End of a long week


I just woke up from a long nap and still feel a bit
groggy.  My drowsiness is a natural reaction to what was a very
long week.  We are short-staffed at the office while a colleague
is on vacation, and we have to do about a
third more work per person while they’re gone.  Today I went
to Jongam in northeast Seoul to visit an American who’s in
trouble.  I drove through one of the nicest parts of Seoul to get
there, an area known as Seongbuk.  It’s situated in the hills just
northeast of the Blue House, the Korean presidential
residence.  Seongbuk felt a bit like Beverly Hills,
California, with ritzy, gated homes clinging to the hillsides. 
I’m sure that many of Korea’s wealthiest executives make their homes in
those hills.  The commercial area of Seongbuk reminded me of an
upscale version of Adams Morgan, one of the more colorful areas of
Washington, D.C.
 
When I returned to the office, I wrapped up my work for the week
and waited to join my family and some coworkers for dinner.  My
office mate organized a get together for new arrivals and their
sponsors.  We met together after work and went together to Bukchon
Kalguksu Restaurant (북촌 갈국사) just to the east of Gyeongbok
Palace.  Handmade noodle soup (손갈국사) is this restaurant’s
specialty.  The soup and mandu (만두), or minced meat wrapped in
wonton wrappers, were delicious.  I shared some soju (소주), a
smooth, potato-based liquor, with a colleague.  It was
nice to have some soju for the first time in a long
time.  Unfortunately, between the soju, hot weather, and spicy
food, I felt a bit light headed.  Perhaps I overheated, or maybe I
was just tired.  I felt really unsettled while I was eating and
couldn’t wait to go and get some fresh air.  We went home soon
thereafter, and I headed to bed and took a long nap.  I feel
better now.  I’ll still sleep very well tonight.
 
My wife asked tonight whether her sister, who lives in
Shanghai, could come visit us in Seoul.  I agreed.  She
gave her sister a call tonight to see if she’s interested, and she said
yes.  We will have to write a letter on her behalf inviting
her to visit us.  I’m confident she will be eligible
to visit us in Korea.  In the past, she has been refused a
U.S. tourist visa; however, I’m optimistic that this time she will
qualify for a Korean visa.  If she gets her Korean visa, I think
in the long run it will help her qualify for a U.S. tourist visa if she
wants to visit us in the United States.  She definitely does not
want to immigrate to the U.S., but the burden of proof
for Chinese who want to qualify for visas to visit the U.S. is
very, very high.  Visiting Korea and returning to China will show
that she has traveled overseas without immigrating.  It gives
her a track record.
 
Baidu.com‘s underwriters seem
to be getting a bit greedy.  If you recall, I wrote a blog entry
earlier this week about whether to buy Baidu.com.  It seems that
Baidu upped its IPO price to $27/share because it has generated an
amazing amount of buzz.  I put in an order to buy it at the high
end of its price range yesterday–$25/share.  $25/share is already
overpriced, in my opinion.  $27/share is merely hype
chasing.  I refuse to up my order to buy at $27/share.  My
blog entry on Baidu.com seems to be getting a lot of traction on Google
with so many curious folks doing searches, trying to figure out whether
to buy the American Depository Shares of a relatively unknown Chinese
search engine company.  Between my discussion of Baidu and
CNOOC, World Adventurers had more hits this week than it usually
has in one month.
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