December 28, 2010

under pressure...

At 11.30pm I sprung awake, my eyes were wide. It was like I struck up an AMAZING idea. so I shall describe my look as Newtonesque, because I imagine he was kind of shocked when he got hit in the head. anywho. Staring into my bleak apartment I felt relief for the first time in hours. the pressure in my ear was releasing. I was praising my decongestant and the capful of phantom medicine (that later turned out to be a health drink) I had taken. Although how many of us can say that we have had one of those 'aha' moments? I'm fairly sure comparing my moment to Newton's cheapens one of the greatest 'aha' moments of all time. Besides my moment was not really an 'aha' moment. It was more of an 'ohhhh yeah' moment.

The build up was completely backwards, instead of silence before the storm (or silence before being smacked in the noodle with a russet (type of apple) ), it was like being hit with an exponentially growing number of russets, and then being whacked by a single granny smith, then encountering silence. The discomfort in my ear was continuously getting worse. My ear was fine when I started work on Christmas eve, only 9 hours previous. I was even fine heading into my first blocks of classes. It was my 6.40 class where things started to go badly. My hearing became extremely sensitive, my ear was throbbing in tune with my heartbeat. Any loud noises, either from the classroom, or any noise from me would exacerbate the pain. I spent most of the class hunched over my desk with my kids worried about me. I received one Christmas card advising me to get healthy over the Christmas break.

I didn't fare much better my next class. I knew at this point that there was something really wrong. Yet I stuck through it, I don't really know why. I'm not trying to milk people for sympathy, or come off as some sort of beaten down ESL hero. I simply didn't want to have to ask my bosses to go home early, because I didn't want to go through the hassle of getting a doctor's note on Christmas eve (you know they would have asked for one).

The agonizing thought of having to teach another class was relieved when students didn't show up. I was thankful because I'd lost the ability to properly function. I ended up sitting in the classroom with a toque and hoodie over my head staring at the floor. It was the quietest, most peaceful place I could be in the school. I didn't want to be a scrooge towards my coworkers, but being around cheerful holiday banter was quite literally painful.

That pretty much brings me right back around to where I started, 11:30pm. At first I was quite lost in the pleasure of the moment, the hours of agony were over. I mistakenly thought the decongestant had worked and loosened my ear valve thingy, I was wrong. During my eargasm there was a clear ooze flowing out of my ear, down my neck.

The feeling was amazing, it was euphoric, peaceful. It was gratification at an unexpected moment. What I did not know is that this was not the kind of gratification I was seeking. Instead of my the pressure being released internally, I blew a casket.

I woke up expecting to feel great after my eargasm. I didn't work out that way. I awoke the next morning with waxy goo covering my pillow, neck and t-Shirt. The liquid was clear, my ear was ringing , and I couldn't really hear much on my left side. I had dun gone and busted my ear drum.

December 16, 2010

a year in pictures (pt.II)

This is the second part of my year of photos. I published some of these on my blog, yet some haven't seen the light of day. I hope they help make up for the lack of photos. 

July: Loveland was a great, and full of family friendly statues (Right). There was barely any room for more side dishes on the table. Susan seems to agree (Left). Read about my adventures in Jeju.

 July: A tugboat pulling some evasive manouvers (Above). In a more serene setting, a lava stone statue chills by a stream (Right).

 September: I met a girl, Corwin (Above). I believe this is the only photo of the two of us. A better photo of Corwin, mostly because I'm not in it to ruin it (Below). I love the chinese writing in the background. This fisherman seemed single as he waited for the fish to bite (Right). I loved the giant jax type water breaks they use in Korea.

 September: Dinner of champions, or birthdays, in Sokcho. Well this is what is left of one(Above). The markets in Korea offer food straight off the ground, bag or bowl (Both pictures below). My return to Sokcho.

October: The Hi Seoul Festival had one of the most impressive fireworks displays I've ever seen, despite the rain (above). 

November: In front of a temple in Suwon, a Korean skips down a tightrope (Right). He would later incorperate a pelvic thrust into his routine. I was hiding inside a bin used to store rice in previous centuries (Below). The story behind the box: A member of the royal family was stored in a box as a form of torture.

October: One of my favourite students left, I was really sad when I found out. This is the only picture I have, his name is Matt. 
December: FC Seoul won the K-League Championship. I went to the last 7 games, I've started to really like soccer. I love already confetti, and what a great way to end this segment, yay confetti!!

a year in pictures (pt.I)

I've gone through and selected several photos that span my first year in Korea. I kind of feel bad because I haven't added and to FB.

February: Shortly after I arrived Canada won gold. The game started at 5am in Seoul, Gillian and I stayed up all night and shortly after 8am Canada won. This photo was taken shortly after they won Gold.  Read my post about the Gold Medal Game.

April:  Yeonshinae is a place full of lights, cafe's, restaurants and litter (Above). It is a place I've learned to love since arriving. 

These trees @ Namsan Tower in central Seoul are covered with cherry blossoms (Right). Koreans flock to see, and photograph these trees. It looked similar to mornings after icefog, except it's warm out, and there are bees everywhere.

May: Biking in Yeouido (Above right), and Baseball @ Jamsil stadium (Above). May had the best weather by far. I really wished that weather had lasted longer.

For Buddha's Birthday a group of us ventured down to Sokcho. Corwin was shaking off the sand (Right), and I was shooting fireworks from the hip (Below). Read my Buddha's Birthday blog.


May: One of my first adventures into the world of coffee (Above). I admire the handywork, and perhaps this was the start of a small love affair. 
June: The police guarding a train station after Korea beat Greece 2-1

June: Korea went crazy during the World Cup. Several thousand spectators would show up to watch the games @ City Hall Plaza. The screens were huge, the fans were loud, and sitting. Read my blog series about the World Cup.

June: I'd never seen a proper horse race until I went to Seoul Racehorse park (pictured above). I planned a day around horse races and perogies. When we arrived @ Happidus in Anyang, they were sold out. read about potato mandu.

July: I was supposed to get perogies one afternoon when I was playing beach volleyball. Instead I ended up in hospital, and my doctor snapped this shot of me (Above) moments after my knee was put in place. Read about the hospital.

I finally got perogies two weeks later, and honestly they were amazing (Left). I wouldn't say worth it, because I'd trade the ability to run over food anyday.

December 15, 2010

sitting, waiting, wishing, drinking...

Toy Kittie Death @ Coffee House
Believe it or not, I've never been a huge coffee drinker, I have an aversion to hot drinks. For some reason I am like a 5 year old child, and I sizzle my tastebuds on hot liquids. This includes all hot liquids, not just coffee,  hot chocolate and soup are also guilty. Until a couple of years ago I put ice cubes in my soup and hot chocolate. I couldn't trust myself enough to wait for it to cool down on its own.

Since I've arrived in Korea, things have changed. It is like I have finally matured (I'm sure that is debatable to some) and I can enjoy warm to hot liquids. It didn't take long after that for a formal introduction to coffee. Especially when Corwin is a caffine junkie, and former Starbucks employee. She has taught me the ins, outs and in betweens ofcoffee. I have tried to be a good pupil, and learn quickly, although I'm nowhere near the critic she is. Instead I'm a willing participant in her coffee adventures around Korea.
Cafe Mocha @ Coffee House

Coffee has become a very trendy thing to drink in this country, and there are many great coffee shops in Seoul.  But, I don't think coffee has been around long enough in Korea to serve as fuel for the masses. The zombies that walk around at the trapse of dawn can't find a cup of coffee in this country, they have to wait many many hours. Coffee shops here seem to open around 9 or 10 (sometimes later, whenever the owner shows up) and stay open well past midnight.

This trend has worked its way into Yeonshinae, a local  neighborhood. I can't begin to count how many have opened since I arrived last february, and more seem to be sprouting up. Corwin and I have found one in particular that suits our fancy, Coffee House. I'm happy because they serve mocha's and Corwin is in love with their foam. This cup of boiling water heaven was also included by association to a recent article in 10 Magazine (an expat magazine in Korea) in their article about the 10 best cups of coffee in Seoul (read the article here). Coffee House's main branch in Anguk is hailed as the second best cup of Jo in Seoul.
Caramel Machiato @ Coffee House

The Yeonshinae version of this cafe is trendy, and often quite busy. I have spent more than a few afternoons injesting their brew, and abusing the free wifi. The staff is pretty awesome, and never appear to go home. One of the girls running the place took the 18 month barista course offered by Gwang-su Jeon (if that doesn't make sense to you, that is because you didn't read the link, haha). If I had a complaint about the place I would say that they have overused (the) Jack Johnson. I have been there often enough to recieve free cups of coffee, and JJ has been played everytime. I think for Christmas Corwin and I are going to burn them a new CD of equally trendy coffee shop music.

