Good Man’s Axiom

Back in Gotland, Sweden, Good Man declared, “When a local tells you to go somewhere, you go.”

We were very glad to follow that advice Friday.

Friday we were supposed to head north toward Terra Nova National Park, but we headed south first to go to Frenchmen’s Cove Provincial Park. Along the way, I pulled off at an “interprative point” on the road (210: The Heritage Run).

Good Man looked at me, “Why do we always stop?”

“I want to take a picture.”

Post-Glaciers

The Burin Peninsula (or at least the area we drove through) is a lot of rolling hills and mostly barren land littered with large rocks and what appeared to be kettle ponds. Very much a “glaciers were here” feeling. Since this was a fishing area (until it was overfished), most of the villages were on the coasts. The road down the center of the peninsula seemed rather deserted.

With Good Man

We made it down to Frenchmen’s Cove and found something to eat—at a golf course of all places. (The only vegetables on the menu? Deep fried!) It appeared to be the local hangout for the ~200 residents.

We went to Frenchmen’s Cove Park, where I waited for a good 10 minutes for the woman in front of me to get a camping pass. She wanted to stay near her sister, her son in the car wanted to stay where there was an electrical hookup. The park employees would tell the woman something. She’d yell it to the car. The son would yell at her, she’d repeat it to the employee.

Then she and the employee got going about their relationship through cousins or something.

Oh. My. God. I have a park pass. I just want a map.

The park was smaller than the other ones we’d visited. It’s hiking trail was rather short and it was pretty foggy (but not in that very early morning misty-fog way) so I was a bit disappointed. However, I did get some nice shots of the flowers found in the park.

Driving down toward Frenchmen’s Cove, I saw an oil rig in the bay. On the return trip I pulled off at a viewpoint to take photos.

Oil Rig Near Marystown, Newfoundland

A gentlemen stopped as well and we started to chat. He was born and raised in Newfoundland, worked in Labrador for 35 years, had bought a house nearby and was retired.

Then he said he’d just found a local spot that no tourists knew about and that few locals knew about. He told me to go there.

He pointed up the road and said, “Go to the second hill, take the exit. When the road splits, don’t go up toward the houses, go down toward the water. Turn right at the cemetery onto the dirt road, follow the road, you’ll pass a little farm. Might see cows. Don’t drive off the edge of the hill because it gets steep and your car won’t make it back up. You can park there and walk down to the most beautiful beach! It’s low tide, so the sand is soft!”

Good Man and I watch a lot of crime shows. And that just sounded like directions to a body dumping site. But Good Man has his rule. I promised the man—Clyde—that we’d go. I got back into the car and woke Good Man up. “A local told us to go somewhere.”

Off we went. I trusted that we’d eventually get to this beach and when we got to the top?

Wow.

Unknown Beach

What Clyde didn’t mention is that there was also a little stream, a pond, and some bluffs. And very, very few people. While we were walking down the hill, a family of three was walking up it. A woman walked up the beach and left. And then we were entirely alone.

Walking Up the Bluff

View From the Top

We climbed to the top of the bluff and the view was incredible. I just laughed and laughed. “This is gorgeous!”

Off in the distance you could see little fingers of land, reaching into the water. Tiny little towns tucked into each cove.

Arch

We climbed down the bluff and explored this arch area. Since it was low-tide we could see all of the fresh seaweed.

Seaweed

Low Tide

Enjoying the Breeze

As we were leaving (after about an hour), who should pull up but Clyde? “I went and got my wife,” he said. He’d also fetched his sister and her husband. We greeted him again and thanked him multiple times for telling us about the beach. “Yep, see you again!” he called out cheerfully.

Hissing Squirrel

Thursday was a really long day.

I tried getting gas. I couldn’t get the pump to work. I pushed the “fill” button and squeezed the pump. Nothing. Tried again. It just flashed “PR.”

Good Man, meanwhile, was wondering how in the world we were supposed to pay if nobody was pumping gas (Korean style) and there was no credit card slot (urban American style).

I finally went inside and asked the woman what PR meant. She suggested price, glanced out the window and stated the obvious. “You need to lift the lever, honey.”

I smacked my forehead and started laughing. Then I couldn’t stop. Good Man was in awe. None of the pumps around us need to be lifted to be started.

