Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Herb Island...Neither an Herb nor an Island, Discuss!!

The snow we received the day before Christmas Eve making our Christmas white
Well winter recess is over, school & work are back in full swing & I must be getting lazy because I really HATE waking up in the morning!! If school could start at like say 10 I'd be fine but alas no such luck. Our "vacation" time was pretty uneventful, we stayed home a lot (I think it was partly due to Daric working & by the time he got home the day was half over) but we still managed to have fun. We took a few excursions to the base in Seoul and then we decided to listen to the National Geographic channel's mantra of "Let's Get Lost" & drive down roads we've never driven down before to see just where they take us. We've found a pretty swanky looking country club (Koreans are BIG into golf...I don't get it!), historic sites (of what not sure), a "theme park" (much different than the American idea of a theme park), temples, Herb Island & a hot spring resort. Yes all that within a short drive from the house! It's all practically in our back yard. We did actually take in Herb Island & stopped to check out the hot spring (more on that to come) but the rest we saw the signs from the road pointing the way or we could see a few from the road. We might explore those when the weather is nicer.

Before I get into Herb Island let me get Christmas out of the way. Every year Daric & I say we aren't going to go overboard & yet it happens unknowingly! We both thought this year we'd actually stick to our plans since we were forced to online shop & we didn't order a lot when we did shop but once again our tree was bulging with presents! As we set the presents out we both marveled at how it happened, yet again, without us knowing. We were fine with it since the kids were worried Santa wouldn't come to Korea so seeing all the gifts under the tree immediately squashed any worries they had. Santa was VERY good to them all, he was pretty good to mom & dad too! I was worried the mail wouldn't make it in time but I'd say about 80% got here by the 23rd, we're still waiting on the other 20% which happens to include the lights for our tree! At least they'll be here for next year....I hope!! We're still waiting on presents for Ezzi to get here but those will now be his birthday presents, we don't need to shop for him! I have a few things coming which will turn into birthday gifts so Riley's the only one we need to shop for since his birthday is right around the corner too. And now for the pictures....
there are a whole mess of presents under what you see


shredded wrapping paper was everywhere, Gogi loved it!

Santa even brought Gogi a present



all 3 rocking their new robes

Akira cracks me up!!

hindsight...probably not a good idea to get daddy a blow gun

like every year mom gets kitchen stuff
Now for the main event...Herb Island!! So this place is pretty cool. It's a "theme park" with 2 permanent greenhouse buildings, 1 sells the different plants, flowers & herbs the other is HUGE & for your enjoyment. There are little shops & cafes all over the grounds. Each shop sold gimmicky things but also had some really great items made from the different herbs they grow there. They had handmade soaps, lotions, candles, bath & body products, teas, candies & breads. In warmer weather they have an entire outdoor DIY section of buildings where you can make candles, wreaths & some other things. It was really cool, even the kids liked it! There was a restaurant & aromatherapy spa which I will definitely be checking out after this baby girl is here. All in all it was a great day of walking around in the freezing cold then sweating our behinds off inside the greenhouses. Here are a few pictures of our day.
do they look cold or is it just me??


the "for sale" greenhouse


nothing but potted plants under the grates, pretty fun actually

they obviously don't cater to normal sized people :)

totally random in the middle of the other greenhouse


the Christmas village they set up which would've been great to see

daddy's turn to pull the "rickshaw"

Akira wanted to have a go at it too

Riley gave up about where the blue tree is

daddy's turn!! yaw!!


forgot what happens to the lens when you go from freezing temps to tropical

1 of the DIY buildings COVERED in fake flowers

the candle DIY building

there was a "mini zoo" of sorts complete with peacocks & a turkey

so pretty, there were a few waterfalls on the grounds like this

we got the green jar but I wanted the orange one just cause it says 'Pennel' not fennel
To end our Herb Island day we drove to the Sinbuk Hot Springs which turned out to be a building with a big pool/water park type area & spa areas. I saw the signs that said men's locker room & women's locker room but didn't think anything of it, most places have separate changing areas. Before I go any further let me say that I'm about to be 30, 2 words I NEVER thought I'd use when describing myself would be naive & prude, I thought Koreans were modest & I'm so very OBVIOUSLY American straight through to my core!! We asked the man at the front desk if we could basically tour the area so we could see if it's a place we'd like to come back to. He escorted Daric & the kids, since they're all male & I was left alone to tour the women's locker room. I walked into the locker room & saw a map on the wall showing the lockers, showers, cold sauna, cold pool, hot sauna, hot pools, underwater massaging pools, etc. I'm thinking "cool" this seems like a really nice place so I decided to go further & actually see the different pools. I take about 5 steps inside the room & WHAM!!! Naked Korean women are everywhere! The whole split second it takes me to realize this & avert my eyes was a split second too long!! I got to see kids, young women, old women & every age in between in all their glory. Coming out of the showers, no towels, drying their hair & styling it, no towels, chasing their naked daughters, no towels, going to/from the different pools, no towels, lounging in the different pools, no towels or swimsuits, sitting on the benches around the lockers shooting the breeze, no towels....did I mention that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM HAD A TOWEL????? They were letting it ALL hang out! I must have looked lost, among other things, because the woman behind the counter inside HANDING OUT TOWELS!!! ironically enough said something to me in Korean to which I pointed to my eyes & then did a sweep of the area to convey I was just looking at the amenities before I turned & walked out. I really had to try hard not to run screaming. What I witnessed is forever burned into my memory banks. I waited by the front desk for Daric & the kids. I didn't speak until we were safely in the car driving away & then told Daric. He was laughing so hard at me & said so nonchalantly, "yeah you haven't been exposed to many naked people, it would be shocking for you." He then told me about 3 seconds into the men's locker room Akira was throwing his hands up to cover his eyes because just like the women, the men were letting it all hang out too...which explains the completely separate locker room/sauna areas. He said the "tour guide" gave Akira a funny look when he saw him cover his eyes. Ugh, we're so living up to our Puritan roots!! Daric had to tell the kids covering their eyes was rude & not to embarrass him. Daric is all excited to go back & partake in the luxury. Me...I have my reservations since there are some huge differences in the American "grooming" style & Korean "grooming" style if you catch my drift. I'd hate to have all eyes on me since I look different...in more ways than one!! Sadly there are NO pictures of the hot springs to end this blog. I know you were all looking forward to those but I was a bit too shell-shocked to be concerned with photos.

Every day is an adventure & I hope you all have thoroughly enjoyed this particular blog!
Good night, good morning or good afternoon where ever you are in the world from our "Puritan" household.
The Bishop Crew