Exci(Settle)ment in Songtan [Travelogue]
December 7, 2012 1 Comment
With a month into my stay here in South Korea, I dare say most of the time has been wasted. But, “wasted” might be a harsh term. Although I have yet to travel too far out into the vast lands and many spectacles available in this country, I have indeed settled in quite nice here in the first month. I’ve gotten to know the Americanized strip along Songtan, but like many people around here, I have chosen my watering holes and pretty much limit myself to certain particular places. But unlike many of the foreigners around here, no places I frequent are not blaring out the latest Lil Wayne dance craze to entice passer buyers or filled with scantily clad Juicys wanting you to spend 20,000 won (18 dollars give or take) on a drink just for you to talk to them. No, as I have stated before – The VFW, The Dawg Pound (the CE oriented joint), and for a wild card, a place called The Free Zone (which is finely bartended by the same gentleman who you can find at the VFW). My wonderings around the city and base have eased up a bit because, well……it is freaking cold!
A couple of days ago, that devilish white powder began falling from the sky and a ridiculously rampant page. I had arrived home at 7 a.m. from work, settled into my bed with a Netflix documentary on the drummer of Hole and nice glass of gin and orange juice, only to wake up several hours later to see the entire place blanketed in the filthy white mongrel sperm known as snow. Now, I don’t particularly “hate” snow, I simply wish it only existed in regions of the world I will never live in, or even have to pass through in. Whilst spending much of my time in the Northwest, I learned to endure the rain. In fact, I manage to love and appreciate it. I would still take a weekend in Manzanita on the Oregon Coast in February, over a week in the Jersey Shore or Miami Beach, places I can only imagine reek of fake bronzer, rotten silicone, and regret. No, I like the dreariness. It’s real to me. But, this snow stuff is for the birds. I spent 5 years in the desolate midwest, and 3 years in Eastern Washington (which everyone forgets is just a damn gaggle of prairie lands for the most part)….I want it gone! Although I am definitely more fortunate now that I throw away all my blue collar shirts and am now a hack who sits in front of a computer watching YouTube videos of cats and answering phone calls from people I don’t care to talk to. Unlike my first 8 years where I can clearly wishing death upon myself if it meant putting an end to the ridiculous frost bite my face was feeling at the time. That sort of cold that does absolutely nothing but piss you off.
But, alas, I can manage. It’s a cold walk in the mornings going either to or from work, depending on the schedule, but I have managed to make it work. And I still have managed to make it down to The Dawg Pound and VFW (it was my one day off! I’m going somewhere) to have a few OB Drafts or a couple of Korean Sunrises and to visit my girl Rosie. Rosie being the sweetest pit bull you can ever know. The bartender and owner of The Dawg Pound, an American named Max, began brining this precious little girl, who fits easily on a bar stool, around and we have started to bond. And by bond I mean I always try to bring a pocket full of this disgusting to humans, but lovely for dogs, Korean beef(?) jerky (insert cannibalism joke here) and we are the best of friends for a few minutes. These are the things I do to pass the time. I feed dogs to dogs. Whatever.
Although I do try to partake in as much activity as I can, I would be lying if I didn’t say I spent most of my time sitting in my room watching obscure documentaries about things that probably a dozen people in the world care about, watching my reoccurring TV shows (Can you believe the end of SOA?), and, most importantly, talking to my wife and kids via Skype. The moments I get to see them are the best times here. And since I work such an odd schedule, sometimes I get to talk for a very very long time. Today was actually only the second time since I have been here that I have not gotten to see at least my wife’s beautiful face via Skype. And let me tell you this….it sucks! I can hardly wonder how it was so many years ago when I was lucky to get a phone call a day, and a few pictures every other week or so. Such primitivism!!! Alas, I am thankful for the communication I do have, and at times it really does feel like I am sitting back in that living room in Spokane that I love so much, with the people I love so much. Almost, but not quite.
Beyond this, there is very little to report. My dear friend around here, Whitey is soon be out of here at the end of December, and unlike I would be, he is seriously depressed about it. He would love nothing more than to stay in this land for the rest of his life, and I will not be surprised to hear that he will be a permanent resident in the coming years. So, I have been roaming from the V to Dawg Pound with this guy for the last month, and will continue to do so until he leaves. But, when he leaves, he has left a trail of fine friends who have graciously taken me under their wing. I’ve even subbed in for a couple of games of pool during the league (which is crazy intense and popular around here!) and sort of got the itch to join a league after a spot was offered to me (even though my official winning percentage is 0%), and I might just do it (stay tuned!). I’m starting to become a bit more comfortable with my new job, and feel as though I could handle working there for another 11 months, and truly enjoy all the people I work alongside. I feel as though I am going to make it, folks. In the near future, when it’s not so damn cold, I will definitely be making some trips to Seoul, The DMZ, several museums, possibly Guam (when Melissa flies in), heading back to Longview, Washington (possibly for my 10 year High School reunion, ugh), and wherever I may find myself throughout 2013. Basically I promise that the Travelogue sections of Trainwreck’d Society are definitely going to become more interesting. Well, I can hope anyway. I guess we will have to wait and see. Until then…..
Anyoung he Kay Ship She Yo!