07 May 2009

Sandwich Day

This weekend past was a long holiday weekend for Children's Day. Since the holiday fell on a Tuesday our school was closed on Monday (the sandwich day) to make a four day weekend. A lot of businesses did this because (perhaps) there have been so few holidays in the past few months. Perhaps, too, it was because it was Buddha's 2553rd birthday on Saturday past.

On Saturday Keith, some of his friends, and I rode to the top of Geumjeong Mountain, Busan's tallest mountain, by cablecar. We hiked across the top of the mountain to Beomeosa (Bum Uh Sa), a large temple, to see the lanterns hung for Buddha's birthday and eat free bibimbap. The hike to the temple took about 4 hours or so and it was a perfect day for it. The temple was a riot of color, traditional music and chanting. The girls made paper lotuses, of which I was very jealous. I'd seen kids making them earlier but hadn't thought to see if adults were allowed to make them, too!

I hiked down the mountain early, missing the lantern lighting because I was due to meet my friend Lynn, whom I hadn't seen for a couple of months. We went for samgyeopsal (bbqed pork belly, see earlier post) and then for beer. We basically just commiserated and laughed at stupid stuff. After helping Lynn catch a cab back to her end of town I went back to the bar to flirt with the barmaid until the wee hours. She was a pretty strange girl, as Korean girls go, but then I don't seem to like the usual sorts of Korean girls. Or even the usual sort of any girl, come to that. Always liked the weird ones better. Anyway, it was fun flirting, I guess I'll have to go back for some more beer and flirting later on. She had a big tattoo of a Haida design in the middle of her chest that I couldn't stop looking at, a damned clever trick. Apologies to any male readers but there are no photos of said tattoo.

On Sunday I mostly slept in, recovering from the previous evening. Although I don't think about it much, my body does remind me now and then that I'm older than I used to be. Later on I met up with Se-yeong and we went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which I enjoyed more than a lot of movies I've seen in the cinema in a while. Lots of wacky stunts and crazy stuff. TOO MUCH ACTION!! It was great.

After the movie we went to a roast chicken restaurant called Dak, the Korean word for chicken, around the corner from my place. This place has awesome chicken, spit-roasted over a real wood fire. It tastes kinda like smoky Swiss Chalet chicken. It's also stuffed with rice and chestnuts, so the meat is extra tender and the rice is extra rich. I'd eaten a big pot of spicy chicken stew (suitable for three persons or one Gregarious Monk) there before but this time Se-yeong treated us to a roast chicken. Simply awesome.

Hmmmm. Monday. Where did Monday go? Ah, right, Lynn wanted to visit the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan and I went along just to hang out. I hoped we could visit the Busan Museum, which is a bit small for the size of the city but it's a pretty good museum as those places go. Sadly, the museum was closed and we lurched off in search of yet more Korean barbecue restaurants. We were both half-mad with hunger by this point and wandered a fair bit before we decided to head off to a galbi restaurant I had found in my rambling around the city. It was a bit more expensive than usual, which is to say that it cost about $30CDN for the both of us to gorge ourselves on little hunks of barbecued marinated beef and an array of little side dishes, salad and soup.

Tuesday Keith and I decided to climb to the top of Geumjeong again to stretch out the cramps that were the evil fruit of Saturday's hike. It took us about three hours to climb to the top, head off in a direction we hadn't taken before and end up on the back of the mountain in a neighbourhood next to where I work. It takes me a half-hour by bus commute to get there normally, so I guess a three hour hike (including the rest stop we took to gorge ourselves on dried squid, Gatorade and candy bars) isn't too bad. We decided to take a cab back to my neighbourhood but we encountered the strange phenomenon that I have only encountered with taxi drivers here in Korea: the driver refused to turn his cab the other way, even though there are u-turn lanes all over the place here where drivers can easily and legally reverse direction. We got him to drop us at the subway station instead. The $10-15 cab fare looked better in our pockets anyway.

Well, it's Thursday now. A short work week and another weekend looms. What adventures will it hold? Tattoo-gazing, flirting drunkeness? Knee-busting trans-mountain hiking? Superhuman feats of gustatory overindulgence? Buddha's birthday weekend was the best I've had in quite a while.

1 comment:

  1. Makes me wish I could have been there! You look good!


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