Saturday, 28 February 2009
Friday, 27 February 2009
I love incongruous Korean vehicles. I'm jonesing for a scooter. My co-worker got a little yellow 50cc job today, and I snatched the keys out of his hand and told him I needed to test drive it. Had a sweet 30 minute meander round the hilly farms south of Halla, eyes watering, corners of my mouth lifting, comforted by the knowledge that life is short. I almost bought a 'chopper' last week (the bike in this picture minus the circus tent), but I'll probably end up buying a more sensible scooter. I will feel like less of a man with a scooter though. I think it's all about how you sit on the bike. With a chopper, your legs are slung on either side, confidently raked forward. Modern cowboy. On a steel horse I ride. The chrome and steel she rides, colliding with the very air she breathes. On a scooter, it looks like you're sitting on the toilet, reading the newspaper, feet primly together. Maybe I'll wear a bathrobe when I ride my scooter, and drive around with with my underwear around my ankles, a cup of tea in one hand, hurling obscenites at innocent strangers.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
People often ask me what I eat in Korea. Answer: sandwiches. 75% of all meals consumed in this dude's life have been sandos. Sad? Not if I love sandos it isn't.
That being said, Korean food is pretty damn good. Unfortunately, it seems like fewer younger Koreans are eating real Korean food these days. Pizza and fried chicken are pretty popular here, as is most other crappy western junk (not as bad here, compared to Seoul). I think the next generation of Koreans will be a lot more corpulently Buddha-like than the current one. That what happens when you literally consume America.
Real Korean food seems to be based on a simple peasant diet of root vegetables, and endless varieties of kimchi (Don't I sound like a travel documentary?). Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut, but a lot hotter. It will unfortunately make your posterior resemble a Japanese flag if you eat a lot of it and your body isn't used to it. Gruesome.
There are tons of sidedishes that come with a Korean meal - some good, some catfood. As I live in a harbor town, I've been dragged to a few seafood restaurants. Seafood isn't really my bag. I can't handle the texture. The little crabs you eat whole are good though, and eating live octopus was neat(haven't done it lately). My favorite these days is kimchi jiggae, the last pic. A super spicy soup that wakes me up and upgrades my well-being, then downgrades my bitchiness, and finally whispers things in my ear that make me smile. I must be slowly turning into a Korean, what with all the taking of pictures of meals.
No, I haven't eaten dog yet.
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
One of several things will happen to you when walking towards a Korean on the sidewalk. If the Korean is a man aged 30-50, he will stare you down mercilessly, and not budge an inch, preferring to crash into you. If the Korean is older than that, they will also crash into you, but they will give you a quick 'who farted?' look and then look away, instead of the stare-down. If the Korean is a young woman, she will clumsily pretend to be on the phone, or nervously look around for another Korean to reassuringly lock eyes with, to guide her through the ordeal of walking past a waygook. As she walks past, she will walk as far away from you as she can, and flinch, waiting for you to lunge at her with your hooks, stunned when you don't. If the Korean is a kid, their jaw will hit the floor, and they will walk into a wall as they stare at you like you have two heads. They will desperately try to remember how to say 'Where are you from?', but they will forget, and if they say anything at all, it will be a quizzical 'Uhhn?!'.
Monday, 23 February 2009
Aside from all that cheese, I also brought my geet back from Ilsan. It's a sweet geet, but I have to admit I haven't touched it much in the few years I've owned it. Had a band back home for years, but we played an average of a show a year, and we definitely spent more time working on our costumes than the 'music'. We changed our name often, partly to fool clubs that had banned us for life for various irrational reasons. We re-united before x-mas and played our first show in 5 years. We didn't sound too bad, and we made one hell of a giant lobster. I've gotten into mandolining lately, but I'm not sure if I wanna pay 250,000w for a crappy one here. Trying to get a band started up here, should be fun times. The band I was involved with in Taiwan never really worked. We were called "The Binlang Boys", and we played classic rock, poorly sung in Chinese. It was bad.
I am officially tired. Played some darts last night. No dust today, levels low. Went to a birdwatchers conference thing on Saturday. I really did. Bed now.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
I was feeling fine on Friday, it having been Friday and all. Then, I checked the dust levels. Red!! Ahhhh! Danger! Danger! Ahhhh! I ran to the Plus Mart and bought a mask. Ahhhh! Dust! It was gross, yellow, and hazy. This was definitely not thermal inversion or farmers burning stuff. This was pure, uncut, Chinese heavy metal thunder. My throat is all sore today. Ahhhh!
