship titles.  The KBL (Korean Basketball League) started in 1997, and there are 10 teams in the League.  The season is from October through April.  To buy tickets, take a taxi cab to “Chun-Buk-Dae -/- Khu-Jun-Moon”.  Facing the entrance of the college campus gates, walk WEST, and the basketball stadium will be a few steps down on your left.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Basketball_League

After the game, Joy and I enjoyed Papa John’s for dinner.  We ended up getting some free Coca Cola Blankets and free chicken strips from the manager while we were there.  Thanks Papa Johns!!! ;)

#KoreanFact — I always seem to get FREE random gifts when I’m out.  #NeverFails

Posted by: evedlewis | March 4, 2011

Back In Korea — Back To Climbing

I climbed Stone Mountain twice, while I was in Atlanta.  However, Stone Mountain CANNOT compare to the mountains in Jeonju.  During my first weekend after returning to Korea, I went for a hike in Ajungli at the Key Ring Bong Mountain again.  Joy came along with me, and she failed to realize or mention that she was afraid of heights until we were walking up the first slope —- YIKES!!!!  She was a trooper and hung in there until we reached the top pavilion.  We didn’t make it all the way to the mountain peak this time, because there was wayyyyyyyyy more ice and snow on the ground than we expected.  So we “slid” down the side of the mountain and made it down safely with the help of an older Korean guy.  We needed some skis!!!!!  It was quite an adventure, and I can’t wait to go back.  I am doing a 30-Day Cardio Challenge this month, and this weekend we are to go hiking, so I will likely be back in Ajungli on Saturday for another day of climbing.  If you ever want to climb this small — but intense mountain: Get in a taxi, and ask the driver to take you to “Bo Sox Sauna (Saouna) in Ah-jung-lee”.  Walk from the the top hill (facing the sauna) — walk to your right, to the bottom of the hill until you reach the mountain entrance gate on your left and start your climb.  Happy Climbing!!!!!

I played some tennis while I was in the states too, and I have played a few times since I’ve been back in Korea.  The best courts for Tennis in Jeonju are at Chun-Buk-Dae University in my opinion.  They are free of charge, and there are several clay and hard-tops.  Sometimes it’s difficult to get an open court, but it’s worth the taxi ride to try.  Take a taxi cab to “Chun-Buk-Dae” — “Khu-Jun-Moon”.  Walk through the Gates through the University Campus, and the tennis courts will be on your left, past the basketball goals.

I have also included some photos of a few of my favorite food items that I have enjoyed since being back in Jeonju.  Gooksu (Guksu) Noodles are my absolute favorite, and I had a few fresh-baked items from the Paris Baguette Bakery.

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Posted by: evedlewis | February 28, 2011

Back To Korea — Year #2

The plane ride back to Korea was not as “traumatic” as the first time around.  I was fortunate to book a 15 hour non-stop flight from Atlanta to Seoul on Korean Air (Splendid Airline BTW).  This was my fifth time traveling on a 15+ hour international flight (to and from Korea), and as they say, “everything gets better and easier with time”.  Most of my time was spent talking to random people, watching movies and playing virtual black jack.  The hours passed by quickly, and before I knew it, I was back at “home” in my cozy apartment in Jeonju.  I had a chance to take some photos at the airport and on the plane this time, so you can get a feel for what the journey is like.  So funny comparing the first year trip, to the second year return.  This time, I knew exactly where to go, what bus to get on and what to tell my taxi driver to get back to my house in Jung-Wha-San-Dong.  I even knew exactly how much money to budget for the trip, and how to purchase everything on my own.  The first year, I was like a helpless newborn, fresh out of the womb.  No knowledge, no direction, no idea.  Now, I’m back in familiar territory.  YAYYYY!!!!  Year #2 in Korea —->>>> Here we gooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

Posted by: evedlewis | February 27, 2011

Back In The States – 4 Month Break

After my vacation on Jeju Island in September, I went back to the states for four months.  I won’t re-count every single thing that happened; but basically,  I spent tons of time with my family and friends and ate everything in site.  My plan was to stay in the states until December and return to Korea by January.  However, because of some new paperwork rules, my return was delayed just a bit (Korea requires that people get their FBI Criminal Background Check apostilled now).  I landed back in Jeonju at the end of January, and I started teaching back at the school on January 31st.  I will be teaching for another year at the same school until February 2012.  My plan is to stay here for an extra month, so I should be back in the states by the beginning of March 2012.

