Well it looks like I broke my promise to post something here everyday, but I think it depends on how you define “day”. After all, it is still Saturday in the USA! Lame excuses aside, I was pretty busy yesterday and missed my window of opportunity for posting.
I started the day by sleeping in. It was well after eight before I drug my sorry behind outta bed (I’m usually up at 6, even on weekends). Then I made scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast and it was actually quite good (you would have to have seen my failed attempts at getting the bacon right and the eggs not scorched to understand why that is newsworthy). Did some housecleaning and laundry and next thing I knew it was noon.
The weather was pretty nice yesterday. Overcast and hazy, but warm enough to where I only needed my windbreaker, which is a first since I’ve been in country. So I took a walk into town to check out the furniture stores. I’ve been looking for a chair or bench to put in my entry alcove. You know, I’m down with this no shoes in the house tradition but I find it a real inconvenience to be bending over all the time tying and untying shoes. Anyway, I saw some chairs I liked that cost more than I cared to spend, so I settled for a stool like thing. I bought it in an antique store but of course that does not mean that it is an antique. What I liked about it, besides its functionality for the purpose intended, was it is solid. A lot of Korean furniture I looked at does not appear designed to withstand the daily onslaught of my American-sized ass. But I think my new stool will stand the test of time. It is kinda interesting visually, with a slightly curved seat. Rather than describe it, here’s a picture:
After carrying my treasure home, I took a drive to the commissary to restock my larder. You know, driving here is a real pain in the rear. I am not freaked out anymore, but you definitely have to maintain a heightened sense of situational awareness. Koreans are masters of offensive driving, so you have to keep on your toes. Common courtesy is non-existent, and in fact practicing it will result in horn blowing and get you pegged as a foreigner or wimp or both. So in my estimation the hierarchy of danger goes like this: 1. bus drivers (They go where they want, when they want to go there. Your choices are to get out of their way, or not. They have the size advantage and use it. I am convinced they don’t care and would just as soon hit you as not. In other words, they are not bluffing!) 2. Taxi drivers. (They are much like the bus drivers attitude wise, but don’t have as much steel to back up their bravado. So, if you return their aggression, they will sometimes back off). 3. Motorbikes. (These guys are more of a nuisance than anything else. They observe NO traffic laws. Wrong side of the street, red lights, sidewalks, they just drive like maniacs. They are pretty masterful at it and I give them credit for that. They will normally avoid you, so you don’t have to take much evasive action where they are concerned. Still, it’s like having a bunch of pesky mosquitoes buzzing around which can be annoying). 4. Everyone else. (I am still getting used to the whole your lane is my lane attitude and that fact that more than two or three inches between cars, front, rear, and sides, is simply wasted space). I had no incidents on yesterday’s drive though and made it safely home with my groceries.
After putting the food away, it was time to get ready for dinner at my second-level supervisor’s home. They gave me a map written in Hangul so it should have been an easy enough thing to hand it to the cab driver and have him take me there. Since I had never been there and my only point of reference was that it was in the vicinity of the US Embassy, I decided to walk to the base and catch an AAFES cab (where the driver’s speak English). That turned out to be a mistake. What should have been a 15 minute drive took 45 as the driver repeatedly got lost and managed to find the most gridlocked roads in the city. I did get a nice tour of downtown Seoul though. I eventually arrived within the window that would keep me in the “fashionably late” category, as opposed to being rude.
Sharon and Bruce have a wonderful place which is much larger and nicer than mine (I paid a premium for my proximity to the base). Sharon is originally from Texas and she prepared a Texas style meal. Grilled steaks, pork ribs, chicken. Potato salad, and the best baked beans I have ever tasted (sorry Carol). My boss and his new Korean wife also joined us and we had a great time. I miss being with Mrs. LTG often, but never so much as when I am at a social function with other couples. Carol is the extrovert and conversationalist so I have to really polish my small talk skills to be a good guest. I did alright I suppose, but I do feel like the guy who can’t get a date at these functions.
It is also my turn now to host a get-together. I think waiting until the Mrs. visits in October might be pushing it, but my cooking skills are rudimentary at best. Hmm, maybe I can fix one of her great meals by proxy. She can talk me through it step-by-step on the phone or something. We shall see.
So, I got home just before midnight, watched TV till I fell asleep on the couch (which is pretty much my normal routine these days), then made my way to bed around 3 a.m. Woke up, made my coffee, and came here to bore y’all with stories like this.
Today is suppose to be in the 60s, so I am thinking of taking a nice walk along the Han River. They have a walking path that I understand is really nice and I could use a change of scenery. It’s also my cooking day, and since my repertoire consists of only three or four items, it looks like burritos are next up in rotation. I bought some Korean bananas (well, not grown here, but you know what I mean) and I am going to make a banana cream pudding for my Sunday dessert. Yum!
Alright then, sorry I missed you yesterday but now you at least know what I was up to. I will be back later and maybe even have a political rant or two.