December 10, 2010

the west is the best ? ? ?

I've taken a look back at some of the entries that have chronicled my time here in Seoul, and I'm kind of shocked that I haven't included more about food. I mean I have written some posts, but interestingly enough, I've only been posting about 'western' food, most of which y'all can enjoy on a regular basis. My blog has a glaring omission of Korean cuisine. I will try to amend that situation. I swear I will, I love Korean food. Yet because I eat Korean food everyday, I find myself more giddy and excited about edible reminders of the west.

For example, the other weekend I found an amazing Mexican restaurant.  Not only was the food fantastic (and cheap), the place had actual Mexicans cooking, and serving the food.  The sight of this threw me back a little, seriously! Anyone from Calgary might also be confused what a real Mexican looks like for two reasons: #1. Calgary doesn't have a huge Mexican population, and #2. Most 'Mexican' restaurants seem to be run by the Japanese (ie. Taco Time). These Mexicans in Korea fed me my first ever corn tortilla (pictured). A Mexican food first in Korea! what are the odds of that?I would like to say that I also enjoyed some Mexican beer while I was there, but I'd be lying.
The Mexican joint is located right beside... (drum roll) BIG ROCK!!!!

That's right, the microbrew turned regional brewery in Calgary is available in Seoul. The bar looks familiar to the brewery in Calgary (If you have ever been). I have no idea if the place is actually run by Big Rock or just licensed out to some expat.I've read that the beer is not actually brewed here, it is imported. This means quite literally that I can get Calgarian beer in Seoul, YAY! I've been told the food isn't the greatest, but what does it matter when there is an authentic Mexican joint next door. Big Rock's entire liquid menu is present, from the new Jackrabbit and Big Rock Lime, to the classic Traditional and Warthog Ale (pictured). The food was great, the beer stirred memories, a perfect afternoon.

P.S. I swear that I will start writing more about Korean food instead of western food.

December 09, 2010

오징어 vs 피라니아

I'm a pretty lanky fellow, so I often find that I have nowhere to put my arms or legs. It's time for a moment of pretty sincere honesty. Most of the time I don't know what the fuck to do with them. It's probably not a very shocking revelation, but hey whatever. One of my classes has taken to calling me 'ojinga teacher' (ojinga means squid in Korean, 오징어 is ojinga). They like to dance around the class exaggerating my arm motions.

I went zip lining for the first time a couple of weeks ago and if you would like to find an activity to highlight limb control, zip lining is it. There is something about hurling down a 100m track suspended by the waist, that highlights your abilities. My (not so) graceful moments were recorded on film as I dangled lifelessly, flailed like a ragdoll, and sailed like a human torpedo through the trees. My arms and legs were simply passengers along for the ride. My friends laughed, and snapped (photos).

In sharp contrast, Koreans seem to know exactly what to do with theirs. I checked out an International Food convention the other weekend, and some Koreans were snapping up giveaways and freebies with surgical precision. I could say that I was shocked but I'd be lying (I've lived here for 9 months now, I was shocked for the first 8, I've given up sampling most things).

Yet, I have to stand somewhat in defence (and admiration) of some of the actions at the convention. This convention was handing out free booze, and a lot of it. You could easily get hammered if you sampled only half the booze being dished out. Most people tend to get a little grabby when they are tipsy as well. I don't know if I'm excusing the actions, or simply explaining them. I don't know if being grabby is ever fully excusable.

Anywho, I think I'm writing this more out of jealousy. From my inability to know what to do with my limbs comes the fact that Koreans know exactly what they would like to do with theirs (even drunk). I swear some of these Koreans would be able to grab a grain of rice flying through the air, with a pair of chopsticks. I'm speaking of some serious precision here.

Free samples would disappear with lightning speed. I came across a booth selling French chocolate truffles. These delicate truffles would barely hit the bottom of the dish before they were gone. The two Frenchmen working the booth were visibly disgusted as they gawked at the Koreans (I found it a little funny to watch their expressions) The same thing occurred with pajong (what am I? click and learn!). I'm surprised the chefs had it cut up before it vanished. I had to go back to the booth 4 times in before I managed to sneak some Korean pancake action.

