Is this not the best looking airplane meal you have ever seen? I mean, bibimbap with plenty of vegetables, Kit Kat, Canada Dry, a lil’ tube of lip balm gochujang?? Amazing.

Scott and I had one day in Seoul before Rosemarie arrived. She’s been getting plenty of nakey spa time in Japan so we decided that was a good activity for us to do before she got there. We went to Dragon Hill Spa, thanks to Leslie’s informative blog post about jjimjilbangs. The weirdest part was having to strip naked in the change room, then walk past the (fully dressed) ladies selling eggs at the snack counter and head down the stairs to the floor with the pools. Once I got to that area I was fine, but I felt really weird walking around nude when people were still arriving in their winter coats.

Anyway they have separate bath areas for men and women so Scott and I each went for a soak and met up for lunch later in the spa restaurant. I liked the medium temperature pools the most, and the herbal pools and the cold pool with the ultra strong jets. The full body jet pool was broken which was a shame because I think it would have been my favourite. I got a body scrub, which was odd, but my skin felt so nice and soft afterwards, and Scott got a massage.

Spa lunch. We had kimchi stew and cold noodles with pollack. The noodles were soooo long you have to chop them up with scissors so you don’t choke, and the fish was super chewy because it is repeatedly frozen and dried (like 20 times!!) until all the cells explode. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had known why the fish was so chewy before I ate it.

We also tried out the dry saunas in the common area. Some of them were SO FREAKING HOT and you had to crawl through a tiny door to get in, haha.

Rosemarie arrives!! We apply Korean sheet masks and trade gifts (Tina hoodie and Tim Tams for her, kawaiiiiiii treats for us).

The next day we went to approximately 900 different places around Seoul thanks to Jinnie and Leslie’s and many other people’s AWESOME recommendations. I’ll just post a few highlights.

Temple… ✔. Missed the changing of the guard and regretted not renting hanboks, rah.

Rooster, horse and tiger.

Good job Scott even getting the eyes right. :D A brief stop at the National Folk Museum.

Woohoo, second chance hanboks!! The Kimchi Museum had some that you could try on, so of course we took advantage and wore them the whole time at the museum. :)

Different types of kimchi. It was a decent museum, especially for only $5. We learned about the fermenting process, different types of kimchi, recipes, and even got to try a few samples.

Me and Ross at the poop fun centre (???)(didn’t actually pay to go in), Me and Mr. Donothing (my new spirit animal), Scott and his drinking buddy being #basic.

A really good lunch down a random alleyway. Spicy ramen tteokbokki (rice cakes) and gimbap (Korean version of sushi).

This is the only thing we saw on the whole trip about North Korea. Scott’s dad wanted a North Korean Olympic Team t-shirt but we couldn’t find anything like that at all! I suppose it’s not a joking matter.

At S Namsan Tower. Check out all those love locks!

Guess Rosemarie didn’t like it. :’)))

We didn’t go up the actual tower because the views from the top of the hill were already pretty great. Seoul is huge!! Check out that apartment density near the river!! This is the South view.

We stayed until sunset so we could see the twinkling city. North view!

We also did a brief tour of the printer and toner district of Seoul, a little shopping, ate BBQ, and let Rose win a game of Seven Wonders ;). BIG DAY!!

 

We swung by Sydney on the way to Korea to visit Jess, Rae and Felix, Ben Folds, and Reynold’s dessert bar, all in one day.

Always nice to catch up with Rae. And we finally got to meet Felix, who is very close in age to Cassia’s boy. I forced them to meet us at Koi Dessert Bar, even though Rae doesn’t really like sweet things, hahaha.

Strawberry Pillow – almond sable, strawberry lychee mousse, strawberry jelly, lychee slices

Mango Yuzu – almond sable, mango mousse, yuzu curd

Peach – white peach mousse with sudachi fruit

They were all nice, although all very similar, since they were all fruity and soft. Forgot to take a picture of the insides, oops. The mango yuzu one was Scott and my favourite. I chose the peach one purely because it REALLY looked like a peach. Ended up being my least favourite. Next time I will try something chocolatey I think. Reynold is currently doing a pop-up in Melbourne so maybe it will happen soon actually.

