Yesterday afternoon I got a little bored. I was thinking I ought to climb up on the treadmill but the bunch of bananas on the counter turning black proved to be an insurmountable distraction. And thus was set in motion a chain of events that would inevitably result in making quite a mess of things at our humble abode in Gireum-dong.
As these events tend to do, it all started innocently enough. The weather outside was overcast, but pleasant. And so I suggested to my yobo that we take a walk. “Where to?” she asked. Remembering the rotting bananas and hating to see them go to waste I suggested we hike out to the E-Mart and take a look at some blenders. Jee Yeun agreed and we were soon enough out the door and on our way.
I set a brisk pace as the point of this expedition was as much about the exercise as it was about the blender. Walking the sidewalks of Seoul is always perilous as the locals seem to lack any semblance of situational awareness relative to their fellow pedestrians. Walking fast requires the cat-like reflexes of an experienced Frogger player. Which I most assuredly am not. Nevertheless we made quick progress towards our destination suffering only occasional bouts of frustration and silently uttered curses.
As we were passing the humongous Hyundai Department Store, Jee Yeun tugged my arm and said “let’s check the prices here and compare them to E-Mart”. Finding no flaw in her logic, I agreed that this was a fine plan.
It’s even bigger than it looks on the inside.
Now, housewares and appliances were located somewhat inconveniently on the 7th Floor. Which meant several escalator rides. I at first attempted to walk up the moving steps since I was still in exercise mode but I sensed by the 3rd floor that the locals found my antics in poor taste. It’s a pretty ritzy store. Eventually reaching our destination we looked at several blenders on display ranging in price from about W50,000 to W150,000. Now, when I make a smoothie I like horsepower and the Tefal model with 500 watts for W80,000 seemed like it should do the trick.
I had sensed that Jee Yeun was not as enthusiastic about walking the rest of the way to E-Mart so I asked her “do you just want to get this one?” She readily agreed and summoned over the sales clerk who had been standing unobtrusively nearby. On my list of things I like about Korea is the fact that you can always find someone to assist you in the department stores. If anything, they are over staffed. Of course, I also like low prices and you certainly don’t find great bargains at a place like Hyundai. That’s the classic trade-off I suppose.
The aforementioned clerk went to the back room to fetch our blender and returned several minutes later with the sad news that our choice was out of stock. Jee Yeun then asked if we could buy the display model and even got it at a 20% discount! Of course, all of this was occurring in the mysterious Korean language of which I was only discerning bits and fragments. Yeah, that’s just the way I roll. But when they started wrapping up the display model I was pretty confident I knew what was happening.
Of course the downside to buying a display model is you don’t get the box or operating instructions. But hell, I’d just throw away (well, recycle) the box and I do know my way around a blender, so no hay problema, right? (my Spanish is slightly better than my Korean).
We made our way downstairs with our purchase and I mentioned that I’d need to stop by the market on the walk home as I required some ice cream and celery. No, I don’t put celery in my smoothies. I just needed some. It’s sort of my standard snack food these days. And yes, I put some peanut butter on my celery. Sue me. Korean ice cream tends to be expensive and not rich and delicious like my favorite American brands. Still, you make do with what you have. That’s part of the expat experience after all.
We reached our small buy cozy apartment without further incident. Well, there was one crazy homeless guy, the sidewalks were choked with smokers (I know, I know, but I just never realized how irritating that can be until I quit). But soon enough we were home. And this is what our lovely blender looks like:
Ain’t she sweet?
So, Jee Yeun’s son Junesok came by and he insisted on providing food for the family as our welcome back gift. And so we all ate some very good take out. When dinner was done I asked (and Jee Yeun translated) if everyone was up for a smoothie? They were.
So, I took the glass carafe and filled it to the brim with my favorite ingredients (a few ice cubes, bananas, strawberries, a dollop of peanut butter, a couple of scoops of ice cream, and some milk). Now, our place is small and the nearest electrical outlet was in the living room, so that’s where the blending took place.
Back in the states I use an Oster blender. It’s pretty straightforward, you put the stuff in, turn it on, and things get liquid. This Tefal model (a U.K. brand) was unfamiliar to me, but the principle was the same. I mean, how hard can it be?
This hard. Apparently there is a locking mechanism at the bottom of the carafe. Who knew?
And that is how my smoothie intentions resulted in a blender disaster. Ah well.