2 Chrises, 1 flood, Chicken, and Korea
You may ask, what do these things have in common?? My answer would be to you…1 week my friend, 1 week.
It all started a little over 10 days ago when the misses and I closed up shop and took the slow ferry to Hiroshima. Let me just say, if you are going to Hiroshima, the slow ferry is the way to go. Comfortable seats, Suntory Premium Malts and slot machines abound while chilling on the deck watching the islands go by is very nice.
We stayed at the illustrious Hana Hostel in Hiroshima where we ended up hanging out with Mori (Hana Hostel) and Masa (J-hoppers Osaka) while dining on hiroshima okanomiyaki. For the uninitiated, Hiroshima has it’s own take on the delicacy with noodles and a Black or White option-we took the black and it was very delicious.
Next morning we took a detour to Miyajima on our way to the international Ferry terminal in Fukuoka. Miyajima is one of the most visited places in Japan; right after Tokyo and Kyoto, and it’s not too hard to tell why. I will not go into depth describing a place that has been described countless times, but the sight of the floating Tori from the edge of the Shrine is something that should be beheld by every man, woman and child. Our highlight, I must say though, had to have been the hike up to Daishoin temple and sacred Mt. Misen (though not all the way up to the top unfortunately…next time!)
Our transfer from Miyajima to Fukuoka to Busan (via fast ferry) was seamless and we arrived to the country of my birth free of hassle (please note, I was NOT born in South Korea; I don’t know why I said that).
t’s been a good 2 years since I’ve set foot on the peninsula after a 3 1/2 stint teaching the Englishe there, and I must say, it was strange to be back. Not only have I forgotten the most rudimentary Korean words but I could barely use the subway; absolutely pathetic!
The meet up with the old crew was pretty awesome-we had Korean bbq, lots of beer, discussions about this and that and ended up at one of my old haunts “Da rok” or as we called it, the art bar. After crashing on a good buddies floor for the evening (thanks Derek!) in the morning we headed over to Nampo to do a bit of shopping, eating and (sort of) sightseeing.
Sightseeing in Korea is different to sightseeing in other places; it pretty much consists of eating beef, looking at bizarre seafood products, trying to avoid nasty smells and adjumas selling crap and taking in the occasional temple or mountain park gym thingy. All and all, awesome!
We finished off the day with a rainstorm and a healthy serving of scallops served over a modified wheel with a square screen for the table. I know I’m not selling it, but this is 75% of the reason I why I came to Korea. The place is in Millak-dong, on the coast, next to Gwanan beach and next to a huge fish market. You order the amount of scallops you want by the kilo; the “tent” owner calls a scallop lady from the fish market next door who comes running over (rubber boots and all) and you pay the scallop lady for the product.
You throw the still-moving scallops on the grill; once they open you remove the scallop from the shell, cut the poop out and put it in a aluminum pan with onions, peppers, garlic and butter all while drinking as much crap beer as you can. The intoxifying scent quickly becomes a reality as everyone around your table (which probably used to be someone’s screen window or something) goes to town. It ended up costing 20,000W (17$) a person to get drunk and very well fed on scallops. We finished the night at great bar on Gwangan beach sipping on hard cider and micro brews from America (Korea certainly has changed since I left!) It was great seeing everybody again; Thanks Lindy, Jen, Derek, Boram, Monica, Neil, Chris, Marshell and Jil.
Next morning Chris (Chris #1 from the blog title), Noriko and I took a return ferry to Fukuoka and for that story; you must check back in a couple of days to part 2 of…2 Chrises, 1 flood, Chicken and Korea!