Hello everyone! This is the last entry of my time in Korea. Soon there will be some stuff on China. Again, I want to remind readers that my literary style is based on of Brad Neely’s. (Go look him up if you don’t know the guy) To my fans and friends, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my entries. I know I wasted a good chunk of your time. But still, thank you. As you are reading, try to guess what is real and not real. The answers are on at the end. If anybody has any questions and stuff, please feel free to write in the comment box!
I never asked to be a leader. All my life, I tried to be behind the scenes. I tried to keep my head down low enough so when other’s get chopped, mine does not go along with them. I guess fate thought otherwise. It just so happened that I got five free tickets to Everland (Korea’s Disney World, tickets are 60,000 Won a piece) and that my comrade-in-arms, the Conquistador de Campeones was poisoned. By what you ask? Alcohol. Haha Just kidding, she was just out partying and she was babysitting drunk friends because her kind soul had yet to be tainted by life’s b.s.
This was to be the last adventure for me in Korea. Across the sea, China was beckoning me to come to her shores. If it had a voice, she would say something like, “Come to me, young warrior. Enough with the Koreans. Let me embrace you with my history and culture. Feel me once. Love me forever. Me love you long time.”
Oh, what a day it was to be! Besides our well-known couple, Inho and Jessica, my long time cousin, Danielle, freshly arriving from the U.S. joined this wolf pack of heroes. I was supposed to lead this wolf pack? Am I ready? Am I qualified to have other people’s lives in my hands?
After waiting for over 30 minutes, we see Rachel emerging from underground. Like a docile Messiah, she walks out of Earth’s warm embrace and quietly nurses a head of one too many Cognac’s. Shaking her head, Rachel mumbles something between a ‘hello’ and ‘you bastards making me come to Everland’. It is going to be a good day today. 🙂
The bus ride to Everland is an uneventful one. Just me, chewing the fat with The Dan. We get to the park and lo and behold! Imagine, dear readers, grand music, ladeedaa deedaa blaring in the background. Is this a dream? Is this real life? Is this North Korean propaganda music? No, THIS is heaven’s gate. THIS is the portal to the after life where music and culture can flourish forever! What a breath-taking site it is.
As we enter the park, I can’t help but notice that something is off about Rachel. Jessica and Inho notice too. “Is everything in her head alright?” asks Jessica. “You got that sense too?” I reply. “Yea, something is not right. We should keep a close eye on her.” We agree to keep a rotating watch on our compatriot. But no more does a minute pass when the signs are starting to show. Pointing a limp finger, Rachel serenely notes, “Hey, I was fat as shit like that kid when I was little” as a kid runs by. This was going to be a loooong day…
We start off with a nice warm up of riding a baby roller coaster. Our oversized butts barely fitting into the seat and the safety bar barely covering our knees as we ruin childhood memories by screaming in absolute terror even before the ride begins. Little kids ask their parents, “Why, oh why are these big kids here? Isn’t there a rule or something? These giants, with their ruckus and laughter are making me squeamish.” The ride means nothing. Yet, it means everything.
We ride until an appetite is worked up. Licking a luscious ice cream, I notice that Rachel is eating a particularly hot, juicy wiener. She chomps on that wiener like ravenous wolf. Imagine if it were fingers, dear readers. All that blood splattering on kids’ faces. Shocker indeed. I tell her a food joke commonly used in the Italian House. Suddenly, her eyes narrowing, she says, “Hey Phil. I’m kind of getting full on this sausage. You wanna help me out? It’s pretty good!” Innocently, I say ‘yes’ and, dear readers, we all know what inevitably happens next. Uncomfortable and humiliating association of sausages with phallic objects… Oh, how the heavens cry to such games.
