Wanting to enjoy my first proper weekend in Korea, I decided to take a trip to Seoul on Friday night. I’d agreed to meet some friends and presumed that the 2 hour bus ride was a cinch considering it only cost me 9,000 won (£5) to travel to Gangnam Station. This was capital news, considering I had a hot date.
I’d been settling in at my school and the principal had taken me to a very traditional Korean establishment at the end of the week to make sure he hadnt scared me too much with his “big boss” routine (which, in all honesty, he had). We were knelt down on thin cushions and in front of us there must have been in excess of over forty raw oysters each.
Not wanting to look like a poof, I gobbled them down with lashings of tabasco sauce and hearty helpings of kimchi while my principal, clearly impressed, picked at his plate and deferred to the rice and spinach soup after a couple of clams.
We ate swiftly as we had to get back to work, so I was waiting to finish my last class of the day when Mr Choi (who I have since nicknamed “The Guvnor”) offered to give me an earlier ride to the bus station so I could hit Seoul with more time to spare.
An hour later, I was on the bus and feeling very worldly. We hit a slight bottleneck of traffic around the outskirts of Daejeon and suddenly, without prior warning, I felt my stomach lurch.
Again, for those of you that arent keen of toilet humour, even at the expense of the dear author here, I suggest you go and read something about little fluffy kittens for about 5 minutes.
Feeling the colour drain from my face, I grabbed the headrest in front of me and shut my eyes. My gut was building like a pressure-cooker and without some form of relief it felt like I was going to explode.
I looked at the elderly Korean gent next to me, I felt like a suicide bomber having second thoughts, would he mind? He’s probably lived through a war, it might just send him to sleep for the remainder of the journey.
So, sliding in my seat for some ease of release, I hit a snag: I was planning to open Pandora’s Box only a crack and stop it from yabbering, but we all know how that turned out, dont we?
Imagine the how the sense of wonder, the idea of being a 21st century Marco Polo completely disappears when you arrive at Gangnam station with the sneaking suspicion that you have shat your pants.
Avoiding her at the station was very difficult (being the only white boy in the vicinity, scuttling to the toilets while trying to maintain a devilish smile) and I had to deposit the offending boxers in a bin; I pity that poor sod that finds them.
Popping some pills was the answer, though I got the feeling that the Korean chemist was more interested in if I could be cured with Ginseng. I wished I had the Korean language skills to politely tell him, with a bit of persuasion from my insides, that the only way to cure my current state with Ginseng was to take a big root of it and…well.
A day after, once we’d seen the royal palace and hopped from subway to subway, we decided to get a bite to eat at a little traditional eatery around the back of this side-street we were perusing. I never learn…
One of our party, as we were halfway through a meal of gorgeous and succulent meat, suddenly uttered a gasp and stared hard at the menu.
After some garbled translation, we were unsure as to whether or not we were feasting on fatted calf, or if we had accidentally ordered a meal of finest pooch…it was particularly sweetened and (is it wrong to say this?) very tasty.
All will be revealed, in the next installment…when I have changed my underpants (for the fifth time.)