Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lazy weekend

Beautiful. What the weather was not like last weekend.

This picture is from Bukhansan National Park in northeast Seoul on a Sunday a few weeks ago when the city looked fake and dreamlike without the usually compulsory layer of dull smog/fog/yellow dust draping itself over the Seoul skyline. Unlike the beautiful weather we had that day, last weekend was overcast and rainy. It was especially rainy on Saturday when Barbara and I had planned on going from Incheon to Muiido island for some beach-time and an island party later in the evening.

We went to Incheon despite the drab sky, hoping it would brighten up by the time we arrived. The sky was still dark when we got off the subway in Incheon so we stopped for lunch in China Town, where I ordered of the "vegetarian" menu. I was shocked to find such a thing in Korea but the excitement was short-lived when I received my lovely "vegetarian" rice dish with small cubes of ham impossibly mingling with the rice.

We came out of the restaurant and the sky looked long overdue for a storm. Lightening and thunder had already started and all that was missing was the rain, which came down in sheets minutes before we reached shelter. We huddled under a small umbrella under a tree while the fattest rain drops to ever piss down on Korea (since I've been here) continued to find their way, via the wind, under our half-ass shelter. We braved it for a taxi when we noticed a pause in the downpour but we soon discovered the sky was merely catching her breath for an even stronger bout of rain. We were drenched by the time we pulled the collapsed umbrella into the taxi and settled into our puddles on the seat. At least the taxi driver found it amusing.

Barbara and I dried out in a DVD bang where we proceeded to watch three movies, pig out on junk food, and disagree on which movies to watch. We ended up watching Silmido, Requiem for a Dream, and Alfie. My laziest Saturday in Korea ended up being lots of fun. Leaving a dark room where you've been watching the highlights of other people's lives play across a screen all day does leave you feeling kind of displaced though.

After our movie/food fest we went to a salt water sauna near Yonnan pier to soak and relax after a stressful day of doing nothing. We slept (as usual when sleeping at a sauna) on the floor in a room full of sprawling Koreans with blocks of wood for pillows. It wasn't quite what Barbara was expecting in terms of the sleeping arrangements and I don't know if she'll do it again but she made it through one night at least.

Sunday wasn't as bad but it was still overcast and rain drizzled down periodically throughout the day. We went to Hwagyesa and made it in time for two of the mediation sessions and then a dharma talk by Bo Haeng Sunim. He's the damned funniest monk I've ever met!

After the temple I met a couple friends for dinner at Everest for some Nepalese/Tibetan/Indian food and then a walk along the Cheongyecheon stream.

Here's to better weather this upcoming weekend.