Decidedly urban couple who quit their jobs and successfully backpacked their way through Asia for a year. They met Buddha, drank baijiu and learned to master the squat toilet. Now appearing in a new life as ex-pats in Singapore.

Monthly archive September, 2010

No sleep ’till Pohang

4am in Pohang

Things have started out on a very positive foot – albeit a petite asian foot that kicks you in the head and gives you a day long hangover. In other words, Soju shots as soon as we landed.

I didn’t notice until today that the guidebook strongly suggests NOT to travel on the very day we arrived. It’s harvest moon – a big holiday- and everyone had a few days off and is ready to par-tay, including us. Very Nice! Good Times!

We went out immediately and we stayed out late.  Dinner of grilled clams did nothing to soak up Soju. The side dishes of mushrooms, cabbage and garlic didn’t help much either – but it was damn tasty. The night ended around 4:30 and Stephen ended up sleeping in the woods when he couldn’t manage to find the apartment.

Free cigarettes at dinner

Similar to Brazilians, Korean children live with their parents until they’re married so they head to ‘love motels’ to get it on. You can also go to these motels when you can’t manage to find your way home.  After some time in the woods, Stephen booked a few hours in the local love motel – widely known in Pohang as being fairly upscale. Although he was traveling solo, he was given a condom and a phone number…

The next day we were in wicked bad shape – either because of the 16 hour time difference, jet lag or the alcohol. Koreans believe that certain foods have medicinal effects, so to cure our hangovers we ate Ox blood soup. At the time, we had no idea that the congealed, floating spots of red were anything other than delicious spices. Yes, it was blood.

A few other odd things happened today –  a very tiny Korean woman felt me up and asked if my breasts were real.

Here is a convo with a Korean friend:

Ryu: I-uh so excited come to US.
Kris: Ya, I’m excited to be here in Korea.
Ryu: I-uh land in United States-uh and so suprised. Everyone so white, so fat.
Kris: Ummm, yes.

Delicious meat dinner

Annyoug! Annyoug!

We officially started our trip!

We’re now in Seoul, South Korea (in a damn chic airport with free wifi) waiting for a connecting flight to Busan.   We are spitting distance from the DMZ, the eternal president and his grandson, the future supreme leader. A big thanks to Kim Jong Il for convening a transfer of power during my first day in Korea – my grandma is glued to Fox News and praying for our return.

Anyway! After 12.5 hours of flying and a combined 7 movies, we are now able to say with full certainty that there is no decent Hollywood actress named Jennifer.  (And the A-Team was a bit of a let down too…)

We’re lagged but super siked finally be here.  Sitting in front of an LED TV –  the technical details of which Vinnie really wanted to explain, but it just loks like a flat screen to me.  What’s more interesting is the mother-child dating show where contestants seem to be challenging their grandparents to a sit-up competition. The grandma won.

We already felt right at home – in addition to the flat screens we were greeted by  TWO Duncan donuts and a Coffee Bean.  This is a ‘Large’ ice coffee in South Korea.

Our hiker gear isn’t necessarily chic duds in Korea.  Folks dress exactly the same in San Francisco – which throws a wrench in the works for my jean-free packing job. Oh well.  All that stressing about what to wear and I guess should have packed what I already had.

Hopefully my quick dry panties will come in handy because they’re really not that comfortable!

The real immunization story

I just had to get a post script going on Vinnie’s immunization post. He made it seem like we’re actually on the ball with all of our shots. Ha. One week before leaving SF, I made the appointment to get my shots. Most shots are given in a series so this was a little like showing up to register to vote on election day. I was given an evil side eye glare and a horribly traumatic lecture about the illnesses that will eat my brain, trim my waistline and eventually kill me.

Is it bad that I was interested in the “lose weight from a tape worm” part of the lecture?

Anyway, with the time constraint and the huge cost of the Rabies ($219 x 3) and the Japanese Encephalitis ($245 x 2), I chose not to get all the shots.

I really don’t plan on working with livestock or waterfowl, on rice paddies or on farms.  Why would anyone work with waterfowl? That sounds like 3rd world punishment for North Korean soccer players. I also plan on wearing eau de deet for 12 months (bug spray), so I’m not scared of contracting the dreaded brain eating Jap-E.

I hope that I can get my rabies vaccine abroad where I think it will be cheaper. And I really need that Rabies vaccine because I love dogs more than children and maybe even more than champagne. Here’s a picture of me in Chile – note the number of stray dogs that I chose to befriend.

In the US I spent $239 and received:

  • Regular Flu – not a shot, it was a nose spray!
  • Polio shot
  • Typhoid  shot
  • Tetanus shot

Plan to get  abroad:

  • Rabies
  • maybe Hep A ( I believe I’ve already been vaccinated.)
  • Probably not Japanese Encephalitis