Saturday, December 24, 2005

5th vlog, in a train

5th vlog

Pushing the limits of true boring blogging, I present the inside of a train in Seoul. The train is moving. I was not. A moment captured!
Watch the various people in the train. I think its fascinating. Each has a destination. Each has a story. Each has something in their mind. Thats a lot of thoughts traveling together.
(Nothing to do with the other blog entry of today, this was taken awhile ago.)

Drinking too much

My Japanese friend Takeya (who I call Bubu) inviting me to go drinking with some of his drinking freinds. Takeya speaks great Korean and many of his freinds can speak good Japanese, so even though my Korean is still quite bad, I was able to communicate by having him translate or using Japanese. We started out with yummy Korean BBQ (bulgulgi) and freindly conversation. Then we decided to start drinking shoju, a very strong (for me) traditional Korean drink. And like any irresposnible young people, we drank with drinking games. I was drinking with pro drinkers, people who have a lot of practice (and frankly since they were all older than me, a lot of years more practice) drinking. But I kept loosing the games. I ended up having something like 9 quick shots of shoju in less than an hour. Bubu was nice, and took me to the train station where I promptly fell flat on my face, swearing up a storm in Japanese. Waiting for the train I took the liberty of puking big chunks of the BBQ dinner down a drain, and on the station floor. The booze began to creep into my mind and fuzz my memories, and the next clear moment I can capture I'm feeling sick again waiting for Bubu's friends outside of a starbucks and he hands me a bag and I puke more wonderful chunks of goodness into the bag and then stumble after him as he goes into starbucks to meet his friends. I deposit my bag of puke on the counter (delivery service!) and follow him out the door once again. Then I'm in a train again. At my station. I tell Bubu I can get home, but him and his friend don't belive me after they find me wandering into the elevator for disabled people, leading to the train platform. They lead me to to my exit, number 8, get a taxi, I give drunken instructions, I'm dropped off to the relief of Bubu who was probably about to kill drunken and annoying me. That is a night of too much drinking, to bring in the new year I suppose.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Going to Hong Kong, not yet

So here I am again. Kim's Guest House. A youth hostel in Hapjeong, Northwest Seoul. I was here last year while waiting for a job, and I'm back here again waiting to go to Hong Kong. I find some sort of unity in that. I can't go to Hong Kong until I go to my friend's wedding. And she wont get married until January 7th. Oddly I decided to move to Hong Kong on the 15th.. Not sure why I have an extra buffer week in there. Maybe it's because I cant count. Same reason why I ended up having a ticket for 2 months in Hong Kong instead of my desired 3 months, because I cant count. Oops. Oh well. I'm sad to not see my students every day, but life moves on. I'm excited to head off into the unknown once again. Woosh. Thats the sound of me taking off. (for those of you who don't know but want to know: I plan to go to Japan via ferry from bottom of Korea, after my stay in Hong Kong.) DAAG!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

4th vlog - nakayama visits

Strange drunk people run around and introduce themselves. My Japanese friends (The Nakayama sisters) came to visit me in Korea. We were at an urban river. At night. Odd Japanese beatnicks rocking the night. Woo!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

taxis & faces

Well, first I want to say a word about Korean Taxis. Scary! I was coming home from hanging out with the Nakayama sisters (which was really fun, by the way, they are cool women!) and I get in a Taxi with an old man. He asks me (in Korean) where I wanted to go, and I say (also in Korean of course) "Guri please." (Guri is the city I live in) and he says "Huh? Wheres that?" So I tekk him Walker Hill Hotel, which is close to me. He takes off, having a hard time accelerating smoothly. Like speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, a classic sign of an old person driver I guess. We get to Walker Hill Hotel and I say "Oh, not this. Go that way." in my bad Korean. He starts getting mad, saying I said the hotel and he doesn't want to go so far away or something. (Not sure why he was worried, he was making money from me! Further we go, the more money he makes!) And now he starts driving aggressively because he's angry. He pulls into a one-lane road, with an arrow pointing the opposite way. I think "Uh oh" and ahead we can see cars driving towards us! (It wasn't like the movies with thousands of cars on a highway though, just two cars stopped and honking at us in front of us.) He swears and drives over the median and into the correct lane of traffic. He's really mad now. Nonstop swearing, angry aggressive driving. We turn onto a bigger three lane road. Finally I think it's too dangerous to be in his car, so I decide to walk the rest of the way home, and I tell him (in Korean) "Here [stop]." He pulls sharply from the middle lane towards the side of the road. I instinctively look behind us, and see the headlights of a car and think "Oh sh--" but can't finish my thought as he SLAMS into the car and my head snaps to the left. Screeching sound of metal against metal and both cars stop. And in an instant both drivers (the other car was a taxi too) jump out and start yelling at each other. I get out, hand the money to the driver. I let the crazy old man keep the change. For a long way, I can hear their voices echo in the cold night air.

I was watching a show on CNN about the new face transplant surgery. And one of the reporters asked if they really needed to do the operation on the woman who had lost her lower face when a dog attacked her. And the answer was "Imagine a life where if you tried to talk to anyone they wouldn't be able to understand you. Imagine a life where whenever you went out, people would turn their heads and stare at you." And although I don't want to reduce her suffering, I was surprised how much that seems like my life in Korea. Most of the time people don't understand my English or Korean, and Koreans staring at me when I walk anywhere is quite common.
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