There are more weak-ass roller coasters to be ridden. More to conquer. More seats to grind our butts on. But first, lunch is in order. Holding a tray of some Chinese slop, I plop down with my gang. “How do you properly mix the sauce and noodles in jiajiangmyun?”asks Jessica (Noodles with black bean sauce. A Korean version of a dish initially originating in China). “Haha let me educate you” Rachel replies. “First, you split the noodles riiiiight in the middle…” Like a female Moses, Rachel splits the sea of noodles in half with her chopsticks. With black bean sauce toppling over the crest of noodles, her chopsticks churn this mix as if it’s churning out ice cream. It…gets…frothy. And when the heat of passion and of expert finger work cools, a perfectly mixed jiajiangmyun is birthed. Fuck yes! Mesmerized by such byzantine complexity, I realize now that my ability of mixing jiajiangmyun sucks on a whole new level. Oh, Phil what have you done? I quickly request Rachel to explain the process again. “Fudge off you fuck!” growls Rachel as she gives a deadly leer that makes the dead die again. Faces of shock and amazement surround her. What grass did this viper come from? Inho tries to hold back a tear. But Rachel acts like nothing happened. If feelings had physical form, now would be the quintessential time for it to see what it feels like to get kicked in the balls. That’s what it feels like.
We make our way through the crowd, through the kids, the strollers. Through the voluptuous fragrance of animal shit, and through ridiculous parades where you wonder, ‘how much are these Europeans being paid to dance in such silly costumes?’, and finally we have arrived! It is the T-Express! The tallest wooden roller coaster in the world! This behemoth of a ride, is our calling. TADA TADAAAA TADAAA FOREVER!! Could this ride be it? Will this ride make our noses bleed? Will it blow the socks off of us? Will we throw up? “Bless my nipples” cries Inho. “Is the T-Express this tall?” Yes in-fucking-deed! My friend, Thomas, once created a drink menu. The titles were all train themed. It started with a weak-ass T-Caboose and ended with an all time powerful, T-Express. I think the sight of this roller coaster, does my friend’s drink justice.
Now imagine, dear readers, of drums in rapid, resounding thumps. Drums held between strong thighs in the deep, dark cavern that is my heart. We get into the seats of the ride and wait impatiently for it to begin. “Just press the fuckin’ button!” Danielle growls. Soon we are off and climbing this roller coaster of elephantine proportions. Stomaches of butterflies accumulate at a rapid pace as the loud clacking speeds up. The drumming in my heart stops as we reach the top and Inho almost dookies a shooter. Holy balls! What a sight it is! It’s clear viewing of the park and the surrounding valley, that is Korea. Sunshine intermittently breaks through the clouds, basking the valley floor with a flood of golden showers. Music plays, la lala dee daa” from a flute that Jesus Christ must have designed himself. This revery is suddenly interrupted by a shrill scream of a banshee. It suffocates my ears and I just pray for that horrible noise to go away. But what do we have here? It’s not a ghost, it’s Rachel and Danielle screaming.
The wind drowns out the screams as the roller coaster descends down back towards the earth like an armored-studded cataphract with nothing to lose. It blows through my face and time momentarily stops. Clothes barely manage to still be on our backs. And as the ride ends, so does happiness. Like a junkie who just got his fix, I walk out of the ride like new man with veins pumped full of adrenaline. To commemorate the T-Express, Jessica buys a photo of all of us with our oily, sick ass faces full of terror on the ride. “It’s my Bible of Laughter” she says. “Whenever I feel down, I just need to consult this!”
The rest of the day is spent walking up steep slopes of concrete to get to the next ride. But after such an unforgettable experience from the T-Express, all the rides suck in comparison. With tiredness overtaking our bodies, everyone starts complaining and becomes disoriented. The test of my leadership has begun. Impatient with my Type B personality, the rest of the group starts saying shit like, “Are we there yet?”, “Why are there so many hills?”, “You suck at reading maps”, “Why did you make us come here?”. Even Inho, the kindest necromancer of the land, momentarily loses sanity and leaves his phone at a roller coaster station. “Crumbs and carrots!” I yell. “That’s all the way across the park!” “But why, Inho? Why?” I ask. “Why? Because I thought it’s be fun!” He says in his signature boyish grin. “Even though I may be the craziest motherfucker alive, I knew you would do anything for me. Cuz we’re bros, and that’s what bros do for one another.”
Rachel has another odd episode of Tourette’s when the subject of ramen comes up. In my infinite knowledge, I mention that ramen is actually a Chinese dish (Thank you, Discovery Channel) brought over to Japan by Chinese immigrants as it used to be called, “La Mein“. Rachel’s response? “Eat a dick, Phil” “Excuse me?” “You heard me. I don’t ever remember asking for your opinion” says Rachel in a terse voice. “Tell all those facts to someone who cares”. At this point, my feelings are so numb, my body so tired that all I want to do is to pound a few cold ones. We get to the bus station. But the bus was so full that people were standing. “Fuck that shit! I’m not standing for an hour! I’ve already done that once” I say. All of us agree to wait for the next one. All of us except for Rachel who, as Bus 5001 rumbles away, is saying fuck word after fuck word. Oh dear… I could really crush some cold ones right now.
