You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Last weekend was great. Was it the greatest weekend in the history of time? No.

Friday was actually fairly tame for me by Korea standards. I took Su-Jin out to dinner and then went back to my apartment to watch a movie. I had to work from 1 to 8:10 on Saturday, so I wanted to take it easy for a night.

Classes were fairly tame. I like working Saturdays because I'm with kids that I never see, so half the class is spent introducing myself. I had one debate class with high school students. These kids were smart enough to understand sarcasm. That class was actually a lot of fun.

I headed back to my apartment and got dressed for the club. We all did our best to look like rock stars. I'll post pics as soon as I get them from Patrick. We pre-gamed on the roof. About 25 people turned up to tag along, including my good buddy Kee-Young.

We made it to Arabian Nights, the largest dance club in Asia, at around 11:30. There were enough of us that we had to buy two rooms. In each room, there were two massive tables and a private singing machine. We had to order a "set" which included 10 beers, a bottle of congac, stuff to mix with and three plates of appetizers.

I was in the second room. My friend, Audrey, brought her boyfriend and his meathead friends. These are guys who earn the reputation that foriegners have here. The night isn't complete until they all make asses out of themselves. They were no different at Arabian Nights. First, they argued at the door while Kee Young was trying to get us inside. Then, they argued with the waiter about the price of the set and finally they broke a couple glasses. These are the type of guys that only tell stories about how cool they are. Complete fucking meatheads.

I was in Patricks' room for most of the night. We drank, we sang, we hit the dance floor and most importantly, we acted like rock stars all night. At one point we had six people wearing sunglasses at the night club. Most people didn't care for Arabian Nights, but I had fun. Vegan Brian had a blast and that was really the most important thing. We wanted to give him a big night of fun before he left the country.

Today has been strange.

First, my shoe became untied and the strap on my bag broke at the same time. I was so shocked by this that I forgot how to tie my shoe. I still can't remember. Then, the place I get my bagel at in the morning was closed and by closed I mean Korean workmen were gutting it. I've had strange mornings in the US, but this is my first in Korea. It's maybe six times worse here than back home, just because everything is a little strange to begin with.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

<----We posed for a picture with this pirate....
<----Then things took a turn for the worse.

<-----Paul, Marathon Don and Brent after the race.


<----Every Mickey toy ever.
<----Hellboy and Helltoys

<----He had a Blue Falcon and Dynomutt!!!! <-----that's right, Sellers, thumbs down.

<----Su-Jin and me at the toy mueseum. For more info go to

Random notes and pics from Seoul.

Sellers placed 14th in a poker tournament. My first question was, "Who placed 15th?"

I had an argument with Mr. Choi this week. I had a TOEFL kid who didn't want to do his homework and Mrs. Kim was gone. It went something like this. "Where is the manager?" "Me!" "No. The real manager." "Me!" "No! The real manager!" Then I berated the secretary who doesn't speak English('hello' is an effort) until she called Mrs. Kim. How do you run an English school without a single English speaking person on staff? How?

This weekend might be the greatest weekend in the history of time. More to follow.

The White Sox will go as far as their pitching allows them. Right now it looks like a .500 record.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Massive update. Get a cup of cocoa and sit down.

I left for Seoul to meet my cousin immeadiately after class. The train ride was fairly uneventful, but it was my first time traveling alone in this country. I arrived in Seoul just after midnight and I got in the mile long cab line. The first cabbie I tried to take had a problem with foreigners(the first racist cabbie I get is in Seoul??? WTF?) and refused to take me to the hotel. The second cabbie was smarter and not racist. After calling Su-Jin and handing him the phone he agreed to take me to the Hotel M.

I met Paul around 1am on Friday morning. We headed to "Miller Time" for beer and a massive plate of appetizers. We caught up on family stuff and basically figured out how each of us was doing. Then I joined Paul and his two friends(Don, the man breaking the record, and Brent, a friend that came along for the challenge) in the hotel room to get some rest. Don and Brent are buzzsaws. Until I fell asleep, I thought I was in a saw mill. The bed was also as hard as a rock, but the bathrooms were excellent.

Don, Brent and Paul had to go register for the race at the "Seoul Hotel" and I had to meet Su-Jin at the hotel. Afterwards, we went to the Yongsan district of Seoul. I wanted to buy bootleg DVD's and movies. They had a bootleg of "300" for roughly $3. It was too good to pass up. It's a great film, but I still want to see it in the theatre.

Su-Jin and I took Paul out for Korean BBQ. He tried everything and had some soju. Paul claims he likes soju. Whatever.

I could tell that Don was starting to get tense about breaking the record. I think its important to mention that none of these guys are "athletes." Brent, Paul and Don are really just a regular guys. They don't have the "Eye of the Tiger" and all of them are more comfortable on a bar stool than in a gym. I was kind of surprised when I first met everyone. I thought there would be at least one chisled physique, but I was the only one without a(noticable) gut.

Saturday was designated as "chill day." The guys wanted to rest before the marathon. We went to the art district of Seoul for tea and souvenirs. Then, the guys went back to the hotel to relax and I went with Su-Jin to her old neighborhood. It reminded me a lot of Chicago's northside, just with smaller streets and buildings. She took me for "Duk Galbi." It's a pork patty in grease with wads of cooked dough. It absolutely destroyed my guts. I'm still in pain. My mouth liked it, but my stomach did not.

Sunday was the day of the race. Very tense. I woke up just in time to watch the start of the finish of the race. A Korean guy rallied to beat the Kenyans. Yeah! Hometown! Su-Jin and I showed up at the race just after 1 o'clock and we arrived just in time to see Paul, Don and Brent enter the stadium and then finish the race.

