10 August 2008


I have a recurring nightmare that I am falling to my death. This is the only type of death dream that I have. I never drown or get blown up. I always fall. As a result, although I wouldn't say that I am afraid of heights I am at times a bit timid. When we went up the Busan Tower I was keeping a respectful distance from the windows. Yoo Gin ran up and plopped down on the sill.

She came down to Busan on the train for a visit. I met her at the Krispy Kreme factory in Seomyeon. I always wanted to go there and she had told me that she wanted to have breakfast so I suggested donuts. It was pretty good. They give you a glazed donut hot out of the donut factory when you walk in. We got some coffees and I got a chocolate custard bismark and she got a strawberry cheesecake one that was kind of blucky and I knew it and she knew I knew it but she ate most of it anyway to be polite.

We sat there and talked for a long time. One of the things that we talked about was talking. She was, and is, worried that our language difficulties could become a real problem in the future as we find the need to express more, as she put it, nuanced things to each other. I agree with her, but I had thought about this before and proposed an immediate solution. She agreed and we went off to the big bookstore and got his and her English/Korean Korean/English dictionaries. We put these to good use for the rest of the weekend. I have now mastered the better part of the human anatomy in Korean and she knows how to describe my sense of humor using a variety of interesting metaphors.

After donuts we went to the temple at Beomeosa. We had purchased a bottle of wine (Black Tower Reisling) last week on a shopping trip and I had (somehow) saved it till this weekend and had brought it along but I wanted to keep it chilled so on our way in I climbed down under the bridge and stuck it under a ledge in the water of the mountain stream that runs through there, which wasn't freezing but it was a lot cooler than my backpack. After that we made our way up the steps to the temple complex. It was just as beautiful as before and I saw some things I had missed the first time, including the "See on evil, Speak no evil, Hear no evil" Buddhas in the photo above. We (well, I) started to get hungry after a while so we headed back down the mountain to find lunch. We walked for a while until we found a little galbi shop and the proprietor stuck us in a little private room and cranked up the AC for us. We soon had the wine open and some beef on the grill and things were okey-dokey. We sat there for a long time on the floor, eating slow and talking. It was grand.

On Sunday Yoo Jin said she wanted to do some more sightseeing and I suggested the Busan City Tour bus. If you recall, I went on this on a rainy day my second week here and didn't really get to see much because of the weather. There are two routes, one that goes North to the beaches and one that goes South to Yeongdo island and Busan Tower and the fish market and we took that one. I wanted to see some of the things I missed the first time. The bus takes you on the route and you can get out at any of the stops and catch a later bus (they come to each site every 40 minutes). We got out at the two places aforementioned. At Busan Tower I took lots of kewl pictures of my adopted city and they are in the photoblog. At the island we hiked up out to a small beach and caught an excursion boat. The rocks were a beautiful reddish gray and when we got to the side of the island that faces the city a fog came that made the outcroppings look other worldly. There was a brisk breeze coming down the coast from the north that was very welcome. As the day went on it got hotter and hotter. Poor Yoo Jin's feet were burnt a little.

It was a lovely weekend. Yoo Jin makes a wonderful travelling companion. She isn't afraid to get wet or sweaty and she is a strong hiker and likes to eat, drink, and be merry. I cannot imagine a cross word coming out of her mouth. She is way cooler than me and dresses like a little hippy, complete with vintage t-shirts, Birkenstocks, and rolled-up cargo pants. We have a great time together and laugh all the time. She is funny and seems to like things about me that I think are repulsive, like my nostrils (ko't-gu-mong) , my belly (pae), and my double chin (ch'il-myon-jo mok [my translation: turkey neck]). For myself I love her chak-un pal and her ong-dong-i. Don't tell her I said that. She claims she is obese but I picked her up once and I don't think she weighs 8 stone. I think she is divine.

There are lots of pictures here.