Well, I didn’t make it to Icheon today. The weather was kinda nasty this morning, cold and foggy and wet. Instead, I relaxed at the hotel until around lunchtime, then went for a walk after it started to warm up a bit. Had kim bap for lunch – excellent, as usual. Found a part of the town I hadn’t really noticed before, actually, and walked for a couple hours up and down, round and round, all over town. I like rhyming, with the right timing, and bike riding, but not fine dining. Too expensive, and cheap food makes you less pensive. =)
So, a brief recounting of my most recent explorations follows. I’ve been reading an e-book I downloaded, “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Sherlock Holmes guy. I’d never actually read it before, but I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I only mention it because I can feel some of his archaic prose trying to slip out through my fingers, so bear with me. I also downloaded “Call of the Wild,” by Jack London – great book. Read it, if you haven’t. If you have, then read it again, because I said so. Come back when you’re finished for discussion, and cookies, and bad Korean coffee. I’m funny. OK.
Last night after I wrote, I went for a walk and ended up eating at Dallas. Boy howdy! The “hamburger” sucked, by the way, but that’s not the important part. Apparently, my pronunciation of the word "hamburger" differs enough from the Korean that I wasn’t sure, after a couple of minutes, if I was even going to be able to try one. Fortunately, there was a Korean guy there named James (or at least, that’s his church name, which some but by no means all Koreans have) who helped me through the process. His English was very serviceable, and we ended up chatting while we ate. He’s from Janghowon, went to the school where I work, and is back in town visiting friends and family. He works for an international trading company, exporting something but I’m not sure what, primarily to Vietnam. We did talk world economics and politics for a while. He’s happy about Obama getting elected too, because the US mismanagement of its money has caused a lot of American companies to pull their investments out of Korea, creating a pretty severe stock market decline here in the past few months. I know, same shit, different pile, right?
Well, after dinner, he took me to meet his friend Ray, proprietor of Ray’s Western Bar. I got all excited, thinking Sweet! More Koreans who speak English, and they sell beer to boot! Hells yeah! Well, I guess my assumptions were standard in that they made asses out of everyone involved, because Ray of Western Bar fame speaks no English whatsoever. We did shake hands, and he did give me a beer, AND there was a little film crew working up there, so I got to wave at a Korean camera. If you ever see my face on the (Korean) big screen, now you’ll know why. I’m freaking famous, that’s why. But honestly, it’s a really nice bar, and if any of my gentle readers are ever fortunate enough to come here, I’ll take you to it.
My second fortuitous meeting was at dinner tonight. I went back to the original noodle shop, home of the infamous Vietnamese Noodle Massacre of 2008, to try something new. The food really is phenomenal, but again, not the point of this particular story. As I’m waiting for my dinner (woodong with fried fish – fantastic!), a real honest-to-goodness nother white guy walks in! First one I’ve seen in Janghowon! So he sits down and looks at me and says, “You must be new in town.” And I thought Yup, that’s how many white people there are here…, but anywho, we ended up talking and went for a walk after dinner. Dave is like 50, Canadian, has been living in Korea for 7 years, and is very helpful and informative. As we walked, he pointed out his favorite places for all kinds of necessities. So now I know where to get a haircut, clothes, furniture, fried chicken (it’s not Pelican, but Ne Ne), dry cleaning, pizza, and all kinds of other things that I can’t really remember right now. Presumably, I’ll know them when I see them again… it’s a pretty small place.
So my complement of friends in Korea now includes several teachers, a really cool Korean guy who only comes here every coupla months, and a 50-year-old Canadian dude. Must make more friends…
Oh! One last thing – there’s a river that runs a couple of blocks from my hotel, which I just found today. It’s pretty sweet; there’s a stair that runs down to the bank, and it looks like a good place for jogging (not that I jog, but maybe I’ll start) or a sunset walk with a member of the fairer sex (not that I know any of them). Across the river lies what I thought at first was a different part of town. But then I realized as I walked over towards it that it must be a separate little town. Then when Dave and I strolled across the bridge he told me it’s actually a whole other country! I was like, what the hell?!? Right in the middle of Korea! Apparently, there’s this small indigenous group of people called MiCheong (sp?) who don’t recognize the Korean government, and have their own little governing body, their own language, even their own little military! It’s so freaking weird!!! Completely blew my… OK, so… yeah. I made all that up. But I had you goin, right?!? Tee-hee!!! =Þ Wow, I’m really bored… goin a little stir-crazy, wouldn’t you say? Whatever, I don’t even care. I’ll learn to speak their language, and I’ll mate with their women, and in time our differences won’t seem so great.
It is a different province though, for real. I don’t know what it’s called. It’s like walking into Missouri from Illinois. Not that big a deal, I guess. Not that big a river, either. Till next time, then?
Today Sean is a Korean spinner of lies and half-truths. Just like the Chinese. Or… wait… never mind.