Sunday, October 23, 2005

Recharging at old man park

Last time we spoke I hated my job and was feeling tired, dejected, and less than thrilled. Now, after a weekend in Seoul I feel tired, happy, and ready to start the new week with a positive outlook. Yes oh yes, everything's gonna be alright. I got a red scarf that lifts my spirits and keeps me warm.

So on Friday night, shortly after that hateful post, Darce, Sara and I jumped on a bus and headed to Daechi-dong to visit our friend Jenn, meeting up with Cara on the way. The five of us gathered on the floor around a table full of Mexican delicacies. Jenn had prepared homemade salsa (with a tangy zest of lime), as well as all the necessary fixin's needed for tacos. Hard AND soft. There were pimento stuffed green olives, there was real sour cream and ground beef (!) and I can't forget to mention the sangria. We packed it all in and then took to the streets in search of noraebang tom-foolery. Of course there's a noraebang, or singing room, within a stone's throw of any apartment building in this country so it didn't take long. I sang until my voice failed me, particularly enjoying my own version of "Build me up Buttercup".

As planned in advance, we fell asleep on Jenn's floor mats.

The next morning Jenn had things to attend to and Cara had gone home so the three Suji-ites decided to head up to Jongno Sam Ga station to check out Jongnomyo, a shrine that Scott has been raving about. On the way over we took a stroll through Old Man Park. Yes that's the real name for it, I swear. The forested park area was teeming with male retirees. I'd guess over a thousand were strolling, playing Go, listening to live music, or watching dancing. We saw approximately 6 women, zero other foreigners, and zero other people under the age of fifty five. D'Arcy stopped to have her shoes shined and attracted a good sized group of about ten oglers. Sara was summoned by one particularly fiesty old man and ended up dancing in front of a whole auditorium. I almost peed myself laughing, but I dutifully captured it all on camera.

We walked along through the shrine grounds enjoying the freedom and lack of time constraints and were pleasantly invited to partake in a traditional tea ceremony. After we finished with the shrine and temple we strolled through some neighbourhoods we had never seen and ended up in a very cool area up on the blue line called Hyehwa filled with young people in jeans and scarves and drinking from Starbucks cups. We even found thrift stores, if you can believe it. I bought a scarf to go with my jeans and Starbucks cup and I love it. The temperature has dropped significantly these days and my scarf took care of the shivers. It still is now as I sit in my slightly too cold apartment. Apparently this area is where all the theatre performances are so I'm going to look into finding some shows. I hear this Korean spin on Stomp, Nanta, is a great time so I'd like to try to get tickets for that.

Night was drawing near so we made the executive decision to stay one more night at Jenn's and go dancing. We danced, we indulged, and slept very soundly.

I have a confession to make. I ate Burger King for breakfast. And I'm proud of it.

Back in Suji I hopped on my/D'Arcy's bike and rode to Lottemart where I had 100 digital pictures developed for 20,000 won in only one hour. I can see this becoming addictive and adding significant weight to my luggage on the trip home in July.

Speaking of which, I keep thinking about just leaving almost everything I have here. My clothes will be worn out from the harsh laundry system and they're all old and dull anyway. When I come home it'll be a fresh start. I look forward to that.

But for now I hope my kids and I will handle the week just fine. Next weekend is Club Night for a friend's birthday and a goodbye party for my coworker and her boyfriend. A new coworker is arriving this week. Two weeks from now I think I'll take the train South to Busan before it gets too cold. Time keeps on tickin'.


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