Saturday, October 13, 2007
My Dogs are Barkin'!
For those that don't know and are half-way curious, I have foot issues. No, not the kind that involves medicinal powders and a burning sensation, but rather the kind that comes from a combination of maybe wearing the wrong shoes, breaking my feet playing soccer, and then having my legs compensate in the wrong way, ending-up in fallen arches and serious pain whenever I roll out of bed and take my first steps in the AM.
So, I have taken to stealthily massaging my own feet in class. How is this accomplished? Well, at times I need to be behind my desk while we are doing a group reading or taking-up answers to a quiz. If I'm behind there long enough, I have just enough time to kick-off a loosely-tied shoe and roll it on the wooden dowel foot roller I brought with me from home. The effect of putting my foot back into my shoe almost equals the relief one feels when you put on your own boots after ice-skating. It's truly a relief. And since our job requires us to teach "Korean Style", that means standing on a hard stone floor for long periods of time with nary a break, though they do come from time to time. I know that makes me sound like a big baby, but sneaking a foot massage from time to time has become a necessity for me, I'm afraid.
I'm sure this is all very interesting for you.
What may be more interesting though is my tale of traveling to Sanbon with Ian and Bonnie a couple of weekend ago. It's amazing how the time flies and how long it sometimes takes me to update events through this blog, but there it is.
I met with Ian and Bonnie in Sanbon on a Sunday while Steph strolled into Seoul to meet with one of her friends. It was great - we had some coffee, went for an incredible dinner called Shabu Shabu which is actually a dish of Japanese origin I was told. It was fantastic - maybe the best dish I've had in Korea so far.
It is a shared soup type situation with the usual (and unusual) Korean side-dishes one can start expecting at these restaurants. The bowl of soup is heated in the centre of the table from a gas stove and the server helps to add ingredients to it through the meal, changing the food as you go. I would guess that there were about four stages the soup goes through - ending in a delicious rice-pudding type concoction that I loved. It's cool to be able to watch food be prepared and cooked right in front of you as you eat. Very cool stuff.
Prior to dinner though, I had an experience that made me very pleased. First, I saw this couples underwear store with a crazy sign. That wasn't what pleased me, really. What pleased me was seeing the cool recreation parks that they have built in Sanbon. They are always well-used and they have things there for everybody.
There are the usual public exercise equipment places, soccer fields, basketball, tennis and badminton courts (we even saw people in the evening hitting a badminton bird that lit-up with a battery-powered light so you could play in the dark), but the coolest thing that I have seen in Sanbon so far (aside from Ian's crazy small red car) was the pathway entirely devoted to feet. Oh, yes!!!!
The pathway winds through a little treed area and you can take a number of different turns. There is a stone map of the foot and which areas of the foot affect different areas of the body. The path is concrete and wood and it has many different types of terrain - ranging from rounded wooden half-logs to embedded stones of various shapes and sizes. You of course are meant to walk through the path with bare feet and there is a foot shower area at the end of the path.
Truth is - it was painful as hell. Bonnie and Ian opted out of the experience, but being that my feet are dying a slow death, I thought I'd mix metaphors and give my little footsies a kick in the pants. Some areas were very painful, but all in all, the experience was awesome. If I lived in Sanbon, I'm pretty sure that I would be walking that path on a daily basis. Ah - sweet relief! But now, two weeks later, I am again feeling the pain. I'm pretty sure that this calls for a complete foot massage somewhere. The time has come.