Thursday, April 24, 2008

red devils, incheon fish market, buka mountain

at peace in da downtowns

where we left off: i was just about to go moshing in the downtown with thousands of koreans in a soccer hullabaloo
the game is korea against togo
everyone and their neighbor's dog is watching the game and most left the dog and home and are crowding around in the city center to watch the broadcasting of the game on a HUGE mounted screen; there are popular and fashionable music artists playing on the stage, there are countless glowing red horns affixed to the heads of the sea of shouting youth, there are balloons, there is flag of korea the size of a swimming pool there is beer

this pic represents about 5% of the total insanity
...and the game has not yet started

the game was as good as could be hoped for
korea was losing for most of the game by one point after togo got an early goal
then, near the end of the game korea scored and scored again just in the last couple of minutes
people were ecstatic
people were crying
people were singing
people were dancing on the tops of vans in the street
people were arrested
but mostly the authorities turned a blind eye to all the ensuing madness

this night i was leaving long j's house and going to stay with jeongeun in bundang (south east of seoul)
we could not board the subway after the game due to the whole system being awash with crazy masses
but eventually we crammed on
unfortunately, although the most train lines were operating at later hours due to the special event, the line we needed wasn't
so we tried to take a bus
but those were full too
eventually we got in a taxi and made home with sleepy eyes, floating spirits, and full of spirits
actually i lied about the whole thing
we actually joined a cult
most of the night was filled with eerie music, hallucinogens, aggressive dancing, and human sacrifice
there's satan standing behind us
this long, snaking park and stream were near to jeongeun's apartment and a place i would frequent over the next couple of weeks
it's a peaceful place

really my favorite spots were these benches that were tucked in the trees along the high path that ran along the river
i often sat there to read, think, write
cant find big parks that are quiet like this in the city
but we were close enough to seoul that it only took about a half hour train ride to get to the main lines
jeongeun had relatives living in incheon, and they actually offered me to tutor their kids for a month when they heard i was looking for students
we decided to go to incheon and visit them
the first place they took us after we arrived by bus was the incheon fish market - possibly the place with the most exciting sights on my trip
there is an indoor market and an outdoor one
as incheon lies on the east side of south korea, all the catch is made from the yellow sea
pretty much everything that is caught is sold and eaten
the sounds and smells of this bustling place were nearly as exciting as the feast for the eyes
i went 'photo-crazy'
it was like a photographer's wet dream

the outdoor market was mostly for individuals selling their personal catches from smaller, private boats

THESE are stewed pupae from i dont know what kind of insect, maybe silk worms?
anyway, they take a little getting used to for munching on
yes, i tried some
but i had a little preparation from my friend small j who offered me some from a can in hilo
soft, with the slightest crunch
the bigger catches are in the indoor section of the market
here was where i caught the most intoxicating sights... and aromas :)

much of the catch here is kept alive in tanks except for the displayed fishes

those baskets of crabs where just crawling all over the place and the sellers had to pause often in shouting their wares to toss an energetic crustacean back in with his buddies

oh yeah...!

loads of ingredients for 'create your own kimchee'

live hagfish
does that say '미리'???
king crab

baby squid strung on wire bracelets

this woman was brutally hacking away at muscels <>>she seemed pretty hateful of them as she was gouging their innards out with obvious enjoyment
we were fascinated with her mercilessness

i loved the artistic fish displays
what perfect lighting!
these are popular as gifts for sweethearts

enjoying raw baby squid dipped in pepper paste
this is one of the harder things for me to swallow
taste is good if you can get around the consistancy - chewey in places, tough in places, pieces of shell at times - it's hard to guess which part of the squid's anatomy is clamped between your teeth or rolling over your tongue at any given moment

the executioner pitylessly cutting the fishies' throats
now the enjoyment
outside the indoor part of the fishmarket is the place were people can sit on the dock and enjoy their incredibly fresh purchases
i was more than a little disappointed that we did not stay to eat with them as it seemed like the ideal atmosphere for seafood
...and a little intoxicant to fuel the apetite and conversation :)

the intoxicant: soju (of course)
on the docks
more feasters

the boats, resting peacefully and awaiting tomorrow's sail

jeongeun's uncle and our guide
a seafood enthusiast if there ever was one
(we, however, ate steak for dinner...?)
on the waterfront

as we walked along the waterfront, some picnicers, already far along in enjoying their food and drink, stopped me for a chit chat and exchange of soju, cigarettes, and amiability
i pour the party chief a drink
the next day i am to ride the train back into seoul and through it up north and out of seoul to meet bobo and her parents for a hiking trip up this smooth-skinned fellow: 북한산 (bukhansan)
like all mountains in korea, bukhan mountain is very old and its rock is rounded with age - they are somehow comforting and reassuring to look at
at the trailhead

along most of the way is a winding stream with many small waterfalls

here a couple enjoy the majestic scenery with a picnic
we stop for a light lunch too: 김밥! (kimbab)
it's like a korean-sushi roll sliced the same as sushi, but with wrapped with korean foods


the sides of the mountains really seem painted, like someone let watercolors bleed down the slopes

the trek is arduous
although not a long climb to the top, it IS steep and startlingly perilous at times
near the summit is a wall that was erected to prevent incursions from unwanted neighbors and beyond that you must climb up the slippery rock holding onto a thick, metal chain - no more ledge to hold on to; the only thing to keep you from falling down the steep slopes is your grip on the chain
at the top is a small, square platfor with railing (litterally on the tip of the mountain) from which you can actually see into the DMZ

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