Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I beat a delivery driver kid in an old-fashioned green-means-go drag race today. Pulled up to the punk and he looked my scoot and I up and down with a sneer. I looked at him and spit. Light turned green, and he initially got a quick jump on me, with his foot-clutch jobby. Two seconds later, he was out of gears as I cruised past him, making sure to flash him the same shit-eating grin he showed me. I got his ass! The Beach Boys oughta write a song about this epic win. Actually, I respect these kids, with their 3$/hour pay, no tips, no helmets, and balls-out driving style. Sadly, I watch them for tips on 'urban maneuvering'. One delivery kid I often see has glued massive foot-long Batman-style streamlined plastic horns to his helmet. That's cool.
A similar drag-race happened to me a month or so ago, except this time it was a cop on a Harley I pulled up to at the light. He looked at me without expression, and when the light turned, I swear I got a nose ahead of him in the first ten feet, before he smoked me bad.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
He's a dapper little fella, init? Haven't been able to re-locate the Munias, I hear they don't stay put for too long, so I musta had a horseshoe up me arse on that one. Well I've avoided going to the real doctor. I think I'm whipping this throat infection thing on my own. Tons of tangerines, ginger honey tea, and bland homemade vegetable soup seem to be doing the trick, but if I go anywhere near a lit cigarette, the coughing begins anew. Looks like I might have to to keep the self-imposed hermit-dom going for another weekend, as Korea is still the ashtray of the world. I'm babbling, I blame Advil cold & Sinus. Ahhhh, Advil cold & sinus.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I returned to Dr. Stickem today, for some reason. He was grasping at straws this time, because I'm still sick. "Are you cold?", he asked. "No", I replied. As he prepped my PALM for insertion, he said "Ok, you're cold, so this will make you hot, but it will hurt..." - Y'think? It hurt. After he fired the needles into me, the doc was too good to touch them again, so he sent in the smiling She-witch to pluck them out.
Then, he brought me into the alien autopsy room for more advanced silliness. The room looked like a restaurant, complete with the adjustable smoke-eating vents commonly seen in BBQ joints. He strapped a wooden cup filled with burning coal and hocus pocus grass onto my lower stomach, and left me there for 30 minutes of solitary head-shaking and eyebrow-raising. I'm guessing the smoke was supposed to have been sucking bad hoo-doo out of my gut, like the spectral smoke produced when the Stonecutters burned Homer's underwear.
As I walked out, still coughing like a dog on fire, I swear the She-witch was about to mouth the words 'I'm sorry'. Bring on the 'real' doctor with his trail mix bag of pills, because I'm done with all the snake-oil liniments - any medical treatment that leaves you with stigmata and a scorched treasure trail is not cool.
Well, I'm gonna go listen to my second favorite Ramones song now, 'Needles and Pins'. Number one is of course 'The KKK took my baby away'.
I was sneaking through the bushes the other day, clinging to a trail on the edge of a steep valley when I found this. A creepy monument to bags of different crap. I quickly turned around, fully expecting to see a hydrocephalic Korean hillbilly with a banjo in one hand and a crudely fashioned war-axe in the other. Shiver. I'm pretty sure there was a torso heap under the plastic sheeting.
I went back to Dr. Stickem today, and he put needles in my face this time. I had to keep my eyes shut, because the sight of quivering needles coming out of my face made me feel uneasy. I'm open-minded, but I'm still not sure how needles in my face are supposed to clear up phlegm in my throat. I was wondering if the quack would pull a chicken liver out of my stomach, in a John of God-style psychic surgery. And the murky crap I've gotta drink is foul. It knocked me out last night while I was watching Hitman (merciful then), remote still in hand. I woke up a few hours later and wondered why Hitman had become blurred-out Korean soft porn. Life is funny. On the subject of the blurred-out bits, I bet some Koreans raised on those late-night blur and wince-fests get a shock when it comes time for their first sexual encounter. "What the hell is THAT?"
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Halla Mountain is sexy, especially from the south side (the only good side). She's been looking extra sexy these days, with her snow.
I missed out on the Leonids meteor shower last night, due to clouds and sleep.
I went to an acupuncture doctor today, to have a look at my nagging cough (he looked right at it). Yeah, I could have gone to a big hospital quack, but he'd just violate all of my facial orifices with prods, hit 'shuffle' on his prescription-dispensing machine, and hand me 7 different and mostly useless pills (coincidentally all made by the same up-and-coming Korean pharmaceutical company). I'm not a fan of needles, and he was firing them into me like crazy. He flung them into my toes, wrists, gut, and neck. Neck. I lay there pretending to be calm. Now I've got some magic sachets of powder (deer fins and shark antlers mostly) that I'm meant to drink thrice daily. We'll see, we'll see.
