About John McCrarey

Born and raised in southern California. My career exodus has taken me to Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC. And as of 23 January 2005, Seoul, Korea. Married with 6 grown children (blended family). First grandchild is in the oven! I created this blog to document my adventures as an expat living and working in Korea. I'm also pretty confident that I will on occasion feel the need to express my views on current events and other matters I find of interest.

The adventure continues

Well, provided adventure is broadly defined.  I’ve basically just settled into a new routine in a new location.  But I’m good with that.

Everyday starts with an outstanding Blue Rock breakfast followed by a walk on the beach…

Early afternoons feature a variety of events.  I visited the hospital here for a consultation on my COPD and the availability of my meds.  Doc says the warm and humid climate here will be good for my health and all but one of my current prescriptions are locally available.  She also referred me to an internist who will be my primary care provider once I make the move.

Also took a couple of trips over to the old Navy base for some shopping.  Happy that we were able to restock the larder at the Kings Fil-Am Home, a small orphanage I’ve adopted as my charity project.  Truthfully, this is another example of my innate selfishness.  Helping take care of these kids alleviates some of the guilt I feel about having to ignore much of the poverty that surrounds me.

I’m eating good though. Good but not always healthy. I’ve basically said to hell with the low carb diet this trip.

I haven’t said no to french toast or pancakes for breakfast either.  And the other day at Sit N Bull, one of my favorite places to hang out, I had the prison plate special.

Featuring meatloaf…

And of course, the evening entertainment involves hitting the bars for copious amounts of my favorite brew, SML.

The girls are friendly and seem to really enjoy the contents of my wallet my wit and humor.

And I usually end my night back at the Blue Rock Resort bar where I am well attended to…

…by my favorite bartender Izel. She’s a real sweetheart…

…more than willing to cater to all my cravings for sweet things. Like this apple pie a la mode.

And then I go to sleep, wake up, and repeat.  Hey, it may not be paradise, but it’s close enough for me.

Big news (comparatively speaking) coming up, but now the maid wants to clean the room.  I’ll be back!

I’m a judgmental SOB

Or at least I was Friday night.  Yes, once again I was drafted to serve as a judge at the weekly Sons of Baccus dance contest.

The lineup of competitors.

Your humble judge and his faithful assistant.

Bring it on girls!

It was a tough call, but here’s how I saw it. The other judges must have agreed because that was the final result.

Just another day in paradise.

 

It’s more fun in the Philippines

Don’t take my word for it, just ask the Department of Tourism.

And on with my story…

I had two options for getting to Subic inexpensively, the Southern Cross shuttle or Fly the Bus.  The latter left later (9:30 versus 8:45) so I figured I;d catch a bit more sleep.  Woke up at 8:00 which left me time for breakfast so I hoofed over to Kokomo’s.  Breakfast was fine but the WiFi may as well have been non-existent. Ah well, deep breath and accept the Filipino way. Back to the my hotel, the Orchid Inn, to check out and wait for my ride.

And wait I did.  At 9:45 I went back to the desk and they called the Fly the Bus folks who advised the driver would be there in ten minutes.  Thirty minutes later I went back to the desk and the FtB dispatcher said “soon”.  Ah well, deep breath and accept the Filipino way and all that.  The van was packed tight when it arrived at 10:30 but I squeezed in for the uneventful ride to Barrio Baretto, in Olongopo City, in the province of Zambales, situated on the beautiful (mostly) Subic Bay.

My pre-booked lodging was at the Blue Rock Resort on Baloy Beach.  Stayed here last time and was comfortable, so here I am again.  When I walked into my room I was accosted by about 50 good sized flies.  Called the front desk and they sent someone up with bug spray and she dispatched them rather quickly.  Even wiped up a few of the carcasses.  I unpacked my bags and went in to take a shower, only to see that the shower control knob had been sheared off, and based on the rust this wasn’t a recent event.  No answer at reception this time, so I marched myself down to the lobby.  I explained my dilemma, staying as true to my mantra as possible, but clearly peeved and a young maintenance guy came back with me to the room.  He looked at the shower handle, shook his head, then looked over to where the water heater is hung.  And pointed out that a new knob had been jury-rigged there underneath.  Ah well, it worked, so I took a deep breath, thanked him, and accepted the Filipino way.

