Monday, December 29, 2008

Travel journal: Gyeongju

My "handler," Yuna.

A few weeks ago I ran into the Englishman, Scott. He was asking me how I was settling in, and also, if I was excited for the upcoming Gyeongju trip. Of course, no one tells me anything over here so he had to inform me as to when and where this was all going down. "It's a trip us public school foreign teachers go on to connect with the "culture" I suppose," Scott quipped nonchalantly. Scott knew I was going because he saw my name on a list floating around the office. I knew I couldn't be both on an enlightenment trip and in the classroom at the same time so I was happy.

Scott in all of his fancy-panted English glory

When I pressed Yuna for more details in reference to the trip, I received spoken ambiguity that would have even made Slick Willie proud. "It's so you can understand Korea and Korean's," she said as if keeping me in the dark for yet another day was the gold medal at the Olympics.

Scott had this idea that they would take us in the woods, blindfold us, beat us on the backs with sticks and then bring us back into town. The theory is if we were beaten within centimeters of our lives, we'd be less apt to bitch about various shortcomings in reference to our jobs and living situations. For whatever reason, I took Scott's vision one giant leap further. All I could imagine was an afternoon filled with yelling and shouting at us white folk in their native Korean tongue. Just when we thought it couldn't get any more, they'd round us up, shackle us and go to work on us in a fashion that screams one-part incest and two-parts sodomy.

"You've got a purdy mouth"

Though Scott knew the when and the where, he was fuzzy on the details. Essentially, Gyeongju and the surrounding areas harbor temples and tombs and other various Korean landmarks deemed important to Korean culture. It's considered to be out in the sticks. Those sticks are located about 2.5 hours by bus from Masan. What did this mean to us? A day on a bus driving around.

There is a time and a place for aggressive speed driving. If you have a car tailored for such terrain, then okay. If you are trying to qualify for Le Mans. This is also acceptable. However, driving a tour bus with 75 passengers as if you were paid by the KPH through rural Korea on a narrow winding road is just plain dangerous. Needless to say, I was fighting nausea for the remainder of the day.

Why is this significant you ask? Because it's my given English name sucking hind tit to my newly minted Korean "slave name." Can't you just hear my yelling "Garrett!" as I'm being beaten on the back with bamboo?

Check out my travel photo's labeled Korea, December for more photos.


Colette Reid said...

G, oh that looks like so much fun! Scott looks like the guy from 'Sliding Doors.' I looked through all of your photos...I wish I was there exploring with you! It looks amazing. And of course your blog writing is great! Keep it up!

Pa! said...

How come your first name starts with a capital letter but your last name doesn't ? Typo or By design?
And some say I'm not observant.

Kirk said...

Thinned out, buddy. Still pumping 285lbs?

Well, the trip to Singapoer and Thailand was cancelled. Once the vacation was re-approved (after the lay-offs), the ticket prioce to get to Singapore was $4,202. That is jsut plain nuts. So, I went to AZ for a couple days to see the family. Now, back in San Clemente, CA enjoying a 60'F day. Might go fishing tomorrow. I love having some free time to play! Life... what a trip.

Have a kick-ass day

Colette Reid said...

I couldn't agree with you more...he looks so small! It sounds like you are having fun relaxing. Damn you men!
Jeff...who said you weren't observant? I will say that the mango chicken dogs I brought up you would have never been able to tell they were healthy for you!

Garrett Hohn said...

Pa said, "How come your first name starts with a capital letter but your last name doesn't"

Garrett says: "Subtle nuance of oppression or for the laymen, they are trying to keep round-eye down!"

For all those concerned about the weight lose, yeah I've lost some. Between the colds, chopsticks and seaweed, I've managed to lose 6-7 pounds. Anyone want to start a betting pool to see what # I walked off the plane at?

Kirk, it was 275lb Bench Press at 179lb body weight. But, even though I haven't tried, it's certainly a distant memory!

Kirk said...

The thought that you need a handler... that's funny. Like going to the zoo type of handler (keep the beast on a tight leash), or like the Hollywood/Las_vegas type bringing in the whale to the table kind-of-handler?

Kirk said...

I would love to see this in the USA's congress. At least it would show there is some passion in the office!

Garrett Hohn said...

4200 dollars? That's jacked! I think you could take a taxi from L.A for less.