Day two (three? whatever)

Our early morning stroll proves less exciting than initially hoped for since it turns out nothing in korea really opens before 10:00am. Note that this doesn't appear to be sunday hours, that's just when everything opens. Still we walk for a while and eventually wind our way to Patrick's school; along the way I learn the symbols for "Room", "Bar", "Pharmacy" and "walk-in neurosurgery clinic" - I'll be heading back for a picture of that one. After it becomes blindingly apparent that nothing is open and nothing will be open for a very long time we head back via residential streets. We find a couple of abandoned but still working mechanical style arcade machines. One is a crane/prize device with such prizes as a lighter, a deck of cards, and two bottles of alcohol. Another is a punching game. You drop in your whatever coin and take a swing at a padded face. I don't follow through very well and get a score of 2061. Pat lands a devastating blow and gets a score of 2218. I'm pretty sure the scale isn't linear. After a few more blocks we do run across a small convenience store that's open where I can get something to drink. Fool that I am I let Pat talk me into trying an energy drink named Pocari Sweat - the name is an accurate description of the taste. As we make our way home Pat tells me about the general nature of garbage and homeless people in Busan, I find a few good shots on small shanty villages and we come across a tiny park just off of the main sidewalk that's strewn with entire bags of garbage - Pat said unfortunately that's pretty much the official image for korea.

A few hours later we meet up with Sarah to do some random wandering now that things are open and perhaps head to the Buddhist temple. At this point it begins to rain harder than I've seen it rain in seattle for quite some time - this doesn't let up for the next 5 hours. My trusty australian leather hat does nothing but deflect more water onto my shoulders and with no coat I reluctantly buy a $3 umbrella (having left the $10 umbrella I had to buy in italy for a similar situation at home). We head to Home Plus, a fairly generic department and grocery store where I can sample some of the random "engrish" found on stationary here: "Coffee always make you feel happy. You can be in the world of good taste When you bit it once" proclaims the coffee scented notebook. Sarah and Pat take me through the fresh seafood area of the store and delight in my reaction to the tubs of octopus; they assure me this is high quality food since it's actually on ice rather than just random slabs of wood. Finally before leaving Home Plus I get to learn about Soju - cheap rice vodka. By cheap I mean really cheap - there is what can only be described as a 5 liter paint bucket of vodka for $7 - perhaps a replacement for when the $6 gallon jug of tequila finally gets finished off. We take the subway to the Seomyeon district.

Alighting from the train in Seomyeon we come to a vast underground shopping complex. It isn't particularly well laid out, doesn't offer much by way of variety (you'll find the same shop you were just at 3 doors down on the other side of the hallway) and could be quite claustrophobia inducing. It's still early so the walls aren't yet sticky with perspiration but the air is getting there. The odd thing about this shopping warren is that it lies directly beneath a vast above ground shopping district; I get the impression that they just sort of ran out of room for shops above and started tunneling. Pat buys a couple of PC games and Sarah comments that I'm a good influence on him, making him actually spend money - a long debate on the nature and virtue of frugality ensues.

We head to the top of one of the buildings that is a transition point between the shopping underworld and the land of they sky to have lunch. It's at this point that jetlag really starts to hit me and coupled with everyone else being tired we decide to blow off the buddhist temple until wednesday when I return from Seoul. Instead we wander around above ground for a while, I find and purchase "One Night at McCool's" on VCD for $2.90, Pat tries and fails to get a winged dominatrix toy from a vending machine. We stop by the local english hangout (still closed) and get to pass through Pork Soup street and Fried Chicken street on the way. Those aren't the actual street names because most streets don't actually have names, but when you find 7 fried chicken vendors in the space of a hundred feet the name kind of comes on it's own. Running down the center of both streets are identical stainless steel food mobiles (street meat) and I ask how it is that so many people selling the exact same thing right next to each other can stay in business. Pat shrugs and Sarah says she doesn't know but that everyone wonders that at some point.

Bone weary and somewhat soaked we had back to the apartment where I can nap for a bit. Sarah is an interesting character, funny and not too jaded so she makes a good counterpart for Pat here, I'm sure I'll get to know her more over the week since she's one of the close knit group of teachers who do everything together.

A few hours of fitful sleep with indistinct dreams and here I am. I hope to make it to 10:00 and force adjust my clock. No pictures yet and probably fewer than I initially anticipated, we'll see once I hit Seoul.


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