Today was a testing / city-wide evaluations day so nobody had classes. We still had to show up from 8:30 to 4:30 as standard though. My co-teacher wasn't around, so it was your average day of desk-warming. It was more boring than I thought...there's only so much Treme you can watch at work before you start to feel like a worthless piece of shit.
Welcome to the public sector. Here's you reclining office chair...
School lunch is still a very exciting time for me. This time I actually saw the principal take her meal. So she does eat from the same trough as us peons! Everyone that had arrived early enough to witness this glorious spectacle stood in deference to her. The first guy in line told the gym-teacher-bro to go first using body language but GTB insisted on waiting his turn.
We've had some interesting dishes, like mugwort soup (awful). The only meat in today's lunch was pork in a Mung Bean soup. My mom has made Mung Bean soup before, and despite her mediocre cooking skills the stuff wasn't bad.
Pork however, should stay the fuck away from mung beans. This soup was bland and the texture of the mung bean does not mix at all with bony grey meat. I shed a tear for the waste of perfectly good meat.
Six hours into my shift I just started staring at the ceiling and going through my Pink Floyd songs. Hmmm, what should I do today. Hill sprints and jump rope? Lift heavy stuff? How about...
The overall situation with my hair was way past Stylishly Long and encroaching Prisoner of War territory. I'd heard about a guy in Geumnyeonsan who speaks English and is held in high regard by the ex-patriate community, so I called him up with Google Voice and set up an appointment. I also made a massage appointment with some Irish guy's wife in Hadan, at the south end. I found her through word of mouth too. The VIP package was only 50k and included an hour of massage and an hour of facial treatment. I'll come back to this later...
Getting to Geumnyeonsan by subway wasn't too bad- forty minutes, 2 transfers and a direction change saved me some time. The Line 2 which connects me to the world is quite long and windy, so you can usually make a transfer that saves you a lot of time. It was finding a global ATM once I got there that was a bitch. Even though most ATMs have Chinese/Japanese/English options, that doesn't mean they accept non-Korean credit cards. After running around for 15 minutes in this grey, ugly district, I lucked out and found a global ATM in a 7/11.
Man do I love a good haircut! Because I can count the number of good haircuts I've had on one hand and still have fingers to spare. The guy chopped off almost all of my hair and it looks fantastic. I'll definitely be coming back to The Hair by Young-Na. Additionally, he played American football in high school and was a self-hating chemistry major through college so he gets points for that too.
The massage part of the story
Now I'd heard about Hadan before. My buddy Brett, the cat I roomed with during orientation is out there with a bunch of other EPIK teachers one stop before the southwest end of the line, whereas I'm at the Northwest. He likes Hadan, says its pretty busy, and pretty young co-eds pour out of the Dong-A university quite regularly. The Muslim kid got put up in an apartment right in the middle of the red light district, which I find fucking hilarious, I didn't even know there was one. A red light district, that is.
I found out about this massage place from a Facebook post made by a guy a few days ago. He said his wife had just opened up a massage location, so I emailed him and got the directions and appointment from him. When I found the small shop in a side street, I was greeted by a beautiful woman in her early 30s with a confused look on her face. I looked at the prices and decided 50k for a 2 hour VIP package is a hell of a lot cheaper than anything I could get in the West so I'll take it. The shop was quiet, clean but small, and she had no other employees working. She took to me to the back and that's when I noticed she had an absolutely beautiful backside that was just busting out of her tight, long shirt-thing that Korean girls often wear. It was a one of those works of art that leave you wondering if it was the result of calculated effort or an extraordinary occurrence of raw nature.
For a woman married to an Irish guy, her English was pretty bad. I tried to make conversation with her, but I had to dumb it down to simple questions and jokes. Her husband was an English teacher, and her lost passion was drawing. She considers herself part of the.. *** generation. I don't remember what she called it, not the lost generation... but it is characterized by boredom, boringness, and an empty view of life that revolves around the generation of wealth and intellectual stagnation. Not in her words, of course. She'd been trained in Korean massage techniques at an academy in Busan, where she grew up. The massage was good, I'd give it an 8/10. She did some interesting things with my chest that I'd never had before, other than that, it was a standard sports/deep tissue massage given by an experienced practitioner. She thought I may have confused her parlor for a different type of massage parlor, because I was her first male customer. I asked her to explain, and she said that in Korea guys don't look for massages with pure intentions. From my perspective this is strange. Massages are so therapeautic whether you exercise heavily or sit at a desk all day, and paying more than 75 cents for a hand-job is just nonsense.
After an hour, she told me to flip over and then put these air-boots over my legs that started massaging them robotically. She then proceeded to spread something very, very chocolatey over my face, so I guess this was the facial beautifcation part of the VIP package. She repeated this process with at least eight different creams, massaging my face and neck intermittently, and I also got that masque treatment with the cucumber slices on the eyes. This creaming of/on/off my face went on for a LONG time. As effeminate as young Korean men can be, I guess the line stops at women's beauty parlors. I let her know that she was making me feel like the prettiest princess in Busan.
She asked me what I was doing after this, and I told her, “iunno waddoyouwannadotoday” and she offered to show me around Hadan. She put her boots on and away we went! It felt great to have someone's hot wife as my escort, even if I couldn't communicate very well with her. First, she took me through the brightly lit pedestrian hub of Hadan, which we decided to just label Whore's Cross. I thought it was funny that the prostitutes were so densely concentrated into one area. There were many more sexually charged noraebang advertisements than usual, and my escort, Laura, pointed one out to me that said Full Course in Korean. Meaning you could get some drinks, sing a few songs and get a full course meal of mouth for an appetizer and hair pie as an entree. Even though Laura was a church going Christian, she had a pretty good humor about sex.
She took me to her favorite restaurant in Hadan, a cheap and delicious pork barbecue place just up the street from Whore's Cross where there's another place just as densely packed, except instead of prostitutes, small restaurants. This area we couldn't think of a name for, so I suggested we call it, The Good-Smelling Intersection Near Whore's Cross.
From the outside, the restaurant looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. I don't have the pictures to show you because well, you know, but each BBQ pit had a bronze tube descending from the ceiling to siphon the carbon gas from the charcoals. We had a big bottle of shitty Korean beer and chatted while she cooked two orders of Dweet-go-gi for me.
I LOVED it, it's chunks of pork, and the side dishes that came with it tasted much better than the usual things you get at a restaurant. It was like a poor man's sam gyap sal, but in no way inferior. Instead of kim-chi, there were romaine lettuce leaves basted in a similar sauce, a dish of sweet brown powder next to a red mild sauce, bean sprouts, a dish containing only 3 cloves of garlic in a brown liquid, and perilla leaves. What made it better was that she tended the meat the whole time, all I had to do was enjoy the food and pour her beer. To show my appreciation of her hospitality, I drew her a portrait of herself, which I have faithfully reproduced here:
After dinner she took me to check out the nearby University. It was cool, being a towering structure on a steep hill, but we hung out too long and I had to take a cab home. Even though it wound up being ten times the price of the subway, it was a lot faster, so not a total loss. I told her to keep in touch, and she said she would get my email from her husband (lol), I hope she does, because she had a pretty butt.