This is the most impressive assault on the English language I've ever seen, and likely ever will. Read it several times, you'll keep discovering wonderful new anomalies, such as the mysterious 'grudge', and the word 're-is'. My favorite passage: 'Specially the forest abusive language market'. Hee hee!
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
A lot of the cabs 'round here have a paint job that makes me think of only one thing: sweet sweet reggae. Speaking of reggae, here's a pic of the world's best Doritos flavor (from Taiwan). Irie!
I think people that don't like reggae might have something wrong with them. If you could get a rastafarian alchemist to isolate and bottle the energy in "Sweet and Dandy" by Toots and the Maytals and feed it to the leaders of the world, world peace would occur overnight. If there's anyone who can listen to the last 58 seconds of "Legalize it" by Peter Tosh (where the animals are getting high) without smiling, I haven't met them, and I don't want to.
Monday, 16 February 2009
Here's the Boor chicken man, all dressed up for a night of opera and cocktail parties. He's less terrifying in a tux, and even though it looks like he had a bit of trouble vis-a-vis his shirt-tuck/cummerbund, I could see myself hanging out with him. But the red t-shirted, freakishly jacked-up reptilian grill version of him makes me uneasy. Nightmarish. In my nightmares I would try to run away from him, but my legs would first stop working, and then shatter. Hordes of him would run impossibly fast circles around me, deafening inhuman shrieks and fried chicken lashing me into oblivion.
On Sunday I hiked up Oh Seun Saing (a crap anglicization I know) Oreum. Oreums are volcanic pimples, and there are 377 on Jeju. There was an old Japanese bunker at the top, that looked out on Jeju city, which actually seemed pretty small. I swear I saw a rare Swarovski's Bleating Tiger Owl.
I fished a huge matted clump of long black hair out of the drain in my bathroom today. As thrilling as it would be to have house-guests of the long-haired persuasion requiring showers, sadly this hair belonged to the previous tenant. Gross and lazy I am. I let my dishes fester tragically last week.
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Saturday's weather was crazy nice. Must have been 17 degrees with clear-ish skies, helped burn off the crankiness I'd bottled up during the week. Slept in and went for a superwalk to some favorite spots, old and new. I found this empty little park at the top of a hill. The placement of the bench is perfect, and probably profound. I sat there and looked at that tree for 15 minutes. I'm such a hippy.
Came across an intense university soccer game, so I watched that and had a 'who can slurp their ramyan loudest?' contest with some ajjoshis. Found another quiet park/stream nearby, with a buddhist building hovering over it.
My hiking shoes are super comfortable - like having my feet inside a pair of baby seals. Problem is, they make me walk like Borat. I wanted to accentuate this foible and make Koreans laugh, so I moved my arms stiffly and Borat-like every time I encoutered passers-by. No one appreciated my efforts. Maybe if I bring a jar of gypsy tears next time they'll get it, and we'll share hearty and spontaneous laughter.
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Or should I say massacre? More proof than Jejites have no respect for their oranges. This orange midden actually smelled very interesting, as it festered among the pine needles. I've never smelled anything like it. Hey perfume makers: moldy oranges + pine needles = $.
Yellow dust from China! Run!
It's dust from the Gobi desert in China, that is thoughtful enough to pick up all kinds of heavy metal thunder from China's disgusting industrial belt on its way to Korea. This gets combined with whatever baseline crap is in the air from farmers burning stuff, and thermal inversion. I've had my eye on the dust levels, and they've been hovering at around 150-300 ppm lately, which is almost at the level where they instruct folks to stay indoors. I was hoping it wouldn't be so gross on Jeju, but I guess the Hawaii of Korea isn't immune from this garbage.
I'm a hypochondriac, but on high dust days I swear I get headaches, feel lethargic (more than usual), my eyes hurt, my skin gets blotchy (more than usual) and sometimes I can feel the sand in my mouth.
The first pic was taken in early January, the second two days ago, and the third was taken today.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
I'm so cranky this week. Like a bear with a thorn in his paw. Or a bee in his bonnet. Or a ringing in his ears. I think it's cuz I inhaled excessive amounts of toxic yellow dust on Sunday. Anger dust. I need to upgrade my goodsome- ness.