Bizarre Weekend

Trip Start Feb 24, 2006
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

I write "bizarre weekend" because it just truly seemed to fit. When you consider that burglary, crooning out 80's tunes, and a missing person's report were the highlights of the weekend, then you get to categorize it as bizarre!

It started off on Thursday night, Chris and I came home (Chris is working at my school for the week) only to find that my apartment had been broken into with the perpetrators stealing my laptop, a 40 GB hard drive, 20,000 won in change we used for a poker game, and Chris' new 60 GB Ipod! It sucks to be broken into, but I wasn't really too bothered about it being that I had backed up my information and the laptop was old and only used for watching videos and extra storage, but I felt really bad about Chris' Ipod because it was new and he had just transferred over a lot of non-vital information that he will now have to go back and reacquire - let this be a lesson to all of you who read this, back up your computer information! Anyway, the police came and they were utterly useless with a few fellow teachers having to point out evidence to them because they were so lackadaisical! What a drag it was, but Chris and I took it well and pretty much just laughed it off. In true Korean fashion, Patrick came down from upstairs because he had been told that "they took EVERYTHING from Trent's apartment". So you can imagine his disappointment at coming down and not even being able to tell that anything was taken!

*side note: my buddy Bill, from Scotland, who has been in Korea for about 3 weeks now, was supposed to be coming in for the weekend as well*

So we head to work the next day and upon checking my email I read that Bill has sent me 4 messages telling me that he's in my city and wants to know how to get to my apartment - these emails are from last night! Whoops! But no worries as Bill understood and we met up that afternoon. It turned out to be Bill's birthday so we went out for some Korean BBQ and a few drinks. A few drinks turned into many and Bill really wanted to go to a Noraebang, a private karaoke room. So after a few more people arrive we walk to go find a Noraebang and then spend the next ?4 hours wailing away to mostly hits from the 1980's with people singing and dancing and spilling liquids everywhere! Great fun!

The next day, Saturday, found us sleeping in and the taking most of the day at the beach across the street before a 5 hour poker game that night - nothing too exciting.

On Sunday, both Chris and Bill would leave for their places in the late afternoon, so we decided to cruise the Naksan area. Naksan is a really famous temple complex in Korea that was mostly destroyed in the large wildfire that engulfed Yangyang last year. They are rebuilding it but it's a slow process. Naksan also has one of the nicer beach areas in Korea, which substantially adds to its popularity this time of year. Anyway, the temple area is really nice and there are covered forests, huge statues, colorful temples, and sculptured park areas. Proceeding through the temple area we eventually make way to Naksan beach and, well, Koreans are just mighty strange in a lot of ways. First, they generally go swimming fully clothed. Second, most Koreans can't swim so they go into 5 foot deep water with massive life vests on. And lastly, the Asian group mentality definitely applies to the beach areas as well because they cluster around one another like they need to share body heat to stay alive! As you'll see in the photos, there isn't the slightest bit of room between those sun umbrellas even though there is plenty of open space around the beach! Very weird, but probably something you must experience to truly understand.

Anyway, so the boys take off and everyone had a good weekend...I thought!

*background: at dinner and throughout the weekend Bill keeps telling us about another teacher in his town, some huge black guy from America. Bill is really freaked out by this guy, not only because he's apparently gigantic, but because they guy has said some really weird things like, "Man, I can't wait to take vacation in Italy or Greece sometime this year because a lot of sex crimes ore okay there that aren't okay here"! Who the hell says something like that to another person, particularly a co-worker, and particularly on their first meeting?! Anyway, about the only thing that is taboo here is homosexuality, so Bill is thinking the guy must be gay. He was really buggin' about this guy, so I just told him to tell the guy he didn't want to hang around with him and to avoid him...but I didn't really think too much of it and neither did Chris.*

At work on Monday my supervisor, Mr. Kang, asks me where Bill is because his supervisor called and said Bill was supposed to teach a class that day. I told him that as far as Chris and I knew Bill said he wasn't teaching until Thursday, but he was supposed to meet with that other teacher to discuss some work plans. I just figured that Bill was out and unreachable and the school was over-reacting, a very common thing in Korea (I called in sick one day, just a small upset stomach - 4 Koreans show up at my door with a case of Vitamin C drink and asking if I need a ride to the hospital!). Then on Tuesday, Mr. Kang tells me that Bill is still missing and the police went into his apartment and found nothing except for two pairs of shoes - no clothing, no electronics, nothing! So I shoot off an email to Bill telling him to email me ASAP or call his this point I just figured that Bill went off for a few days to explore Korea. Eventually I get a reply, "I'm so sorry Trent. I just freaked out and took a flight back to the UK yesterday - will email you later."!! He bolted! He just freaked out and flew home! I have no idea if it was because of the other teacher, life in Korea in general, or what. I have to imagine that there were several factors because I could have got him transferred if it was just that teacher, but I was blown away to say the least! Bizarre weekend!

BTW, congratulations to Kman and Daisy on their new baby girl!!
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