Korea, South

South Korea is an East Asian country bordering North Korea and China. It is largely surrounded by waters, such as the Korea Strait, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan. It is a mountainous country where indigenous birds, flying squirrels, the gray wolf, and the sika deer all live. The economy is largely based on exported manufactured goods and petrochemicals. Technology and robotics are rapidly advancing, and plans for robot assistants to function as English teachers (for whom demand is great) were announced in 2010. They are also supposed to help out in preschool and kindergarten classrooms in the very near future.

Changdeokgung in Seoul is an incredible palace on the UNESCO world Heritage list. To many, the Secret Garden is the best part of their tour. Hallasan National Park is on an island South of the South Korean mainland. Varied climate zones and volcanic terrain make for highly scenic landscapes at this Biosphere Reserve and World Natural Heritage Site.

Rice, barley, and noodles are an important part of the cuisine of South Korea. Tofu, kimchi made from cabbage or radishes, and fermented sauces like the peppery gochujang also play a key role. Soups can be a main course, and often contain shellfish along with eggs, tofu, vegetables, and other ingredients. Try tteokbokki, a popular Korean snack food made from soft rice cake, fish cake, and sweet red chili sauce.

There are plenty of vegetarian options (watch out for kimchi, which usually contains fish products), but fewer organics. The places that exist sound very, very good, including a vegan restaurant with organic fruits, homemade acorn jelly, seasonal teas; a tea and juice shop with unusual juice combinations such as banana paprika, apple broccoli, apple carrot persimmon, and apple ginseng; a restaurant and cooking school centered around the preration of Korean temple food; and an atypical buffet joint with all ingredients purified through a quantum mechanical/vibrational (zero point energy) purifier. In Seoul, you can enjoy traditional music and dance at a vegan Korean restaurant started by a monk. I want multiple visits to the make your own bibimbap bar to sample variations on the classic mixed-rice dish.

Sao Tome