An Unexpected Invitation To Chungju City
Late last week I received an urgent email seeking help for the Korean Society of Emergency Medical Services. They were organizing a conference in Chungju City and one of their speakers had pulled out at the eleventh hour. I learnt that the professor was unable to attend on account of the recent Hokkaido earthquake. As a result, I was sent to speak about the scope of prehospital emergency medical services in Singapore. Since I work closely with Singapore Civil Defence Force on several projects relating to cardiac arrest, I thought I might share about our community programme, Dare to Dream, as well as the newly launched DARE app At The Heart of The Matter.
Spinning Through The Airport
So on Sunday night, after dinner with close friends and our rambunctious children, I dashed to the airport. I usually pack extremely light and tend to take only a small backpack even when I travel to different continents. However this time I was traveling bearing many gifts so I brought my new Samsonite Evoa Spinner, testing its expandable function to the limit. I couldn’t help but marvel at the efficiency of automated systems to print boarding passes out and drop baggage off. Why, I was able to spin through the airport in a trice.
One Fine Day In Chungju City
The flight was just over six hours. At Incheon Airport, I was greeted by the affable Taehoon Park, managing director of Laerdal. Our journey by car to Chungju City was a pleasant 90 minutes. The weather was perfect, with plenty of sunshine yet crisply cool as fall sailed in on the back of a scorching summer. As my first meeting was only scheduled the next morning, all that was left to do with the rest of today was eat.
Chicken Soup For The Soul
Lunch was at a charming restaurant whose name translates to Long Life Village. Taehoon kindly explained the sumptuous lunch that the sweet boss spread before me. There were various types of kimchi, one featuring radish, one watery, and one with cabbage. The piece de resistance was a steaming bowl of samgyetang: chicken stuffed with garlic, chestnuts, jujube, ginseng and rice, soaked in boiling broth. A delicious surprise was an accompanying big pot of oat rice congee. There was a brown swathe of carefully scorched rice which was thick and chewy. I found myself having lashings of this.
Shabu Rock Rocks
Dinner was just as phenomenal. We drove to Shabu Rock, an inviting restaurant with an enchanting, manicured garden from which I caught a padparascha sunset. While the Korean beef slices were a delectable treat, the medley of mushrooms was mouthwatering. By the time the noodles soaked in thick broth were ready to be eaten, I was ready to keel over. Yet, there was more. The boss returned to patiently add rice, egg and seaweed to the residual soup. This concoction was so tempting I just had to have a bowl. In fact it was so scrumptious I had seconds. She then treated us to grapes grown from her garden. The grapes turned out to be the perfect end to the meal: the skin slipped off easily in my mouth and the flesh tasted like bubble gum!
Goodnight, Chungju City
That night in Chungju City, with neither patients nor family to care for, I slept like a baby, well-fed and care-free.