Saturday, 27 December 2003

Getting Things Up To Date

Ok, as I'm about a week out of date I'm going to do a quick catch up to get things current.

After returning from the Visa run I had a couple of days at the school, sitting in on lessons. I sat in on the teacher I'm to replace, a fairly quiet and gentle American called Josh with a beard I only award 5/10. For comparison I award mine between 8 and 9/10. I also sat in on another teacher called John's lessons. John is allegedly Scottish but sounds too well spoken to be truly Scottish, but he has a calm, dry sense of humour which appeals. Josh also had a sense of humour but it wasn't very developed (ie, wasn't as degraded as I prefer).

50 year old paedo-glasses David has no sense of humour at all. I know this because I made a joke about him being a child molester and he didn't even smile a little.

No, that's not true, don't worry.

On the weekend I went to Cheonan (pronounced Chu-nan), a city of 500,000 quite near Seoul. Not out of any keen interest to experience the city itself, but to visit H, the "inspiration" for my being in Korea.

It was a bitterly cold weekend in Cheonan, and emotions between myself and H grew barely warmer than the weather. No no, of course it was an overwhelming delight to see the old deviant again, and straight from meeting hm we went out for some food then drinks. I was reminded quite quickly what an absolute lightweight H is when it comes to alcohol as after just 4 pints he was becoming incoherent. But it was fun catching up with him and getting his impressions of the country, and hearing him speak patchy Korean. For those of you who know H you'll know that even his first language English caused his not infrequent difficulty, so his mastery of Korean was not quite complete, although it was enough to function.

The next day the plan was to visit the Independence Hall/Museum a few miles from the city. It's a massive near-Communist looking piece of architecture dedicated to Korean indepedence from Japanese occupancy at the first half of the 20th century. The museum briefly mentioned the history of Korean and then focussed almost entirely on the Japanese occupation and the evil of Japan. After a good hour or two of anti-Japanese propaganda you got the slight impression that there was a bit of animosity.

Back into town then and a visit to a contemporary art exhibition featuring people like Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin, which I found quite interesting. According to H, the guy who owns most of the centre of Cheonan, a guy called Ci Kim, is a big fan of modern art and is the reason for the bizarre sculptures that grace the city centre. Like a giant stairway stuck on the side of a building with people walking up it. It definitely improved the city in my opinion, as otherwise Cheonan would be nothing more notable than a transport hub, as it didn't really stand out otherwise.

We saw Lord of the Rings later on, which was suitably impressive, and that was it for the day.

Back to Daegu the next day, and pre-Christmas days were spent in my apartment, at the school, or visiting Matt and Nicki one evening.

Christmas Eve I dressed up as Santa for the bemused/terrified/delighted (mostly the first two) children who had to sit on my knee and get their photo taken. After about the 50th child this became quite exhausting.

On Christmas Eve I got drunk with a bunch of Westerners and lost my camera much to my annoyance as I'd only had it a week and it a sexy sexy piece of equipment. It was a pretty drunken evening though, round a series of mostly forgotten bars/clubs ending with me in some restaurant in the morning of Christmas Day with some entirely random people. I got some sleep then, felt quite ill, then met up with some more Westerners in the evening for a more laid back night.

I'm already in touch with the Daegu English speaking community and it seems like quite a good one. Of the many people I've met, 15% seem people that I judge as undesirable in my life, 50% seem like people that I don't mind knowing but if were shot dead then I wouldn't grieve for too long, but the remaining 35% have potential to be ok.

Tonight then looks to be a combined birthday(s)/leaving night(s) for various people which I'll attend but behave myself because my money really is very tight now and until I get paid I simply can't afford the lifestyle of a waster.

Ok, but I'm up to date now, to my relief, so will write again when I've got news of any relevance.

And Merry Christmas to everyone too.

My school.

The return of the original deviant, H.

The Independence Hall in Cheonan.


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