So yesterday after a quick power nap, we got up and rushed to another part of the "way too big for it's own good" city. We met with some of Dee's coteachers and fellow couchsurfers at a subway exit. From there we took two different subway lines and three different buses to get to the NW part of Seoul
where is was quite chilly. I definitely was fillin the chill when I slipped my shoes off outside! Korean tradition, ya know... So I walked into this building and was greeted by some of the most cheerful people. I got one of the best hugs ever. She didn't let go for almost a whole minute and she definitely didn't let me give her the crappy one armed hug. So we all congregated in the dining room and split up into groups.
the laundry room
(arts & craft, kitchen, clean up, and laundry detail) and wouldn't you know it but I got the chore of laundry. Not so bad I thought, just throw some dirty drawers into a machine and hit a button. HA yeah, well we're in rural South Korea. Oh first let me say how Dee and I tried to hide in the arts & craft room with Shin (our native Chinese friend from LA). Well, they sent someone looking for the "foreigners" to come do the laundry. Shin got away with it cause she was able to fit in amongst the Koreans. We however, stick out tlike a sore thumb and were recruited to go upstairs, take our socks off and kinda walk around on the clothes in a big bucket with what I would classify as the coldest water I have ever touched. Yeah, so after that we got the dubious pleasure of scrubbing the laundry with a bar of soap and running it along a good ole old'fashioned washing board, then back into another cold bucket of water, then into some sort of washing machine that cycle lasted roughly three minutes, then back into yet another freezing cold bucket of water, then outside to hang up to dry in the freezing cold?? Yeah, it was good for the soul to spend only 10,000won (~$10) to do the laundry on the mentally challenged of South Korea, but when I saw what looked like peanut butter on one pair, I kinda wanted to stop.
That, then he kept saying this is the last bucket of clothes, then another would come in, he say alright well this is the last, then yet another basket of peanut butter filled drawers would show up at the backdoor. What a sneaky operation! I did however, thoroughly enjoy singing and chatting tunes with Dee and Jake, including, but not limited to no woman no cry, jammin, brown eyed girl, baby got back, ladidadi. Plus I got the run down on the rock climbing scene in South Korea. After our wonderful time in the 13th century we went downstairs and had a massage orgy and watched these women cook tofu and egg, which I found to lack certain, and for lack of better words, stimulation of the taste buds. Shin came down and informed us of all the fun and games we were missing upstairs.
At least my camera caught the action. As we were walking up the stairs to join in on the fun, they were all on their way down. Yeah so, we went right back into the dining room and served everyone their dinner. There was this one female who would take the trays out of our hands as we brought them to the table and she would scoop out half of the rice and give it to the person to the left. I know weird right?? Could've been one of her ticks or something but I found it adorable. After the "members" of this joint finished their meal, all of the volunteers were able to sit down and eat our meal which was put into large bowls and shared in the middle of the table...a real authentic experience :) Afterwards, we went back upstairs and Jake played a few Marley songs on this sweet nylon string guitar.
I think this is an ancient Korean tradition called the massage train
Okay so I'm guessing he recalled our previous conversation regarding our instrumental talents or lack thereof, so I was volunteered to play for the whole group. Well, there's no way on God's green Earth I was going to let down all of these unfortunate souls. So stagefright and all I went up there and picked a few tunes, but I made Jake stay up there with me and sing. We did last dance with MaryJane, Stairway to Heaven and Brushfire Fairy Tales, oh and I did a solo Porch Song. I couldn't resist the Widespread Panic tune...it's just makes me feel warm and fuzzy :) K so we said goodbye to them and went downstairs and introduced ourselves to each other, but since only 8 of us spoke English it was a lot of jibberjabber that I obviously couldn't pick up on.
Afterwards, at this time it was about 8:30pm, we left and rode back into town in an actual car.
That was kinda cool. The guy had a gps system with windows xp and the the internet. Pretty useful, I imagine, since the whole city has high-speed wi-fi access. We went through the quick rode block were the funny-looking cops administered a quick breathalizer. And we were on our way to heaven, I mean soju and cass (the crappy national beer) and some Korean cuisine. Again, surprising the locals with my appetite for very spicy foods. After probably 20 or 30 bottles of soju and countless pitchers and shutting down bar #1 which was situated on the top floor of this building looking over probably one of the ugliest scenes of unlit and grudgy looking rooftops, we went downstairs and onto the streets of Hongdue, the techno & hiphop, neon sign, foreigner populated, party till sunrise scene.
I believe he was attempting the peace sign
We went into quite possibly the loudest club I had ever been into. Music so loud it sounded fuzzy through the speakers. Voice hurts today cause of all the yelling. But it was quite the time there. I met some rastas from Jamacia, a North Korean girl, tons of folks from all over Europe and Ashley who was from Savannah. At one point, I was able to talk the DJ into popping on a Bon Jovi tune. That was the best he could do for me, but I thanked him politely and slurred for appeasing me. I was getting ready to leave then I met Sukyong, her English wasn't great and she let me ramble on into the wee hours of the morning.
Okay so this morning I had a very reminiscent feeling from my time in Costa Rica when I was lost on the streets with nothing, no money, no language etc.
.So this is a learn from your mistakes kind of lesson not to be taken lightly. After stumbling out of Hotel Piano, we hailed a cab and got a ride to Guro Digital Complex (luckily my friend was not cashless) which is Dee's subway stop. From there, I had no idea how to find my back to her place. And her phone was turned off. Uh oh, what was I to do...well allow me to recall - I panicked. Shortly thereafter, I regained composure and went through my trusty litttle camera and looked through the pictures I took in Dee's neighborhood for some clues...yes yes I know, quite the resourceful fellow. Alas! Great Success! We apparently did some sort of photo shoot in front of a yellow truck and it had a phone number on it. Ahah, I was in like flynn. Sukyong called the number and she was provided with absolutely no help.
There are many trucks in the city and could be literally anywhere. Great, back to square one. I found another picture I took of the sign of the mart on the corner. She went around asking all the old ladies on the street selling dry beans and necklaces if they knew where it was. Nothing! Ok so panick mode set in again. Then Sukyong made another call and seemed relieved. What? I asked her, she ignored me. Probably becausse she was fed up with me and just wanted to leave me right there on the street stranded like the dumb American that I am. She walked over to the bus station and started looking at the bus routes and talking to more old ladies. She was onto something, I just knew it. I began to feel relieved, but she still resisted on letting me in on her little secret.
look mommy...i see angels
We got onto bus #505 which I will not forget this time - I'm pretty sure Dee told me but that was when I was FOP (fresh off the plane) as apposed to FOB haha, so I forgot. Okay so the bus, when I saw Dee's school I felt like a school girl and started jumping up and down and was fairly excited to know that I was gonna make it after all. Got off the bus, ran inside grabbed some cash and took Sukyong out for lunch. Lots of deliciousness goin down over that table for sure. I was going to get a pic but we both looked like a train wreck. Oh and when we were there, I discovered an object poking me in my leg - so apparently I was gifted a pack of two razors at the bar. haha here's your sign?? I mean come on, I've only been here 4 days...or was it 5. Just wait till I leave buddy HA.
can someone say the cutest kid ever?
So one macchiato and six hours later here I sit. Chillin, resting my weary mind, soul and body. Excited about the past anticipating the future. Only 30 days till I start teaching. I should do something fun till then. Well I think I am just going to sit back relax, finish this 1.6L plastic bottle of Cass Ice Light
and listen to some Ben Harper...mama, if you read this sorry :)