While in the states for four months, I sucked up as much quality time as possible with all of my loved ones.  My idea was that I could fill myself up with enough love to carry me through the year.   By the fourth month, I was really ready to get back to Jeonju.  I had a few really good photo shoots, traveled to a few great cities and worked hard to stay in-shape while I was at home.

I had a GRAND time in New Jersey and in New York with my cousin Laquinda, I had a FANNNN-TASTIC time in Miami for a solo vacation, I spent two WONDERFUL weeks in Tallahassee with my Florida family, and I had a few INCREDIBLE weekends in Texas.  After all my trips, I was honestly “vacationed-out” and ready to get back to work.

Here are just a few of the millions of photos I took during my four month break in the states.

Please excuse all THE FOOOOOOD!!!! ;)

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Posted by: evedlewis | September 21, 2010

My Favorite Jeonju Restaurants

After living in Jeonju for over a year, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of my top favorite restaurants in the city.  I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ones that I frequent.  Many of the restaurants in Jeonju are traditional Korean places that only serve Korean food.  Some of the Korean food is good/tolerable, but I prefer a wider variety of menu options.  Therefore, I have tried many other restaurants in Jeonju that offer fantastic eating choices in a pleasant atmosphere.  Here are my top favorite restaurant picks:

Cafe Il Mare:

A lovely, chic restaurant that serves magnificent Italian food in Jung Wha San Dong.  My favorite menu choices are the shrimp and tobico cream pasta (without tobico), the chicken calzone and the Margherita pizza.  They also serve steak, salads and a wide range of other delicious Italian dishes.  Italian food can sometimes be very thick and greasy, but this place manages to prepare superb dishes that don’t leave you feeling stuffed and sluggish.  Cafe Il Mare is a nice option for a romantic meal or a more intimate meal with friends.  Lunch and Dinner sets are offered, and item prices are in the 10,000-30,000 won range.  063 – 227 – 2022

Cafe Il Mare - 063 - 227 - 2022

Margheritta Pizza

Shrimp Pasta

Aladdin’s Lamb:

A wonderfully decorated and spacious restaurant that serves various cuts of delicious grilled lamb meat.  My favorite menu items are the lamb skewers and the AMMMMAZINGLY flavorful Greek Salad with REAL FETA CHEESE – YUMMMM!  Although the menu is limited, this is a great place to go with a group of others and share different meat choices.  They offer small side dishes with your meal and the prices range from 7,000 won – 30,000 won.

Exterior

Restaurant Interior

Grilled Lamb Meat

Greek Salad

BBQ Beef Restaurant (DONWOORI):

I eat here wayyyy too much.  For some reason, the perfectly grilled marinated meat never gets old.  My favorite menu items are the tantalizing BBQ Beef Slabs and the tasty Ramen (Ramyen) Noodles.  The meals are served with many side items including a small salad with a sweet creamy raspberry dressing.  I have also tasted the duck meat, which is pretty good and is enough to serve a group of four or five.  This is another great place to visit with a large or small group of friends who don’t mind smoke and noise.  The prices are affordable, and meals range from 5,000 – 20,000 won.

Restaurant Exterior

Table Spread

Grilled BBQ Beef

Ramyen Noodles

Little Jakob’s Sandwich Shop:

I was suuuuuuper excited about having a new sandwich shop near my house (as of 8/2010), and this place has won my heart over.  Although they don’t serve deli-sliced turkey meat, as I had hoped, they do have thinly sliced “Chicken Ham” meat, which is close enough.  My favorite is the Chicken Ham on the toasted multi-grain Ciabatta bread.  The “Turkey Ham” meat tastes more like salami, so it would be a good choice for people who like salami.  They have an extensive menu, with many other sandwich and soup options; however, I would stay away from the potato soup and the tuna sandwich.  The decor is very modern, bright and artsy, and the prices are a little high for what you get.  They also serve muffins, coffee and other sweet goodies.  You may want to request two (or three) servings of meat — if you don’t want a bread and lettuce sandwich, because the meat portions are very small.  Expect to pay between 5,ooo – 10,000 won JUST for your sandwich.

Sandwich Shop

Chicken Ham Sandwich

Chicken Ham Sandwich

Curry

Curry is a great little spot to visit in the fall or winter for a warm, filling meal.  Their only menu item is a distinctive tasting curry sauce over rice, which is served mild or spicy.  I prefer the mild option, which still has a wonderful pungent flavor.  The only thing lacking is the amount of vegetables that comes mixed in with the curry sauce.  If I were preparing the plates, I would add a large amount of veggies and broccoli, but the meal is still satisfying with the potatoes and carrots.  Curry is located in the Hanock Village – pass the huge Catholic church (on your right), go to the next block (pass the “tourist entrance”), turn left before the school, and Curry will be the very small restaurant on your right.  This place is good for small groups of friends who won’t mind being jammed into a tiny space and waiting for service.  Curry plates are 5,000 won.