The Ben Folds concert was at the Sydney Opera House, which I was very excited about. How iconic! Jess came too but we apparently took no pictures of ourselves, doh.

The concert was AWESOME. I wasn’t sure about our seats because although we were in the front row, we were directly behind him so I thought we might ONLY get to see the back of his head. But he waved back at me when he first came in (we’re pretty much BFFs now) and turned around slightly when he was chatting (LOTS of chatting!), and we got to see his crazy hands and crazy feet really close which was neat. So many forearm keyboard bashings!!!

The first half was just a normal set, including some old favourites like Annie Waits (which we happily did the claps), and songs that I had never heard before like Phone In A Pool. He told lots of stories and jokes. When he started playing You Don’t Know Me I turned to Scott and said “this is a DUET, how is this going to work??” but then the audience just did all the Regina Spektor parts and it was great!!

Then he started transitioned to drums and Tim Minchin literally RAN on stage. Everyone went nuts!

They played One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces together while everyone was cheering and singing along. So fun. Tim is also a master pianist.

Then for the second half we were supposed to write our requests on pieces of paper and all together throw them on stage. FUN! I requested Dr. Yang which actually hit the piano and landed near his feet, but he didn’t pick it up. :( Anyway he would pick up an airplane and play it no matter what (unless it was something he already played, or something he didn’t know), ten times. So awesome.

There were some pretty standard requests, like The Luckiest, Lullaby, and Emaline, although some were a bit more obscure and he couldn’t remember the words so he had to improvise some parts haha. Lots of Ben Folds Five songs. My favourite was Underground because it’s a four part harmony and we all had to get real involved.

On his way out. Although he even came back to play an encore, which apparently is rare for this tour! So we got to hear Army too before having to leave.

All in all, 10/10 concert experience. Would Ben Folds again in a heartbeat.

We had a really busy January. I thought life would slow down after Christmas but it did not. I feel like I’ve barely been home at all over the last month and I’ve been perpetually 15 minutes late for everything.

Last year I would go months without getting called into work, but I’ve now been called in 7 times in the last 6 weeks. Insane. But insanely good for our bank account!!

Anyway we’re on holiday now though so it’s ALLLLLL GOOOOOD.

Cassia and baby Cedric came to visit the other weekend. I was a bit unsure how the visit would go since it was the first time we’ve had a baby guest, but it ended up good! Cedric is 6 months old and requires a lot of bouncing. Between the bouncing we went out for brunch, played Ticket To Ride, went to the Camberwell Sunday Market, went to the city to shop at H&M and Uniqlo (they don’t have those in Adelaide), made pizza, drank milkshakes, and of course lots of catching up chats.

We played the present Rosemarie gave me for my birthday.. (mostly) Canadian themed Wits and Wagers cards! They were fun although we had some questions… for example, does the surface area of the worlds largest pizza account for the top and the bottom?

Weightlifting is going ok. I got told a new cue a couple weeks ago which has made some things click finally, although I’m still terrible and weak AF. Don’t know if I’ll be able to lift in Korea at all though so maybe I’ll forget everything. :/ If things go ok when I get back though I will do another competition in March, the Victorian Weightlifting Open. We’ll see.

Sailing has been fun. They’re slowly giving me more things to do as I get more comfortable on the boat again. Although last week I tried to help by loading the winch, but I did it wrong and caused an override and we came in (extreme) last place in the race. We almost had to cut the rope. It was real bad. They’re probably glad to have a couple weeks without me haha.

Scott and I have started a new thing where he is supposed to plan something for us to do once a month. Last month he organized a night out at the Big Bash League. I am slowly figuring out cricket. I actually don’t mind big bash because it plays at a pretty good pace and they try more exciting shots. However the game we went to turned out to be more of a Medium Bash and was kinda dull. Melbourne only hit one 6 (and no 9’s hahahahahah).

