Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No Lazy Saturday (11 December)

After a rather stressful night, I wake rather early and prepare to meet my Kiwi-mom at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Soryong-dong.  There’s a family doctor (GP) there so it’s a starting point to find out if I’m actually okay or not since I had really bad chest pains yesterday afternoon.  We get to the hospital and we chat while waiting for the doctor.  He speaks a little English so I’ve written down everything for him as suggested by my Kiwi-mom.  An hour later, after doing an ECG, he tells me that everything is fine and if it happens again, I should go to the emergency room at Gunsan Medical Centre – like I really need to visit another ER at this stage of my contract.

I’m not really in the mood for going back to my apartment so I accompany my Kiwi-mom to Lotte mart where she wants to print some photos.  We end up doing a bit of shopping and having coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts before she heads to the hairdresser and I meander around Naun-dong.  I’ve barely said goodbye to her when I receive a text message from Catfish asking if I’ve had lunch yet.  Perfect timing since I’m not only starving but currently on her side of town.  We agree to meet outside of Lotte Cinema and attempt to find the restaurant she’s been telling me about for days.

Hot Dog Soup

In the daylight, the restaurant is only one block away from the Galbi restaurant we went to on Monday night.  Delighted to have finally found the restaurant, we attempt to order food.  It’s a bit of a comedy of errors as Catfish tries to recall what she and the other South African ate the last time she was at this restaurant.  We mistakenly think that we need to order two of something so the server tries to explain that it’s one portion that is shared – he communicates this by showing us that two will give us a large stomach and shaking his head.  We order what we call “Hot Dog soup” which is an interesting combination of vegetables and highly processed meat.  This is all cooked together to create a type of soup.  When we see how much food is served in one portion, we can’t help but laugh and be grateful that charades is at least somewhat successful.

After lunch, we decide we’re in the mood for a movie and the new Narnia installation has just opened so we head back to Lotte Cinema.  We’re in luck: We’re just in time for the next show and we can watch it in 3D.  It’s the first time I’ve been to the cinema here on a Saturday afternoon and today is particularly busy since Narnia has just opened.  I’m excited at the thought of watching my very first 3D movie which Catfish finds amazing.  Now if only we can find the right cinema.

Touring the Cinema

Our last visit to the cinema (on Monday night) had us walking in circles as we attempted to navigate the different floors of the cinema via the elevator.  Today is no different.  We purchase our tickets and head to Ediya Coffee since we have nearly an hour before the movie starts.  When we return, we go through our usual guessing game as to which floor we need to go to – somehow we always choose the second floor  first and only when the doors open to a solid concrete wall do we remember that this is not the correct floor.  We then proceed to the third floor, realise that we’re back in the cinema’s lobby and somehow find ourselves returning to the first floor of the building where the group of girls we passed on our way back from Ediya Coffee are probably commenting on the two strange foreigners who appear to be riding up and down in the elevator for fun.

When we once again reach the lobby of the cinema, Catfish shows our tickets to one of the girls and points to the lobby – the girl confirms that we’re in the right place so we head across to the theatre side of the floor where we proceed to take the escalator to the next floor (the second elevator is where we usually get very lost and end up exiting and re-entering the cinema at least once before finding our theatre).  At the top of the escalator, there is what appears to be a service door which Catfish tries to open.  The Koreans monitoring the security cameras are probably having a good chuckle at the two crazy foreigners at this point.  Three escalators later, we reach the top floor only to be told (in true Korean style – i.e. hands crossed to form an ‘X’) that this is not the right floor so back to the third floor we go.  Finally heading in the right direction (i.e. following the endless stream of kids who are obviously also watching Narnia), we reach the correct escalator where we relax in the knowledge that we’ve found the correct theatre.  When we reach the end of the escalator, however, there’s no space for us to stand.  Feeling like hamsters stepping backwards on a wheel, we are literally running right into the Korean people in front of us who are lined up waiting to get their 3D glasses.

By the time we have our glasses and have found our seats, we’re surprised to discover that we still have a few minutes before the movie begins.  Like any true waegook in Korea, we naturally find cameras to take photos of ourselves wearing the heavy-duty Korean 3D glasses.  As Catfish says of the following photo – Stevie Wonder: South African style…

It’s being snowing while we watched the movie so it’s unbelievably cold by the time we leave.  I’m suddenly wishing that I had brought my jacket with me this morning instead of telling myself that I would only be out for the morning.  Really, after two months in Korea, you’d think I’d know better by now….

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