Friday, February 1, 2013

Dear Penelope, [part2- the dark north]

We did need to eat something after all. So we chose starbucks. I chose it because it was one of the first places mtoo and i went together and I knew she would complain or just refuse mcds out right. I assume anyway. We took pictures on the plane. It all went. Damon was there to meet us, taller then I remember and darker hair- and aging of course from the youthful days of yore. He remained enigmatic as he constantly walked 10 paces ahead wondering why we weren't within earshot. Seriously claustraphobic apparently which left us wondering why seoul. Where everything is compact and 5 sizes too small. I guess we get locked into the familiar.  We got along though. It was an offkilter strange time in an expedition of... 2 intjs and an infj/p somesuch thing.

And then instead of dropping our bags at his apartment like he suggested and then ended up not fulfilling I ended up dropping my bags at the Seoul station- and having to pay a total of $20 or so for opening it once, oh and keeping it in there too long! (@*&(!*! So much for a time and money saver that turned out to be.Whatever. But before all that we walked in the frosty dark and found a hot chocolate place, and ate fancy tacos and queso like we were in some hip eatery in america. The owner even hostily wondered why mtoo was taking pictures. Uh? What? What?! Just walk away jerk before you ruin our dining experience. But Damon treated us to dinner like a gentleman and it was nice. And even over fatigue and mtoos phone dying didn't keep us from wandering and finding a resplendint french eatery. i cried out when i saw it because against all odds we found it, and where i accidentally drank damon's tea thinking it was for the table and eating chocolate tarts and walnut maple icecream- and then mtoo and me finding our way to a sauna where we wandered around naked and sat in pools of hot to cold water and exfoliated our skin. And slept on mats in a haze of other pink clothed people- feeling like i was on some oceanic tanker from the hum and drone of the white noise machine and the creak of the wood planks. Telling mtoo in a tired haze that a black snake was trying pull her down to earth...

I almost got sick plagued by allergies and lack of sleep since the guy was all blah-blah-juseyo and rolled me off the 2 other mats i was hoarding, but it was worth it. Since it is such a wheninkorea thing to do. And I did it. The next day the coffee place wasn't open since they dont understand morning coffee. They absolutely don't get it. IT's infuriating. And then we almost missed the tour of the secret garden which was the one and only thing i wanted to do- mtoo mistook my breakneck pace for hostility but i just wanted to get there. Again not about you babe. And in 18 degree weather i'm not sure what the point is to sauntering. And besides she began to lose circulation in her feet because of some condition- of course. And then her phone died again and the taxi kicked us out because he wouldn't help us find the restaurant we wanted...and said to her in korean that we should research where we wanted to go better first- and then he made us pay for the 30sec cabride... and i thought he dropped us fortuitously near the olleh store who refused to help even when mtoo asked in korean, but we kept standing there, and then even offered our charger until he was like, oh you mean this charger? Over here? Yes. Asshole. Thanks! Thanks seoul! You assholes.

We did find the wood and brick place but there was nothing i wanted to eat but i lost it and ate not only spagetti but bought a load of walnut/cheese bread and some jam- which i ate over the course of two days. And it was delicous. And then we went to the traditional neighborhood that was too frigid to see and there was no room at this awesome coffee house, though that in the meantime seated a couple after they had shoved us into the shed where they roast the coffee but it was just too cold to stay. The guy was cute and nice though and gave us a discount for the assholery and frost we were surrounded with. Mtoo chatted him up in korean... We don't blame you. You were a warm memory on a cold almost better forgotten day just like my walnut bread. But then we got to a tea house. And we lost precious time getting damon there but i had this persimmon tea. And some lovely pumpkin ricecake. And time slipped by. And we tried not to be reminded about the schizophrenic nature of life- or life as a foreigner because it can so easily slip one way or the other. One good experience, you go back and it's gone bad. You stay a little longer than you should and it gets ugly. Directly racist and then warm and hospitable. It's hard sometimes. As i was reminded by mtoo and damon- he was almost refused entry onto a waterrafting trip because he was white. Mtoo was shunned by my coworkers. Remember they wouldn't even try her food. I've been living and skirting by in ahow can they be mean to me? idyllichaze. And seoul just reminded me how precarious our preceptions are/ours.

Somewhere in the back of my head i kind of hate korea. I'm glad to be done with it. But how could that possibly sum up the whole of our experience. When there are so many things I love. It's just trying to tell me the door is closing for now. With some time apart. And though Mtoo is not quite the villian of this tale, the unpredictable piece? she was responsible for every delicious thing i ate or drank- and the care and keeping of me and for that i thank her down to the last ricecake i ate.

Anyway we had dinner, i don't remember where. Thai? We took that awkward photo which has become cool in my mind for its absolute strange awfulness. We drank coffee and they again argued with mtoo- are you sure you want that? it's small. are you sure you want that? it's not sweet. We said our goodbyes to damon. We went to the hostel where i mostly ignored mtoo's complaints about possibly being robbed and murdered in the night. She went to tango. She got text-harassed by an employer threatening to sue her at 1130atnight. She forgot her chocolates at the hostel. We got up early needlessly and forgot to check out- mtoo went back for her chocolates later and found out-- the flight got delayed for "mechanical" problems. 6 hour delay. and 2 meal coupons. Awesome. It was all rolling off me. Every little twitch or problem. Just trying to keep going and get to the next step.

But mtoo wouldn't leave. She stayed with me. Sarah came in perfect synchronicity on a flight back from Thailand. She wouldn't leave. They both stayed with me. I had been surrounded by people for a solid 2+ weeks straight i had no strength for sentiment. I just wanted to be alone. But not alone. But alone. And they walked off with their luggage. And I waved goodbye with a detachment bourn of wearniess since i love them still.  I killed time. I wandered around. I spent every cent of my coupons... i made a traditional craft. I watched the royal court walk by. I sat. and i sat and it passed by not at all like 6 hours. And then somehow and someways i made it to Hanoi, Vietnam. To be told the visa price had risen and that yes they'd take my koreanwon...To be met eventually by a driver half-heartedly holding a sign with my name on it. Too busy texting, too bored to see me. We swept out into the night. And it's always the same thought, where am I? And what have i done?



1 comment:

almost anonymous said...

Now I have to go back and look at the pictures again :)