Even a chaotic line up for free samples in NA is tame compared to Korea. I'd compare a Korean line to a piranha (피라니아 ) feeding frenzy. It's totally different, and something to truly behold. I'm jealous not because of the frenzy, but the precision. You can't strip an animal to the bone with random bites. It takes accuracy, and the ability to know your weapons. Judging by my zip lining pictures, and current nickname at school this isn't talent I possess.

November 27, 2010

The gang deals with the North Korea situation (II)... 'nobody loves you when youre down and out'

The situation in the North has pretty much become a same same issue. In Canada there are cold fronts that drift down in from the arctic. They are often despised, and yet Canadians weather these cold spells. They do so while uttering under their breaths that global warming should take them out at some point.

In Korea we have a similar issue, although instead of being a cold front that drifts down, it is a large ego that descends south. I don`t know how much detail I need to go into on that, so I`ll leave it like that. Yet like Canadians it seems to have become a practice for Koreans to utter that the ego will be dealt with at some point. That silencing will occur through starvation, or a communist extinction event.

Both appear to occur with the same frequency as well. Since I've arrived in Korea this is the 4 or 5th time the North has stirred up shit. That seems close if not higher than the amount of cold fronts in Canada.
After my (not so) brief introduction I can reach my point.

I have a small theory as to why the north chose Tuesday to attack. I think it was because they were jealous, I don't think it has anything to do with wanting to start a war. If they really wanted to start a war, they could have easily attacked last week while the G20 was going on. They wouldn't have to worry about the Obama if they knocked him off (although that might lead to a communist extinction event ie. an American invasion).

I've done some brief searches online, and have come up with a possible conclusion. After a (short) search I was unable to find any information on music in the North. People don't really know what the Kim's listen to, well besides their propaganda filled national anthem. This goes for father and son, well more father than son. Either or we know very little.

Shortly before I found out about the attack I secured my tickets for the upcoming Eric Clapton concert. In fact I found out about the concert about an hour before I found out about the attacks. I think they were upset that Eric isn`t visiting them, and that was why they attacked. You may say that that notion is preposterous, absurd, or horribly implausible, so I will present another argument supporting my asinine conclusion.

Last week there were fears that North Korea would attack in some way shape or form. Security at the G20 summit was insane, they had an entire section of the city cordoned off, so that the leaders of the free world could gather Gangnam to chit chat. As we all know there wasn't an attack, and that one actually occured this week, the same day that Eric Clapton tickets were shown on Interpark (a Korean equivalent of Ticketmaster. I highly doubt this was a delayed reaction, and that it took the North a week to fully hit the launch button.

So there it is, a somewhat rational argument for why the North was pissed off.

just a thought.

November 15, 2010

dog and pony show...

This week is my second round of open classes. You may remember that in April I was subject to similar scrutiny (re-read). Where my biggest fear and enemy proved to be my inability to tie a tie. Well I have some good news, I am not going to wear a tie this time around. I've slain that evil through pure avoidance.

Instead I'm left with a larger fear, lack of control. In my previous open classes, I was able to control and dictate the pace, and direction of the class. I chose the story we would read, and I would throw out random questions to my kids. I felt quasi confident in this process, because I could quash any unwanted silence. If a child bottled up, I could simply direct the question somewhere else. All in all, I could fill awkward silence with some child's voice.

This time around I won't be so lucky, I will have minimal control over most of the class. My kids will be presenting an adventure story they wrote. For most people this would be awesome, perhaps even kickass, me, I'm left quaking in my boots. Korean children, like many children I'm sure, crack under the watchful gaze of their parents. The bright, lovely, outgoing students quickly become mutes, it's as if their parents presence creates an invisible gag in their mouths. That is a huge reason I loved to be able to control things, and quickly adapt as the class went on.

Tomorrow they will be thrust under the limelight, or halogen (or whatever light the projector uses), and will recite a story. That as well should be pretty simple, yet the school has decided that it wants the children to memorize the story. Not even a cue card can be used to bail them out.

I have a couple objections to this kind of torture... First with the presentation style. It takes a couple of years of practice before most people don't require cue cards anymore. It took me all of high school and the beginning of college before I started to save trees, and ditch the paper. Yet I was still taught speech class that it was completely fine to rely on cue cards. The invisible safety net would be a great benefit to my kids, considering what happened to some last May. Tomorrow the stress will be cranked, parents will be watching, and hell even the Obama doesn't memorize his speeches.