My wish is eventually granted as we make it back to Gangnam Station. Stuffing down seollongtang (Noodles in beef broth), we decide to go for some drinks to celebrate my departure and also the fact that Danielle has never had so-mek before (Those who don’t know what so-mek is, go to my previous post). Inho knew of a place and as we entered the building, we were greeted by a rustic ambiance. Dim lights, chairs made out of stumps of wood, tables made out of wood. At Inho’s recommendation, Rachel orders the food. But oh hoho, dear readers, she misreads the menu and was about order… chicken feet. “Uhhh What the… Shit!” bellows the Conqueror of Champions as she scares the poor waitress. Soon our table looks like a Viking’s feasting hall laden with the spoils of victory. Beer, Soju, Soju with beer, beer with Soju, some version of makolli (Korean rice wine), fries, pickles, roasts, chicken asshole, etc, etc.
In a span of 50 minutes, I am thoroughly inebriated. But what’s this? A phone call?? From who? I pick up the phone and -CRUMBS AND CARROTS!- it’s my great-aunt asking me to come to her brother’s apartment to meet relatives and pay respects to her deceased mother’s grave! Fuck AND Shit!! Oh, the timing could not have been any worse! A dastardly move on her part, I put an effort to regroup from great-aunt’s formidable blow. But in my weakened state, I display a pitiful fight and soon find myself stuttering and without words. Without more beer to lubricate my throat, I give a raspy, “Uuuuh… Uhhhh… I’ll be there? Wait, I’m sorry aunty, but I’m really drunk.” I… AM… MOCKED…. My supposedly hilarious drunken display is met with an inconsolable Rachel, Inho lying on the couch and holding a painful looking stitch on his stomach, and The Dan barely on the edge of her seat. I guess this part of me will be forever written in the books of friendship.
Taking a sip of so-mek, Danielle gets the courage to suggest we all go for a Round 2. We go to this laid back place. While the rest decide on drinks, I realize that I went waaaay past my limit and that Jessica went to the ladies’ room. Soon as we all sit and start talking, the most hideous girl in the Orient comes to our table. She has massive white, crystalline orbs she calls ‘eyes’ as they reflect the building’s interior lighting. “Is she White?” someone asks. “No, I think she just has plastic surgery“. With eyelids as firm as a bull’s penis, she amazes everyone with a blink. This pugnacious Medusa manages to piece together barely comprehensible English, “Deeed youuu saaaahy faucking sheeet? At meee?” The wolf pack is extremely confused? Who the hell is this girl? Such an inquisitive motherfucker, she will pay for her insolent belligerence. “Well, yea” replies Jessica. “When you knock on a bathroom door three times and it doesn’t open, then there must be someone using it.” ‘Shit! It makes perfect sense!‘ I think. What a dastardly preemptive strike! The ball is back in the Korean girl’s court. This long sentence in English must have overheated this girl’s undeveloped translator in her brain. The rich little bastard replies something in Korean. But oh hoho, dear readers…. little do people know, but Jessica… understands… basic Korean. She gives a beautifully resounding, “fuck you, bitch!”
This reptilian Lucrezia brings her boyfriend into the fray. The pieces of this particular game are beginning to move and the odds are not in Jessica’s favor. But suddenly, The Dan comes and backs up Jessica’s defenses. “You bitch! Get the fuck out of here, knife eyes! Yea, that’s right! Keep walking. Why are you still here? Get some more plastic surgery with your boyfriend!” cries Danielle as she pops her knuckles and produces a deadly looking spiked ball in chain. Trying to quiet a tipsy Danielle is like trying to douse plastic explosives that are on fire with water. You think it’s gonna work but little do you know, water, NOT fire is actually the reacting agent. Glaring, The Dan says, “Checkmate!… You asshole! These are my new friends and I ain’t gonna let you gang up on any one of us!” We just seemed to have arrived at DEFCON 2, people! As the action unfolds, all of us are just stunned at Danielle’s incredible move. We are busy stuffing popcorn in our faces as we watch our newest member of this fearsome wolf pack hand this piccolo pezzo di cazzo her ass! This does wonders for Danielle’s street cred. There are struggles and there are losses. But ultimately we are the victors. The manager tries to settle everyone down but it is Comrade Rachel: Conquistador de Campeones, who calmly walks toward the manager and our opponents like a knight on a magnificent steed. And with her well oiled tongue and serpentine mouth, she skillfully diffuses the situation with a comment or two so deft that I cannot possibly write it here. “Fuck this!” I cry and we leave the joint. The manager just lost five customers in exchange for a couple. It’s the perfect trade!
