**I've uploaded all my pics from Korea on my website. Click the link on the left to see!**
The Wed. before last was the day that marked the beginning of my adentures in Korea. If you read nothing else, at least know this: Korea is iiiincredible and if you're considering it at all--GO! There's an overnight ferry from Yamaguchi that takes you straight into the port of Pusan, Korea. Stirlo, Tom Smith and I boarded the boat around evening time and spent the whole night talking on deck about almost everything--relationships, world travels, money (or the lack thereof).
This was the first chance I got to spend time with Tom Smith and I realized how quality he is. Middway through, we found ourselves in the karaoke bar chatting up some Japanese sailors. They were typical. Red-cheeked fromt he shoucho (Japanaese hard liquor...BRUTAL), throwing their broken English in the air and singing Queen with us. We were faded by midnight and crashed in the community tatami mat room, sardine style (after, of course, Tom Smith and I were spent talking about Tony Blair and Bush). By the time we woke up, we were in the Korean port.
Korea is one spicy little country. The people push you in the streets, drivers honk ther horns and the food hurts so good you sweat your lips off. The best meal I had their was a BBQ for breakfast. Each table has a mini BBQ where we grilled our own meat and then added veggie sides to eat it with. It was a tasty surgery of dipping the beef (cut with scissors, not a knife) into chili sauce, wrapping it in lettuce leaves and topping it with whole garlic cloves, seasoned herbs and another sour sauce. Aye Dios mio.
While we were waiting for Marko to get into the country, we hung out at the squae in front of Pusan Tower where there were little old men playing chess on one side, and a whole film crew shooting some show on the other side. But, the center of th square was what caught my eye. The statue, people relaxing on the steps, the traditional building in the back and the birds flying at just the right time...it was fitting.
We visited the most beautiful Buddhist temple I've seen in Asia so far. It was hidden behind a curtain of bamboo plants taller than the temple itself The walls were decorated with bold emeralds, reds and golds. Before we could go inside, we had to pass through the "guards," four statues as tall as the temple itself. Every once a while, I'd see a few monks come out of their little rooms.
The best part of the trip was the time of year we went. Since the only seasons Florida has is hot or hot and humid, I was sooo happy to see the trees changing colors. Like a stupid tourist, I took a million pics of leaves on the ground and of the ones that are still surviving on the limbs. The streets were so picturesque with red and yellow leaves scattered about.
The next morning we took the bullet train to Seoul. The feeling in Seoul is very young, energetic and artsy. There a few universities around, so that probably explains why. We met the coolest Korean girl on our first night out. She just walked right up to us, told us her name was Ellie, and became our personal chaffeur for the night. She took us wherever we wanted; translated for us; introduced us to a few people...it was such a nice break from Japan where people tend to be meek and shy at first.
The first cultural thing we did was check out the palace. We caught them just in time for the changing of the guards.
Later we went to Namdaeumun Market because we heard it was infamous in Seoul. There were sooo many people crammed in narrow streets selling everything from boiled beetles to fake Reeboks. It was the epitome of Asian shopping. There were a handful of handicapped guys--legless--rolling themselves on wood boards with wheels and pushing a radio for tips. Korea is really cheap, especially compared to Japan, so we couldn't resist buying something useless. Marko topped them all though when he bought socks with a picture of Yonsama on them (the Brad Pitt of Korea for middle-aged women...he's a God over there).
My second favorite Korean meal was a pancake made out of batter, leeks, octopus, onions and God knows what else. There's this salty, soy-ish type sauce that we dipped it in and...uuuuuuh...too good to describe. Not only was the food nice, but one of the restaurant workers gave us a ride back into town.
Some of ther best lines from the trip (I wish I could remember more of them):
"If she wasn't good looking, she'd be burned at the stake as a witch." ~Marko
"We need hot, salty eggs." ~Tom Smith and I after a night on the piss.
"Let's enjoy (insert any mundane activity, like standing in line or brushing your teeth, here)." ~Tom Smith
"Freshen yur drink gov'na?!?" ~All 4 of us (inspired from the crazy Brit lady in the Simpsons)