Tactics aside, as there is little I can do to change the format. My objections for presentations are insignifigant considering my feelings for the students memorizing them. Yet I slightly (silently) objected to the presentations in the first place. This is because the school stated they want the open class to be an average class, and not appear to be staged. I have never, not once held presentations in this class. With that knowledge in hand, it is clear, it will be staged (dance monkey dance) I don't object, really! I love presentations. Okay, slight rephrase, I love giving presentations, I'm not a huge fan of standing on the sidelines.

In the end, I'd love to be able to absorb all the stress in the room to take it off my kids. Perhaps I'll bring a sponge, and try to deflect the tension into that. At the very least I have to know that I've done all I can, and I hope to shit that my kids surprise me and memorize their parts. If not, I may find another rogue gray hair. I found one last week which may, or may not be related to this open class.

November 12, 2010

cars...vulgar language... and barenaked ladies...

What do Top Gear and Anthony Bourdain have in common? probably very little. But! I've shown clips of both to my classes, and my Korean students have learned valuable lessons. Such as, what happens when a car is struck by lightning? I didn't know, but Top Gear filmed it. What are the national dishes of South America? again, I haven't the faintest idea, but Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver know. Although, of the two I kind of prefer Bourdain, nothing against Jamie but Bourdain is brutally honest, and I appreciate that. 
I guess you could say I love being able to show YouTube videos in class. I've been able to expose my kids to highly censored clips of Anthony Bourdain, and non censored clips of Emeril Lagasse. I've also shown clips of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. All to show my kids that the world eats great food, and so they can see what gorgeous food expanded American waistlines.

I have had to mediate a debate between my Grade two's as they argued which was better, the folk tale Mulan, or Disney's historically inaccurate Mulan. Instead of drawing horrible diagrams of weather, I brought Hurricane Katrina alive in the classroom through NASA's 3-D satellite imaging videos. The same grade two's have also witnessed the phases of construction of the great wall, and all the global empires from the last millennium.

Nobody quite says "Houston, we've got a problem" like Tom Hanks. I'm sorry Jim Lovell, but Forest's got you beat. Tom Hanks didn't play Neil Armstrong, but if he did I'm sure he would kick ass, instead I've had to improvise in class by showing the actual moon landing video. Truth be told I've actually shown that video to four of my classes, as apparently the moon landing is not shown in Korean schools.

Some might say that my use of video in the classroom pushes the limits, I'd say that some of the time they are right, like when I showed David Copperfield make the statue of Liberty disappear (although to my defence, my students were reading the book 'David Copperfield' at the time). Pushed line or not, I find it amazing how educational Anthony Bourdain can be, I find his blatant honesty the best way to describe food that my kids have never heard of. Grammar can also be perfectly demonstrated through the song 'If I Had a Million Dollars', even if I had to spend time explaining why it is cruel to buy a real fur coat.

Perhaps this post just a long winded way of saying, thank you school for buying projectors. It is because of that kind gift, that James May and Top Gear were able to show my Korean students that the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is the world's fastest car.

November 03, 2010

what would you do for a snickers bar?

We had an extra lesson day in the session last week, so it was used to give candy to already hyper children. My youngest kids were adorable, and took the smallest piece of candy with such glee. My older kids however, needed to be bribed a little. I needed them to do some work, and not bounce off the walls. I figured the best way to do that would be to entice them with the allure of more chocolate. I was a little shocked when my plan actually worked. I gave the kids this picture, and told them that the best three stories would get a full snickers bar. I recieved some run of the mill stories, I also recieved these entries. (as always these are unedited)
First place: by Benjamin
(no title)
There are two boys and one tall girl. In Halloween day they were going to the theme park and go inside the ghost's house. But there was a real monster. Everybody screamed and ran outside. But 1 girls and 2 boys didn't scared. The monster asked "why did yours not scare?" "Because your not real!" they said. "We can see your legs, little bit" "Wow, your clever".

Second place: by Lisa
A long time ago, there is a wierd and big large door. It seems like a monster. One day, three (3) children were playing in the playground and saw that door. They suddenly go in front of the door, and laugh. The other people saw them and frightened. More scary thing is that the children didn't move. People thought they were dead. AND, the secret of the door is that's the door the baby dead in that moon, so when the people saw it. They can't move anymore (they died)

Third place: by Esther
(no title)

The three  children live in the very beautiful house. One day, the Halloween is coming. So, they do the Halloween trip. First day, they go to forest, but there is very scary things. They go near. There is the title. 'Welcome to Halloween' The sign is very scary. That place is ghost house. That ghost's tongue is the door. They go inside, but its very fast. Because, the tongue is the roller coaster's seat. When finish the roller coaster they are panic. This time is the most interesting Halloween.

