Ruby Ramblings

Don’t like it? Shut it down.
March 28, 2010, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Korea, Peace, Politics, Travel, War

In a standard baby hissy fit, the republican party has decided to disallow Senate hearings. Senate hearings are allowed while the senate is in session due to a generally unanimous agreement that has long bee upstanding. In a hissy fit, the party of hell no has decided that no senate hearings will be held while they feel jilted over the health care bill.

Ironically, one of the meetings they shut down was on North Korean security, which military officials from Korea and Hawaii had flown in for. I’m finding it interesting that the very next day, a matter of possible security happened. Although, now it is being said that the explosion in the South Koran Navy ship was possibly caused by a flock of birds, and not a North Korean missile. Let’s hope the S. Korean navy people who are still missing are found safely, and that the U.S. republican party gets their head out of the asses and learns how to do something constructive, and not just destructive.

Boarder Skirmish
March 27, 2010, 10:03 am
Filed under: Korea, Travel

Due to some massive staff changed in the last month, we had one of our infamous school parties to say goodbye to some LONG time Korean staff, and welcome new Korean and foreign English teachers. While we were sloppily enjoying the VIP noreabong room singing our hearts out, one of the Korean teachers got a text from her mom that North Korea was attacking South Korea. No need to stop singing, just another day in the life living next door to one of the most childish and insane dictators in the world.

Really, as far as anyone can tell, it is nothing to get worried about. But it does make me wonder how often N. Korea takes pot shots at the other side. Is this a weekly thing that is kept quiet? Has it escalated recently?

Here is a report on yesterday’s events. There is no confirmation that it was an “attack” or that the explosion came from North Korea. A South Korean Navy ship was sunk near Baengnyeong Island.

Rueters Report

Excerpt from a documentary on Albright’s negotiations with N. Korea:

On a lighter note, the Onion brings us:

Snow Hiking
March 22, 2010, 2:25 am
Filed under: Korea, Travel | Tags: , ,

– my mountain song, for your enjoyment.

This weekend I took another trip through Adventure Korea. It was a great time, if a little wet and cold on Saturday. We went to Seoraksan on Sat. and then spent the night at Osaek hot springs, where we didn’t enjoy the sauna as much as we should have given the lengthy night of noreabong.

The visibility was horrible, and the hiking pretty treacherous on Saturday, so I ended up just taking the cable car up the mountain and trying to get a few good shots.

Mysterious mountains in the clouds.

After coming down off the mountain, we warmed up in a cafe with some tea that was the creation of the shop owner. Savory, not sweet, and in wonderful leaf shaped cups on a wooden saucer.

Sunday was gorgeous, if a bit brisk, and we hiked around natural mineral springs. The water here was naturally carbonated, and tasted just like sparkling water you would buy. Fantastic.

In search of beans
March 19, 2010, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Good Food, Korea, Travel

So, I ran out of the amazing coffee beans I had from home. New Mexico Pinyon coffee that a true friend sent in a care package, and the Atlantic Roast by Coffee By Design, the micro roasters next to my mom’s house in Maine. I have a morning ritual, that unfortunately doesn’t involve anything good for me or constructive like meditation, exercise, or reading the New York Times. Just hand ground, french-pressed coffee and the distraction of the internet and a book balanced on my lap.

I wasn’t having any luck finding good coffee beans in the Bupyeong area. There are some really clever coffee shops – Grace’s behind Woori bank, and a really cute, rustic hole-in-the-wall place down a side street adjacent to that, but neither of them sell their beans. Why would they when they charge $4,000-7,000 won per cup?

I thoroughly enjoyed Roboseyo’s post on this coffee shop in the Hongdea area and the Kopi Luwak coffee he and a friend purchased there. That would be the coffee beans passed through the digestive system of a Civet, for your enjoyment. The Kaldi Coffee Club was exactly what I needed. A huge selection of beans, ground or whole, a nice atmosphere, and even better, a great Tapas restaurant around the corner where I had an amazing mushroom pasta with a mug of mulled wine.

Bally Peaberry in a pretty cup.

For anyone who cares, I went with the charcoal roasted Bally peaberry. It’s mild enough to drink black. It gives me an excuse to go back to the shop because this is a better afternoon coffee. I’m going to try to find something more robust for the morning hours.

Musicophilia – Teaser Tuesday
March 16, 2010, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Books

“This thing called “music,” they would have to concede, is in some way efficacious to humans, central to human life. Yet is has no concepts, makes no propositions; it lacks images, symbols, the stuff of language.”

– Musicophilia, preface, Oliver Sachs

Meme hosted by Should be Reading.

February Reads
March 2, 2010, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Books, Travel

In the Land of Invisible Women by Quanta Ahmed.
Kindle Version

Once I started this book, everything else went on hold until it was finished. I didn’t even glance longingly at another title, or consider another subway companion until I had read the entire story of this American-trained Muslim doctor’s foray into the Saudi Kingdom. Although Quanta is a Pakastani women, born and raised Muslim, and considers herself to be a follower, her previous trips to other parts of the middle east did nothing to prepare her for two years of living as “an invisible woman.” In “The Kingdom” women are required to wear full head to toe coverings, including a face veil (not quite a burqa, but not far off), are not allowed to drive, and are frequently dismissed by their male co-workers no matter what their level of education. Quanta describes a rage of frustration that I can only imagine.

Gem squashGem Squash Tokoloshe by Rachel Zadok
This is a South African novel that I never would have come across if not for bookobsessed. I thought it was great. Part landscape, part family dynamics, and a surprising suspenseful mystery ending. Told from the point of view of a young girl living in a remote farm whose family starts to fall apart after her dad leaves for work one Monday and never comes back.

by Rick Riordan
Kindle Version
Book three in the Percy Jackson series.

by Sandra Welchel
Kindle Version
A British novel told from a retired woman’s point of view after her husband leaves to have his “Walden Pond” year in a remote cabin in the states. What she discovers is that all the time she’s been blaming him for not being able to finish her book has really been her own lack of discipline and way of letting life get in the way.

by Kenchen Pal Sherab
Read on the bus on the way to the temple stay. One of those books I carry around with me. It’s a good, basic introduction to Buddhist thought on the body and meditation. Kenchen Palden is one of the monks who is the teacher of the Buddhist temple I attend when I’m in Nashville. This is him doing a “lama dance” outside Nashville at the retreat center.

by Barbara Gowdy
(Hey Bybee, it’s a Canadian author). Travel tale told from the point of view of elephants. Although it wasn’t an outstanding book, it was a great companion to the last book I finished in Feb.:

by Rick Ridgeway.
This was less of a travel narrative, and more of a history of the anti-elephant-poaching effort in the Tsavo, and a lesson on some of the political dynamics of the long-standing tribes in the area. Solid writing, and interesting stuff.