Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

To get from Vancouver to Seoul

December 7, 2007

Take the silver line to Pyongyang. While ago author of the strange maps gave us a hint “What do Canada and Texas have in common?”.  This time posted a promotional e-card called Transit Maps of the World published by Penguin. 

Based on the famous London Underground map, this map contains the major cities of the world that have underground transportation. It also has the same fun distortions that the Tube map has to make everything fit. 

The post also points out that

  • Africa is most poorly endowed with public underground transit systems: only Cairo and Alexandria (Egypt), Tunis (Tunisia), Algiers (Algeria) and Lagos (Nigeria) have or are planning them.
  • Actually, Oceania is even less metro-ised, but this is self-explanatory: there’s no need for subways in a continent where most countries are small island nations. Only Australia (Melbourne, Sydney) and New Zealand (Auckland) – significantly less small than the other Oceanic islands – have them.
  • Beck’s method of making geography subservient to clarity distorts distances, in London as well as on this fanciful map – rendered even more bizarre by some unlikely stops close to each other: how about Baghdad to Izmir via Jerusalem, or Athens to Esfahan via Tel Aviv? Or Taipei to Pyonyang via Seoul?
  • As in Beck’s design, there’s a concentration of lines and stops in the central area (which on the London tube map, I’ve only recently discovered, has the shape of a bottle). This gives the impression that outlying areas, such as the Americas, are much less metro-ised. Which might be a bit of an exaggeration, much like the placing of Bologna at the centre of this world map is an overstatement of that city’s charm (to everyone but the Bolognesi, I’m sure).
  • Okay, this is a fantasy transit map. But just imagine taking the metro in Vancouver, all the way to Shanghai! With stops in Montréal, Amsterdam, Prague, Kiev and Novosibirsk! Come to think of it: that’s a pretty long stretch to have to sit in a dark tunnel…
  • So, If I want visit my friends in Seoul, I need to change to Gold line in Rotterdam all the way to Esfahan then take the Silver line to Seoul. or all the way to Shanghai from Vancouver and take Red line to Pyongynag then to Seoul on Silver line.    Although it would be “… that’s a pretty long stretch to have to sit in a dark tunnel… It would be really fantastic if this transit system is real.  It’s cool and fun map, eh!

    Oh, it’s already Friday. Here’s this weeks TGIF song.  Power of old Gen. or 30 something…still active, Park Jin Yong, of course there’s many good songs but this is forever my favorite.  Honey by JYP.



    Just came back!

    December 7, 2007

    from b-e-a-u-tiful places!

    Bremen, Germany

    Cologne, Germany

    Paris, France

    Le Mont Saint Michel, France


    Amsterdam, Holland.

    Enjoyed efficient, fast, and fun public transportation.

    From 1.8 euro tram  to high-speed, it was set 278Km on mine, train

    Thalys , or ICE .  And cheap but well-established bus lines   and Metro  in Paris.

    Enjoyed food from market places

    from local restaurants

    even the complimentary light meal on Thalys.

    It’s always pleasure to visit Europe. Definitely it was too short!

    Kimchi Jjigae Index

    October 5, 2007

    As usual, the daily flames of debates, criticisms, rants keep alive in the Marmot’s hole on Korea / Korean matter.  Surprisingly it was Tteokbokki(떡볶이) that flamed the comment session today.  Yes, Tteokbokki, Tteok(,Rice cake) with hot spicy paste Gochujang (고추장), one of the most popular Korean snack dish(먹거리). The linked article was about the spicy “Tteokbokki” gaining its popularity among New Yorkers followed by other spicy Korean dishes. The thread also kindly compared how much need to be paid for a plate of Tteokbokki. That   

    “In Korea, a serving of tteokbokki will cost between 1,000-2,000 won (about $2), but in New York, you’re looking at $6-19.95.”

     This line reminded me an interesting article from local Korean newspaper in recycled box.  A week old article wrote, original articles copied from overseas Korean newspaper(The Dongpo News,재외동포신문), about the interesting results from the price of a Kimchi Jjigae in different parts of the world.


    Not the Big Mac Index but the Kimchi Jjigae Index(김치찌개지수).   

    The Dongpo News started its research on the price of Kimchi Jjigae around the world back in 2004. This year’s result, the Kimchi Jjigae Index, concluded from the pricing comparison in 62 cities around the world.  The standard price of Kimchi Jjigae was set at 5000 won (approx. $5.50) as indexed as 100.  


    So, You need to pay as high as $32 in Zurich, Switzerland or you could enjoy Kimchi Jjigae as low as $2 US in Kunming (昆明), China. Zurich got 620 index points and Kunming got 40 points. If you go to Berlin, it costs 12 Euro ($17) and 15Euro ($22) in Paris or in Amsterdam.

