I Live In Korea

My name is Ben Gwynne. I USED to teach English in Incheon, South Korea. Here's some photos, stories, videos, etc.

Let’s just get ‘fire cupping’ out of the way.


BEFORE.......................................... AFTER


Fire Cupping is an ancient for of medicine which originated over 5,000 years ago. The procedure is as follows…

1. Loosen muscles around the back/shoulders by giving a ‘massage’
2. Place glass cup, with the opening on the back, against the skin
3. Attach a suction pump to the nozzle which is on the bottom of the glass
4. Pump until air is sucked out of the cup. This acts like a vacuum, now a lot of air has been released. This is what causes the ‘discoloration.’
5. Remove cups

As you can see that despite the name, there’s no fire involved, but that’s only because of modern technology. Back in the day, from 3,000 B.C.-2000 A.D., the air would be removed from the cups by applying heat from fire.

People believe(d) this can cure illnesses (ranging from minor to major) and is a way to relax, even invigorate your body. I found this to be extremely painful, both the massage part and applying the cups. If the person doing this to me was deaf I would’ve been moaning louder than I was last weekend when I had food poisoning. The only pleasure I felt was when it was over. What a crock of BS, this does nothing at all.

Food ended up being a pretty big part of the trip…



As you can see from the picture, there’s some pretty nasty things I ate at ‘Snake Alley.’ I’m not sure if she said ‘Snake PENIS’ or ‘Snake PISS,’ either way it’s gross. Nothing was that rancid, I’m pretty sure everything was diluted so it wouldn’t be toxic. Way too much cash to make off tourists, however there were loads of Taiwanese people in the place eating and drinking everything like it was a regular thing they did. Weird. This didn’t taste horrible, but not good either. Some other meals I had were phenomenal though…

Modern Toilet was also a rather unique establishment. A restaurant where everything is about toilets. Everything. From the table, the dishes you eat from, the chairs you sit on, the crap shaped ice cream, etc., this place lives up to its name.







Sure it’s a cheesy place which is an obligatory stop for any tourist, but the food wasn’t bad and it brought some humor to the day.


Din Tai Fung is home to the best dumplings I’ve ever eaten in my life. Hands down. I was in heaven at this place and the only communication problem I encountered on the entire trip was telling them I did want 20 dumplings, 8 wontons and soup. There is always a line outside of this place and for just cause. Aside from going up Taipei 101, I’m going to have to say this is the next on the list of things you must do if you ever go to Taipei.



What else did I do besides eat from toilet bowls, nearly vomit from overeating dumplings, get tortured and drink snake bile? Well, there was going to Taipei 101 which is the 2nd tallest building in the world (no pictures available due to it raining everyday), going to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (no pictures available due to it raining everyday), the Longshan Temple (no pictures available due to it raining everyday), and Daan Park (no pictures available due to it raining everyday). The weather was horrific. I couldn’t go to the zoo, the National Palace Museum was closed both times I tried to go to it, I was forced to watch a movie (Wolfman was more painful than fire cupping), and rain cut down on the number of fireworks (it was the Chinese New Year). I was most certainly being punished with bad weather by Confucius for reasons I cannot get into.

Going to the top of Taipei 101 was pretty cool because the elevator is the fastest in the world. It goes 60km/hour (37.4 MPH for those who live in America, Burma and Liberia and don’t use the metric system). That means it travels to the top (1,671 feet) in 35 seconds, that’s 55 feet per SECOND. Intense.



I also managed to find a GREAT tea shop and an outdoor thermal hot-spring which was very relaxing even though the weather sucked. As if I didn’t stand out enough being the only non-Taiwanese person there, I got whistled by a 75 year old ‘lifeguard’ for doing something I shouldn’t have been doing. I suck.



Aside from the Taipei 101 elevator, food and the hot spring, the trip was a pretty big failure. Still, I’m glad I went, now there’s only 180 more countries to visit.

10 comments:

自由 said...

人並不是生來要吃敗仗的。人可被毀滅,但不可被擊倒。..................................................

Ben said...

ummmm...yeah...sure...lol

Anonymous said...

I am Greek and my parents actually do that cup suction thing when they feel sick, but unlike your experience they do use flames to heat up the cups. They swear by it. Maybe next time you need to try it with the fire.

Ben Gwynne said...

Man, I dunno. Maybe you need to be sick/sore to feel the benefits? Not sure if I'll try it again, I still have marks on my back and it's been 2 weeks!!

Anonymous said...

...stupid American

Ben said...

Yawn.....the trip was a failure because the weather ruined everything, not because of the country.

Anonymous said...

over a month without updates, seriously, clean yourself up... either post something or take down the blog

jeremey.bentham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Gwynne said...

brashear

SimplyJc said...

have you been in the philippines ?