Friday, July 10, 2009

road trips, seafood, mostly-clean beaches, horrendous traffic

01 May 2009~

the second half of the spring term at HUFS (my school) included a change in classes and schedules for the teachers, and after a couple weeks of adjusting and organizing class materials, i was ready for a break. saturday was my birthday, so on friday night, i went out for some 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal) with my old 1A class and had a thoroughly good time. at one point i was drinking a pyramid-waterfall of shots of soju, immediately after which i received a returned call from YBM english school about scheduling a korean class (i told the guy it wasn't a good time). the night stretched on quite late; i invited 1A to hang out at my apartment, and we stayed up past dawn. i remember sitting on the steps to the building as the sky was brightening and chatting drunkenly with MK (the class's captain and one super swell guy). most of us slept on the floor.

03 May 2009~

on sunday i was meeting up with my two old students and friends from suwon, philip and daniel, and daniel's fiance in suwon from where we would be driving out to 동해 ('donghae'), the east sea. having never been there, i was really excited to get out and do a road trip. it was fine sailing as we flew down the beautiful country roads, and the weather was perfect. upon arriving in the smallish town of donghae, we immediately embarked on a quest to conquer our hunger on raw seafood. the local fish market was quite sizable, albeit a little cramped with all the people running to and fro.

we selected our victims and followed a hired butcher to her personal killing station. i watched with awe and just a little bit of horror at the offhandish-deftness with which she dispatched our prey and sliced it up for us into neat, little, bite-sized morsels.

[we took our food to a little restaurant that doesn't sell food, but rents space and a means to cook your recently-purchased seafood]

after a large and satisfying meal, we took a stroll of the docks where the fishermen and fishing boats were resting.

we then made our way to the beach, and here we rested for a few hours to digest, soak up the sun and fresh air, and watch the children playing and exploring.

[daniel and me]

strangely (and unintentionally) i can't seem to find any photos of philip (well, there was one, but he was blinking and making a dorky face, so i left that one out for his sake).

anyway, with the afternoon mostly spent, we decided to start our drive back to seoul. little did we know of the horrendous madness that awaited us on the road...

traffic. serious and terrible and ridiculously congested traffic. i will spare the details and just leave you with the image of an endless crawl that tried the patience and spirits of us all. running out of things to say is bad. playing the same music over and over again is worse. and the slow realization that what had previously taken less than 3 hours was going to take 8 and that i would not be able to get home because the subway was going to close brought my anxiety to its apex. our own fault for coming back on sunday evening. ugh.

afterwards, when we finally reached suwon, i stayed at philip's place. he was a very gracious host and i was incredibly thankful for his accommodation. luckily, i didn't have to teach until 11:30 the next morning, so i was able to go home early in the morning when the subway opened and take a nice nap in my own bed before heading to work. donghae was great, but i needed another weekend afterwards.

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