Scheduled my household goods packout for 11 May. I don’t have much, basically just clothes, dishes and appliances.
Now I’ve got to find a place to park my meager possessions in Pyeongtaek. I’ll make a trip down there on Tuesday and try to finalize a deal. The issue is my short time remaining in Korea (around 4 months) doesn’t make me an attractive renter to most landlords. I’m sure I’ll find something.
Here’s a photo essay of this weekend’s quest to find a suitable home in Pyeongtaek. A bar home that is.
Caught the bus on Yongsan which got me to Humphreys via Osan.
Camp Humphreys is the largest military base outside of the USA. From the bus station there it was a good 30 minute hike to the main gate leading into the village of Anjeong-ri.
The first order of business was to secure some lodging for the night. I wasn’t particular in that regard, just something convenient to the bar district I’d be exploring later that night. I was a little disconcerted when the asked me if I wanted “short time”. Um, no, it’s just me standing here. They wanted W40,000 for all night, but I managed to negotiate a discounted rate of W35,000. Woot!
Next on the agenda was finding some lunch. Not much going on in Anjeong-ri in the early afternoon. But right around the corner from my motel I found this place:
No idea why the named it this. I did talk a bit with the owner. Nice enough guy. Bar feature a pool table and a dart board. Alas, they do not permit vaping so it will not play a big part in my future.
I did enjoy a pulled pork sandwich and two SML’s during my short visit.
I don’t know if the bar across the street allows vaping because I didn’t feel welcome there…
It appears most of the bars don’t open until 5 or 6 in the ville, so I had some time to kill before I could begin my bar crawl.
Walked over to the house that may be my new residence soon. It’s massive. Way to much house for me really. And given the short period of time I have remaining in Korea the landlord may not want to rent it out to me, especially since I’d need him to furnish it. I’m good either way, lots of options.
I saw two vaping stores as I walked about. Went into this one to check out their wares…
…and came away with a new vaping pen. Pretty happy with its performance thus far…
It seems like wherever I go I’m never far from Itaewon…
Oh My God! What a crazy name for a car dealership!
Turns out the Jesus Embassy didn’t issue any visas to Heaven. Ah well.
So, 20,000 steps later I’m back at the Main Gate to Humphreys. Anjeong-ri is a little bit like the old Itaewon, only smaller. And less sleazy. I should fit right in!
So, the plan was to meet up with my buddy Craig who moved down to Pyeongtaek last month and do an old fashioned bar crawl. The generally accepted rules of a bar crawl are to have one beer in each bar that looks interesting until such time as your level of inebriation precludes activities involving motor skills. Such as walking.
The first bar we hit was the “Cool bar”. It wasn’t all that cool. A pool table and a dart board. One old Korean guy there to serve you. We were the only customers (but it was still early). Anyway, they didn’t have SMLs, so we settled for Miller Lite. He had to get out a calculator to total our tab for two beers. Scary! They allowed smoking in this bar so of course vaping was no issue. Still, the Cool Bar left me cold.
Next up was the IDK bar. I Don’t Know what IDK stands for. But as the sign notes, they do have a weekly dart tourney. Bar staff was friendly Filipinas. No SML but vaping was allowed. We didn’t stay for the tourney, but I’ll definitely be back here for the darts.
We moved on to Blue Hawaii. Not much to say about the place, good or bad. I had to laugh though because the inside signage had “blue” misspelled as bule.
We were just randomly choosing venues at this point. I guess we saw a cute gal walk into Crystal Bar, so we followed. Turns out she was one of the bartenders. Ji young and Mia were both witty and entertaining. They had SML and let me vape. Craig enjoyed the place so much that he ordered up a second beer, violating the bar crawl principles. Oh well. I did insist that we visit at least 3 more bars before declaring Crystal the night’s winner.
We had our next beer at 3 Stooges. No SML and no smoking, but no one stopped me from vaping. It was the most crowded of the bars we visited and had a bit of biker bar vibe.
Galaxy Bar was out of this world. Actually, not really. It was quiet but the two middle aged Korean bartenders were friendly. Only one other Korean customer at the time. One of those places I’d try again if I wanted a quiet beer to myself.
And then there was Duffy Club. Also staffed by Filipinas. Turns out it was a juicy bar (the only one we encountered, which was a little surprising. Maybe we just got lucky with our choices. For those that don’t know the concept, the bar girl sits with you and chats and you are expected to buy her a drink. At Duffy, the lady drinks were W20,000. Nope. I’m never that lonely! One beer and out.
Anyway, we finished our night out by going back to Crystal Bar which had gotten quite a bit busier in our absence. Still had a good time though and I’ll definitely spend some time there on my next visit. Could it be my new Shenanigans? Stay tuned.