But I do. I especially enjoy eating hunks of hairy pig skin with the butcher's stamp still intact. What a delicious animal. Getting cold. Damp cold that gets into the bones. If you haven't listened to 'Don't let me down' by The Beatles in a while, you should.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Of note in this picture is the poor Harubang statue that's drowning in masonry, and the superfluous boltwork on the minivan. For some shaky-handed, overworked Korean dad, those stick-on bolts are the only thing that saved him from a midlife suicide. "Who you trying to mess with? My van has bolts. BOLTS!"
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
It's far from mature, and wasting food is never good, but when you've got a few drunk lads milling around, a 300 foot-per-second full-auto BB rifle, and a surplus of giant pears, something like this is gonna happen, every time.
Got home from a scoot a while back, and slumped in front of the neon god I made. Thirty minutes later, I smell the most subtle and amazing smell I've smelled - something unique and sweet. A bit later I find a dying stinkbug on my helmet, dragging his cleaved body around up there. Stinkbugs stink, hence the clever name, but maybe this guy decided on his deathbed that he'd do something beautiful for once in his stinkbug life. Thanks, you smelly little bastard.
Koreans have an endearing/infuriating habit of over-gearing for hobbies. You need to look like you know what you're doing, well before you know what you're doing. If you're gonna do something, don't do it without masses of crap you don't need. One of the most common manifestations of this quirk is the Korean mountain hiker. I spotted this fellow on a small hill in Seogwipo. It took me exactly 10 minutes to walk up the gentle slope (in flip flops), and here's adventure man, ready to summit K2 with his element hood and extra water. I swear I once saw a guy with an ice axe carabinered to his bag. In summer.
Monday, 9 November 2009
I forgot to mention, Cobain and I were given our full member patches by Team Halla - the coveted 'skull with 3 holes'. Pretty honored, as we're definitely the first foreigners to be patched. We go nearly every Sunday, and take the whole thing almost as seriously as the Koreans, so they're well impressed with our Chutzpah.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
-12:30 p.m. McDonald's in Jeju City, 104 km
The only thing there is to do in Jeju City is go to McDonald's. I told that shit-eating dream cow I'd see it at McDonald's. It didn't believe me, and laughed, but who's laughing now? Me. I am. Also, who doesn't love a good nugget made of chicken lips, assholes, elbows and armpits? I'm glad there are no western chain restaurants in Seogwipo (unless you count Baskin 31 Robins). My love handles are gladder. It's a word. Really though, Jeju City is just another big-ish Korean city, and I always get the heebie-jeebies when I'm there. At this point in the trip, we were starting to get a bit road-numb. Half way through. Throughout the trip, I couldn't get two songs of my head: 'Hold the Heathen Hammer High', by Faroese viking-metallers Tyr, and everyone's favorite gag song about condiments, 'Asereje (The Ketchup Song)' by Las Ketchup. If you YouTube those 2 songs in rapid succession, you'll see that this is most likely the soundtrack in Hell.
-12:55 p.m. Gas 2, 106 km
The whole way around the northwest coast and into JC, I kept asking Cobain 'How's your gas?', in the hopes he'd get the hint and realize I was pushing bingo fuel. I was too cool to start ringing the panic button, so I'm glad the Daelim Forte has a deceptively innacurate fuel gauge, and/or can ride on fumes for a while. Across the street was the ferry terminal where we had a stupid misadventure a few weeks back. Blessed with a rare Monday off, we bussed it all the way up to the Jeju City ferry terminal at an ungodly hour, intent on heading to the Island of Chuja-do for the day. The woman at the 'help' desk knew we wanted to go, and told us when the ferry was sceduled to arrive. I don't know when she found out the damn thing was cancelled, but she sure as hell sat there and watched us for over an hour, smiling and thinking to herself 'God, make them go away'. When we finally went up and asked her if we could get on the boat now, she pointed to a piece of paper that read 'cancellation due to high winds', and gave us a raised-eyebrow smile like we were the stupid ones. Clenched fists.
-1:16 p.m. Samyang black sand beach, 110 km
Another blah whatever beach.
-1:36 p.m. Hamdeok Beach, 120 km
A gorgeous beach, with clear water and white sand.
-1:57 p.m. Gimnyeong Beach, 129 km
A dumpy little poo-poo beach.
-2:34 p.m. Hado, 146 km
A super-duper place to see birds, and another forgettable beach. Couldn't find the fabulous 'Shit-Eating Wall', for the second time. 'They' want to put a speedboat track there. Well done, more sarcastic claps from me. The Spoonbills are back, but were too far for good pictures. Might not be any left in a couple of decades.
