Monday, December 05, 2005


I suppose I should catch ya'll up on my comings and goings here in South Korea.

The novelty of Korean food has worn off. Octopus soup is no longer something exotic that I must eat; now it's just spicy soup with some damn rubbery arms in it.

A few weeks back, I made my first trip into Seoul. It was for the birthday party of a former teacher at my school. I don't know the guy, but I was invited anyways. We went to Sinchon (I'm spelling phonetically, I have no idea if that is accurate), a neighborhood in Seoul.

The place we stopped in at, actually called "The Bar," was a little hole in the wall. "Hole in the wall" being more literal than I'd like; the men's bathroom only had three walls. The fourth wall? The street. That was interesting.

Two Sundays ago, I was hiking up a hill I've never been up before. A Korean man began walking along side me; he started telegraphing that he wanted someone to tutor his son. It's illegal, of course, so we just skirted the issue for a while. Koreans love their hiking, and this was midafternoon so we were surrounded by people. Eventually we had some relative privacy and worked out an appointment.

This past Saturday, I went to the National Museum of Korea in Seoul with another teacher. It's a huge, massive building surrounded by the only green park I've seen in Korea. The museum is entirely dedicated to Korean history up to the 19th century; there was nothing from the twentieth century which seemed a bit strange to me.

I came back on my own, and managed to take a wrong turn in the subway. That led to a good bit of stress, backtracking and carefully choosing my train. All the English signs are tiny and difficult to read from the train.

The subway detour gave me a chance to see some of the more rundown parts of Seoul. There are actually people leaving not 50 feet from the above-ground subway tracks; no sound barriers. I think I'm going to have to get off the subway at various points and do some exploring. There are parts of Incheon and Seoul that could be straight out of a western city, but I sometimes catch glimpses of strange and new places.

One of my roommates is headed off to Thailand for two weeks... listening to his plans is making me vibrate with jealousy. That, along with the above mentioned bits of Seoul, are starting to make me think one year here won't be enough...

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