The hot soba I ate in Bangkok twice. Once before I got food poisoning, and once afterward. Somehow, despite all the delicious food we had in Thailand, I can remember the taste of this second bowl of noodles more clearly than the crab cakes we hunted out, the grilled chicken that was so famous, the tom yum goong that had us raving. Because it meant comfort and relief from pain. How powerful they remain in our memories, those feelings.
Overlooking Shibuya Crossing on a rainy day. The busiest intersection in the world they say. Goodbye Japan, it’ll be a while before I sumimasen my way around the country.
Souvenir from Namhae Island.
We stopped the car and asked the farmer how much the garlic was. She pointed to a bag one feet high and said 30,000 won. When I told her we just wanted a little, couldn’t take all that on the bus ride back up to Seoul, she laughed so hard and said OK, I’ll sell you 5,000 won worth and then said I don’t think I have ever sold only 5,000 won worth but I’m doing it for you because you are so pretty. By which she meant that we were young and she had been young once too, and youth is irresistible, nearly always.
Weekend getaway to Namhae Island! It was charming, delightful, surprising. Wonderful in every way a weekend getaway could be.
Top to bottom: Daraengi Village, Daraengi Village, Boriam Temple at Geum Mountain, and Sangjo Beach.
We went kayaking and ate fishes galore and drove and kissed and laughed.
South Sea Jewel — Daraengi Village, Namhae (source)
Chico and I are headed to Namhae for the weekend. It looks like a dreamy seaside town, and we can’t wait to see what people call a treasure island.
We’re taking the bus from Seoul to Namhae, spending a night at a $40 motel near the station, renting a car early in the morning, and driving off to explore.
It’s such a short trip, I didn’t think it would be worth it to go all the way down there, but Chico convinced me it would be okay. We have plans to kayak and visit this village in the picture on Saturday and then to hike on Sunday.
What I’d really like to do is go swimming in the ocean. It’s so rare to see that in Korea. I don’t like playing in the water near the shore. I like going as far out as my nerves will let me and then swimming or floating, and feeling a little bit powerless and in total awe of the world. It’s a great place to meditate.
But several times while swimming out in different beaches across Korea, I have been sharply whistled back by the lifeguard. Once, a lifeguard came in to the water with a megahorn to get me out. I was not by any means that far out — just farther out than the very tight safety line collectively kept by swimmers — but everyone watched me get chastised back onto shore, and I thought about how this has never happened to me in the Mediterranean or the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico. And I thought that it’s a shame they don’t know the joy of bobbing in the ocean.
More than a year ago, I ran a 10K in Seoul. Chico made a deal with me. Run it in x minutes or less, we’ll go to the Shilla Hotel buffet. Done! But…what about if I am slower than x minutes? Then nothing.
No. I need a consolation prize — VIPs buffet.
So I ran without any pressure, and I ran it in exactly x minutes.
(Why don’t I tell you the exact number? Because it’s an embarrassingly long time for a 10K. But that’s not important as the fact that I ran it at all, being so lazy.)
So speaking of lazy, we never made it to the Shilla buffet until last weekend. I called up my herculean ability to eat without making myself sick, and it was a glorious two hours. I do believe that as pricy as it is, I got very good value for the bill.
These plates — there are only ten photos shown because that’s the limit on Tumblr.
Hello beauty, hello verdure, hello hills, hello the temple in the middle of it all. Happy birthday, Buddha. Those lanterns are for you.
I was reading T.R. Reid’s book, Confucius Lives Next Door, a few weeks ago when I came across this reference:
Confucius said: Isn’t it a pleasure when you can make practical use of the things you have studied? Isn’t it a pleasure to have an old friend visit from afar? Isn’t it the sure sign of a gentleman, that he does not take offense when others fail to recognize his ability?”
I had the pleasure of having an an old friend visit from afar, a lovely person I first met when we were both 22 and living in France.
She and her husband met us on Jeju Island and then came up to Seoul to stay with us for a few extra days.
While here, we mostly gorged on Korean food — decadent braised ribs, royal Icheon white rice spreads, light-fried jeon with makkeolli, lots of pork — but one night she cooked for us in our tiny kitchen.
Some Jamie Oliver recipe involving roasted chicken on a bed of potatoes and chorizo, with parsley and lemon zest.