It’s one of those days again. Those days where you take a shower, get all clean, and find yourself sweating like a pig before you even make it to the subway station. I was supposed to meet more of my W&M friends, Inho and Jessica. Getting off at Sinchon Station, I navigate through the crowd and get myself above ground. If I were a member of the Assassin Order, DO NOT send me to do a mission in Korea. I will stand out no matter what. I refuse to wear caprees (Yes, Korean males are known to be seen wearing caprees) and the store-bought faded t-shirt. You know, one of those t-shirts that the designer tried to make look faded and worn so the wearer can make a statement in public like, “hey everyone look at my t-shirt. I’ve worn this for years and because I went on so many adventures in my life, all the lettering is faded. But at the same time I don’t want to look like a beggar so I paid a hefty price for the brand name. Just in case you didn’t get the memo, I’m not poor.” Yea, so that clothing combo won’t work. Skinny jeans and a double layer polo won’t do either. It’s one of those polos that doesn’t make you look nice or decent. It just says asshole or douchebag. But Koreans don’t know the frat/preppy culture in America so they wear it thinking it’s stylish and that it automatically elevates them in society. Therefore, they’re willing to go far enough to wear a double layer of heavy stitched cotton in the blinding summer heat because the thought of imminent elevation of the social hierarchy ladder means sweat is no longer released via skin pores rather it’s stored in some hidden place that people cannot imagine until it’s released when no one’s around at the end of the day.
Despite such challenges, I tried to fit in by wearing a polo shirt and shorts. It didn’t work… Jessica and Rachel spotted me before I even reached the top of the stairs. They started laughing while Inho giggled and pointing their fingers and said, “Haha you look American”. As the tears began to well up in my eyes, I used ninja focus to suppressed them and told myself, “Phil, this is no place to cry. Especially in front of your comrade. Remember at Apgujung how you kept the group together with your steady hand and even temper? This is their attempt to solicit an emotional response from you. Don’t show anything. Let their anticipation shrivel and die like unwatered plants in the blazing sun. They just caught you off guard. You were weak from the heat.” I slowly gathered those tears in my head, brought them down to my mouth and swallowed them. I was swallowing defeat -no, a minor setback.
Such an incident made everyone hungry and we ate lunch at Nolboo. It’s a restaurant that serves budaecheegae (Army base stew). Back when Korea was an emerging from the Korean War and was practically a third world country, starving Koreans would either look through trash at U.S. army bases or ask American soldiers for Spam, hotdogs, and baked beans to make a stew out of it. My father said, that sometimes you would find cigarette butts or bits of ash in the stew. I know sounds gross. Nowadays, the stew is obviously made with clean ingredients and not from garbage leftovers. It’s Korean favorite.
We then headed over to another place to eat something cold and meet our long-lost friend who disappeared in a flash of light in our earlier excursions, Andrew: The Vicar of Snowmounteen. My old comrade Rachel, the same person who almost went ape shit on Andrew, recommended this place for bingsoo (shaved ice with sweet red bean). It must have been really good because there was a line stretching out the door and down to the sidewalk. If you’ve been keeping up with my past blog post dear readers, this place was like Snowmounteen‘s cousin. We ordered 3 flavors: milk, coffee, and green tea. Now read carefully dear readers, these 3 snow piles were so perfect that if God and his angels snorted coke, these things would be it.
After eating such finely created confection, we all decided that since it is hot as balls outside, it only makes sense to see a movie. Having never been to a Korean movie theater, of course I said yes. After some confusion, laughter, and jesting we chose to watch Prometheus. Waiting for the theater to begin seating, Inho began to teach The Vicar some of his sorcery and magic tricks with a rubber band. I guess Inho just stuffs magic trick material in his pocket whenever he goes out. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a rabbit in his backpack. Comrade Rachel and Jessica started talking about ass and boobs and why Korean genetics for these particular attributes are different from their American counterparts. As I was in the midst of a captivating part of the conversation concerning vitamin D and breast growth, my attention was waylaid by a particular couple. Oh yea, in Korean theaters, practically everyone are couples. Interrupting the conversation, I pointed out this couple to Jessica and Rachel and there he was. A Korean dude wearing such skin-tight skinny jeans, Katie Perry would wear it. Jessica just said, “Wow, I don’t know what that guy is trying to do, but his junk is practically bulging out. It’s not even that big…” Rachel laughs a quiet laugh.
The movie was ok. A lot of unanswered questions. I was the only person fascinated by the surgery part. Rest of the evening was consisted of wandering around and eating. Andrew The Vicar almost went back to the house of the gods when he started to get a lecture about safety while saying farewell in the street and got almost hit by a car.
I think the most we do when we meet is just eat… Hell, fine with me.