    KJI, of course the Kimchi Jjigae Index not the dear Leader KJI, ranged from 350 to 620 in Europe.

    You could enjoy Kimchi Jjigae less than $4 in anywhere China where Miyazaki (宮崎市), Japan scored parity with Seoul. In Moscow, you need to pay $12 (220 KJI) and it cost $3.50 in Bangkok with 64 KJI.  In this part of the world, Kimchi Jjigae priced at $13 in Washington DC, $10 in New York, $9 in Miami, $6.99 in L.A., and $7~$8 here in Vancouver. North American KJI ranges from 150 to 220. 

    Kimchi Jjigae priced less than $11 in 45 cities out of 64 cities. It priced at $7.50 ~ $8.50 in average in the globe. The article points that the price dropped by 30% in Japan and North American cities caused by growing Korean population and the Korean wave (한류). It also claims that the Kimchi Jjigae Index, KJI, shows similar pattern as the Big Mac Index.


    The Article also briefly states about the Soju index, indeed.


    SOJU! You need to save some bucks in Frankfurt to drink a bottle of Soju; it’s a shocking $27. It’s $3.47 in Kunming.  I’m Kunming!!!. Soju costs $11 in global average.  So, you could drink a bottle of Soju with Kimchi Jjigae around $20. Of course taste will vary in different cities.

    For your tip, here is one of the best Kimchi Jjigae restaurants in Seoul that I recommend to anyone who ask for the best Kimchi Jjigae. It is located near by Sejong Center, GwangHwaMoon.

    In fact, it’s called, GwangHwaMoon House (광화문집).  


    The restaurant serves the finest taste of Kimchi Jjigae if you don’t mind pieces of chunky pork belly. A plate of rolled egg fries (Gaeran Mari(계란말이)makes good combination of menu. But a bowl of rice does not come with Kimchi Jjigae. That’s right, you need to pay extra for it!

     Oh! This week’s TGIF song, I picked Koong Pak Life(쿵팍 Life) By JK Kim Dong Uk ft Leo Kekoa – TGIF!!

    Seoul Ranks 87th in Quality of Living

    April 4, 2007

    SEOUL ranked 87th in quality of living among the world’s major cities.   According to Mercer Human Resources Consulting Group, Seoul ranked 87th in the quality of living index for 2007 among the 215 world renowned cities, TWO STEPS UP from a year ago  -..-; 


    “The analysis is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of living criteria for each city including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services.”

    Zurich placed as #1 city of quality living city with 108.1. It outranked Geneva that scored 108. Vancouver tied Vienna in third place, scoring 107.7.

    Or is it also represent Most Expensive Cities of World Today? Well maybe not…as Seoul was also ranked 2nd  most expensive city in 2006, too.

    Of course, I still miss Seoul. And I would love to sing following song in Noreabang (aka Karaoke) even if Seoul Scores bottom.

    Seoul Seoul Seoul by K-Pop Legend Cho Yong-Pil (official site)

    01 서울 서울 서울   해질 무렵 거리에 나가 차를 마시면 내 가슴에 아름다운 냇물이 흐르네
    이별이란 헤어짐이 아니었구나 추억속에서 다시 만나는 그대
    베고니아 화분이 놓인 우체국 계단 어딘가에 엽서를 쓰던 그녀의 고운 손
    그 언제쯤 나를 볼까 마음이 서두네 나의 사랑을 가져가버린 그대
    서울 서울 서울 아름다운 이거리 서울 서울 서울 그리움이 남는 곳
    서울 서울 서울 사랑으로 남으리 Never Forget Oh My Lover 서울

    이별을 알면서도 사랑에 빠지고 차 한잔을 함께 마셔도 기쁨에 떨렸네
    내 인생의 영원히 남을 화려한 축제여 눈물속에서 멀어져가는 그대

    서울 서울 서울 아름다운 이거리 서울 서울 서울 그리움이 남는 곳
    서울 서울 서울 사랑으로 남으리 Never Forget Oh My Lover 서울

    Three Ultra Iron Men Cross the Sahara

    February 22, 2007

    Three ultra-endurance athletes, U.S. runner Charlie Engle, 44, Canada’s Ray Zahab, 38 and Kevin Lin, 30, of Taiwan, have just done something most would consider insane:They ran the equivalent of two marathons a day for 111 days to become the first modern runners to cross the Sahara Desert’s grueling 7,500 km.

    “We touched the water in Senegal at the beginning, and we touched the water in the Red Sea at the end. They were the bookends of our journey,” said Engle, of Greensboro, N.C.

    In less than 4 months, they have run across the world’s largest desert, through six countries – Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and finally Egypt.

    A film crew followed them, chronicling the desert journey for actor Matt Damon’s production company, LivePlanet. Damon plans to narrate the “Running the Sahara” documentary.
    Read whole story.

    Am I the Iron man? Nope…especially after reading this story.