For those wondering why I was having to fend for myself, my personal assistant/caregiver was unavailable for this portion of my trip. She was busy attending her graduation upon earning certification as a massage therapist. I expect to reap the benefits of that investment in the days ahead…

I consoled myself with an icy cold SML…

…and enjoyed the view of the floating bar.

Out on the town for a few too many beers on Thursday night, but wound up safely home alone in my bed.  The Blue Rock does have an impressive menu and they do a good job in the food preparation, so there’s that.  I had a fine breakfast and a nice walk on the beach.

It’s rainy season, but so far I’ve missed the worst of it…

My bitching and moaning notwithstanding, I do recognize this is indeed a third world country. I need to suck it up and appreciate my blessings in life. It is infinitely worse for so very many others.

Your humble correspondent will be back soon with more of the story. Stay tuned!

 

Observations

Well, here it is Sunday already.  Let’s catch up.

Up early and off to Seoul on Wednesday morning.  The 18 year old that brought me didn’t disappoint.  I’m talking about my car of course.

She’s a good old gal…

Finished a successful meeting with the union president and then had the good fortune to secure a coveted “Space A” doctor appointment at the Army hospital.  I mostly needed to get refills on all my meds, but also got three shots (pneumonia, tetanus, and one other one recommended after age 60 that I can’t remember at the moment.  My arm hurt like a mother fucker for a couple of days afterwards though.

Caught the AREX at Seoul Station and arrived at Incheon International right around 6:00 p.m.  My flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until 9:30, but better early than late is how I roll.

I passed the time by walking around the terminal several times. At least it was air-conditioned, but the place was crawling with tourists…

My flight was delayed 30 minutes because of air traffic congestion, which put me on the ground at Clark Field in Angeles City just before one in the morning.  Breezed through immigration and then got stalled at baggage claim.  I don’t understand why, but the bags were coming out in batches of five or so at a time, which made for a frustrating delay.  It was my first opportunity to practice my new mantra for successful living in the PI–take a deep breath, relax, and accept the Filipino way.

Got gouged for 500 pesos (ten dollars) for the short ride to my hotel, but I employed my mantra and stayed calm.  Once checked in, it was 2 a.m. (three Seoul time) but I figured I’d grab a beer or two before getting some sleep.  Wasn’t in the mood for a girly bar, so opted for the street side seating at Phillies and engaged in a little late-night people watching.

As I sat there it occurred to me that I have become more of an observer of life than I am a participant.  And perhaps I’m projecting, but what I observe seems to be sadness and desperation.  Or maybe dull resignation to the meaninglessness of everyday living.  I certainly have felt that about the people I encounter on my walks through the boring little village of Anjeong-ri and the surrounding countryside.  Sometimes it.just seems all so pointless, and yet folks continue plodding on with their routines day after empty day.

Now, there in the bar district of Angeles City in the early morning hours, those manifestations of hopelessness are only enhanced.  As I started in on my second San Miguel Light beer I wondered what it was that makes people just keep pushing on the way they do.  I guess it all comes down to you just don’t have any other choice but to make the best of life until that too has disappeared.  That’s my plan at least.

So, I caught a few come on smiles from the ladyboys who frequent the area (which I did not reciprocate), watched the bargirls who hadn’t snagged a customer for the night and those that had as they made their way to home or hotel.  And then one young woman stopped in front of where I was sitting and wordlessly pleaded with me to be with her that night.  I know the look but I told her sorry, not interested.  She then spoke and asked will you buy me a drink?  I hesitated, then shrugged, and said sure, why not.

When she set down next to me I immediately asked her age (she looked even younger in good light) and she told me she had just turned 20.  I asked her where she worked and she told me she was a masseuse.  That normally translates to freelance prostitute. I again declined her this time verbal offer to give me a “massage”.  We sat in silence as we drank, but she practically oozed sadness and desperation.  I’m sorry for her situation of course, but these days it’s all I can do to save myself.  And it was time for me to go to sleep.  As I paid the tab, I asked her if she had eaten and she told me no.  I handed her 200 pesos and left her sitting there alone.

More to come.  And it is not all doom and gloom.  I promise.

 

Voices

I’m driving to Seoul in the morning for a meeting with the President of the Korean Employees Union.  After work, I’ll make my way to Seoul station and catch the Airport Express train to Incheon.  My flight doesn’t depart until 2200 and arrives in Angeles City at 0100.  I’ll spend the night early morning there then catch the bus to Subic at 0845.

