After the game is before the game

This is a quote, that fairly precisely describes my situation at the moment. Due to a mis-calculation for doing English camps, I’ve found out that I basically have no time to ‘rest’ at the end of my 6 week stint. One for the local education office, the other for another school, paid. Quite handsomely too I might add. All told well over what I’m paid in a month and basically I’ll earn this and more in about 3 weeks. But at a price of work is no rest. I’ve always considered myself the job as a, well, job. Do it for money, this camp in relative terms makes me a sort of mercenary. Dirty, dangerous jobs, suitable only for a hired guns. My job just became easier when I found out that I’d be teaching the English camps from conversation books or self-made books from the school. Yay.

The title of this blog is a quote from a movie, which is a quote from a person. Can you tell me, which movie and from which person the title of this blog came from?

Dark and brooding, wet and soggy

No ordinary clouds, they have a dark blue colour to them. The rainy season is at it’s peak, the weather carries a latency of getting ready to rain or, is already raining.

Nothing angry, just a load of babble

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Random scrawlings on the wall can be seen in most places in Seoul. Most often for me, captured when walking. It’s all in Korean, but what is in English, is a little incomprehensible. Or even drawings as some of my photos will show.

A sub-category within this is graffiti on the railings of bridges. Someone extolling their love for their beau, or high schoolers recording their passage through national exams. It’s an interesting side of Korean (pop) culture. What it represents to me is a kind of rebellion, someone who has broken the mould, gone against the grain and done more or less something that they shouldn’t have. What the hell, it’s only a piece of public infrastructure made more interesting, or ugly depending on your perspective.

A bus ticket, a pet hate

I’m a regular rider of intercity buses the arrangements are different to than on an internal bus. For one, you’re allocated a comfortable, reclinable seat on the bus.

But this is where the trouble starts. Working towards my seat number there is almost always a ‘spanner in the works’ in the form of some other individual that has already sat down, in my seat. I can’t find another seat because this would displace yet another person. The reason why they do sit down in a seat that is not theirs is probably a little beyond my cultural comprehension.

To classify the wayward sitters, they’re mostly older. But  male or female are both copable.  It seems the older they are, the lazier it seems they are, when by their own culture they should be setting an example for all those following and younger. Culturally lazy?! Can’t read the digits, which are in English but are in common usage. For whatever reason it’s annoying, not as annoying as having a seat reclined into your face and onto your knees. Grrrr. Some of the spacing  between rows of seats isn’t big at all, and leaves a lot to be desired. Double grrr.

Phonetic alphabet, dyslexic associations

When I learnt that the KET was teaching the phonetic alphabet, I asked her if I could sit in on the class. Much to the bemusement of some students. Hehe, the teacher has become a student. Learning the phoneic alphabet is a combination of frustration in trying to associate the symbols with the sounds.

Trying to read it is the hardest part, and it’s the closest experience akin to dyslexia I can get. Why am I putting myself through all of this? I’m doing it to prepare for my CELTA course that’s coming up in six months. That too, is also going to be frustrating, but in learning it now, it’ll be less I have to ‘take in’, giving me more time to produce when the course starts.

The rather colourful flash cards were post cards cut in half. Cutting the actual letter out from the sheet and then matching it on the reverse with the answer took me 3 hours or so. No mistakes here.

A mis-shapened stain, it’s just plain paralytic

Not exactly miles of piss-stained corridors but more of a door with a suspicious looking stain. My question is, how did the guy get enough pressure to reach that high? Or did he use a step-ladder instead?

Sinchon is one of the ubiquitous bar districts in Seoul, not unsurprisingly close to the main universities. Observing some of the students in what must be their first time experiencing alcohol of any sort, was sort of fun. Sitting on the steps downstairs of a bar, were two students, one cradling his mate’s head on his knees. Coming back down the stairs again, not two minutes later, we had seen that the inebriated student had been sick. On his mate’s knee, calf and possibly shoe, but mainly on the pavement. Ick. His mate had bought a bottle of water for this instance and was giving his friend the water. Good to see the buddy system in action.

Another scene where two other students were sat outside a 7-11 superette. The taller one had had his fill and was feeling the effects of his bravado. His mate had decided to leave him then, and he being without physical or moral support decided to lie down on the elevated step that lead up to the superette. The girls are even worse, having even less tolerance to alcohol than the boys. Fortunately I’ve never had one of the guys get so drunk as to say that I was handsome. I was standing outside waiting for a friend at the time. Geez. I just stepped aside, and the pair of girls walked upstairs to the bar.

Koreans look ridiculous when they’re drunk, when they should know better. Maybe I’m thinking this because even though New Zealanders get to drink at a younger age, at home, under controlled conditions. The legal drinking age in NZ is more or less the same, at 18 years of age. In my time at Massey university, the Square in Palmerston North there were literally a dozen bars all within walking distance of each other. In Sinchon, they were within stones throw away or less. Literally 2-3 blocks of restaurants and bars. Not once did I see a policeman, police car or paddy wagon in the area. In comparison in New Zealand you’d see regular patrols, just to keep the drunks off the street.

Old boy, A.K.A. “the cooler”

Summers in Korea different to what I was used to in NZ. For one, the summers here in ROK are not only hot, but are just plain sticky. One of the great weather patterns to experience here in Korea is the summer thunder storms. 3 days of stinkingly hot weather followed by a downpouring of almost biblical proportions. The drainage systems aren’t very well equipped for this, and you’ll get flooding everywhere.

25 degrees, 90% humidity

Korea, dispite it’s attempted cultural separation from Japan does actually have ceremonies that are similar. In Japan the spreading of water is called Uchimizu. I don’t now if they have the same sort of ritual in Korea. But, I did observed an old guy wetting down the pavement in front of his stall at a recent festival. In both countries it is believed that this will cool the temperature down.