The rest of the night is a blur for me. When did Rachel leave us? How did we get into this bar? Who ordered shots of Jagermeister? I sure didn’t. Next thing I know, I’m being rustled up by Jessica as we take our leave of Round 2. After goodbyes, Danielle and I barely make it to the last train home. Somehow we manage to find seats. She is a veteran of the alcohol sector (Thank you, UMD-College Park) as she served many years in that department. I on the other hand. Well… I’m pretty much gone. I nod off in and out of sleep (At least, I think it was sleep) as Danielle’s hand is the only thing preventing me from falling off my seat. “Is that red-faced man dead, mommy?”, a boy asks. “No, I think he’s just drunk”, his mother replies pensively. After an emotional, heartfelt goodbye, The Dan and I part ways. I to the north and she to the south.
Everyone, alcohol is a double edge sword. The pain in my stomach is inconsolable! Oh my goodness! Don’t breath so loud, Philip! You’re scaring everyone on board the train! At last, I get to Yongmasan Station. Thank God! I walk briskly to the station’s bathroom to do what’s needed to be done. It’s funny, what was nourishing me earlier is now trying to kill me.
Hovering over the toilet, waiting for relief, I notice a reflection of my self in the water. ‘Look how far you’ve fallen, Philip. You were an angel once. Pure, innocent, and beautiful… How did you get here? You were once in the sky, overseeing the valley below like one of God’s angels. Now, having fallen from grace, you are at your lowest as you kneel in a bathroom of a dirty subway station, in front of hell’s gate. A song from Queen starts playing in my mind as I continue to see my demonized face. “I’m just the pieces of a man I used to be. So many bitter tears are raining down on me…” A picture of Satan suddenly appears in the toilet water. He beckons me to put my face in the toilet to join him and his minions. He promises me riches and that I could ride a horse with wings. I’m about to accept his invitation until… “STOP!” A voice begins to say, ‘This isn’t you, Phil. You are not like this! Do not be lured into Satan’s domain with promises of riches and flying horses. You are meant be with the living. Don’t surrender to hell’s, sort of, easy life. Just stay here with us and tough it out’. I have this new-found resolve that urges me to destroy this portal to hell before my soul is consumed. So I… I… ‘BLEEAAAAH!’ Holy fuckin’ balls!’BLEEAAAH!’ As this Korean, alcohol-filled salsa comes out of my stomach, the demon inside me is purged out. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Will the onslaught ever stop?
Finally, the reflection of Satan and the demonized me is distorted as I flush the toilet of its contents. “Take that, Satan!” I bellow. “You’re so full of shit, man! You won’t give me a flying horse! You’ll never have me! This game is over when I say it’s over!” Refreshed and comfortable, I walk out of the subway station and into the darkened streets of Seoul as a new-born, near perfect god. I get home and my great-aunt asks me if I’m drunk and if I’m ok. I reply, “Yes in -fucking- deed! Yes, to life! Yes, to drink! And yes, to friends!” I bellow out a nocturnal heavenly “YES!” And at last the world was quiet.
(Comments: So I hoped you enjoyed reading this and all the other shit I wrote this past couple months. I really appreciate the ‘likes’ and the time you have spent reading my entries.
Rachel was running on less than 5 hours of sleep so that’s why she was acting kind of funky (I don’t want people to think she’s nuts). The “Feel me once. Love me forever” was from an tutoring ad in the Beijing Language and Culture University Cafeteria. T-Express is in fact the tallest WOODEN roller coaster in the world. Shirts/jackets were actually on the verge of falling off while riding the T-Express. Inho did momentarily lose his phone. We actually did eat chicken asshole, quite good btw. Danielle and Jessica said all those things to the Korean girl (no weapons lol). I did get a call from my great-aunt. And I did end up purging in the subway bathroom.