Meanwhile, commenter and blog buddy Kevin Kim hopes I find the meaning I seek in the PI.  Well, whatever meaning means anyway.  Hell, I’d settle for some good old fashioned contentment.

Interestingly, a vlogger I follow seems to be in a similar place.  He characterizes it as finding his purpose.  I can really relate to that.  I don’t want to be the guy sitting at the bar at 10 a.m. because I don’t know what else to do with myself.  And really, when you are retired you have to have something meaningful to occupy your time.  I’m hoping I’ll make some social connections through darts and joining the Hash club.  And perhaps enjoying the beach and bay views will be enough.  Time will tell.

And then, one of my favorite writers, Steve Rosse, posted this piece today.  It spoke to me on several levels, but I’m still processing those lessons.  More to come on that perhaps.

And of course, spending time on the road (21,500 steps today) invariably leads to some subliminal messaging from YouTube.

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere, I would have followed you
Oh, oh, oh, oh say something, I’m giving up on you

Say something, I’m giving up on you
Say something

I gave up a long time ago, but the song still stings.  Ah well, off to bed.  New adventures await.

When you say nothing at all

I really hate that I seem to have become a once-a-week blogger.  What can I say?  When your life is devoid of meaning and excitement it just does not leave much to write about. Here goes anyway.

You’ve been warned.

My life in a nutshell:

I work my appointed 8 hours per day.  Nothing too strenuous.  I have a great staff, so I just provide the occasional direction and guidance and let them do the heavy lifting.  That’s what’s called being a leader.  Ahem.

Our HQ building now has signage,

And a reserved parking spot for yours truly.

In addition to my 8 hours of work, I try to get in two or three hours of walking everyday. I’m pretty close to 20,000 steps everyday, so I’m happy about that.

And then I wile away the remaining non-sleeping hours drinking beer in the bars of Anjeong-ri.  I’m not particularly happy with that, but damn, I do get bored and lonely.  The bars here seem to be mostly of the “juicy” variety.  That being the bar staff will chat with you in exchange for an overpriced drink (usually W10,000).  I’ll buy the occasional drink because I’m a nice guy and I know it is how the girls make their living, but I don’t enjoy the fake friendliness at all.  In fact, I’ve tested this out.  I’ve gone into bars and not offered a drink and I’m totally ignored.  Which most days suits me fine.

Now, the bar I’ve most often frequented is IDK.  It’s the local dart bar.  I’ve achieved regular status there (defined as being on a first name basis with all the staff).  And the girls don’t work for drinks, which I like.  Having said that, I encountered a problem there last night.

So my bar tab was W52,000. As I’m walking home I did the math. I’m drinking W6,000 beers so it didn’t add up. I go back to the bar and ask. They say you had six beers. And threw a 9 in 501 during the tourney so you had to buy a round of drinks. That was news to me that such a rule existed.  And none of the shitty players that couldn’t hit the board were buying drinks. Okay. You took me for W16,000 and lost a customer. Good deal for me.  I will not be back.  If I get a hankering for darts, I’ll make the trip out to Songtan.

What else?  Well, my son Kevin has left the world of sports journalism to venture out into the corporate world where the money and work hours are more conducive to family life. You can read his farewell here if you are so inclined.

I’m still slow cooking every Sunday. Pot roast this week…

And I still embarking on my weekend river rides..

My trusty chariot…

And the solitary restless rider…

And that’s about it.  Well, I guess I could mention that I’m flying out Wednesday night for a 10 day vacation in, where else, the Philippines.  Chances are good I’ll have something slightly more interesting to blog about.  At least we can hope.

You know, I’m going to refrain from boring you with the state of my mind, heart and spirit.  It is what it is and I’m doing my best to deal with it.  Still, during my walks when I let my mind go free it is disconcerting to have a random YouTube song kick me in the nuts.  This one did just that.

Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you’ll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies

But you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
Cause you loved her too much and you dived too deep

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go

 

 

 

Neither here nor there

Well, it’s Father’s Day so cheers to all you dads out there.

My father’s father.

My father.

My father’s son.

This father’s son.

Fathers and sons.

And of course, my first born daughter.

I spent a goodly portion of the day riding on the river.

Camp Humphreys on the left…

The river on the right…

I encountered a grave situation on Saturday’s hike.

