The other stuff I didn’t mention about taking a day out was that I went to a small seaside place called Jeong-dong-jin, which is about 20 minutes on the bus south of Gangneung.
It seems like the most recent edition of Lonely Planet, Korea is out of date enough to be almost useless.
It was a pretty nice little area – the sand looked pretty good for Korea. It was nice to see the eastern horizon. This place actually tries to be touristy – in that they have stuff for the tourist to do. There is a hotel perched on the side of the hill and it’s shaped like a cruise ship.
There’s this one little museum called ‘timestory’ which is all about clocks or cogs inside of clocks, I don’t exactly know because I didn’t go in. There used to be a gramophone museum, boasting that it was the largest in the world, but I guess it just got too big because they moved it to the other side of Gangneung and, as a result I didn’t see it.
A little further up the coast is a place called ‘Unification Park’ – one could ponder on the name for some time because the park is made up of one captured North Korean submarine and one donated yanky WWII cruiser. Check out the totally ace fotos here.
At this point I would like to point out that this is one thing that the LP book got completely wrong—the unification park is North of Jeongdongjin, not south.
I often get the feeling that the reader must think I am shitcanning everything I write about, and maybe sometimes this is true. There is some things I notice and I want to pass it on, usually without animosity intended. I mean, just look at how well I coped with that bus ride.
The yankee boat, I don’t know it’s name, was really quite big inside. The Korean Navy used the opportunity to put a bunch of recruiting propaganda posters and stuff in there, but at some point they ran out, so there’s also ceramics, fake plants and all manner of brick-a-brack.
I am going to write to the Korean Navy and suggest that their new slogan should be, “Korean Navy: It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll”.
The NK sub was really something else. You can imagine how excited I was to actually walk through a submarine that was being used in real, evil actions eleven short years ago.
The only info I have to go on is what the Lonely Planet said, so who knows if it’s true, but they say that when it crapped out on the rocks, there was 12 crew and 15 soldiers on board, which is pretty amazing considering how little space there is in there. I never knew they made subs that weren’t painted black (excepting the little yellow ones that people like Jacque Cuosteau drive).
I can find sweet FA info about this sub incident on the internet—but L.P. says that when it ran aground the captain had the crew shot rather than get into the hands of the S.koreans, then he and the soldiers made an attempt to get back north via land. They didn’t make it and they all got shot.
Please also see ‘A Trip to the Sea’ for info on Jeong-dong-jin.
Oh man, I just got back from a bus ride that normally takes two hours forty but today it was six hours forty. I coped with it surprisingly well. It’s situations like that that make me feel like The Jews in Nazi Germany—being herded into a boxcar = ‘perhaps something good will happen!’, being put in a big shower room with no clothes on = ‘I’ve got a feeling things are going to get better real soon’.
Every time the bus sped up I thought – ah that’s the end of it, it was just a car broke down snarling things up and it’ll be plain sailing from now on.
However, when we got to about halfway between yoju and eee-cheon, and it was gridlock from then on, again like the jews, I just resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, so just chilled. It’s a good thing me waters were not moving.
I have to hand it to the driver too. He made a break for it down the emergency lane whenever possible. You know how you can get stuck in a three-lane jam like that. You look out the window and see the same people over and over, eventually becoming like a little rolling community – you know that? Well it wasn’t happening because the driver was picking the quick lane all the time.
In any case I think I’ll write a letter to the law makers and suggest that the next time this national holiday comes up, they should make it that if a car breaks down on the motorway, its fair game for the other cars to shove it off and over the embankment. Or obliterate it with large-calibre machine guns. I can’t decide which.
I’ve always thought it was right for each person to have a theme song; one particular song that encapsulated their personality – maybe partly through lyrics but certainly not necessarily. In fact I had often been drawn to instrumentals.
My first theme song was The Lonely Bull by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana brass. Up until recently it was the version of The Guns of Navarone that The Skatalites, an old ska band, did. I think I’ve just switched again.
That’s right, Hall & Oates, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do). Rediscovering it again last week—and then looking into the history of the track sealed the deal. Blue-eyed soulsters. A couple of whiteys successfully imitating a black sound, with this track at least. I like that sort of cross-over. Using violins on disco tracks is a similar example, although unrelated to (no can do).
I’d actually like to write a major motion picture detailing the rise (and fall) of the Hall & Oates duo. One pitfall I can immediately see is that it would be difficult to not have a lot of it set in a recording studio, which would be boring. I would have one or two gratuitous scenes to do with John Oates’ moustache. They would not be overly long, but enough to make the critics comment on it.
Another theme would be the teamwork thing, how eventhough Daryl Hall was the frontman and the pretty boy/girl he needed Oates there as some sort of cosmic balancer. I like it how, in the videoclips, Oates essentially does nothing. He holds a guitar, sings the odd backing word and has a moustache.
To the people here, is not the weather fan-fucken-tastic at the moment?—take away the humidity but leave the warmth and the viability to lead a normal life here goes up by magnitudes.
Anyway, so last night as I crawled out of the subway hole as per usual, I decided to walk home rather than catch the battle-bus.
There was some sort of festival event outside a govt. building. A high-school age band played the main riff of Nirvana’s Smell’s Like Teen Spirit, but stopped when it got to the singing bit. They threw their heads around more than was called for, wore girl’s cardigans and had terrible taste in guitars. You’re not supposed to use a slap-bass for a song like that.
Then within minutes the whole stage changed and it became like some kind of quarter-circus. There was a metal cage with a fucking tiger in it! The cage seemed overly small, the tiger didn’t look well treated and I immediately felt sorry for it. These kind of things, outdoor public events in Seoul, you can be assured that there will be no shortage of spot-lights or PA-volume. The speakers are always set to the highest so that the sound is breaking up. They played that 80s pop single, Man Eater (look out boy here she comes she’s a) by Hall & Oates.
Hall & Oates
I was kind of surprised at how they’d picked an appropriate song, but still had doubts that the tiger was a girl. The door lifted on the cage, the the tiger took a step out and pounced on a guy standing not far away. I really don’t know what he was doing standing there in the first place, on the stage like that. And of course the tiger was pissed, what with all the noise, light … plus the small cage.
I happened to be standing at an angle where I could see it all; all being how it swatted at his head to knock him back off balance and then (!) I dead-set saw those huge eye-teeth puncture right through the guy’s torso—stomach, kidneys, liver—who knows.
It reminded me of those teethy things you use to remove staples from bits of paper that’ve been stapled.