Monday, December 13, 2010
It's the purple rice again. This is never positive.
The Daewol cafeteria has this sick predictability: if, on any given day, I am presented with a meal I do like, the next day will be met with a meal I inevitably hate.
Today was that second day.
By some unfair twist of fate, however, today's potentially-mushrooms-and-onion soup was not my greatest food catastrophe of the week. No, no friends. That dubious honor is held by the seriously misguided menu of Gangnam's Tree Pub.
We came in, unsuspecting. Beers and soju are ordered. All is pleasant.
And then the ovens of blasphemy opened, and the chef deemed it necessary to slather our nachos with sweet chili sauce. And whipped cream.
We all sat, staring at this thing for a minute, mistakenly believing that we could transform this offensive dollop into sour cream by sheer force of will. Unsuccessful.
We tread lightly, crunching slowly. Some last longer than others. I quickly resign. This concoction has no business being called nachos, and is an affront to processed-cheese lovers everywhere. I am deeply saddened.
In Korea, the sad drink. Well, really everyone drinks. But I think it's safe to say that these inferior nachos were primarily to blame for our questionable decision-making that evening.
Throughout this appalling bastardization of Mexican culture, we are being gawked at. Three Korean fellows at a table behind us. What we later learn is that there is actually a friend number four, who happens to be passed out under their table.
In a classic display of "committing too early", we agree to join these gents at a larger table on the other side of the bar. They all speak varying degrees of shitty English, and appear to be in a generous mood. Someone orders a fruit platter.
Chung Su, the drunk compatriot, appears to be quite literally passed out. He curls up in the fetal position next to Natalia, and isn't heard from for the next four hours.
We bore quickly. We want to dance. Someone pays for all this booze we have ordered, and we're off.
Harlem. Usual. String of below-average military fellows, all wearing affliction T-shirts and various horrifying jewelry pieces. Skinny, excitable young Korean guys that hand us silver, shimmery business cards. Too much filtered-in artificial smoke. Vaguely recall at one point purchasing $10 worth of bottled water. Chat with Omaha bartender. Yawn. Been here, done this.
It's 4:30 AM. We're done with this place. Eating in some tiny late-night Korean joint. Spicy ramyeon that kills my lower intestine for the next 48 hours. Mono-syllabic answers muttered to some way-too-awake Korean fellow that has accompanied our group. Laughing ourselves hysterical at this pathetic, Amero-trash scenario. We have an hour until the subway starts moving. No jimchilbang in sight.
Coffeeshop across the street. We are clearly not the only people with this idea. Crash into a booth to count out the minutes until we can fall asleep standing up on the 2 Line back to Gangnam Terminal. None of us order anything. Nobody seems to care.
I've never been so happy to be on a bus in my life. I remember the first 120 seconds of that ride, the rest is lost to the most powerfully deep sleep of my life. That bus could have dropped down a rabbit hole straight into hell without me noticing.
It's probably around 8 o'clock in the morning. The streets are dead, as is the air. It's freezing, I'm in leggings, and my apartment is ten minutes away. The Paris Baguette is thoughtlessly not yet open, and I mentally resign myself to a day of hot dogs and leftover Christmas cookies.
I fall into my ugly pink bed and am dead to the world for 12 hours.
Blame the nachos.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
"Dark clouds are hanging all around.
I try to pick myself back up, but I keep falling down.
Sometimes I can't even get out of my bed,
Thinking about the night before and stupid shit that I said.
It's at the point that I'm focused on hibernation:
Less interactions with people, less complications.
Alcohol and altercations, Tylenol and conversations-
I'll be falling off the face of the Earth if I don't change.
Can I rediscover my mind? Are we wasting each other's time?
I don't cry, I don't look up at the sky and ask why.
But sometimes I feel like I'm patiently waiting to die.
Go through the motions, try to put the pen to paper with love.
But I'm still holding back, afraid of what I'm capable of."
Today is a weird day.
This weekend was fun. Seoul always has this way. Predictably chaotic.
I know I haven't really been blogging for awhile. I think that I've been pretty in my head lately, and suffering some writer's block.
Last night, that block exploded. I was up until two in the morning, scribbling and typing and pacing around my miniscule apartment. For whatever reason, I've been thinking about Israel a lot lately, and that was what came out. I miss the Middle East.
I think that Korea is finally getting normal, and that has something to do with why all this noise in my head is suddenly getting louder. Maybe it's just that I'm so used to being freaked out in Decemeber that some residual internal finals clock is being triggered out of habit.
This week the kids have exams, and I'm free to be mentally adrift all day. I've started to think about the big picture. I spend hours over cheap beer trying to locate a next move. I'm becoming aware that sometimes traveling is just another word for running.
I live in South Korea now. I have a job and friends and a life.
But I can't shake the feeling that I'm needed elsewhere.