Darts at IDK on Saturday night. Took home first place money for the third week in a row. Ha, better to be lucky than good I always say…

Friday found me in Seoul where I attended the G1 Hail and Farewell ceremony.  As the name implies, it was where new folks coming in are welcomed and goodbyes are said to those on their way out.

The G1 is basically the Army’s military HR directorate.  I’m in charge of civilian personnel, and my directorate reports through the G1 to the Chief of Staff.  That can at times be problematic, but thanks to the outstanding leadership of Colonel Irish and Command Sergeant Major Grandison, we functioned effectively as one team.

Both COL Irish and SCM Grandison are departing, but we didn’t let them leave without a token of our appreciation.

I spent the night in Itaewon, so of course I dropped into Shenanigans to see two of my favorite bartenders, Sonya and Veta.

And in the category of an unexpected treat…

…I came home from work to discover my landlord had erected this nice cover over the area I set up for my grill. Didn’t even think to ask for that, but it is really a nice touch. Kamsamnida!

Learned this relatively late in life, but it is my mantra going forward, that’s for sure.

And that’s how my weekend were.  Hope yours was fine as well.

Adios mi amigos.

No parking problems

I needed to get in another 3000 steps or so after work today, so I took a stroll through the neighborhood.

The first park I encountered is right up the street from my place…

A ten minute stroll brought me to park #2…

Right across the street was park #3…

Walking on a few more minutes and I arrived at park #4…

Which wasn’t far from park #5…

With my goal achieved, I hoofed it over to IDK…

…where I parked my butt on this stool and enjoyed a well earned brewski…

It’s not always a walk in the park though. Like when these selfish motherfuckers block my driveway…

I got to meet up with an old friend from Seoul for a couple of beers on Sunday. It was nice to see a familiar face…

If you are looking for CAMP Humphreys you are outta luck…

And yes.  I will never forget.

Sometimes what is broken can never be repaired.

Like riding a bike

Exactly like riding a bike, because that’s what I did this weekend.  Back in the first iteration of my Korea life I had a very nice bicycle that I’d ride along the bike paths on the Han River.  But that was seven years ago.

Circumstances being what they are I broke down and purchased an inexpensive bike on Saturday.  I just couldn’t handle the desolation and distances involved in hiking the river here.

The bike, helmet, and lock came to W234,000.

Nothing fancy, but she’ll carry me to places my tired old legs would never see.

Kinda like this…

The ajumma who sold me the bike was also very friendly.  I was wearing shorts and she noticed the varicose veins on my left leg.  She told me I really needed to see a doctor about that as she stroked my leg and tsk tsked.  I promised her I’d get it checked out.

So, it turns out that riding a bike is much more strenuous than walking.  Maybe that should be obvious but it came as a surprise to me.  I was shifting into low gear on the slightest of inclines and really pumping hard on the pedals.  I guess that’s a good thing, cardio-wise anyway.

That first day I was also in quite a bit of pain.

This cruel bastard was the cause of my butt hurt.

So after an abbreviated ride of an hour or so, I parked the bike at home and hoofed it to PX on base.

Where I purchased a seat more appropriate to the size of my ass. Today’s ride was much longer and much more comfortable for sure.

Anyway, I plan to incorporate the weekend biking into my regular exercise routine.  Which means the river rides will be in addition to my daily step goal of at least 15,000.

In other news…

Maybe so, but not so much when you are living a solitary existence.

Still, I took myself out on a dinner date and enjoyed me some pretty decent Mexican food. For dessert I won the dart tourney at IDK for the second week in a row…

There was a full moon Friday night…

Which led me to a pub called “Horse and Cow”…

The Pub featured a drink special called “Sweet Tight Pussy.” Sorry, but I’m not going to pay for it!

This is the only pussy I saw all night…

That was my weekend and all that jazz…

 

 

How bored am I?

This bored:

8 hours at work, 4 beers after work, and a whole lot of walking in between. Such is life in the countryside.

Speaking of steps:

This is my step ladder.
I never knew my real ladder.

Stick around, I’ll be here all week.

Green acres

Green acres is the place to be
Farm living is the life for me
Land stretching out so far and wide
Keep Seoul city just give me that countryside!

A Sunday walk through farm country…

It’s been fascinating watching how rice is actually farmed…

It is definitely a labor intensive process…

Saturday night in the village found me participating in the dart tourney at IDK Bar.

Where I achieved my first first place finish in Pyeongtaek.

