Korea – Day 2

Today we caught a train to the LG-Chem division in Daejeon. Mike and I were staying there overnight so we were carting luggage. The train station was a busy place – business people, regular travelers, school groups and 4 tall Americans – I was the shorted in the group! Trains are a great way to travel – wish we had a more extensive system in the US! The county-side is lovely. Lots of hills and then open farm areas. Rice growing was in full swing – lots of flooded fields!

Upon arrival we traveled to the local university to meet with another UA alumnus on the faculty. We had some great conversation about his work and his fond memories at UA. We toured campus and went a short distance to the countryside where we found this charming green house. Turns out it’s our lunch destination! We went in the foyer and took off our shoes. We were escorted to our table – a very short table – with seat cushion pads on the floor! Remember – 4 tall Americans with long legs – we had a giggle trying to find out how to sit without kicking each other throughout the meal. Our professor had pre-ordered a traditional lunch of Korean foods. Seafood, bbq and lots of vegetables. The rice served is ‘bamboo rice’ where the rice is steamed inside a length of bamboo. You mix the rice with the different things you eat, including a crab delicacy!

After lunch we went to see a Buddhist temple in a national park. It was a beautiful walk to have after lunch. The monks at this temple were all women! John and Scott brought along a UA Zippy mascot. This foot high stuffed kangaroo was the subject of many pictures – Zippy on the road! We met some school kids on the path, they enjoyed practicing their English on us and laughed at our attempts at Korean!

Next it was time to tour LG-Chem. Again, the overview they provided amazed me at how involved LG is in our lives: batteries, car parts, computer parts, appliance parts. This division developed the battery used in the Chevy Volt – and they let us test drive one! No, I didn’t try to lay rubber, but the car has incredible pick up!

We drove back into Daejeon and met another group of UA Polymer alumni for a fun dinner. Again, we took our shoes off  and were led to a low table, but this one had a built in area for our legs to dangle down – much easier and more comfortable! This huge rectangular table had 3 built-in gas burners marching down the table top. Each burner had a metal flange around the edge for cooking meat and shrimp. A pot was put on the top of the burner with oil in it. Once the oil got up to temperature, they started cooking and serving different things: vegetables, meats, fish. Great stuff. Of course there was kimchi and souju! Many toasts were made that night…

After dinner, John and Scott caught the train back to Seoul for meetings the next day. Mike and I spent the night to travel onto Wonju University for meetings.