Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A Paycheque, a Swan, a Sweater, and a Man-Purse
Saturday, October 6th marked our last weekend sans paycheque. Thank the maker! Though we always had enough to get-by, it’s been a bit of a struggle to go through the weekends (and weeks for that matter) seeing things you’d like to do or like to get (such as food other than kimbap from time to time) and having to walk-away because of A: lack o’ funds, B: the W120,000 you spent on concert tickets, and C: the start-up costs that one needs to pay upon arrival – things like cell phones, groceries, bedside tables… you know, the whole nine.
Still, we headed into Seoul for a little trip to Yeuido Island with our friend, Amy. I had been longing since we arrived to head to the Han River. It’s a combination of wanting to see more space around me, and wanting to be a huge nerd and see one of the filming sights for a cool Korean flick I saw in Calgary before we left.
It turned-out to be a very relaxing day indeed. We headed into town on the bus in the early PM and went straight to Yeuido which is one of many downtownish-type areas in Seoul. Yeuido is actually an island in the middle of the river. For those Calgarians reading this, think Prince's Island, only the size of the Downtown core. The Han is also a kilometer wide in parts so it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the size of things here. Yeuido is also very upscale, though it wasn’t very busy at all on this particular Saturday afternoon. We ended-up getting off at the wrong stop, though we found our way to the river’s edge after only a short while.
There are about a thousand parks along the Han river within the city limits and they seemingly stretch on for ever. It almost ends-up being more like one huge riverside park with a few breaks in-between. The parks on Yeuido are relatively full of families and people who just want to hang-out by the river, fly a kite with their kids, eat some BBQd squid with their sweetheart, or maybe board a giant swan paddle-boat for some cheesy watery fun!
So that’s what we did. It was nice to be a giant tourist and do something just for the hell of it. We nearly got rocked by some vicious school girls out to play bumper-swans, but we survived and had a good time just the same.
Yeuido also holds one of the bigger tourist attractions in Seoul. The 63 Building is a pretty gold sky-scraper with slanting lines. It houses an aquarium and some other goodies too, though I couldn’t convince the girls to walk that far after leading them around Yeuido for half an hour already.
The walk along the waterfront was great though and it was cool to see some of the sites from the filming of “The Host” – the Korean monster movie I mentioned before. After walking around though, I am pretty convinced that a number of locations were used to stand-in for one. Being a film geek, I am sure that I’ll be checking-out more riverside parks in search of giant mutated amphibious beasties hanging from bridges. I just want to see it all.
But yeah – back to the paycheque. Let me tell you, a fridge sure looks different when it’s full! It’s just better knowing that you can stick to a budget while still being able to buy food that isn’t all the same, every damn day ☺. I’m sure though that I will return to the land of Kimbap from time to time… check that – I already have. But yeah, it’s cool to cook more here at home and I look forward to using Janos’ Korean cook book as soon as possible.
Getting paid also afforded us a couple of cool things this past weekend when we headed into DongDaeMun and NamDaeMun in search of stuff that we’d wanted to pick-up, but could only stare at. Steph got all clothes-happy shopping with Amy and Melissa. I tried talking down the flea market guy on an Arcteryx jacket. Had the jacket been real (it wasn’t), it would have run for somewhere between $600.00 and $700.00 Canadian. He quoted me W130,000 and I got him down to W70,000. Noticing the cheap zipper and poor stitching as well as the hastily sewn-on label, I tried talking him down to $50,000. He got pretty pissed, and I walked-away satisfied that I didn’t get suckered into buying something that would have likely fallen apart in a month.
Then I did something that all Korea-living men eventually break-down and do. I bought a man-purse. Oh yes!!! You see, I always thought it unfair that women should be able to carry all their shite around al the time, while us men only have access to our wallets. As Jason “Recognize” Villanueva would say, “That’s whack!” Especially while I’m in Seoul, I want to be carrying my camera, maybe an umbrella, a book, a guide-book, my ipod, and maybe even my DS. In other words – Davey needs a man purse. So that day, this past Saturday-after-paycheque day, I began my quest.
But first, I had to get into the vibe of what it means to be in Korea and be comfortable with one’s sexuality. I have to say, I’m still not digging the pink (sorry, Rob), but even I have me weaknesses, and my weakness this night manifested itself in the form of a crazy cool dark grey cardigan sweater at a shop by the name of “Teeny Weenie” – yes, that’s correct. TW is a Korean brand that’s pretty upscale and popular judging by the storefronts and interiors that we’ve seen so far. It’s kind of like Ralph Lauren with Teddy Bears instead of polo players and the design is kind of American Collegiate style. Not that I care about any of that, but I do care about the fact that the Fred Rogers in me just needed to try one of these bad boys on and when I did, it was love at first feel. I really don’t care that this makes me look like a grandfather. I’m also comfortable about my age. Dig?
After my sweater purchase, I bid the ladies adieu in search for the man purse, and I would stop at nothing short of perfection. I don’t want something that screams “too hard” or “too soft”. I’ve never been a leather man, and I’ve got book-bags for my laptop etc. at home. No – what I needed was a man-purse that didn’t make me look awkward or desperate. After wandering about the near-deserted streets of Namdae-mun, breathing in the over-powering odor of steaming silkworm pupae, I found it – a subtle little number just perfect for those trips into Seoul. I talked the guy down from 30,000 to 20,000 and I was a happy camper. I’m going to give the little baby a test-drive this weekend, in fact.
Look-out, Seoul, because this weekend there’s going to be a Teeny-Weenie-clad giant nerd wandering your streets, brandishing the meanest Pandora’s-box-of-sass man-purse you’ve ever seen!
In other news... how about those Flames?