October 25, 2010

at the latenight.. double feature.. picture show..

(this is the second post for my Chuseok adventure)

Worn out from a day of chasing (wooden) penis, I’d spend the last night of Chuseok watching men on stage chasing (literal) penis. Before you seriously start to question my sexuality let me explain, The Rocky Horror Show was in town. I decided to go after being coerced by cheap tickets. Wait, who am I kidding I was planning on going ever since I heard about it. What better way to end a Korean family holiday than with a lewd non family friendly musical.

I did a lot of research before the show. I’m well aware that Rocky Horror is rife with audience participation, and I wanted to be able to throw my toast, and rice on cue. I found out that the stage shows mostly dealt with heckling, and not actual throwing, I was a little sad.

The performance itself was anything but disappointing. I was thrilled, chilled and fulfilled. I found it quite interesting that an extremely conservative country like Korea would play host to such tomfoolery. Although I’ve seen the funky g string this country is hiding under its playfully conservative garb. Loveland and Haeshindang Park (the penis park) play great testament to the risqué undergarments this country hides.

I felt bad for Rocky, as he was supposed to be the muscle on display. His airbrushed abs had nothing on Juan Jackson, the man playing Dr. Frank N Furter. I’m fairly sure I heard a few Korean jaws hit the floor upon Frank N Furter’s arrival (see picture). I’m not embarrassed at all to say that he was the most muscular man I’ve ever seen. It also didn’t take long to learn that Juan was not cast because of his looks; he had one hell of a voice. The rest of a the cast didn’t falter either, even when executing dance numbers on 4 inch heels. It was enough to make more than one Korean woman blush, and believe me that is no easy feat, as Korean women will hike up mountains in heels.

The spectacle I was expecting from the crowd was a little tame, not one person (including me) stood up and participated. No one even heckled! I figure the shy Korean crowd had a lot to do with that, yet I sat down the whole time as well. That was until the show was over; the cast wouldn’t let us leave without getting us to do something. So they demonstrated the dance moves to ‘The Time Warp’ and broke out into song again, this time encouraging the timid crowd to dance along. I took full advantage of this, I couldn’t jump to the left (knee), or step to the right (Korean standing there), but the pelvic thrust really did drive me insane.

October 22, 2010

I've got a hole in my bucket...

I’ve known for a while that I like to plan out tiny little adventures, I don't plan every detail. I do like to leave room for some random happenstance. The last couple of weeks i've become a zombie to the world. You will probably notice that this is my first post in over a week and I know some of you are anxiously waiting for the stunning conclusion to my Chuseok adventure, don’t worry it will come. I've spent my time sifting through dozens of websites attempting to plan my christmas vacation. I've laughed, I've cried, I've wanted to hurl, and in the end all I'm left with is that wretched taste of vomit.

I first had my sights set on China. You might wonder why I decided on China first, and not some remote beach. The answer was simple, I was being frugal, and the flights into China are among the cheapest possible from Korea. After four days of research I mastered an itinerary. I presented my thoughts and plans to Corwin proudly, like I was displaying some animal carcass we could both share. The plan was aerodynamic, a flight to Beijing, a train to the great wall, and another day or so for tombs and temples. After a night train we would awake in Shanghai, where we would check out buildings that look like tennis balls and eat some more food that was not so delicately fried.

the streamlined train, that was my itinerary, was derailed by a single statement. I can't just tell you the statement though, I have to forward it with the question I was asked "Won't it be too cold in China in December?" (I'm from Canada, the girl who posed the question is from Arizona) The statement: "Did you hear that you have to have six months remaing on your  Korean visa to get a tourist visa for China."  The question coupled with the statement delivered a stinging blow, I was so offguard because of the question. It turned out to be all correct, and with 2 months remaining on my Korean Visa, China was done for.

Plan B would have been most people's plan A. The Philippines is a little slice of heaven tucked neatly away in the Pacific Ocean. There were many teachers planning on venturing there during the break. It made all my attempts to complain about China mute, how can you bitch when tropical paradise is plan B? The Philippines became my rebound, I was now scouring the internet in search of revealing pictures, and steamy video of this paradise.