Curry Dishes at "Curry"

Hoa Binh:

I discovered Hoa Binh recently, because another restaurant I wanted to try was closed.  I’m soooooo glad I ventured in and tried something new.  This Vietnamese restaurant chain has a huge menu with an incredible amount of awesome choices.  My favorite dishes are the Vietnamese noodle soup with boiled meat (Pho with Beef Shabu) and the Shrimp and Chicken Noodles (Fried Pho — Mild — Shrimp and Chicken).  I also tried the Shark Fin Dumplings, which were pretty good.  There are two locations that I know of: one in Gaeksa, and one in Chun-buk-dae.  Describing how to find the restaurants is almost impossible, but the one in Chun-buk-dae is near Art and Travel on the corner.  Meals are 10,000 – 30,000 won.  080 – 040 – 2525 — http://www.hoabinh.co.kr

Exterior

Pho w/Beef Shabu and Fried Pho

Kraze Burger:

I fell in love with Kraze Burger during my first visit to Seoul.  I later discovered that there is a location near me in Jeonju.  YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!  They serve the best burgers, chili cheese fries, great salads and other “American-type” sandwiches like Grilled Chicken and Philly Cheese Steak.  The food is expensive, but well worth the price if you have a taste for some good ole’ “American food”.  They offer discounted Lunch sets.  Expect to pay 12,000 — 20,000 for your meal.  Ask your taxi driver to drop you at Lotte Cinema, walk straight (East) — past Paris Baguette (and TGIFridays), turn right at the first major corner (at the end of the shops) and Kraze Burger will be on your Right.

Kraze Burger on Wheat

Kraze Burgers and Fries

KB Chili Cheese Fries

**NEW** Cafe Lemon Table:

A new “French-Inspired” Restaurant just opened near me in Jeonju.  The classy interior and exterior décor is AHHH–MAZZZING.  I love the exposed brick and stucco walls, the shinny floors, the vibrant colors, the gorgeous wall mural, the comfy pillows, the beautiful accent lights and the attentive staff.  Ahhhh — Every single detail is perfect.  I love the restaurant concept, but I don’t think the food served is really “French”.  Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the taste of the burger (Go to Kraze Burger for Burgers), but the fries were very good.  I also had the Mushroom Fettucine, which was very tasty.  They serve flaky, warm croissants with honey before your meal, and they also serve “honey pie” and Pizza.  I’m not sure what the honey pie is like yet, but it sounds very interesting.  I need to try more items on the menu, but I would recommend that this restaurant is worth a visit.  Most menu items are 10,000 – 15,000 won.

Cafe Lemon Table

Mushroom Fettuccine

Caramel Machiatto

Lemon Table Exterior

To get to most of these restaurants: Take a cab to the Shin-Tung-Ha-Marte’ in Jhu-Wha-San-Dong.  Walk South towards the main street (pass the GS Store).  Turn Left at the main street.  Two options: (1) Walk straight (East) for one block to the next traffic light.  Aladdin’s Lamb will be on your right, and Donwoori will be on your left.  (2) Turn right at the next main traffic light to get to Cafe Il Mare (up the street on the left past Tom and Toms) and Cafe Lemon Table (further up on the Right).

**Visit http://www.seouleats.com for restaurant reviews and several great food choices in Seoul.


Posted by: evedlewis | September 19, 2010

JEJU — DAY 5

I spent my last day in Jeju at the gorgeous and private Jungmun Beach close to the Hilton Hotel.  Fortunately, the weather was FANTASTICO’, so it was a perfect beach day.  I soaked up more sun and enjoyed relaxing before heading back to the airport in the evening.  I bought some of the famous “Hallabong” oranges while at the airport for my friends in Jeonju.  (Hallabongs are called Dekopon(s) in Japan).  Jejudo is known for having the best selection of these huge juicy pieces of fruit, so I enjoyed a few for my “airplane snack”.  I landed back in Busan after a quick and comfortable late night plane ride, and headed back to Jeonju the next day.  If I ever decide to re-visit Jeju Island, I would like to spend more time there — at least a full week.  However, I enjoyed my 5 days to the MAXXXXXXX!!!!!!!!!! ;)

I LOVE YOU JEJU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

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