KAPS II: Sled Dogs

Malamute by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Malamute by Daniel Bates

Just in time for Christmas, The Korean Animal Protection Society (KAPS) shelter near me recently took in two new sled dogs: a female Alaskan Malamute (above), and a baby-blue-eyed male Siberian Husky (below).

Siberian Husky by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Siberian Husky by Daniel Bates

Husky and Shih Tzu by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Husky and Shih Tzu by Daniel Bates

The shelter also hosts a number of Jindos. The Korean Jindo Dog is a common breed of hunting dog here in Korea, and is known for its loyalty. This Jindo went for a walk with a young terrier, and both seemed to have an excellent time.

Jindo and Terrier by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Jindo and Terrier by Daniel Bates

Befriending an Alsatian

KAPS Dog with Volunteer by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
KAPS Dog with Volunteer by Daniel Bates

I recently discovered that the Daegu Korean Animal Protection Society (KAPS) branch is located just a mile and a half away from where I live. It has been a few years since I have been able to see any dogs, but now that a few dozen of them are twenty minutes’ walk away, my weekends just became a great deal more friendly (and doggy).

KAPS by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
KAPS by Daniel Bates

Of the many dogs in residence at the KAPS, small breeds are by far more prevalent. This is likely because Korean cities, like those of many other countries in this region, are not very accommodating to large dogs and their need for plenty of living area. There are a few, though, like this ten- or eleven-year-old Golden Retriever – although suffering from advanced hip displasia and probably a variety of other ailments, he is as sweet and loving as any other Goldie.

Golden by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Golden by Daniel Bates

Golden with Alex by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Golden with Alex by Daniel Bates

This French Bulldog is another of the crowd favorites. She wears a pink dog sweater with panache, and is among the most outgoing dogs in the shelter.

French Bulldog by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
French Bulldog by Daniel Bates

Most of the dogs – and nearly all of the smaller breeds – get along famously. A few new arrivals are still adapting to the social hierarchy, and one or two are just not particularly well-adjusted socially, but most of them are very typical dogs: inquisitive and friendly.

Greeting by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Greeting by Daniel Bates

I was introduced to one particular dog on my first day at the shelter. He is the largest dog there (by quite a bit, in fact), and has all the energy to go along with it. He, like most of the dogs I knew growing up, is a dominant male whose temperament has suffered by not being socialized with other dogs from a young age, so I have to take pains to keep him away from close contact with most of the other four-legged tenants; but, also like most of my previous companions, he is extremely good-natured with people. Most of the Koreans who we pass on our walks are afraid of his imposing bulk – and his breed, known as it is for guard and police work, doesn’t look as approachable as some – but it only took a few minutes for him to form a bond with me, and I’ve walked him exclusively ever since.

I don’t know his name, if he has one, and chances are I couldn’t pronounce it properly if he does – he is a Korean dog, after all – but I’m sure I will find a fitting name soon. Until then, he will be known as “The Alsatian” (or “That Huge Dog Over There”, as he is known to some).

The Alsatian by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
The Alsatian by Daniel Bates

It’s probably a good thing that my building does not allow pets, or I’d be tempted to adopt the guy. I will have to settle for regular walks and a few hours of playtime every week, unless he gets adopted soon; but until then, I have another reason to get out of my room on Saturdays, and for that I am very grateful.

2011 Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup

Recently I had the chance to visit Tongyeong, a port city on the southern coast of Korea, for the 2011 ITU Triathlon World Cup. This race is one of a series of Olympic-distance races organized by the International Triathlon Union, which feature a points system that qualifies professional triathletes for the ITU World Championships and the Olympics. Each race is short but intense, with a 1500-meter swim, 40-km bike leg (about 24.5 miles), and a 10k (6.2-mile) run. I was fortunate enough to watch both the elite women’s and the elite men’s races, and the caliber of athlete represented at both was impressive.

ITU Pro Csaba Rendes by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
ITU Pro Csaba Rendes by Daniel Bates

Here, Csaba Rendes of Hungary attacks the bike leg, on his way to a 59:39 split which would give him an average of 25.6 mph. He finished 28th overall with a final time of 1:53:09. Rendes biked slightly faster than the overall winner, but his 34:33 run could not compete with Dmitry Polyansky’s race-best 30:54.

Pasta Tenderloin at Suseong Lake

Daegu is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, and one of the most beautiful sections of Daegu is the Sincheon River, which runs through the center of the city. The river, which is home to a variety of fish and birds, is bordered by a park with multi-use trails on both sides of the water.

River View by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
River View by Daniel Bates

The park is beautifully landscaped with several varieties of flowers, including this lovely pink one.

Flower by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Flower by Daniel Bates

Not far from the Sincheon is Suseong Lake, a manmade body of water. Beautiful during the day, it comes alive at night, reflecting the lights of the city.

Suseong Lake by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Suseong Lake by Daniel Bates

The eastern bank of the lake is home to several street vendors selling a variety of fried food and whole corn.

Lakeside Food by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Lakeside Food by Daniel Bates

The center of the lake features a water fountain, which at night becomes a light show complete with a laser that spells out phrases such as “Let’s Go Together” (the official song of the IAAF World Championship 2011, which is currently in full swing).