If I couldn't be surrounded by millions of 3/4 tall people, I didn't want to be around people at all. It was with that in mind that I planned an adventure to Palawan Island. It is described as the final frontier of the Philippines (aka tourists haven't fully exploited it yet). As it turns out getting to the frontier isn't cheap, (well if you want to get there quickly). My itinerary for Palawan looked like a frankenstein monster. I had four flights, on four different airlines, and shoddy information about transport on the island itself. I spent an entire day working out possible itineraries to get me into the Philippines, and onto Palawan, the cheapest way possible. A pricetag of 1,200 bucks for 6 days seemed inevitable, and too expensive.The logistics of the problem dumbfounded me, it was like I was planning a small scale invasion of the region. In fact I can probably tell you the best way to get a light armoured divison in and out of Palawan.

Trials, tribulations, investment and heartbreak, is planning 9 days of vacation really worth that? My mother tells me that the best part of a trip is planning it. Mom loves spending weeks to plan every detail of her trips. It's great a way of extending a vacation. An activity that may only take you a couple of hours to do, bound with days of analytical planning, allow that single event to become so much more. While it has brought my mother so much glee, it has created sleepless nights and stress for me. I've not had the same gumption as I once did when it comes to a planning trip this christmas. As is stands now, I... I...

(breaks into song)

..I (might) be on a boat, I (might) be on a boat
not a real boat, just look and see
cause that boats on a cliff, a cliff!
I (might) be on a boat, on a cliff
take a good hard look,
thats a motherfucking boat (on a cliff)..

Plan C might not be such a bad thing, when I get around to planning it...

October 06, 2010

spaced out on sensation...

The chuseok holiday was filled with narrowly missed busses, missed busses, a bus with shattered glass,and passengers that required a new bus to pick them up because of the bus with shattered glass. There was also expensive cab rides, giant wooden penis’, people puking, 56 years worth of birthdays, and a chorus line of men in corsets and stiletto high heels.

Believe it or not my holiday was not a chaotic mess, although it did get messy for some teachers at my hagwan. My holiday went along swimmingly. I actually kind of wish that my holiday had a little bit more grime. Yet I can't complain about the cleanliness, my only legitimate complaint is that I don't have much to write about.

My semi vacation was started off with a bang, well actually it started off with the lack of a bang, buzz, or annoying musical tone that you would associate with an alarm. It wasn’t that there wasn’t an alarm, there was, there wasn’t however any volume on the IPod used to as the alarm. Only the IPod woke up ontime, and that was because it was programmed to. With a late start we narrowly avoided missing the bus to Sokcho. 'We' comprised of Corwin, her best friend Brittany, Brittany’s Boyfriend Cory and I.

For those of you who have kept up with my blog, YAY (I love subscribers!), you may remember that I’ve been to Sokcho before. I first ventured to the city in May for Buddha’s Birthday. If you didn’t have any clue what I'm talking about, you may read about it here. During Buddha's Birthday we were unable to go hiking, so we returned 4 months with all intention to hike.

Believe it or not, we didn’t get to hike, yet again the weather prevented us. In the four days we were in Sokcho it was only nice for one of them. We used that beautiful afternoon to bike around a lake near the city (although it is not actually a lake, it attached to the ocean, so I have no why they call it a lake), and to take pictures of myself acting as a demented ninja on the beach (see photo above). We felt that because the weather report was wrong for that one day, it would be wrong for the whole trip. That kind of logic built the Maginot line (yes, I did just incorporate WWII into my entry). There is another hiking expedition headed out to Sokcho at the end October, you won’t however hear about that, because I’m not going.

Tired of the rain we were faced with a choice on our final day in Sokcho. We had two choices,go straight to Seoul or go out of our way to Samcheok to visit a fertility park before we went back home. Seemingly overwhelmed with sexual curiosity we chose Samcheok. 2.5 hours later we arrived only to find out that we had 2 hours to explore, and that the fertility park was 25km outside of town. Sexually frustrated we divvied up the cash and bought a whore for 50,000 \, and by whore I mean cab.The park was beautiful for all the wrong reasons. We spent more time gawking at the rugged coastline than we did the smoothly sanded wood. 

Although we arrived in Seoul late on Wednesday evening, the semi vacation was not over. We had a date with some transsexual transvestites on Thursday night. It was like a second act, a curtain call for the holiday and like like all great encores the trick is not to keep people waiting too long. I wouldn't want madness to take it's toll, but listen closely, you won't have to wait very much longer. With a bit of a mind flip... you're into a time slip.