Da boys cashed in their Christmas present voucher from us, which was to take them to the Aquapark at Melbourne Cable Park. It was really fun! Although Scott and I struggled to keep up with them, haha. I also feel like I pulled Seth out of the water about 900 times. The next day my arms were so sore!! We got slurpees after and no one hurt themselves, so I would consider it a success all around.

Kate sent over a whole bunch of Canada Olympic gear for Scott and I, and all the kids. They are very ready to cheer for Canada starting next week!!

Scott and I leave tonight!! We’re stopping in Sydney to see Jess and Rae and Ben Folds, and then we fly to Seoul on Wednesday. Rosemarie will arrive on Thursday. :D :D Back in two weeks (unless we get nuked).

I’ve been asked to write out a list of what we are going to so you can look for us on TV. I apologize if there are any mistakes… time zones are hard. Look for the Aussie-Canadian duo! I’ll try to post on Facebook or something about what we are wearing on the day. I’d guess that it will be easiest to see us at skeleton, but who knows.

All for now. I’ll probably be posting the most on Instagram while we’re away. #instagramthatshit

GO CANADA GO! AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!

Last weekend Scott and I went camping in the Grampians. The campground had a big field next to it where you could see emus during the day, and kangaroos in the evening. It was my first time seeing emus in the wild. :D

Saturday morning we hiked up the Pinnacles. It was very hot and I am very lazy so we took the easy way up, from Sundial car park. It still took a few hours and involved a bit of climbing. The views up top were great!

Scott is so #basic.

After our hike we got ice cream in Halls Gap, and walked to Venus Baths, but it was a bit lame and had too many flies so we didn’t stay long.

We still needed to cool down so we headed to the Lake Bellfield swimming area. It was not very busy and I don’t know why because the lake was very pleasant. I really like lake swimming.

We couldn’t have a fire that night because there was still a total fire ban (we have such bad luck with that!!!!), so we just swam in the campground pool, read books, and played games instead.

Sunday morning camping pancakes to fuel us for another hike.

This time we hiked to Mackenzie Falls from Zumsteins via Fish Falls. This hike is longer, but much flatter than the quicker way to the waterfalls. Again, it was HOT AF!! It took us about 2.5 hours including lots of time taking pictures and refreshing our feet in the water.

Again, so #basic.

OK so the hike and waterfalls were lovely, but it all feels a bit weird now because we found out afterwards that someone actually drowned in the waterfalls the evening before, and they had only pulled the body out about 1.5 hours before we got there. The waterfalls were actually closed when we set out, but because we walked the long way in there were no signs!! D: I’m just glad we hadn’t gotten an earlier start because we could have seen it all which would have been even more disturbing. :( It’s all very sad.

You’re not supposed to swim at Mackenzie Falls but a lot of people do because it is SO nice. We totally would have swum too if we had brought our bathing suits. If you do decide to swim there, please be smart about it!!! Maybe wear a life jacket? Stay well away from the falls, they are much more powerful than it seems. Only swim if you are a strong swimmer. Be careful about slippery rocks!!

So a couple weeks ago I was messaging with Natasha about things that I thought were awesome on the East coast since she was working her way down the coast from Cairns at the time. I kept saying over and over that Fraser Island was SO FUN and SO COOL and then I realized “Hey wait a minute, I have four days off… maybe… I COULD COME!?!?!?!”.

After some furious flight/rental/accommodation research it all came together and a few days later I was flying to Hervey Bay to meet Nat so we could go on an XXXXXXTREME 4WD adventure on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.

