03 July 2008

But It's Still Moving!

Out last night for Perry's send-off. He had stuff to do in the evening and Sarah and Stuart (her BF, here working on a software deal) had stuff to do so we didn't even get on the subway till 10:30. We went down to Kyungsung, a neighborhood near Suyeong with several universities and lots of bars as a result. This might be a good time to comment on the education system here. High School is really the end of a Korean's education and it is hell. The entrance exams for college are taken at the conclusion of high school and they are gruelling. College, once entered, is pretty much a joke. So, like I was saying, we went down to this "hoe" (pronounced kind of like "whey" with more "h") restaurant down there (one or two alleys west of Subway station). Hoe is kind of a Busan specialty and these places are all over. You know it is a hoe place if there are tanks of live fish out front. The food you eat is alive when you walk through the door. We ordered a platter that had three kinds of fish, served raw. The heads of the fish were on the platter as decoration. Every place you go gives extra stuff, called "service," and this place was no exception. Jellyfish salad, sea slug (started moving when brought into contact with wasabi... like eating a briny pink rubber band), sea urchin (looked like snot and tasted like the ocean), shrimp (steamed whole), quail eggs with the hottest peppers I have eaten since I got here, salmon roe, live baby octopus (they chopped it up right before they brought it and it was still moving... a lot. It latched onto the plate and when I got it off there it latched onto my chopsticks. Tasted great.), and a bunch of sauces, veggies, and etc. After the main course they brought out three different cooked fish dishes, salmon with a mustard sauce, marinated tuna, and something else. One of the raw fish on the platter was a flounder, I am not sure what the other two were but one head looked a lot like a bass. Might have been sea bass. The last thing they brought was a soup that had been made fresh with all of the things left over after they cut up everything we had just eaten. All of the bones, skin, and guts were in there. You only spoon up the broth. It was really good but it was too spicy for me so I didn't eat too much. I was under the impression that these places were prohibitively expensive but the platters we got were 15000 won and they were meant for two people each. There were six of us and we were stuffed.

We moved on down the alley and came to a club called Old 55, a foreigner bar. There was a Canadian band cranking out original blues numbers at volume and then a hippy chick got up with them and started doing Cranberries and Alanis and stuff like that. We were pretty blasted when we left the restaurant (Ro Ju, a girl from work kept making everybody drink a layered Soju bomb with beer and coca-cola. I had had Soju bombs before. The coke just made it even more drinkeable and as a result even more devastating.) At the club we had pints of Cass, a local pale ale that isn't bad cold. The best thing: I saw an expat who was even fatter than me! I seriously thought I was the fattest person in the whole damn country but this guy had a massive gut. Yes!

We cabbed it home and moved some furniture around. I got an arm chair, an iron, a vacuum cleaner, some dishes, an umbrella, and a better desk. We drank a couple bottles of soju when we got here and finally got to bed about 3 AM. Hurt bad this morning but I had a great day at work. Went to Mcdonald's for lunch and had a Big Mac that didn't taste like a Big Mac. I did my laundry today for the first time. I couldn't read the label on the machine so I just pressed in some random settings and hoped for the best. It washed my clothes for two hours. I hung them up out on the roof. About 5000 people can see my underwear from their windows. I went to the store tonight and bought some veggies. I am spending a quiet night at home tonight and it is not easy. I am better when I stay distracted. Maybe that is why I am sitting here writing about my underwear. I might go down to the subway later to get my picture taken in a photo booth. I need pics for my alien card.

Crisis today at work: one of the Korean teachers quit and it threw a wrench in the class schedule. Two foreign teachers left this last week and Sarah, Clayton and I are now pulling the load four teachers were before. We can't pick up the Korean language classes, thank gawd, or I would probably be getting more classes. Jenny, my supervisor, was in bad shape. I got the impression that the director didn't want to hire another Korean teacher and that the supervisors were going to have to take up the slack. Jenny has so much to do already that she will be there till midnight doing office stuff if she has to teach all day. We had a meeting today and they asked for some stuff that I will have to work on. I get a week off at the end of this month and I am going to try to go to Japan. Jenny used to be a travel agent and she said she would help me with tickets. It sounds like everyone else in the country is off that week so it might be hard to get tickets to certain places. Jenny said don't even try to go to Jejudo, it will be a zoo. I will do that this winter.

Perry left tonight for Thailand. He is going to spend a week there. I guy I met at the bar last week said that Thailand is the spot and he is planning on retiring there. I might have to go sheck it out. I will get the lowdown from Perry when he comes back next week.