Monday, 27 February 2012

My friend, the monk

Best monk ever

Text me, we'll pray

Monk gift!

Looks like a walnut...

...tastes like red bean

What's a Pocari and why am I drinking its sweat?
  On Saturday I headed up Korea's barren east coast to look for a rare duck up in Gangneung.  At a rest stop in the middle of nowhere, a young monk saw me scanning the ocean with my binos and we got to talking about birds.  When he got back on the bus, he gave me a box of walnut-shaped red bean-filled snacks, and a bottle of Pocari Sweat.  I was blown away.  I showed him bird pictures on my camera, and we talked birds a bit longer on the bus.
  When we got to snowy Gangneung, we exchanged cell numbers, and I gave him the link for my bird blog.  He gave me a Buddhist 'wai', and we parted ways.  Best monk ever.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


  What could be grosser than the ubiquitous Korean soap-on-a-stick?  Comb-on-a-string, that's what.  True story - I saw one in a bar bathroom in Gimpo, years ago.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Red-flanked Bluetail



I'm in love...

Sexy, rusty curves
  ...with a motorcycle.  Thanks to some key tips from seasoned chopper riders, I finally cracked the downshifting/stalling/clutch sweet-spot code.  It was a gorgeous day today (14 degrees!), and I took a long afternoon ride on my burgundy metal pig.  I got a semi that hit the tank.  Clang!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Full-sized Lego man

  Korean construction workers bust these guys out when then need to nip 'round the corner for a wee dram of soju.  No one usually notices.
  When I was in grade one, a classmate helpfully suggested that I try to eat a piece of blue chalk.  I abided, and chomped away on the chalk.  After eating maybe a third, I saw the teacher coming, and ditched the chalk.  She stood over me, and asked "Were you eating blue chalk?"  There was blue chalk all over my face and lips.  I looked at her, and said "No." in an innocent little voice.  The moral of this story is that it tasted better than white chalk.

Cobain out

  Ol Heedong finally left Korea this morning, for good.  Wellll, I've left Korea for good a few times, so I guess we'll see about that one.  He'd been crashing out on my couch on and off for the better part of two weeks, and it's always a laugh riot with him.  I think in three years of hanging out, we only had one fight, predictably as a result of an all-night bender, which was resolved over a morning session of soccer penalty shots.  Good luck in the real world, mayng.

Birding 'round Busan

Raccoon Dog tracks - next time, Tanuki, next time...
Female Daurian Redstart (my spirit guide)

Black-eared Kite - Badass

Common Reed Bunting at sundown
Cold poser at Igidae

Cliffs of Igidae, Busan 'Centum City' looming

This tree was a giggler

JP: badass Texan punk-rock bird nerd


Scoping for Reed Buntings

Sunset at Eulsuk-do

  I finally met JP, a fellow foreign birder living near Busan.  He's a cool dude, we shared some laughs during the course of a long day of birding at Igidae and Eulsuk-do.  It's always good to compare notes with other birders, especially in Korea, where it often feels like you're the only birder in the world.  Which isn't always a bad thing.  We were a bit 'out of bounds' at Eulsuk-do, so we kept having to dive into the reeds to hide from passing dump trucks, which was fun.  I spotted a Water Deer, but missed out on the Amur Leopard Cats and  Raccoon Dogs (big-balled Tanukis!) that inhabit Eulsuk-do.  Shitballs.  Next time.
  I got cable, which means Discovery Channel once more.  Ahhh, soothing documentaries about marsupials and Hitler's rocket program.  I haven't watched the news in a couple of months, and it doesn't look like I've missed out on too much.  People are still assholes to one another, all over the world.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Busan signs, lately

  Just got back from a birding weekend in Busan.  Also, Cobain's last weekend in Korea (he'll be back in a few months, you'll see).  I'm tired.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Duck mud meat roasted



  Teehee!  This makes no sense, but I just woke up, so whatever.

  'Listen pharmacist, my poo is reuned.'
  'Did you use your bum hand?'
  'Yes, but it's still a Japanese flag back there.'
  'Kimchi in, kimchi out, brother.'
  'Fuck my life.'

Okpo harbor

Kimchi a'fermenting

A strip of old seafood restos

Some kind of good luck ritual for a new boat (?)

DSME shipyards - the sole employer in Okpo, really

A boardwalk dealio

Not sure if I'd be eating fish caught next to a shipyard...

...or next to this milky mystery

  I checked out Okpo's harbor almost two weeks ago.  It probably still looks like this.