Palmerston North, the trigger for laughter

Three years of my life wasted in Palmerston-bloody-North!
Eric, OF, S5 E18

I was cracking up when I heard those lines. Maybe it was also the effects of the Asahi beer I was drinking at the time. I laughed especially hard because I lived there for 5 years while I was a student.

I did my Science degree in Palmerston North, at Massey University. It took me 4 1/2 years to finish. At the end of academic year, the place emptied of students, leaving it a ghost town.

Palmerston North is damp and rainy in the Winter time, hot and dry in the Summer. Once a month on weekends, farm hands come to “the big smoke” to stock up on supplies, get drunk and stare at anything vaguely outside of that’s of their sphere of experience. You can tell who’s a cow-cocky by their gumboots, utes and/or Jap import sports car.

It’s population of boy racers is unmatched, only by Napier in the Hawkes bay. I really don’t know why Palmy has more Boy-racers per capita. Quite possibly it’s the amount of managers they have. I’m sure that there are other places in the world like Palmerston North.

Palmerston North, for all it’s faults, can be a bit boring. I’m not the only one. John Cleese agrees.

Hot coffee, usually taken orally

Having sat down in front of my computer. I proceeded to fall asleep. Who knew that surfing the internet could be so soporific. Meanwhile students were playing a noisy game in the other room. A sudden surge of noise woke me up with a start. The coffee wasn’t pipping hot, but enough to bring me around. Talk about a trouser accident. My lap, the floor and part of the desk infront of me had coffee on it. But mainly on my lap. Ouch.

I had to go home and change. One of the advantages of my new apartment (size not inclusive) was that it was close to the school I was teaching at that day. I’ve got to learnt to place my cups of coffee to one side, and not infront of me.

Competitor disqualified for brazen snoring

The Korean Olympic competitive sleeping team get in some practise before their Olympic qualifying rounds.

Only a belt sander can smooth over the roughness, subtlety not being their strong point

It’s probably the worst sort of Korean I could come across. I’ve always thought that the Koreans were a bit ‘culturally slow’. Yesterdays encounter proved it. It always tends to be the older generation, who insist on ignoring me since I’ve never been introduced.
It-is-so-f**king-annoying. A prime example being an older male teacher at the school, who obviously thought he is king of the roost. Clearly I was standing next to him, clearly I was talking to my contact teacher there. link. He had to know who I was, but insisted on talking to my contact teacher.

Some of my feelings at the time can be surmised by the following quotes:

It’s a Samoan, young guy, dick thing – Falani, Outrageous fortune, S5 E16
Clearly I’d have to modify the quote to fit, but the intent is clear.
You’re a dick – Wolverine, X-men
Nah, he’s not going to get it.

On their part it’s insecurity, passive-aggressiveness, xenophobia, even ignorance or all of the above. It’s the rougher side of the culture, something I hope that they’ll smooth over with time.

Free t-shirt, not completely unwanted

I recently took pictures of the Sixes tournament for the KCA. How could I refuse? I’m the official photographer, so it’d be rude not to go. I received a free t-shirt from the organisers. It’s a little bit like when I was at university and represented Massey university at Fencing, and at one year sports climbing too. I got two t-shirts to wear. Though not of bad quality, not fully appreciated either.

The latest t-shirt has that same feeling, though of more contemporary materials. I should be more grateful. Fully synthetic it’ll be good to wear when I go walking. The cap was not free, but bought on another occassion.

Mercenary position taken, random scrawlings, am I going in circles?

I was offered, and, I accepted a job at a technical high school (thereafter known as ‘Semi-conductor High school’). Teaching two hours every Thursday for 50k an hour. It would mean about a 45 minute trip, all-up just to get there.

“How long do they want me?” was my question. A polite shrug from my KET was the response. If the new guy coming in is too green, and if they like me… well it’s mine for as long as I please. Teaching in the countryside lends to a very workman like regime.

The type of insurgent, I’ve dealt with before, and with the promise of a KATUSA at my side, I began to turn over possible lesson plans in my mind.

Red hot tarts, too delicious for words

I finally took the chance to eat egg tarts from KFC here in Korea. The first time I tasted them was in China. Weight for weight I have to say that the egg tarts in China tasted better. The experience eating the ones made in Korea, I would have to blame myself for being too eager to devour the treat. The tarts were fresh out of the oven. Molten custard stuck to the roof of my mouth, necessitating a quick sip of sprite not only to cool it off, but to also detach it from my palette. Ouch. Feeling the area with my tongue, it tastes a bit burnt. Tasty but deadly. 😛

Stonehead, a Korean insult comes to life

When someone in Korea is intolerablely stupid, they are, amongst other insults, labelled a stonehead -“Dolsot mo-ri”. I’d learnt this from my students quite some time ago. But the first time I’d heard it used was when I accepted a lift (because I was lost) by some university students in Busan, aslo sometime ago. They were quite jovial, but also didn’t hesistate to express what they though about my intellect in Korean. The only female in the car, who spoke a bit of English was a bit more sympathetic. I was just grateful of their help, and didn’t let on that I understood.

The small granite statue at school had been ‘decapitated’ sometime in the past. Someone, obviously with a sense of physical comedy had placed a large stone ontop of the headless statue.

That protected feeling had only moments to last

When I go to pad up before going out to bat in cricket I sort of feel like a knight putting on his armour. It’s a rather snug and secure feeling that I also used to get when I put on my fencing clothing too. Though not padded, a fencers’ jacket and pastron is resistant to up to 1600N.

The next man in always has to be “padded up”. If they have to get me to go out to bat, they have to be pretty desparate. I was batting at number 10 in the order. It was the last over of our innings, and I was quickly chucking on the protective equipment. The pads that go on the legs go on first, then after having given the box a clean with my t-shirt, I discretely put it in my underwear. Then the gloves. The last over was going at a roaring pace, runs were being hit all over the pitch. The last ball was bowled. I had put on my gear with a few monents to spare only to take it off again.

On the cheap, an evenings entertainment

Just me and the beer and chips, alone in a hotel room. The cricket game is tomorrow.