I don’t know how Vinnie conned me into this but we voluntarily and without necessitating circumstances stayed at a strangers house in Pusan. It did not go very well.

I mentioned that we met up with a few couch surfers last night and other than making their ears bleed with the sound of Vinnie’s rapping, it went well.  So, with that in mind, we chose to stay with a 50-year old Korean man who on the surface seemed fairly normal.

Couch surfing is a lot like online dating (and in some circles, I think the community actually uses it as a dating service).  Your online profile matters a lot and  your friends and references are crucial.  I (Kristine) did not take this into consideration and got us into bit of a mess.

Meet Mr. Kim:

Likes – Yoga, perverted sex jokes, driving foreigners to empty forests for long walks, potentially murderous inclinations and Celine Dion. Dislikes – his children, job and wife. Nervous ticks include- continually putting passenger windows up and down, turning on emergency lights and leering at women. Tagline “Korea Number One!”

Mr. Kim had no problem immediately putting us in our place when we met him 15 feet away from where he wanted:  “I told you.  Meet me a Enter-ance. Enter-ance is not Foyer. Foyer is Foyer.”  I should have known that this was going to be bad.

He immediately leads us to his car and wants us both to sit in the back. Instead, I shove Vin in the front and try to take up as little room in the back as possible. Mr Kim then told me that because I am not sitting with my husband, I don’t love him and am now single. WEIRD. Already my throat was closing in with fear and my mother’s sound advice not to get in a car with strangers was ringing in my ears.

He took us to the UN cemetery, which was lovely and normal and heartbreaking.  It’s amazing to see the sheer number of American soliders who died (33,000) and to know what a difference it made to modern day South Korea.

Image of Buddha

This is when things took a turn and never returned.  After the UN cemetery Mr. Kim took us to a modern day temple where he loudly made fun of the women worshiping and pretended to be Buddha. He asked, “Why Buddha sit like this?”

Ummm… I’m not sure (thinking it was a cultural or religious question).

Mr Kim reached with one hand and said, “Jesus give me” and with his other hand flicked me -HARD- on the forehead.

Now this doesn’t sound so horrible, but what came next was epic.  “Hey, you know the story of Seven Up?” He then proceeded to tell us about how the seven dwarves spied on Sleeping Beauty as she showered naked, each dwarf getting a hard on. WHHHHAAAAT?

We should have turned around then…..

Mr Kim was very proud to be Korean and really wanted to show us some good views of the city.  He shuttled us up one deserted mountain cliff to another, driving like a bat out of hell on backroads meant for billygoat hikers.

At one lookout cliff we caught a glimpse of Japan and may have frustrated Mr. Kim with our excitement. He made a point of telling me, “Korean man pee very hard.” “Korean man pee hard and Japan wonder why it is raining”

I don’t know what was more frightening: hiking in an empty forest where he could kill us and hide the bodies, or driving with him next to 1,000 foot drops.

He had even made a cd titled “Vincent”, including the Don McLean song that goes “But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”

CREEPY.

In addition to hating his job, he hated his family.  His wife is fat.  She didn’t breast feed the children, and Mr. Kim believes that his son and daughter are the stupid children of cow milk.

The next morning he busted in the room at 8:00 am to see if I was dressed and then made me do his dishes.