We grabbed some kebabs before Craig taxied home and I stumbled to my room. It was around midnight (we had started at 5:30). I recall laying on the bed and turning on the TV. I woke up at 0300 fully dressed and with the TV blaring. Remedied both of those issues and was soon back to sleep.
Until 0630 when this roused me from sleep:
Damn, I was a good quarter mile at least from the Army base. They played it over loudspeakers at top volume. No more sleeping after that. My return bus wasn’t until 0930 so I did some hiking around Humphreys, grabbed a Starbucks Americano and a blueberry muffin, then waited for my 2 hour ride back Yongsan.
It was a good trip and I feel confident I will adapt to the slower pace of the Pyeongtaek lifestyle. And it will be a good transition to my future life in the Philippines. HaHa! Yeah, I know. Wherever I am, I’ll find a bar to belly up to and be as happy as pig in shit.
What else can I share while I have your attention?
I know a lot of jokes about unemployed people but, none of them work. (Most of jokes during the bar crawl fell flat too).
And for god’s sake, don’t let them split!
I was going to buy a book on phobias, but I was afraid it wouldn’t help me.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got.
On a more serious note, I’ve been reading some stuff that reassures me I’m not the only one done with romantic love. As one guy put it, he is mentally and emotionally incapable of being in love. Exactly how I feel. Someone told me I needed to find the courage to let the past go. As I tried to explain, it is not so much about fear as it is about belief. I used to believe in love and I used to believe in Santa Claus. And now I don’t. Simple as that.
What he said.
Last week I totaled 159,000 steps. That’s a new record for me. It helped that on 6 of those days I logged 20,000+ steps. I feel good about that. And I also feel pretty damn good period. These new medicines I’m inhaling twice a day really keep the lungs clear. Rarely use the inhaler and I don’t use the nebulizer at all anymore. No cough at all. I do wake up every morning with a stuffy nose and then have a sneezing fit, but once that passes I’m good for the rest of the day. I can live with that.
Beautiful springtime Sunday today. A pleasure to be out walking about in it.
It’s not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn’t have the balls to do it.
Stick around, I’ll be here all week…
Don’t worry, I haven’t quit my day job. In fact, I had to give one of my employees a stern talking to.
“Wipe that smile off your face!’
Speaking of work, I received my orders today assigning me to Camp Humphreys in lovely Pyeongtaek. Shit’s getting real now. Talked to my realtor down there and it looks like I’ll be taking that four bedroom, four bath single family house smack dab in the middle of Anjeong-ri, the village adjacent to the Army base. I’m going to bus down there on Saturday and spend the night. I want to get a feel for the bar district neighborhood. Ahem.
Still some bureaucratic crap to sort out, but I’m targeting May 15 as my first day working in my new location. My days in Seoul are definitely numbered!
I played some darts last night for the first time in quite a while. Just subbing for the Shenanigans team as they were short a player. It was nice to be back on the oche. I don’t think they have a dart league in Pyeongtaek (yet). I could shoot over to Songtan to play I suppose but that’s more hassle than it is worth. I’ll retake up the game once I’m ensconced in the Philippines I reckon.
I didn’t let the rain keep me from walking today.
Not a bad day’s work…
I guess I’ll be missing my old friend before too long.
I’ll make new friends and memories in Pyeongtaek. And hopefully let go of the past.
I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me And every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be Well, how can I forget you, girl? When there is always something there to remind me Always something there to remind me
Happy Easter for those who believe in that sort of thing.
I found an egg today. Or it found me. During my hike an Church ajumma insisted I take it. Happy Easter!
Long time no post, eh? Sorry about that. I’ve been both busy and unmotivated. What can I say? Well, let’s ketchup!
This past week I was busy keeping a promise. I’m glad I did even if I am not the same man I was back when I made that promise. I’m sorry for any hurt that may have caused.
Speaking of promises, this month marked the fourth anniversary of the vows Jee Yeun made but did not keep. Well, as long as she is happy now.
There is no question that I’m dead inside. It is just the way it is. I’ve accepted it.
You know, I don’t want to come off as being some pussy who can’t get over a broken heart. I’m over it and I would certainly never go back to where I was. It’s done. But the reality is also that I’m haunted by memories of what I had and lost. The things that used to bring me joy in life are now painful reminders of my foolish belief in love. And wherever I go and whatever I do, it seems I am confronted by the past. It is one reason I need to leave Korea, sooner rather than later.
I’m a selfish bastard for sure. I’m going to embrace that and live a selfish life in the Philippines. It is who I am and what I’ve become. There is peace in acceptance.