When we finally managed to get gas, we left Witless Bay and headed south to La Manche Provincial Park. We hiked out to some waterfalls. It was a nice day (sunny!), and the park was mostly deserted, which made hiking easy.

Good Man finally got over his fear of fallen trees on paths.

Good Man Tackles a Tree

Silly

Even Sillier

It was an easy hike and the view was beautiful (especially since the sun was out!).

Above the Falls

Above the Falls (I Think)

At the Waterfalls

On the way back, we ran into this squirrel.

Scary Squirrel

While I was taking this photo, this squirrel drew its head back like a cat does before it hisses. The squirrel made its own hissing noise. “T-t-t-t-t-t!”

“‘Get the hell out of my way!'” Good Man helpfully translated.

La Manche

We left the park and headed out to Swift Current. That was a long drive. We ended up finding some random tourist-season restaurant (I think in Bellevue?).

Food in Newfoundland. So far, not impressed. People complain that American food is over-processed and unhealthy, but seriously, almost everywhere we’ve stopped, the closest thing to a vegetable on the menu is onion rings or fries.

I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and a garden salad. (A salad! Oh my!) Good Man ordered a pizza.

My sandwich was on “wheat” bread, and was a single slice of ham with a single slice of processed cheese smothered in Miracle Whip. (Aww, it’s like the sandwiches I made when I was packing my own lunch in fourth grade! Except Mom wouldn’t buy Kraft cheese, so at least I had real cheese.) The garden salad was a huge plate of iceburg lettuce, a half a diced tomato, and about twelve peelings from a carrot. I’m pretty sure the pizza sauce on Good Man’s pizza was really condensed tomato soup.

Still, we were starving, so… When we finished, I said to Good Man in Korean, “Because we were hungry, that was delicious.”

When we turned off of TCH 1 to get to Swift Current we were confronted with more than 10 km of road work. Gravel road, and lots of stop/slow signs.

At this point we were over 200 km for the day and I was starting to lose it. We were down to one radio station, and that was only in French. Every other hill, that single radio station would alternate with another single radio station playing classic rock (read: “Spanish Train”). When we finally found our self-catering cottage place, we had to go 50 km one way to get groceries. Through the construction. Again.

I became rather bitchy. Blah.

We did briefly explore North Harbor, which was pretty, and while we were there, we saw a moose. We were excited about that. The self-catering cottage was lovely, as was the scenery.

But it was a Very Long Day.

Whale Watching and Puffin Sighting in Witless Bay

Permalink 07:56:33 pm, by admin Email , 425 words   English (US)

Categories: …and Takes On, Travel, 사랑?

Whale Watching and Puffin Sighting in Witless Bay

On Tuesday, Good Man and I drove from St John’s to Witless Bay by way of Cupids and Butter Pot Park. On Wednesday, we went out on a whale watching and puffin sighting tour offered through Mullowney’s. (We booked a package through out hotel, Bear’s Cove Inn. Ended up saving more than $30 that way, and we still got to choose the date and time that we went out.)

The tour was supposed to be a two-hour tour around Witless Bay but we were actually out for about two hours and twenty minutes, which was a really nice surprise. We had two tour guides who were friendly, knowledgeable, and who didn’t try to joke or be cute or babble on too much. They were really good.

While we were out, we passed another company’s boat. Their boat was packed with people. Meanwhile, our boat only had about ten people. I was glad that we were able to move around! (Also, Other Company’s ride is 30 minutes shorter and $5 more. Interesting.)

There was one really scary moment where the boat scraped against some rocks and it felt like we were going to tip over, but everything was fine and we’re not dead. So, moving on…

Gull

Daisies

On the Shore

The boat tour went out to Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. The Reserve is made up of four islands and very few people (researchers) are allowed on the islands. The islands host thousands of sea birds. It was like The Birds. With puffins.

Puffins

Puffins

If you plan on going to Newfoundland, do not be impressed by guarantees of puffin sightings. You’d have to be in a coma to miss them.

Puffins fly sort of like off-balance footballs. We were told this is because their wings are better suited for diving.