Finally found a gal willing to dance with me. Shocking I know, but she was electric!

A view of high midnight in Anjeong-ri…

I should probably add this shirt to wardrobe, don’t you think?

And so ended another weekend.

Today’s river adventure

Despite a nasty hangover from last night’s over indulgence, I set about hiking a new section of the local river this morning.  Unlike the Han, there are very few bridges.  Well over two hours into my walk I finally reached this bridge:

But it was a freeway. So, I could either turn around and retrace my steps (something I absolutely despise doing) or I could seek out a new route home.

I chose the later option.  The only exit from the river trail was across a narrow concrete jetty through the adjacent rice paddies.  I could see traffic way off in the distance, so I figured what the hell.  The farmers must have thought I was nuts.

So when I reached the highway I saw a sign that pointed to Pyeongtaek/Ansan.  Well, that’s generally the right direction although I live in Anjeong-ri.  After a goodly long walk my road intersected with highway 45 leading to Pyeongtaek.  Problem is, that’s a major thoroughfare not conducive to pedestrian traffic.  So, I took a detour and walked through the sleepy little village of Bucheon-ri.

At this point I was at the three hour mark which is pretty much my max and I wasn’t entirely clear where I was or how to get to where I was going.

Nothing to do but soldier on.  After awhile I saw a taxi on a cross street up ahead.  I wondered about the odds of his turning in my direction (well, I guess they could have been 50-50).  He did turn my way so next I wondered if he might be empty.  As he approached I saw that he was indeed without a fare.  Deciding it was providence I flagged him down and said take me to Anjeong-ri.  A few minutes into the ride I realized that if I had walked on for ten more minutes I would have known where I was.  But that was still a 45 minute hike away from home, so I was glad to be in the cab anyway.

Had the cabbie drop me at the street market where I purchased some fresh bananas for tomorrow’s traditional Sunday smoothie.

24,500 steps and I have no (ahem) egrets.

Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’…

…but it’s free…

A whole bunch of nothin’ going on here in my country life, which I expect is what country living is all about.  Well, nothin’ to say never stopped me from sayin’ it anyway, so let’s roll into June, shall we?

My friends all tell me that I’m great. My imaginary friends anyway. Not sure what the Koreans are saying…

Me at a bar called “the Wall”. It was only me for the entire 2 hours I was there…

IDK is slowly becoming my “go to” bar, almost by default. It ain’t real busy either, but the staff is friendly to me at least…

When I’m not working or drinking, I’m usually out walking the country roads. Here’s a shot of the river…

The farmland…

And some wall flowers…

No one told me I was leaving! Actually I found this when I was unpacking some boxes in my new office. That’s from back when I retired the first time in 2010…

This cracked me up…

Still struggling with the emotional side of my life. Not really going to go there, but this is one way to put it:

Time is a one way street. So, why does the past loom so large?

Easier said than done…

I’m still being an oversensitive crank.  In fact, this could be my theme song…

That’s it.  I say it best when I say nothin’ at all.  But you knew that.

 

 

Distemper

I’ve never been a particularly patient man.  And lately I seem to be in a perpetual bad mood.  Little things I could and should ignore just irk the hell out of me for some reason. Or maybe I’ve just become the proverbial grumpy old man.

My irritation seems to manifest itself most often in bars.  Not surprising I suppose since I spend too much time in bars these days. I guess the bar I frequent most often is IDK. They have darts and a reasonably friendly staff.  But I stopped in early on Friday night and was served my customary Miller Lite beer.  There were a couple of guys playing pool and me alone at the bar.  They were playing the crappiest music I’ve ever heard (hip hop?) at an eardrum piercing loud volume.  Now, I can tolerate crappy music.  I can put up with loud music.  But crappy and loud crosses the line.  I could have said something I suppose, but it’s not my bar or my place to tell them how to run it.  Instead I voted with my feet. Plopped W7000 on the bar (6 for the beer and a tip) stood up and headed for the door. The owner was surprised because I never only have one beer and asked me what’s wrong.  I just pointed at my ears, shook my head, and walked out.  I was back last night for the dart tournament and the music was played at a more reasonable volume.

I have crossed a couple of other bars off my circuit for various minor irritations. I don’t have to put up with bullshit so why should I?  One thing I don’t like is being asked to buy a drink for the bartender.  I’m pretty damn generous in that regard and I’ll normally make the offer in due course.  I usually do it as a reward for good conversation/friendly service. But not likely if I’m asked or its expected.  I understand a lot of the gals make “commission” on drinks they receive, but that whole “juicy girl” routine is not my style.  I’d rather be alone than pay for company.

