Thursday, February 02, 2006

bazaar aftermath

The bazaar went very well. Our group made about W55,000 in all, which was impressive: early in the bazaar, I'd heard that we had made only W5,000, which seemed like a bad omen at the time. We sold a lot of used items, and I sold 11 of my 16 pieces of artwork, plus two custom-made pieces. Other groups also did well: Aussie Teacher A's mini-disco was a resounding hit (lots of screeching and laughter could be heard coming from inside that booth), and Brit Teacher Z's nunchaku (ssang-jeol-bong) demonstration was very nicely done. Brit Teacher D's food stand was one of my first stops in the morning, and I also availed myself of his group's Polaroid services: a few of the girls wanted to take their picture with me. Teacher V's buch'im-gae stand also raked in quite a bit of dough, and their group probably did the most to give the bazaar a homey smell (yes, I can smell a bit again! it comes and goes, though).

Without knowing it, I had the chance to meet a blog reader today-- shout-out to A, for whose wee daughter I custom-drew a pig. Sperwer also dropped by and took a gander at the taekwondo dance routine performed by a local TKD school. I don't think he was that impressed by the moves, but it was a dance routine and not true poom-sae, after all. As Sperwer noted, the routine might make for good advertising for the dojang. The sa-beom (master) who led the routine joked in Korean to the college girls all around his team, "Ladies! If there's a guy in our group who pleases you, I'll get you his phone number!" As the routine started, cell phones materialized in tiny female hands, and there was much recording.

Before the TKD, we were treated to a rather frightening demonstration of yoga by a South Asian student who is taking Korean lessons here. He's apparently a yoga master, and based on the impossible positions he assumed (while wearing nothing more than Spandex biker shorts despite the cold), I'd have to say the rumors were true. He must have had a hard time concentrating, what with all the girly gasping and pointing. But he knew how to play the crowd, too: toward the end of a series of pretzeling asanas, he suddenly sucked in his already-scrawny stomach. The girls freaked. There was almost nothing between his rib cage and his pelvis. It reminded me of the legend about the Buddha's austerity before he went under the Bo tree: he supposedly starved himself so thin that "I could place my hand on my stomach and feel my backbone." That legend became more plausible for me today.

I also got "fined" by my cheerful supervisor for speaking Korean-- though I plead innocent because my interlocutor was a Korean teacher unaware of the bazaar's ground rules. True, the teacher in question speaks some English, and I could have told her about the rules (had I remembered to do so in all the hectic activity), but I would argue that we were in legally murky waters and I didn't deserve my (W200, or 20 cents) fine.

I was surprised that someone bought my picture of a dog taking a shit. That was pretty damn cool. In the picture, the dog is straining away, and there's already a little pile under his ass. Off to the right, a man's head peeks into the frame, and he's wearing an expression of manic delight while shouting in Korean, "AH! FINALLY!"

So all in all, we made a bit of money and had ourselves some fun. Hats off, once again, to Teachers A and Z for having done so much to make the bazaar a lively event. Z, perhaps caught up in the 1PM applause, cavalierly promised that our next bazaar would feature an appearance by half-Korean heartthrob Daniel Henney. Heh. I'll be curious to see how she manages that one, but I suspect she's banking on the fact that crowds often have short collective memories when it comes to such promises.


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