Black-Backed Gull

Several different birds live at the Reserve, including the bad-ass of seabirds, the black-backed gull shown at the bottom of the photo above. This gull grows to about 4 pounds and will snatch puffins out of the air to chow down on them. (I think the birds above the gull are kittiwakes.)

Below you see hundreds of murres.

Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

When we headed out, it was cloudy. Then it was briefly sunny. Then it was cloudy and foggy. I was glad we’d worn layers!

We did see a few whales (minkes) while we were out there, but they came and went so quickly that I didn’t get any photos. Honestly, I thought the birds were more interesting to watch!

The Atlantic Ocean

At the Harbor

Labradorite

Permalink 07:26:04 pm, by admin Email , 219 words   English (US)

Categories: …and Takes On, Travel, 사랑?

Labradorite

While we were in Stockholm, I wanted to buy an amber necklace. I never did. This time I bought a Labradorite pendant early on, with Good Man’s encouragement. I’d never seen Labradorite before, but it caught my eye because it really glows.

Labradorite

Labradorite

When I first looked at it, I asked the shop clerk what kind of mineral it was.

I was expecting something like “a feldspar,” or “it’s a silicate.”

The clerk said, “It comes from the mines.” Before I could reply, she explained, “You know, where they dig up rocks?”

I was so dumbstruck I didn’t even know what to say. I do know what mines are. I even know how rocks and minerals are different.

Labradorite

Labradorite

When we were kids we went fossil hunting (with Mom mostly, but also with Dad). My brother and I bought geodes and smashed them open for fun. Dad and I drove around Arizona with a roadside geology guide (so fun!). Johnny and ran a rock tumbler every weekend at my dad’s house. I did a high-temperature geochemical research project two summers in a row in college. (I primarily cut rocks up one year, and ran an x-ray machine to find ultra-trace elements the second year.)

I forgot that most people don’t really know anything about geology. Silly me.

Becoming My Parents

Butter Pot Provincial Park

Yesterday Good Man and I took a very scenic route to Witless Bay. We stopped at Butter Pot Provincial Park. I wanted to hike a bit but Good Man was afraid of getting lost.

“Your mother did you wrong,” I said, “by not taking you camping as a kid. We’re not going to be whacking down bushes. There are trails.”

“I camped!”

“When?” I challenged him.

“I camped with the Boy Scouts in front of school and I went to Boy Scout Jamboree in Korea. Didn’t I tell you? That is when I met first foreigner.”

“Camping at school is not camping.”

Good Man protested that it was, until he saw people in the park, camping. “Oh, that is camping.”

Butter Pot’s Beach

We did end up taking a very short walk to a lookout point (a huge rock). On the way there, a fallen tree blocked the trail. “We can not go, look,” Good Man joked.

“You walk around it or over it.”

“Oh, you are very clever,” Good Man laughed.

Lookout Point Rock

When I was a kid, my parents were big into outdoorsy stuff. (When I refer to “my parents,” depending on the context I could mean Mom and Dad, Mom and Stepdad, or all three. In this post “my parents” means “all three” of them.)

Trespassing and camping near the Mississippi River (Dad), spending nearly every weekend on the family’s land in Pine City (Mom and George), traveling around the Southwestern United States in a big van (Dad), fossil hunting (Mom and Dad at different times), touring caves (all three in difference configurations), star gazing at local parks (Mom and George), sleeping alone outside under the stars with no tent when I was 12 (Dad, and I think Mom wanted to throttle him when she found out)—friends would go the amusement parks and the beach during the summer, but we would always go camping.

Cupids, Site of the First English Settlement in Canada (1610)

The thing is, while it was mostly interesting, it was also boring. One could only read so many books on a trip. And when it rained? Oh lord, my poor parents.

From the time I was 12 or so I knew that I would get out of Minnesota and I would live in big cities. When I was 15 or so, I was determined to live somewhere outside of the US at some point. In my adult life I have lived in or in the inner-city suburbs of Atlanta, Seoul, and DC.

I consider myself a big city girl.

So what the hell is up with the vacations with Good Man to a horse B&B, Gotland, Jejudo, and Newfoundland? What’s up with all of the hiking (even if we’re not camping)?

Good Man says, “Really you are country girl at heart.”

Or maybe it’s that I’m a rainy, windy, broody, grey-skied island girl.

