I had a great time this past weekend. It was good to get out of my regular surroundings and explore Dynamic Korea! I didn't see as much as I could have, though! Most of the train ride up to Seoul was spent fast asleep. With only about an hour of sleep before we left early Saturday morning, I was TIRED! I also didn't get to see too much of Seoul - literally, because it was covered in a thick smog of yellow dust from the Gobi Desert in China. I've never experienced it as bad as it was Saturday, so it wasn't the best day to be out and about in Seoul! The Lost Nomad mentions that pollution levels were measured at 2,281 parts per million in a cubic meter of air in Seoul. In the U.S., officials consider 301-500 parts per million to be a hazardous health concern. So, you can imagine how gnarly it was. I was surprised that a lot of people weren't wearing masks, which is so common for people to don if they're sick here or the air is bad, but apparently this dust storm caught most people off guard. As the day wore on, we saw more and more people covering their mouths and noses with handkerchiefs. I bet the car washes raked in profits. Cars were just coated in grime!
Anyhow. We spent Saturday night somewhere on the outer edge of Seoul at the sister and her husband of a friend of C's apartment. Her and her husband were such gracious hosts. The house party was relatively small, as they tend to be in Korea (since apartments are often fairly small, I guess) but ten of us ate samgyupsal (grilled pork) with the most delicious beanpaste (made by the hostess's mom) I've ever had, as well as a stew of beef and loads of mushrooms picked out of a hot pot and dipped into an icy vinegared broth. We drank loads of soju too out of fancy crystal shot glasses. The couple had just married a month before, and I gather the crystal wear was wedding gifts, as they still sported all their tags! What a nice couple, and the other guests were funnnnnny! None of them, except C., could speak much English, but they made me feel really welcome.
After a couple hours of food and booze we headed out to the noraebang (karaoke) which had a brutal selection of English songs. Who the hell is Andy Williams anyway? I couldn't help but laugh at the enthusiastic boogie-ing down going on in front of the massive screen with all the disco lights blaring. It was like my new friends had been let out from the home for a special night, and had came via the short bus to party down. A couple of the guys should have been wearing helmets. Bring from "the home" would explain why they thought it was funny to ruin each other's perfectly good glasses of beer by filling them with the complimentary shrimp chips provided! Anyhow, they left my beer alone, so that was nice. It was a lot of fun, though!
I'd like to tell you how lovely the wedding was on Sunday morning, but I can't. We were SO LATE! (An hour and 40 minutes!) I wasn't in charge of setting alarms and getting us up, the guys were; and they didn't do a very good job! In fact, they gave me about ten minutes to get ready before we were out the door. (Without a shower, and coated in the previous day's train-funk and yellow grime, I felt so ratty!) They just totally underestimated the time it would take to get from where we were to where we needed to go. We made it to the hotel just as lunch was wrapping up. We were able to eat from the big buffet, which was pretty good. At the hotel, they just churn weddings out all day, and had a constant rotation in the large dining area for guests from different weddings! We ended up dining with the guests from the wedding following C's friends'!
The weekend wrapped up nicely. Delicious icy fruit drinks waiting for the express bus. Naps and more naps all the way home with intermittent appreciation of the passing scenery. Shopping for dinner, cooking, and movie watching at my place. (Wedding Crashers, which was funny!) All in all, it really was a great weekend.
I'm really tired, though, and the weather isn't helping to pep me up; it's been raining pretty non-stop since last night. The cherry blossoms are all going away, which is sad, but c'est la vie, eh? Here's what they were like last Friday, though.
If you look closely in the background toward the left, you can see a line of cherry blossom trees leading up the mountain. My apartment balcony overlooks it. Sweet!
**You REALLY have to look closely, huh? If anyone knows how I can get photos sized just right, please let me know? I use Photobucket, and only have the option to resize 75, 50, or 25% of the original size. I think I'd like about 60% or so. I'd like photos snug enough to fit the frame without shifting the sidebar to the bottom of the page. See the borrowed pic of my camera a few posts back? That size is perfect! Does anyone have any suggestions?
[Notes - 12.2]Four weeks from departure
16 hours ago