Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ROK Shorts

During my trip to Korea I decided to write things I call shorts. They had to be shorter than one page in my journal and just something from that day. I only got a few of them done on the trip but they were fun. You can read for yourself.

November 14. Tiny
Body parts fell asleep as the gas from the noodle soup built. The touch down was smooth but there was a foot race to the bus. My left foot nearly melted as we traversed the long, uneven bridge. Are my Starburst liquid? There are TVs everywhere. In the bus, the lady in front of me is holding one, the car that just passed us has one in the dash. Off the buss I freeze. It is cold and my thick jacket is packed. The hotel is trimmed in gold. Our room has a view, thick carpet and soft towels. Outside each corner has a stall selling something. Fruit or bread or dumplings. The lines of youth make me want to stop. The tight street, where we end up eating, is near sun bright. The tanks of live fish seem un-phased by the glimmer. Our tummies are full of beer, rice wine and shojo before we start to sing. Why has this newly Christian country edited Anarchy in the UK? Who is offended by "I am the anti-Christ?" Not I. Get pissed. Destroy.

November 15. Zippy
The cycles are highly modified. Bars and pads and trailers. They zip in and out of traffic, moving too quickly. Near the Dongdae-Mun Market there is an intersection. Motorcycles covered in rust with tall heavy loads weave in and out through the hordes of people. The mingling of scents from the street cooks is an assault on your nasal passage. you step, check, look left and then right. Hop into the road and with the surging mass of people and machines you move. An insane game of Frogger where you can't tell when the next cycle will come flying at you. Intense, insane and madly liberating.

November 16. Really?
We went to Mike's work banquet dinner. It was at a place called Bolgogi Brothers, otherwise known as bbq beef. All of the people at the meeting went. Na Young, a young thin lady I had met before, was there and freaked out when we walked through the door. She was not told I was in town. We sat with her and another gentleman who was very surprised when Mike called me honey. The guy wondered if we were newly weds. Why are we so friendly and lovey. Na Young is in an arranged marriage and only sees her husband once a week. They live in different towns. The guy said that American reality and talk shows are how he thought all Americans are. All night he commented and was shocked. "Why so nice? Why so in love?" I can't say other than - it is love.

November 17. Nukes.
When the old men kept giving me complements my face burn with the blush of their attention. When they asked me to nuke North Korea I knew the conversation was over.

The squid in the tank makes me sad. I want to set him free. There are sad gray squid on the bottom of the tank. This lively purple guy will become sad and gray before he dies. It guts me.

The smells and flavors are so strong. If you live here what does the smell do to you? Why does it turn my stomach.

November 18. Luck
What is luck? Is it real? If you rub the tummy of a Buddha over and over will your life change? Will karma step in? Praying helps with luck? The Japanese happy cat? Everywhere you go people believe different things. I love that the diversity exists. I would hate a world where only one idea lived on. It also seems like people turn to luck or faith when things are hard or tough. I've always wondered about this. Why don't you speak of luck or faith or karma when things are perfect and good? Happy times are lost because we dwell on misery. Look at the news. Talk to a relative, "Uncle Fred is sick. Aunt Mary hurts." Why not, "Uncle Fred is enjoying his garden. Aunt Mary laughs all day." Where did we go wrong? B+ all the time and see what happens.

No comments: