Thursday, September 21, 2006
I'm a Seoul Man
So It's been about a week since my last update and I have very little to write about. this is most likely on account of there being very little to do in Korea that merits being written about. This is not a completely fair assessment of the country but it does stand in marked contrast with Japan.
The people here are impossibly friendly and helpful (almost to a fault at times). If you look lost or inept in a public place (and those of you that know me will agree that ineptitude is part of my charm) you can start counting down from 10 and there will be an english speaking korean eager to help you. Maybe more than one. The canadian flag on my backpack is almost a hinderance here. If anyone that speaks english spots it on a subway they feel compelled to come over to talk. They usually say they like Canadians and tell me about a couple places they have been to in the US. It was fun at first but now I it just pulls me away from my book and I-pod. I think it stopped being fun when the girl told me outright that she had bad spirits living in her head that tell her to do things and that she was on the way to church (where she goes three times a day) and wanted to make sure that I was not a member of the masonic lodge.
I have been in and out of Seoul visiting the families of my former ESL students. I spent three days in Jeonju with the Yang family and two days in Jinju with the Moon family. Both of the spoiled me rotten with hospitality and made great sacrifices so I they could entertain and house me. This also assured that I ate plenty of tradtional korean food. more on that later.
Two nights ago I went our for a drink with Mr Moon, the father in the family I was staying with. We ended up in a Karioke bar. While he sang beatles and beegees songs, I drank budwieser on his tab. At least that was the case until a 40 something year old Korean lady who was about 4' tall noticed me and decided it was time to ruin the night of a foreigner. She came at me with the persistance and ferocity of Pepe Le Pew . I was accosted, dragged to the dance floor and forced to grind with her and Oh my dear God if I didn't try to get away. I eventually broke free (and i do mean broke free) and ran and hid. she tracked me down and wanted to make out and much worse. I was frantically trying to get Mr Moon's attention. He eventually spotted me in my desperate state and laughed and said "Ha ha ha, No Probrem". When Koreans tell you something is no problem, there is usually is a massive problem. It pains me to relive this awful memory. Just learn from my mistake and make a quick and rude exit when a 40something 4' tall korean lady with no command of the english language wants to dry hump you in an empty Karioke bar. I hope this story makes you laugh as much as it has made me cry.
I will put some pictures up to break up the monotony of a story about a monotonous place.
This is a floating Torii gate outside of Hiroshima. I have read the warranty for my camera and it becomes null and void if I take any more pictures of torii gates.
A striking photo of some stiking ladies near the above mentioned Torii.
A model of Hiroshima as it looked before it was nuked
And after... The lives that were snuffed out instantly are nothing compared to those that survived long enough to see their skin melt away from their bodies or die of radtion poisoning. Fun Fact: there are still over 60,000 active nuclear warheads in the world. Write your local member of Parliament.
Me standing on a bridge with the remains of one of the only buildings to survive the blast in the background. It is being preserved as a monument to one of the ugliest moments in human history.
The country side of Korea is about 70% mountainous. As far as roads go, Korea is the most breathtaking place I've visited.
Re: what I said about the view from the highways here.
Me with William Yang in Jeonju
Me with Youngmin Moon in Jinju
Korean food is much more of a challenge than japanese. Staying with Korean families I had the pleasure of eating kimchi three times a day. Kimchi is cabbage that has been buried underground for 10 days to ferment. It comes out of the ground all red and spicey with an expected amount of gooieness. Tastes as good as it sounds. Imagine me shoveling forkfulls of it into my mouth and grinning while I tell everyone how good it tastes. Other than that, the diet here contains a lot of fish (cooking fish is kind of like an obscure afterthought). Most seafood here has the eyes on it still.
I miss Sarah.
My passport is currently in the hands of the Vietnamese embassy while they process my Visa so I am staying put in Seoul for the next few days. While I havn't had a lot of crazy fun in Korea (oweing largely to the fact that there is little to no backpacker culture here) I may find more of that as I spend a weekend in Seoul.
Write me because I spend more time in internet cafes than I do in the sunlight here.
thanks for reading. This blog is longer than most because I have more time on my hands because the internet is free here and I have nothing to do
It sounds like you met the craziest possible people in Seoul (i.e. the girl who worried you were with the Masons.) My sympathies...
...hee hee hee.