2014.01.06 - Casino

Christmas and a royal(e) New Year casino

The Yule season came and went. How fast it all passed us by this year ....

We stayed in Korea for the celebrations this year as we are in the middle of the construction period for our project and therefore have plenty to do at the office. My colleagues were a little luckier as their peak period comes a little later and therefore pretty much all of them left on a west-bound plane. Rarely have I seen our office so empty.

Christmas eve was spent with the closest we get to family here in Korea - Michal, Agnieszka, Robert and Dawn. Agnieszka had been preparing the 12 dishes (with a bit of help from Dawn - we bought bread at Hyundai Hotel) for days and Michal was ordered to pack down his kite (surfer), so we knew that we were going to witness something special! I managed to get away from the Yard and the office at 17:00 which pretty much is a personal record for me, but when I came home I found a sick kitty and a worried wife. After a bit of considering we decided that Peo didn't need to visit the doctor as the symptoms were only a bit of diarrhoea. 15 minutes to 7 Paula changed her mind and off to the vet we went. Must admit that we have a very patient vet, as this is not the first time that we have arrived 2 minutes to closing time with a sick kitty. Superior service as we have grown accustomed to here in Korea. Cat injected and toys, toilet and various other cat essentials collected at the apartment, all three of us arrived at Michal and Agnieszka's half an hour late. Thank god our friends are as patient as our vet.

Peo celebrated christmas eve with us at Prugio - her excuse was jelly belly! It was all show because there was no sign of even slight illness once we were there. she was checking out the christmas tree (made Agnieszka nervous, checked the wiring behind the telly (made Paula nervous) and even jumped on the kitchen desk (made me angry!). Some christmas for the little one.

So now I could continue with a lavish description of the Polish christmas dinner we had, but that would include me having to remember (and spell) all of the 12 dishes and there is not much chance of that turning out well. Suffice to say that we ate extremely well - so well actually that Paula and I didn't eat for the next two days. Bellies full and content we proceeded to the Danish tradition of a dice rolling present game. I was doing so well until 2 minutes from the bell, in which time I lost all of the three presents I had collected. Michal was the big winner with three presents and he appeared to enjoy them all ... something I still haven't managed to understand.

Halfway through the 12 dishes

Paula won one present in the dice-rolling game. Here come three photos to document her emotions:

Won it ...

What is it....?

Perfect Fit !!

Robert's was a perfect fit as well!

Even Michal got the presents he had always wanted!

I don't know if I have one single photo where Dawn isn't pulling some face...

The Nielsens

Christmas is not a big thing here in Korea but there are still a few things that follow a traditional European christmas schedule. There's the Sound of Music in the telly, there's the bloated stomachs and heads on the 25th and ... well, that's it really. Back to work on the 26th after only one day off and then looking forward to the next party 6 days away.

New Year 2013/2014 was (probably) the start of a new tradition here at the compound. The club house committee had arranged a Casino Royale theme evening with real semi-professional groupiers, semi-real tables, semi-real jetons/chips, semi-real cocktails and real atmosphere! It was a huge success and we look forward to 2014/2015!

Mine ... NO - MINE !! (PS: I should have known better than to mess with Agnieszka)

James explaining the rules of Blackjack

Craps - we never really understood the rules but neither did the dealer. Maybe that's why we were all alone at the table ?

Full house - even without a Poker table

The two blackjack tables were popular

In the end even the craps table filled up. Paula and I stayed there the whole evening - skomager bliv ved din læst.

Should have tried the roulette - we may have left with something! We had paid a fixed amount for the entry ticket and were not able to buy in after that. Prices went to the three highest earners, so with a few minutes left before the bell rang, it was all in. All lost in our case.

Asli and Erkan at the blackjack table

Agnieszka was on a winning streak as always but stopped short of the podium

Barry won but I was not allowed to collect his prize, as he had asked me to do. Sorry Barry - you lost out on a putting iron!

The disappointment .... :-(

It was getting late ... even for the Szypulskis

But after midnight there was an energy surge.

This proves that the photographer wasn't to blame. It's just a poor Iphone camera.

We are still riding our bikes through the winter wilderness. Some of my mates are a little put off by the temperatures (we were riding in minus 6 degrees one morning), but there is normally pretty good behaviour in the group. A few crashes but nothing serious - Michal hurt his hand a few weeks ago but is back on the horse. The riding is best in winter a the trails are less overgrown and we get to do a bit of exploring. We have to always be on the lookout for new trails as the well-known ones little by little become "developed" for hiking and therefore less attractive for us mtb'ers.

Retro colors - mainly from my eighties gloves

Håvard and the winter trail

Michal was tricked into a christmas event at work - father christmas visited the workshops early in the morning.

First Sunday of 2014 we went down to Busan to meet up with Zohreh, Kasra and Nika. Zohreh had booked a table in a restaurant north of Busan. She wasn't sure how to get there and the GPS in connection with the restaurants business card was no further help. As it turned out, she was down-playing her navigation skills and got us to Cottage Restaurant safely. Located on the shore side with fantastic view, this italian style restaurant wasn't half bad! Not the kind of Italian food I would want to serve for my Italian colleague Pietro, but edible and whatever shortcomings the food may have (considering that we are in Korea ... none really) the view makes up for. Of course we forgot to take photos... Dessert was found in multiple shapes back at Zohreh and Kasra's apartment. It was like christmas revisited ... I will not eat for two days, I think!

Kasra with the crown that Zohreh won at Miss Korea !

And the real queen ... Zohreh was asked to join a Korean Beauty pageant show and ended up winning one of the crowns. She reckons that her stage dance had something to do with it !