05 August 2008

Yoo Gin

Yoo Gin is a beautiful 24-year-old university student from Deagu (about an hour way from Busan) majoring in French. She speaks passable English, I speak a little Korean by now, and I know a little French, so our conversations are pretty special. Her name, which means both "Is Star" and "Is Dragon", rhymes with Blue Jean, and that is the nickname I gave her. When I told her that, she said "Daveed Bowie" and laughed. She knows everything about music, art, literature, and film. She wants to be a film critic after graduation.

She was waiting for a cab, too, and was obviously alone and backpacking, so after she helped me talk to the cabby I asked her if she was hungry and wanted to come along. She smiled and nervously assented. Dinner was great (samgyopsal, my favorite. We never did find the dak galbi) and I was happy to have someone to talk to. My mood had changed immediately and we were all smiles. We talked about her and about me and about traveling and when I told her that one of the subjects of my masters project was Wordsworth, she named her favorite Romantic: William Blake. I said: "Songs of Innocence." She said: "Songs of Experience." I should have run at that point but reason had failed me.

We spent a wonderful evening down by the seaport, watching the lights of the city and the stars on the water and talking about everything. I told her that I was going to Geomundo the next day and asked if she would like to go. She said yes. (I slept on the floor.)

The next day when we got to the ferry terminal (at 7 AM) there was a commotion at the ticket desk. We learned through hand signals that the ferry had been cancelled due to inclement weather. This left us in a little bind as we had already turned in our key and there is no such a thing as a breakfast restaurant in Yeosu (we looked). I told her about how beautiful Dolsando had been and we decided to go back there. It was to early for a bus out there so we ended up taking a cab. The trip took 40 minutes and only cost 20000won. Ridiculously cheap. After we got there I tried to find a motel that would let us have rooms at that point in the morning, which was hard. I eventually found one that would let us check in at 8:30 AM without charging for two days. After naps and showers and an early lunch we climbed back up the hill to the temple. It was still beautiful.

I asked Yoo Jin to show me how to pray and enter the shrines and we found one far out of the way with nobody there and sat in the quiet of the temple in the lotus position for a while. It is amazing to me to think of the amount of contemplation that has occurred in these ancient places. The temple at Hyang-iram was built in the 8th century.

I attempted again to find the trail on up the mountain but never did. Later that evening we went to a restaurant overlooking the sea and had a wonderful Hoe (raw seafood) dinner. The scenery and the food and the company were incredible. We walked the wharf that night and met a nice kid from Canada named Jourdan (teaching English in Busan, too), with whom I later spent the last couple days of my trip.

Yoo Gin and I spent many hours talking. She is a very special and beautiful girl. I like her very much. (Co Co Co!)

The next day Yoo Jin had to go home so I took the bus with her into Yeosu and we had lunch at Pizza Hut (salad bar (!!!) and shrimp pesto pizza), and I bid her farewell after exchanging contact info and planning a meet when I got back. At that point I took off by bus to Mokpo (on the Western coast), where I met Jourdan and a German he had met en route named Martin. We got tickets for the ferry out to Hongdo Island and had dinner (more Hoe, of which I am through for a bit). Jourdin and Martin went off to bed, but I was not ready, so I went outside and set on a pallet with some old ladies and sipped on some Soju. And that is when I met the Korean movie producer.