Last night we were On the Border. Not the DMZ, rather the Mexican food eatery in beautiful downtown Itaewon. We were guests of my old friend Dennis McPeters and his companion Julie.
The food was the best Tex-Mex I’ve eaten outside of the USA. Jee Yeun is a little ambivalent about Mexican cuisine, but she loved the “Kimchi Taco” featured in the foreground. I also enjoyed my chicken enchiladas in a sour cream sauce…
Dennis had the foresight to make a reservation, which was good because the place was packed with people lining up to get in. We also scored a table overlooking the street. It was a very pleasant evening weather-wise, so the windows were open and the sounds of the city created a nice urban ambiance for our dining pleasure.
A table with a view and refreshing libations made for a pleasant dining experience.
Amongst those sounds of the city was some guy walking up and down the street screaming fire and brimstone into a megaphone. From our perch on the second floor he could be heard but more or less easily ignored. However, after we had finished our meal we had the misfortune of exiting the building directly behind him. As we were walking in the same direction we got the full impact of his evangelism. Well, it was in Korean but Jee Yeun’s translation was that we were basically all going to hell.
As we progressed up the street I was watching the reactions of the passersby to megaphone-man. And the universal reaction was a combination of contempt, disgust, and anger. I’m thinking to myself “man, this guy is driving people away from salvation with his rude message”. Just as I was completing this observation a Korean man did what we were all wanting to do and loudly confronted the screaming bastard. And what happened next was pretty surprising. The “Christian” man put down the megaphone and started fighting with the citizen who told him to shut up. Well, it was a Korean-style fight–mostly some back and forth bitch slapping, but still. I thought it was pretty funny actually and was shouting encouragement from the sidelines “oh, you are such a good example of Christianity, you douche!” Jee Yeun even joined in by demurely observing “you should not be so loud” (she said it in Korean though). I guess megaphone man realized he had lost the crowd, so he picked up his megaphone again, shouted something angrily, then exited hurriedly down a side street. Man, you just can’t buy that kind of entertainment!
We proceeded to Bull and Barrel for a nightcap without further incident. I made the mistake of signing up for the dart tournament and proceeded to play the worst darts of my “career”. Seriously, the first time I ever picked up a set of darts I played better than I did last night. It was humiliating. Ah well. I’m trying hard to not let this slump get inside my head and exacerbate whatever the hell my problem is.
I guess this is as good a time as any to talk a little about my old friend Dennis. I’ve been knowing him since the 1980s when I recommended him for a job with the USPS in Columbia, SC. Later on after I’d moved to a job in DC, I hired him to work for me there. And still later I brought him over to work on my team in Korea. I’m long gone and he’s still here. But not for long. He’s finally retiring in January.
I frankly envy his post retirement plans. Rather than having himself and all his stuff shipped back to the USA, he’s selling everything he owns and is going to live the life of a nomad. I asked him where he was going to go and he said wherever I want. He mentioned the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand as a start. If he gets tired of Asia, South and Central America are on the list of options.
I used to fantasize about a lifestyle like that. But the reality is I wouldn’t have the courage to do it right. But I’m brave enough to fly in for a visit whenever I get an answer to the question “where in the world is Dennis?” So there’s that.