Anyway, if I had a life I wouldn’t be spending so much time in the bars I suppose.  It’s a social thing because I do need to get out of the house and be around people.  Here in Pyeongtaek most of the bar scene caters to young soldiers, not exactly my demographic. Still, I got drunk with a group of combat engineers the other night.  It’s all a little fuzzy but I remember this song was being sung.

Good times!

In other news, I got a series of text messages from the woman who parked her car in my driveway.  It was clear she was using a translation app, but I played along.  We did the name exchange and the what do you do here thing.  She asked me if I had any plans this weekend and I’m thinking “hmm, this might get interesting”.  When I said I had nothing going on, she started in on the going to church thing.  Damn.  Told her I wasn’t religious and didn’t need to be saved.  And suddenly she lost interest in chatting.  Oh well.

I had a successful work day in Seoul on Thursday and spent a few hours in Shenanigans afterwards.  I guess folks were glad to see me, so that was nice.

Left my hotel at 0530 for the drive back to Pyeongtaek and encounter no traffic jams or vehicle malfunctions.  Didn’t get lost either.  My Waze app did the job even though I didn’t understand a word she was saying.  I can follow the arrows!

What an exciting life I’m leading here in the countryside!  I’ve got pictures to prove it:

I don’t know if this is a custom restaurant or a costume restaurant. I did note that if I ever get a hankering for dog stew, this is the place to go. And no, I’ve never had nor will I ever have the desire to dine on dog.

Rice planting season is in full swing. I’m told the real joy comes when the start applying fertilizer. Woo Hoo! Something else to look forward to.

Quite a lot of Filipinos in the area. Although contrary to what the sign indicates none were for sale or on the menu…

Discovered this park on my hike around the neighborhood this morning…

And this one. I’ll give the city leaders credit, they’ll put a park up anywhere that is not suitable for rice cultivation.

I’ll keep holding on.

Can you help me remember how to smile?
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded?
Life’s mysteries seem so faded

 

 

A bitter pill to swallow

Actually, many bitter pills to swallow.

I took the afternoon off work to go on a quest to find the Good Morning Hospital.  My Waze app, despite being in Korean, got me there with no problemo.  Finding the parking lot was another story.  But eventually I did.

I was without a clue (shuddup!) when I walked in the doors of GMH so I was happy to see the Foreigner information desk.

And the English spoken here was surprisingly good.  Noteworthy in fact.  So the way it works is you tell these folks why you are there (COPD) and then they walk you over to the appropriate physician and serve as your translator.  Well, my main goal was to get some prescription refills and make sure I didn’t have anything else to worry about  The pulmonary doc I saw didn’t seem to be all that concerned so either he doesn’t give a shit or I am not in any immediate danger.  He did take an x-ray and told me I don’t have pneumonia.  So there’s that.

They’ve already given me an affectionate nickname at Good Morning– Jo*. Hell, I’ve been called worse.

Anyway, another nice feature is they fill your prescriptions right there at the hospital.  Easy Peazy.  Although two of the drugs I requested were not available, so I’ll have to find them on the economy I reckon.

These are the drugs I did bring home from GMH.

Add them into my other daily drugs and I’ve just about reached the pharmacy level.

Anyway, the hospital is about 15 minutes away by car and I’m glad to know where it is in case of emergency.

When I got back to the house there was ANOTHER car parked in my carport.  What the hell?  I called the number on the windshield and a woman answered.  Apparently she was getting her hair done at the salon across the street from my palace.  She came running out all apologetic and she was pretty cute for a fortyish gal (meaning hadn’t gone full ajumma). I tried to flirt a little bit, but alas, her English was next to non-existent.  And of course with my limited Korean all I could have asked is get me a beer please.  By way of explanation she did go to Google translate on her phone which told me that my house had been vacant for a long time and she thought that it still was.  Fair enough.

Tomorrow I’ll be driving up to Seoul to attend a couple of three meetings.  Will spend the night, take leave on Friday, and come back down to Pyeongtaek for the long Memorial Day weekend.

Ain’t life grand?