Thin Soil, Spongy Moss and Lichen

Thick Fog

Facing North America Head On

Today we woke up in St John’s, Newfoundland to the sound of rain. We had a lovely breakfast and headed out. Good thing we brought sweaters and jackets since the high was 55 F!

We walked along the harbor and ended up getting to Signal Hill National Historic Site. Although it was overcast all morning, the views were beautiful. We poked around the park a bit, hiked a little down the back side.

Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower was built to celebrate/commemorate John Cabot’s landing at Newfoundland. Near this tower, the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal was received in 1901. The area also used to house several hospitals since people believed that fresh breezes would prevent and cure illnesses. Signal Hill was used during wars, as a hanging area (exciting!) and as a city outlook (St John’s has gone through several big fires).

Snails. There were so many snails. I had no idea that snails lived in trees and flowers and on pavement. Good Man yelled at me, “You killed 달팽이!” Well, it wasn’t on purpose!

Snail at Signal Hill

Me, at Signal Hill

We finally hoofed it back down to the city to have some lunch and to rest (and recharge my camera battery) before heading out again. Then we drove to Cape Spear.

Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Cape Spear is—if you ignore Greenland—the most easterly point of North America. At the site you find several buildings used as homes in the past, two lighthouses, and some building that housed “disappearing” guns during WWII.

Our tour guide for the Cape Spear Lighthouse was amazing. She was also extremely excited that our first trip to Canada was to Newfoundland (unfortunately, we have no good answer to “Why Newfoundland?” Um, cause it’s there and we haven’t been there yet?)

Side: Why are park employees in Canada so darn young?

If you choose to ignore Greenland, then when you stand at Cape Spear, you can either face all of North America or turn your back on all of it. I’m sure it’d be gorgeous at sunrise (“Good morning, North America!”) but seeing as how the sun rises at 5:41 tomorrow, I won’t be finding out if reality matches my expectations.

Facing North America

After Cape Spear, we headed back to St John’s.

Crayola or Grumbacher should sponsor St John’s. It’s like a box of crayons or a palette of oil colors blew up.

St John’s Row Houses

Jackets Near the Docks

Good Man

Seagull Feasting on Trash Near the Docks

Mind Tricks Regarding War

My brother is a Marine. He’s been stationed in Japan, DC, Beaufort SC, some part of Florida, and California. I’m sure he’s been stationed other places I’m not even aware of.

My brother has done two tours in Iraq and he’s currently in Afghanistan.

And last weekend my brother was injured by a roadside IED (explosive device). He’s got an 18 mm ball bearing lodged in his body, near his lung, behind his scapula. It will not be removed. It’s a souvenir for life.

When I got off the phone with my sister-in-law, I cried and cried. I told Good Man that after two injury-free tours in Iraq, I had been able to trick myself into thinking he’d be safe, that he’d be fine.

He’s not dead. He has all of his body parts. His shoulder movement isn’t hindered. It’s a fairly minor injury. (Heck, he’ll reap the benefits of the Purple Heart status, which he says is a bright side to the whole mess, along with getting to talk to his wife daily for several weeks while he’s healing.)

But my mind trick is over. My brother is not safe.

I do not support this war in any way, shape or form, and I hate that Obama’s being cagey and wishy-washy about his plan for it. I think it’s our next Vietnam and I can’t believe we didn’t learn more than “the draft really pisses off families and makes them pay attention” from the first Vietnam.

I do, however, support the troops.

To that end, my brother told me about the Wounded Warrior Project. According to him, everything that was done in the hospital was done through the Wounded Warrior Project (including the 12 precious Percocets he got). He said they also help extensively with rehab for people who lose limbs, and they help people who need plastic surgery.

This week I set up a reoccurring donation through WWP. I finally put my money where my mouth is.

Happy July 4th, for those who celebrate it. I hope all of your family members are healthy, no matter where they are today, no matter what their nationality.

July 3rd Garden Update

This week we had a really heavy rainstorm. I was at a class for work and Good Man called to ask if he should drag the plants inside. I scoffed and said no, and when I got home I found all of my pepper plants laid out flat. Hmm.

I did, however, get some nice post-rain shots.

Pepper Leaves

First Pepper

The marigolds looked especially nice. If you roll over this image, you’ll see it in B&W. I think the texture actually “pops” better in B&W.

