Tuesday, January 13, 2015

voyage prep

I'm heading down to Yeosu, a beach town at the bottom center of the peninsula, almost exactly between Gwangju to the southwest and Busan to the southeast. I went to Yeosu when I came to Korea in April of 2013 to look for university work and was immediately enchanted: Yeosu is the anti-Seoul—slow-paced, small, and surrounded by nature, completely lacking Seoul's frenetic bustle and ambient neurosis. I was there for only a night or two, so it's not a good idea to generalize, but my encounters with the locals in 2013 were all positive, leading me to espouse that old cliché about friendly townies. Yeosu was great, and I've been wanting to go back ever since that visit.

Beach towns in winter (like ski resorts in summer) are an introvert's paradise, so I'll be spending four nights in Yeosu, walking the beach, squinting to keep the sand out of my eyes as the wind whips my face, and breaking my kimbap diet to chow down on tons of seafood. Today, though, I've got to prep for the trip, which means several things need to happen:

• a haircut
• purchase an electric heater
• visit the bank and transfer money to my US account
• buy a gift (and gift wrapping) for a student
• buy train tickets for Daegu and Yeosu
eat at CPK!

I couldn't believe it: after walking along Eulji Street dozens of times, I finally noticed the California Pizza Kitchen that sits modestly across the street from the huge Myeongdong Lotte Hotel and Department Store. I have no idea how long CPK has been in Korea, but this was a welcome sight, and now that I've come into some cash, I'm going to indulge myself in a little payday celebration later today.

Here's hoping the CPK experience here is as good as it ever was in the States; my brother David used to work for CPK, so I would visit the restaurant often, just to be served by him. David would bring me weird soda combinations made just for me: crimes against nature like Coke-plus-Fanta and so on. I've always liked CPK's personal-sized pizzas, which were generally large enough to satisfy a grown Kevin if eaten with an appetizer, and possibly a dessert. I'll be curious to see how CPK's menu has been Koreanized to reflect local tastes.

And yes, as you see above, I'll be stopping for a few hours in Daegu on my way down to Yeosu to visit a student of mine from my previous university job—my favorite student from that year, truth be told. Since there's a Lotte Mart right next to Seoul Station, I can buy my train tickets, then head over to the store to buy the electric heater and the gift items: a whole flock of birds killed with one stone.

I've gotten one million won of my three-million-won windfall; with luck, the other two million will be in my account today. If not, no biggie: I've got plenty to be going on with, and Dongguk pays me on the 17th.



John (I'm not a robot) said...

Safe travels! Sounds like a relaxing few days are in store. Perhaps when you return I can treat you to the Mexican buffet on base.

Kevin Kim said...

Many thanks. Am hoping Yeosu is just as appealing in the winter as it was in the spring.

And I'm gonna hold you to that Mexican buffet offer. That's definitely one of my many weaknesses.