-2:58 p.m. Seongsan, 159 km
Seongsan is a nice spot, in spite of being well over-touristed. The bathroom in the parking lot offers THE best Jeju view from a bathroom window.
-3:01 p.m. Parking lot coffee, 160 km
I'm not a big coffee person. In fact, my home town is such a coffee mecca that I just raged against the idea of coffee for so long. If everyone tells me I should check something out, I make an effort not to. Anyways, these days I drink one 'coffee' a day - in reality a pre-packaged tube filled with crack. Every 5 p.m. like tragic clockwork. Anyways again, the parking lot coffee machine makes a solid cup of 25 cent dixie cup coffee, and it hit the spot. The fatigue was really starting to affect our ride at this point, and we tended to drive on through as opposed to stopping and oohing. Heading back south round the east coast now.
-3:12 p.m. Seopjikoji/Sinyang Beaches, 164 km
Spot of the infamous 'soju in hair' camping mayhem of May. Read all about it. A thin neck of land with a beach on both sides. Like a double-edged viking longsword. Hold it high!
-3:40 p.m. Pyeoson Beach, 179 km
Heading west along the south coast. Pyeoson is a shit-hole. I spent 20 minutes there waiting for a bus once, watching the same angry old man ride by on a bicycle every 4 minutes. Almost slit both our wrists. There's an interesting beach here, with huge, Incheon-like tides.
-4:17 p.m. Gas 3, Wimi, 197 km
Passed Haevichi Resort, where Dubaya stayed when he was here. I can just hear him making 'I have ichi balls' jokes. Wimi is a dirty old town, but in a much less depressing way than Pyeoson. The first gas station in Wimi was apparently our of gas (racists!), so we went to the second one. Riveting narrative. Rode past the Film Museum in Namwon. I'm tempted to go, just to see how much it sucks, and then I can make fun of it and feel superior, and better about myself.
-4:34 p.m. Seogwipo Family Mart, 210 km (give or take)
Home, with hot happy tires. Some douche in a Tico (ugliest little pregnant Lego car of all time) tried to cut me off, but I honked and made confused/confusing hand gestures at him. Went to the Family Mart a couple of blocks from my hovel and had 'one beer'. High fives! We congratulated ourselves and told each other again and again how awesome and cool we were for having finished TGJ1DC. As we often do over tall cans of goodness, we plotted our next Jej-venture, this time one so ill-advised and ridiculous that we may actually have to do it.
-9:53 a.m., Sanbangsan, 35km
A big wedge of potatoes (this means something) with some Buddhist stuff on it, and also the site of Hendrik Hamel's infamous 1653 marooning. I always stop here and have a Coke at a brokedown little shop. Would have again, but the old brokedown guy that worked there was totally out cold in the back room. Wasn't waking up for anything. Should have stolen everything, so he's lucky I didn't. The second best Jeju view from a bathroom window can be found here.
-10:41 a.m. Yongsu Reservoir, 57 km
Heading north now, along the west coast. A good place to see birds. And a little dog that barked at us, but turned out to be ok when you talk to it in cutesy voice. He was a good widdle poggledy-doggledy. Yes he was. Oh yes he was! The West coast is some nice 'round these parts, what with the ghost towns, cactus fields, wind turbines, and garlic.
-11:10 a.m. Hyeopjae Beach, 69 km (haha!)
Been camping here a few times. Not a bad little beach, but crappy and full in peak season. An 800 year-old island lies just offshore, gotta go.
-11:40 a.m. Gwakji Beach, 79 km
A forgettable beach. Took a picture astride pigs, titled 'The past is history, the future is a mystery, the present is a gift'. This picture will be on the front of our self-published travel pamphlet, 'The Short and Unremarkable Way Round'.
-12:02 p.m. Iho Veach, 95 km
Heading east along the north coast. Played volleyball here a month ago. One member of my team still owes me 30,000w for registration fees. I could have used it this weekend. I hope she lends money to someone, and they never pay her back. That would show her.
-9:34 a.m., Hwasun powerplant, 33km
Checked out the nearby prehistoric site, and a random bit of rocky coast. Good place for loons in winter.
-9:44 a.m., Hwasun Beach, 35km
A nice enough beach...if you don't look left at the powerplant. Every beach on Jeju has different sand. While Jumgmun's sand is flat (and sticks to your legs for days), the sand at Hwasun is dark and shelly. Some kid parked his Tokyo-drifting rice-rocket there. Could have used some more stickers, in my opinion. On the way to Sanbangsan, a good view of 'The Twins', a rock. Also, an unnamed and underused beach. Good for loons in winter. Also.