My wife has been so busy this month. Every day she has to get up early to make the hour long bus trip to work to teach Winter camp. Despite this, she has been studying for an IELTS test - an internationally accepted test for English proficiency. Over the weekend she went to Busan to take the General test.
Unfortunately there was no test taking place that weekend in Daegu which meant that she had to get up at 4am to get ready for her 6am train to Busan on Saturday. She had to be there before 9am to take three parts of the test, listening, reading and writing. Worse though was the fact that she had to make the same trip again on Sunday for the speaking part which she tells me took only fifteen minutes. Understandably she was tired all weekend.
Because of her busy schedule my wife doesn't know how well she did. If she thinks she can get a better score she can always take the test again but will have the benefit of being able to have studied longer for it. The test costs around 200,000won or £110. She took the General test but there is also a harder one, the Academic test. Ihe difference between the two is the Academic one is to prove that you can study in higher education (where only English will be used) and the General is more to prove your ability and we're using this for proof of her level when we apply for her visa for England.
She had no idea what time she would be arriving back in Daegu but thought around 3pm or after. Luckily the test finished fairly quickly so she made it back before 2pm where she met my co-worker Ivan and myself. I would have gone with her to Busan but because there was no way of knowing beforehand what time the test would be over we decided there was no point me going with her just to be sitting around for a few hours.
I met Ivan downtown and took him to the Uzbekistan restaurant, Samarkand. I told him not to expect too much but at least have a beer. He said some of he food reminded him of food he tried on a trip in Europe but not as good. I tried mainly the same dishes as before but also tried a meat and spice filled pastry.
This time the service was better and the portions were back to normal but the meat in the pastry and the dumplings was still a little fatty. The kebab style meat I tried again was really, really good and by far the best dish I've tried there in my three trips. Alas there were no talent contests on the TV that I'd seen before. Instead we were treated to a series of Disney cartoons in Russian and Tom and Jerry.
Thinking that this may be my last chance to sample the beer here I had two. There were three choices, Baltika 3, 6 and 9. Ivan went for the lighter 3 but I tried the 6 for the first time. It was dark and reminded me of the Japanese stout by Asahai you can get here, but at 7% was much stronger. It went down well but I didn't go for a second. Instead I went back to the stronger Baltika 9 which is a hefty 8% lager. I may go back again before my time is up, just for the beer because at 5,000 for a 500ml bottle it is good value here.