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Greetings from Republic of Korea

I thought I would say a quick hello from Seoul, and give you a few impressions,
if you are interested.

First of all, there is a 14 hour time difference that takes some getting used to. I am basically completely opposite on my biorhythms.

The first night, my hosts took me for a traditional Korean dinner. You start off with cold dishes. This consists of various gelatinous things that range from cool and refreshing to hot and spicy. We had a white KimChee soup that was quite good. For those who don't know, much of Korean cuisiine is build around fermentation. KimChee is really any vegetable that has been fermented. Cabbage is most common. The soup had fermented radishes in it.

I should mention that we drank Sejo, a white, sweet potato liquor. It was quite good.

The dishes came fast and furious. My host rang a little button at the table (we were sitting on the floor in a room withh painted paper walls), and the waitress would come with the next set of dishes.

We had hot soup (spicy) and spicy KimChee. We had something like abolone that was very good. I liked the little omelet like egges with hot peppers, some soft rice cakes, and stewed spare ribs. The most unusual thing was a fermented fish wrapped in pork and spicy Kimchee. We had too many things for me to remember. Many small dishes one after another. Dessert was a sweet cinamon soup.

Tonight we went to a bar in the area of Seoul National University. We had traditional Korean bar food, a dried squid, which was not bad, but you should know that I will try anything once. The streets were full of vendors selling all sorts of goods.

The people are courteous, friendly, and very helpfull.

Maybe, I will get a chance to give you another update later.

Sounds like you're having a great time!

Thanks for sharing!
Business? Hmm, sounds more like a vacation. Good that you could combine the two, and see a different culture to boot. Hope you get to post again, I enjoy 'seeing' different cultures. But . . .dried squid? *shudders* Be careful, and have fun!

The "business" I am doing in Korea is attending the 12th DNA-Computing conference. This is the are in which I do research and involves using the molecules of life (DNA, Proteins, etc...) to do non-biological things, like build a computer. All of this is done molecule by molecule at the nanometer scale. Today, my family is joining me (including Filiminjaru), the conference ends, and we will tour Korea with some Korean Friends of ours.

Yesterday, we went to a Korean Palace that was build in 1400s. The Koreans have a long history of independence and self-rule. They have fought the Chines and Japanese for ages to maintain that independence. The place was very nice. The pagodas were all brightly painted in interesting designs. There was a secret garden that was very tranquil in the midst of Seoul, a city of 10 million. Speaking of which, one thing that is very different than America is the density of the population. There are high-rise apartments everywhere. It seems most of the people live in apartments. The traffic is insance and I cannot tell that the city ever stops.

After the palace, we had some maguli, a white, sticky, sour-sweet rice beer. Interesting.
Then, we went to Korea House for a Korean dinner and a show of original Korean dance and music. One dance that caught my eye was the men twirling around with a long streamer attached to their head. They would move their head and the streamer would twirl around and around.

I may be leaving internet today. Don't know.

Take care Ironsong


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