Marigold

***
I usually update my garden every two weeks, but we were out of town last Saturday, so it’s been three weeks since my last update.

I do these updates to convince myself that things are actually growing. It’s amazing, comparing photos, to see how quickly things grow. Every herb has been harvested (often multiple times) since the photos from three weeks ago.

The dill just wants to go to seed. I’m doing one more harvest and then letting it go to seed. If it doesn’t reseed itself, I’ll plant some more. I’ve deadheaded (snipped off the flowers) multiple times, but it’s time to let it seed on.

Dill

The sesame leaves…something’s been chowing down on them. Cutting off the damaged leaves has encouraged a lot of new growth. One of the six plants is just a runt. I’m amazed it’s still living and growing, it’s so sad looking.

Korean Sesame Leaves

Cosmos, Basil, Marigolds

I’ve been harvesting some of my basil from the top (encourages shorter, shrubbier growth) and some from the side (encourages taller, sparser growth). This one has been harvested mostly from the sides and I’m surprised at how tall it’s grown.

Peppermint and Basil

I still think this Thai basil was planted too closely together by the nursery, but it seems to be doing fine.

Thai Basil

I don’t know that these poppies will ever flower. And I still don’t know what the hitchhiker plant is.

Poppies and Unknown Hitchhiker

I do like using the plant nannies, but they occasionally lead to sun scald (sun burnt leaves) like on my tallest basil plant.

Sun Scalded Basil

This is an overall view of my porch garden. You can see how tall some of the pepper plants have gotten.

I label my pepper plants 1 (Hybrid Kimchi), 2 (Hybrid Korea Winner), and 3 (Hybrid Long Green).

Overall, the Hybrid Kimchi plants are the tallest and the Long Greens are the shortest. The Winners flowered and set fruit earliest, the Long Greens are starting to flower and the Kimchi ones are so far blossom-less. I hope I didn’t get a bad batch of Kimchi seeds.

I know too much nitrogen can cause large, fruitless pepper plants, but all of these have been grown with the same soil/vermicompost and conditions (I mean, as similar as they can be), so I suspect it’s a variety thing.

The property management office lady came by to tell me if people seem to be driving slowly past my house, it was because she sent them there. We’re not allowed to put food plants directly into the ground and she’s been finding corn, tomatoes, and mint all over the property. “So I’m sending them to see how it’s supposed to be done!”

She also asked where I got the plant nannies. I was afraid she’d tell me they were too ugly to stick around, but she said they’re fine. I told her I like them because I no longer accidentally water the neighbors below (which is true, but they’re jerks, so it’s not like I really care about that side effect).

Another neighbor passes by often when I’m out there admiring my plants and comments on how beautiful they look each time.

I do enjoy my porch garden. In actuality, buying the peppers would probably be cheaper in the long run than growing them, but everything tastes better homegrown!

Ridiculous Korean Song a New Favorite

Permalink 11:51:41 pm, by admin Email , 188 words   English (US)

Categories: Korea, Culture, Pop, Books, Music, Movies, TV, 사랑?

Ridiculous Korean Song a New Favorite

This is by far the most ridiculous Korean song I’ve heard in a long time. When it came on in my car today, I couldn’t stop laughing.

The song is called “High Calorie” and it’s basically a list of foods with the demand to eat. The woman sings:

먹을 걸 참지 말아요
맛있는 것을 참지 말아요

손으로 집고 무작정 입으로 넣어요 맛있잖아요

Don’t resist eating.
Don’t resist delicious foods.
Grab it with your hand, and shove it into your mouth because it’s delicious.

The name of the duo? Fat Man.

Another song featuring the same female vocalist (정인) is “Rush.”

And another one, by Dynamic Duo (one of Good Man’s favorite groups).

Dynamic Duo is going into the military soon, and their newest album cover has a military theme. This song (“Keep the Change”) has multiple people telling a taxi driver their hard situations/lives. One even asks the taxi driver how much training is required to get the job.

“Fireworks” is about being a trouble maker and making people uncomfortable.

And one I adore, “I’m Sorry.” Soju fixes everything according to this song.

While this would be the perfect post to discuss MC 몽’s teeth, I’ll save that debate for another time.