Road to Yulpo

4 08 2010

I left Cherry Love Motel around 11 – my lodging for the night after the long bus ride from Seoul where I got a glimpse of what it must feel like to have a career as a high class escort in Korea.  These ‘Love Motels’ are everywhere; you can rent by the hour or pay for a full night and it is completely anonymous – they take no names or personal information at the counter.  Cases of infidelity aside, the story is that since Koreans live at home with the family until marriage there is no place for such unmentionable activity that was implied by the “gift bag” I received at this particular motel, so they have to take it elsewhere.  Love Motels are a great place to crash for the night while traveling as they are relatively cheap and it’s like that box of chocolates: you never know what you are gonna get!

Arrived at Gwangju Bus Terminal by noon and hopped the next bus to Boseong for my next few days at the tea fields and Yulpo Beach nearby.  This is my first time traveling alone and I am very excited to test the waters for my future travels.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as “downtown Boseong” didn’t return any Google search results, and the reason soon became apparent.  The Boseong Bus Terminal consists of a dirt lot enclosed by cornfields and tractors, leading into a shabby main room with a ticket counter displaying scotch-taped paper schedules on the window.  This place was in major contrast with the huge, beautiful, air conditioned terminals bustling with people in trendy clothes and high heels as in Seoul and Gwangju.

After a bit of exploring the ‘town’, or 2 roads littered with carts selling fruit, vegetables, and random toys and tupperware, I was chased onto the next bus to Yulpo by a group of ravaging missionaries from Seoul.  Or at least I think I’m on a bus to Yulpo…  I paid the ₩1,400 fare and wandered out back to the loading area.  This being such a small town and me being the only foreigner in it, there was no English anywhere, no gate numbers, just a curb alongside the lot in front of endless cornfields.  I decided my best bet at this point was to go wait near the group of younger Koreans with straw hats – they must be going to a beach..

I am now on a bus to somewhere..





World Cup Fever!

16 06 2010

We were hungover, severely sleep deprived, dirty, soaking wet from head to toe in the muddy grass, and situated shoulder to shoulder, chest to back among thousands of Koreans… and it was wonderful!!

Seoul hosted a massive World Cup viewing party outside City Hall for the Republic of Korea’s opening game against Greece on Saturday.  In accordance with “credible” predictions, I was expecting Greece to have this one in the bag.  When Korea defied these odds and won the game, it was impossible to avoid a second-hand high from the radiation of excitement from the crowd.  As I am sure many of those present weren’t, you didn’t have to be much of a soccer fan to be thrilled over this win – Korea is an especially nationalist country, and the opportunity to witness this event was breathtaking.

For the remainder of the evening, the usual blanket of composure and conformity was lifted from the streets of Seoul emancipating madmen in baggy red attire, masks of face paint, and blinking, plastic devil horns.  We cheered, chanted, banged on drums, and danced in the streets.  Everyone was happy and seemed to have left every other thought or care back in the trench of time before the game.

Game 2 vs. Argentina is tomorrow evening.  I am hopeful for another win, especially since I owe my 5th grade boys ice cream if not.  Olé!





Aftermath

23 05 2010

The simple pleasures make life worth living.  Like killing hours in the grass outside E Mart by way of idiosyncrasy-induced drinking games.  Like gaining perspective from locals on the roof of a coffee shop.  Like tacos and tequila.  The Makali Man.  CCR and Jason Mraz covers songs.  Like way too many people in a love motel.  Long bus rides through the countryside with views so stunning, how the hell can you be staring down at a book or iPhone?  Like the echo of “June-bi!  Ha-na, Dool, Ha-na, Dool..” off the rock walls lining the river.  Like savory Korean BBQ in the rain at a pension with friends over beer, soju, and Presidents and Assholes.  Like the Myeongdong city guide granting salvation to our grumbling stomachs with a map to the nearest Indian food joint.  Like girl talk, guy talk, and small talk.  Life is great, and so is Seoul; excited to go back again soon.