But enough about me. Ha! Just kidding.
I’ve given my 30 day notice to the landlord. Looks like next stop for me will be lovely Pyeongtaek. I’m still targeting a September re-retirement and move to Subic Bay. But my Uncle Sam has enticed me to stay on through the Eighth Army transformation out of Seoul by providing me LQA (living quarters allowance). That saves me two grand a month and these days I’m all about the money!
Since my last post here I made a trip down to Camp Humphreys to check out our new office space in the Eighth Army headquarters building. Not bad at all. While there I had a realtor show me around some of the amazing properties available. He asked me where I wanted to live and I said “walking distance”. “To work?” he asked. Nope, to the bars. I reckon that to be 20 minutes drunken stumbling max. So, somewhere in Anjeong-ri right outside the main gate would be ideal. The realtor of course wants to show me big new expensive places, and I just want something simple and convenient.
I guess the compromise was this single family house right in the middle of Anjeong-ri.
4 bedrooms/4 baths (2 down, 2 up). Way to much house for me, but…
Real nice kitchen area too. We’ll see. The problem is I need something fully furnished and I’m only going to be around for 4 months, give or take. Doesn’t make me an attractive prospect for landlords.
I’ll need to do some more looking and see what happens.
There’s this nice restaurant right across the street. Or maybe it’s a pet shop. Have to check it out.
Speaking of work, here’s a picture of the meeting between the Korean Employees Union and the Ambassador. Well, former ambassador now… I’m the left handed guy…
Also this month was siblings day…here’s me and the brothers when life was much simpler…
I actually got asked this question by my Army doctor. Gave a similar response…
Sharing the fun with three of my employees on a recent Friday night…
Sounds like good advice…
…except when it isn’t. A conundrum…
Spent some time up North last week. It was pretty quiet…
Why yes. Yes I am.
Everything put together, sooner or later falls apart.
On the border…
I made it a few steps into North Korea but these guys weren’t going to let me go any further.
See what I missed?
I also had business in Busan. Not with this mermaid…
When the lights go down in the city…
Back in Seoul for my river walk on Saturday…
On the river.
And today it was Namsan.
Found the broom but no trace of the wicked witch of the Easter.
It’s been a long time since I broke the 30,000 step barrier…
Still crazy after all these years.
Ah well, it is what it is. I’ll try and do better.
No, not this countdown. It’s already too late. We are dead and consumed by the Borg anyway. Or maybe this is more of that “fake news” I’ve been hearing about. One of those.
The countdown I’m talking about is that in exactly five months my term of appointment expires. My staff is pressuring me to stay one more year, but I’ve made up my mind that it is time for me to go. The money is great and when (if) I move down to Pyeongtaek, Uncle Sam will even pay my rent. That alone saves me around two grand a month. But. I’ll be 62 in August. The COPD diagnosis certainly reinforced the fact that I ain’t gonna live forever. So I’d best start living now, or come September anyway.
The job is a pain in the ass. The people I work with are wonderful though. Seriously, more like a pseudo family than employees. And really, during this transition from the life I’d planned on to the one I now have, they’ve given me much support and comfort. As lonely and directionless as I’ve been, I’d have been lost without the forty hours a week I’ve shared with them.
They don’t know I’ve made up my mind to leave them, so don’t say anything! I’m sure they will be disappointed but I’ve got to put me first now. Who am I kidding? I’ve always been a selfish bastard. And I’m weary of my Korea life and up for a new adventure in the Philippines. Let’s get on with it.
Paying my share. Last year I graduated to the 25% tax bracket. This year my hard work was rewarded with a 28% tax bite. This check makes up the difference. By my reckoning I’m paying a higher percentage than all the rich people, not to mention the 47% of the population who pays nothing. A fucked up mess of a system, that’s for sure.
On Sunday I braved the polluted air and did a river hike of 20,000+ steps.
That would be me communing with nature…
After my river journey, I swung by the commissary to pick up the ingredients for a side dish to bring to a dart league barbecue at Shenanigans…
I’m sure you can guess what I made…
Only the best goes into my pudding…
By all accounts it was a hit.
Although it wasn’t long before I reached the point of not caring…
Hate the war all you want, but disrespecting the soldiers who serve our nation is beyond cowardly…
Oh, I grilled steaks tonight. Made me a fine steak salad…
To hell with it. I’m going to the airport and getting on a plane. Don’t even care where it is going, first jet out to anywhere. When I get to wherever I wind up I’ll max out my credit cards, drain my savings account, and then decide what to do next. I won’t be back. Goodbye Korea!