Stayin’ alive

Had a coughing jag yesterday afternoon.  Then I experienced chest pain.  Wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack or if my violent coughing fit had pulled a chest muscle.  Seeing as how I have no clue on where the nearest hospital might be and having too much pride to call on one of the few people I know down here, I just said fuck it, I’ll go to bed and see if I wake up alive.  I did.

I did check out the local hospital with an international clinic today on the interwebs.  It’s named “Good Morning Hospital”.  Better than good night I suppose.  I’ll get in the car this weekend and find out how to get there.  Just to be safe.

Speaking of the car, I came home last night and someone had parked next to me in my carport.  Seriously, who does that?  I wasn’t in the mood to deal with it, and this morning around 0530 I observed 4 fuckers from the house next door hop my fence and then hop into the car.  I didn’t bother confronting them.  But I did re-position  my vehicle today in such a manner as to take up both spaces.  Fuck you motherfuckers!

And then I came upon this short vignette that I expect captures exactly how I will die when the time comes.  I’m in no hurry, but maybe tomorrow….

The long week in

Finished up the first week in Pyeongtaek.  Let’s got to the photos for the story.

A view from my office. Yongsan was more of an admin base, hosting the HQ’s of USFK and Eighth Army. Humphreys is a base devoted to war fighters.
That runway is home to all kinds of helicopters and some fixed wing aircraft, and they are always in motion it seems. A whole different tempo here..

Another view. That building is the future home to USFK. Being in the ADVON is a bit of a pain in the ass. They are still working out the kinks in our HQ building. Also, no refrigerators or microwaves. Really cramping my bring lunch from home lifestyle. Not to mention making it hard to enjoy cold diet Cokes throughout the day. I’m not one to complain, but…

As busy and noisy as the Army base is, Anjeong-ri is quiet and docile compared to the Itaewon scene. Still have not nailed down my “home” bar, but after a week I’m greeted by name in 3 bars I visit and in two others that know what I’m drinking (light beer). I’ve actually gotten to where I prefer gin and soda but surprisingly none of the bars I’ve found have club soda in stock. It’s freaking bizarre.

The Drunk Bus is not a bar I expect to frequent regularly, but it did remind me of the dive bar atmosphere I enjoyed at the Grand ole Opry back in the ‘twon.

I paid my rent. $37,068 for one year. I don’t expect to be here a year, so by terms of the lease, the remainder will be reimbursed to Uncle Sam.

Some of my Yongsan staff came down to look for housing (most will be moving here at the end of next month). I treated them to some Korean BBQ for lunchee.

I upgraded my phone to the Galaxy S-7 Edge. Not cheap, but half the price of the new Galaxy S-8.

Katchi Kapshida only goes so far I guess….  Doesn’t bother me, I’ll always be the bigger man.  Ahem.’

Up early Saturday morning for a hike. Wound up here ten minutes from the house.

History in stone.

Very pretty area though.

Old and new living in relative harmony.

Once I was out of “town” I was walking on some old time country roads…

Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday afternoon found me at the Osan Air Force base. I took advantage of the Arby’s there.

It’s been awhile and it was good.

I was in the area for a Saturday night dart tourney at Xenis Bar in Songtan…

My old friend Vox is the proprietor. He was getting some hair love. I of course was not.  Not that I need it…

Here in Anjeong-ri it is the Spring Festival weekend…

Which means music has been blasting from that stage and into my living room all weekend…

These guys did a decent enough cover of “born to be wild” that I ventured out to get a closer look.

The main street in town was closed to vehicles for the vent…

And as you can see I was having a grand old time…

I did enjoy a nice long walk along a new river today..

Lots of exploring to do yet.

It is certainly no Han.

The bridge what brought me there…

A few folks on bicycles and only one other hiker. Made for a lonely walk…

but there is always time to stop and smell the flowers…

This area is old school farm country…

That bridge is a train trestle. Couldn’t find any other place to cross and given that I was two hours into my hike, I turned around a walked back…

That’s Camp Humphreys on the other side of the river…

It was hot today. I only carried one bottle of water with me, needed two. Or maybe this. Also sunburned my neck. It’s true, I’m definitely a redneck now.

And that’s all I’ve got.  Feeling isolated and lonely, but that’s a big improvement over sad and miserable.  Progress!

 

 

Square peg

So, the new washer wasn’t working right. Repairmen comes out and fixes my jury rigged drainpipe. He explained that I was trying to fit an American sized hose into a Korean sized hole. Who knew?