Last time I went to Fraser (2008) I did the normal backpacker thing where they put you in groups of 10 people and give you a 4WD and an itinerary and set you free. It was an awesome adventure and I made great friends, several of which I am still in contact with. Turns out they don’t even offer that anymore, I guess too many people got into trouble? Now you can still go in groups of 8ish people, but you have to drive in convoys where the lead car has an actual experienced guide. Zzzzz. But all those groups were full by the time we were organized so instead we just rented our own 4WD just the two of us. :D ADVENTURE!!! The rental place did a briefing and made us an itinerary anyway, so actually it was pretty much the same thing, you just have to arrange it more yourself now.

I wasn’t too nervous about the sand or track driving, because we are both good drivers with snow experience (similar to sand), but I WAS legit worried about getting stuck, because how were we supposed to push ourselves out with only ONE PUSHER!? Thankfully it had rained a lot a few days before we got there so the sand was quite moist and getting bogged was not an issue.

So yeah, the entire 120 km x 24 km island is made of sand. The main “highway” is the beach along the Eastern side, which you can drive on around low tide, dodging waves, deep sand, and washouts (**more about this in a minute). There are also some very rough tracks inland through the forest to get to the extremely beautiful lakes. There are tons of things to look at, walks to do, places to swim, but no towns or anything, just a few little shops and resorts in a few places. It’s a cool place.

So the first morning we drove as far up the beach as we were allowed with our two day itinerary, and back, stopping at all the interesting things, like this shipwreck! It’s been there for almost 100 years.

The pinnacles look like rocks, but they’re just sand! I wanted to pick at it so bad.

Eli Creek was one of my favourite things last time, and it did not disappoint this time. (Because, spirit animal). It’s a freshwater stream where you can run up the boardwalk and then float down. It looks murky in the pictures, but actually that’s the sandy bottom, the water is actually super clear. We did it twice. Lots of giggling ensued.

Oh yeah you also have to keep an eye out for PLANES, who use the beach as a runway as well.

We also hiked into Lake Wabby, a bright green lake at the end of a giant sand dune. More prepared people bring sandboards which you can ride right into the lake. We didn’t have much time to spend here though because we had to drive to our campsite well before sunset.

We camped on the beach that night. Didn’t get eaten by dingos. FIST BUMP.

The next day we went on a long hike into a “secret lake”. I had low expectations but we actually did have the whole lake to ourselves! Cool! Well actually we had to share it with a giant goana who was doing laps on the beach. We thought we might be lost on the hike back to the car because we didn’t recognize anything, but turns out we’re both just super unobservant I guess.

Last stop was beautiful Lake McKenzie. So photogenic. So clear.

The best part about all of these lakes is that the sand is just pure soft sand. No rocks to stub your toe on. It’s so fun to run your hands through the sand underwater and on the beach because it’s so smooth. Also they’re freshwater lakes, so no stinging eyes or jellyfish or anything. Perfection.

Natasha and our 4WD Pink Betty. (Bam ba lam.)

** STORY TIME! My nickname from 2008 was Crazy Katrina because of the group’s assessment of my driving on Fraser. Well, the torch has been passed to Natasha, because she kinda… DROVE OFF A CLIFF!! HAHAHA. We’re not actually sure exactly how big the washout was, (reports vary between 10 cm and 2 metres) but it was extremely shocking and made everything in our car go flying from the trunk into the front seats, including 1) a camp stove, 2) a loose knife, and 3) a dozen eggs. I remember yelling WATCH OUT! and then turning around and seeing the knife flying through the air in slow motion hahahaaaaaaa. Anyway, we were fine, and the car passed the inspection at the end, so all is well. XXXXXXXTREME!! Cartoon coming soon.

View of Fraser Island from my plane home! The thin strip of beach along the ocean is the road, the big lake is Lake McKenzie, and the small lake is Basin Lake (the secret lake). You can also see a bunch of the dunes. Pretty neat.

All in all it was an excellent trip. 10/10, and I can’t wait to go back again some day. Next time for a bit longer though, because we didn’t have enough time to get up to the champagne pools or Indian Head, where you can very often see whales. I’m so glad it worked out at all though. Thank you Scott for letting me hashtag YOLO and go.