Light Show by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Light Show by Daniel Bates

A multitude of restaurants fill the surrounding area, especially to the south and west. One particular cuisine that I quickly noticed was “Coffee and Pasta” – an odd combination, perhaps, but an interesting one. The restaurant Vincent is a typical example:

Vincent by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Vincent by Daniel Bates

The restaurant is built in an elegantly modern fashion, and shares space with a coffee bar (the dark brick section on the first floor).

Exterior by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Exterior by Daniel Bates

The interior is much the same – subdued and pastel in earth tones, with a preponderance of finished wood and soft ambient light.

Interior by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Interior by Daniel Bates

Most of the entrees come with a green salad, which is quite good if a bit overdressed in vinaigrette. I particularly liked the rhombic plate.

Salad by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Salad by Daniel Bates

And for the main course – Pasta Tenderloin! It was every bit as good as it looks, with broccoli and mushrooms counterpointing the succulent beef in an excellent marinara with spaghetti. The meal was priced well at 18,000₩, and service was extremely quick and professional.

Pasta Tenderloin by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Pasta Tenderloin by Daniel Bates

The taxi ride back was unusually entertaining. Most of the GPS units used here in Korea can receive streaming television (I’m not quite sure how), and of course the topic du jour was the IAAF World Championship. I saw a bit of discus throwing intercut with the men’s 10,000-meter final (Ethiopia won, dramatically making up five meters in the final straight to overtake Britain’s runner with a finish time of 27:13.81 – that’s four minutes, twenty-three seconds per mile for over six miles).

World Cup by GPS by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
World Cup by GPS by Daniel Bates

All told: 1,000₩ for two 500mL bottles of water, 18,000₩ for dinner, and 10,300₩ in cab fare equaled an excellent evening out in Daegu, South Korea.

Rooftop Gardens

Space is at a premium in Daegu, as it is in so many cities in East Asia. Unlike other cities in the region, however, Daegu does not feel cramped – rather, it seems busy and densely populated, but also well managed. Most of the buildings in the city have multiple floors – not just the office buildings and apartment complexes, but regular shops and restaurants as well. In addition, many of these buildings are brightly painted in a variety of colours; it is not uncommon to see a green, blue, or even pink building downtown. The colours mix with the varied building heights to create a visually complex view – one that most American cities cannot equal.

City View by Daniel Bates (danielbates) on 500px.com
City View by Daniel Bates

As I mentioned earlier, Daegu is a city that knows how to wring every last square meter of space from its land. An excellent case in point is this apartment: though you cannot see from this angle, it is actually not an apartment complex. It is, rather, an office building with three floors, which then gives way to two floors of living spaces, the last of which exits to the roof. The tenants in this particular apartment chose to plant a beautiful garden, making an excellent use out of their rooftop access and also adding to the beauty of the city.

Garden by Daniel Bates (danielbates)) on 500px.com
Garden by Daniel Bates

This photograph was taken from a vantage point on a very similar building. The ladder just behind the bright yellow water tank leads up to another small roof, which hosts line-of-sight microwave links and satellite dishes, and also provides an excellent view of the southern portion of the city, looking east towards one of several mountain ranges.

Korean Cuisine: Mandu

I ventured out “on the economy” in search of some mandu for dinner. Not knowing much Korean – or Hangul for that matter – I set out along one of the main streets in Daegu, assuming that I would find a variety of restaurants along it.

I assumed correctly, but I was searching for a restaurant specializing in a particular dish, so I ended up walking nearly 8 km there and back. Along the way I noticed that Korean shops tended to be grouped together. One block was nothing but music shops – I counted seventeen in a row, and then two others a little farther along.

Music Store by Daniel Bates (danielbates) on 500px.com
Music Store by Daniel Bates

After the music shop block came the pet stores, which I identified by their familiar scent (wet dog; it had been raining). Half a dozen storefronts displayed animals – mostly puppies, like this one, though I saw a few birds and some rabbits.

Puppy by Daniel Bates (danielbates) on 500px.com
Puppy by Daniel Bates

Finally I happened upon exactly what I had been searching for: a mandu restaurant. For those unfamiliar with this dish, mandu are Korean dumplings that are somewhat larger than tortelloni, and are filled with meat and some vegetables. Mandu come in many varieties: boiled (mulmandu, or 물만두), steamed (jjinmandu, or 찐만두), and fried (gunmandu, or 군만두) are the most common.

Mandu Restaurant by Daniel Bates (danielbates) on 500px.com
Mandu Restaurant by Daniel Bates

I ordered a plate of jjinmandu and another of gunmandu by the rather expedient method of pointing at their pictures, conveniently displayed on the wall along with their prices (3500 and 1000 won respectively, totaling just over $4). The two dishes came with a side of brilliant yellow sliced radishes and a soy-based dipping sauce for the mandu.

Mandu Dinner by Daniel Bates (danielbates) on 500px.com
Mandu Dinner by Daniel Bates

My broken Korean was just enough to ask for water (“Mul, juseyo”), thank the proprietor, and pronounce my meal delicious (“Ikeo masisseoyo!”).