02 May 2004

Roaming and an Evening of Arahan, Chamwae and Conversation

This was another day when it sometimes rained, sometimes didn't but pretty much did every time I thought about going to check out the Hi Seoul festivities so I stuck around the Songjeong and Kimpo neighborhoods instead. Mostly a day for aimlessly wandering, knowing I couldn't get too lost as long as I could find the airport. I stumbled on the open-air market and wandered through the twisting maze of stalls just hours after being in the hi-tech plaza of the shopping center that was once the international terminal at Kimpo. A true taste of the differences in pace and technology of life here in Korea.

I decided, as it was a drizzly day, to take myself to the movies, and saw Arahan. It is Korea's answer to Bulletproof Monk, complete with moving tattoos, but with the main new guy being a cop rather than a pickpocket. It is one of those movies that, with the exception for a brief flashback to sometime in the 33rd century BC or something, really doesn't need any translation, the body language and facial expressions, coupled with an understanding of a smattering of Korean words, was really sufficient.

One thing to note is that Korean movie theaters give assigned seats, and this one I even had to take a number before going up to get my ticket. Oh, and the ubiquitous "no dried squid" signs were ever present - part of the new movie-going culture being formed in Korea.

On the way home I stopped to get a few chamwae, sweet little yellow Korean melons, to share with my host family, and the melons initiated an evening of talking with the husband, who has had but the barest minimal interaction with me thus far. We talked politics, religion, health, education (Korean businessmen, it seems, are big on discussing the problems of Korean education system and the difficulties of English), family travel... pretty much anything. All in all an enjoyable evening.

No real insights into anything today to share except that people around the world have the same basic concerns, questions, wonderings and needs as everyone else, when it comes right down to it. Proving, I guess, that, really, its a small small world.

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