After the race, everyone got their Finisher's Medals and we headed to Burger King to replace some lost calories. Su-Jin and I headed to Daegu. Paul and Brent spent the night in Seoul to celebrate with Don.

I caught up with Paul and Brent around 2pm on Monday. They were craving Pizza Hut, so they got lunch while I showered and prepared for class.

They spent all day downtown before heading to my school around 8. Mr. Kim fed them and gave them details on the operation while I finished my day. Then, we headed out for proper Daegu BBQ and beers. A good time was had by most. There was a bit of a crisis later in the evening, so I had to head home around 2am to assist with that.

Paul and Brent chose to stay at a "Love Hotel." When Koreans want quick sex and they need a place to go, they go to a "Love Hotel." It has all the amenities of a hotel, plus a few, um, extras to put couples in the mood. It was actually a pretty nice place. Other than the hooker trading cards at the entrance, it wasn't that sleazy.

I went out with Paul and Brent for lunch the next day. Then they observed one of my classes. They got to see how I fight monsters. After that, they headed back downtown for another round of shopping before picking up their bags and heading to Seoul on the KTX. Overall, I think Paul and his friends really liked Korea.

A final funny story. With my guts in knots, teaching was difficult. Made more difficult by the Mike DeWoskin level gas that I was plagued with. I gassed one of my classes. I walked past their desk and it was like a punch in the face. "Oh! Teacher! Bad smell!" Ugh! Terrible!" At least it was in English. I had no response. I couldn't even blame it on another kid. I just said something like, "Kim chee. It hurts my stomach. Bad stomach." I was afraid to move for the last ten minutes of class. Another gas attack and I would earn myself an unflattering nickname.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We went to Gyong-Ju today. It's supposed to be a tourist destination in Korea. It felt more like a tourist trap.

We took a quick bus ride for only about $4 each. Vegan Brian wanted to hit a vegetarian restaurant, so we went straight there for linner. It was actually really good, but I was disappointed not to get any potatoes. I miss potatoes. The staff was really curteous and the big highlight for me was the dwinjon jiggae. No fishheads for me this time.

Then, I asked if we could see one of the "sites." The closest was a Tomb for one of the kings of Korea. We went there and it was FREEZING cold with lots of wind. We were all relieved when we found the indoor exhibit.

Then, things took a turn for the worse. We couldn't find a taxi to take us back to the bus terminal. After walking for a few minutes, we flagged one down. The only problem was that there were five of us and the cockbag cabbie wouldn't take five people. The result? Su-Jin and I were left to freeze on the side of the road, until another cab showed up. Thanks guys. Thanks a lot. It was at this point that I decided I hated Gyong-Ju. It's a fucking tourist trap. Plain and simple. Vegan Brian loves it for the restaurant and the nature. I'll take 500 trips to Seoul before I go back to Gyong-Ju. It's a boring little city surrounded by mountains and inhabited by thousands who are trying to sell touristy crap. Big minus points for stupid cab drivers. Final score, -63.

Moving on.... classes are still tame. Nothing new to report at school. I did have a boy proudly announce that he was a "lesbian" and that he was "gay." Then, another student attempted to kiss him. That one threw me for a loop.

Baseball season starts in a week. KBL Fever! Catch it!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This is essentially an "everything's fine" update.

Classes are fairly tame(for the crazy monsters at Samduk, at least) and nothing is really all that exciting in Daegu right now.

I'm going on a day trip with Su-Jin and a few of my friends on Sunday. I'd tell you where I'm going, but I can't spell it properly. It's the Korean countryside, it's an hour bus ride outside of Daegu and Su-Jin claims its really, really beautiful. I say, "If you can't pave it, why save it?" We'll see how this trip goes. I'll consider the trip successful if I don't wind up contracting Malaria.

I celebrated my two month anniversary with Su-Jin this weekend. We went to Pizza Hut, then waddled back to my apartment and watched movies. They have an item on the menu here called "rich gold crust." It's sweet potato paste and an extra layer of cheese next to the crust. It's delicious. Every pizza maker in Chicago just threw up a little bit.

Actually, all the fast food here is better. I don't get it. Maybe there are higher quality laws here.

I hung out with Kee Young on Sunday. Good times. Sushi and soju followed by a couple beers at one of the nicer bars in Daegu. Swapping stories, telling each other about our trips and girlfriends. It's always a fun time with Kee Young. He's a great guy and I really hope we stay in touch.

If you want to see a pic or two of him, here's his cyworld account.

I miss baseball. I really miss baseball. The Korean League starts in two weeks. I'm a little excited. Ballgames are ridiculously cheap here. It's about $10 to get in the door and concessions are reasonably priced. They don't draw enough to have ridiculous prices. Opening day will probably just be me and the three other foreigners who miss baseball in Daegu.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A goofy children's store in Daegu. Tim posing in front with his hand exactly where it should be when standing in front of a place called Mini Wood
<----The Sambon area of Seoul.
<----I can't believe my shitty camera took a picture this nice. At a palace in Seoul.
<----King of Pirates. The coolest bar I have ever been to.
<----Matt triumphant. Ice mug in hand.
<-----Me at Halloween
<---The Bullodong Burial Mounds. A Korean is buried underneath each of these. Even in ancient times people were afraid of zombies.
<-----Vegan Brian
<-----Mitch in Seoul about to strike. Notice the massive fucking guns
<----Daren and Hyun Jung posing with a passed out Min-Ho. This is perfectly acceptable behavior in Korea.
<---Colorful Daegu!

<---Drama at LIKE
<---Some of the cuter monsters at my school

<----Me in my first three weeks. Damn, I had a fat face. Dangerous monsters. These two are about to strike.

I guess I had some fight in me that day.

These are just a few of my monsters.