Wednesday, September 18, 2013

vacation agenda

To do:

1. Tend to my eye infection and sore throat. I always get sick when it's vacation time, and sometimes this involves eye infections, which can be both annoying and annoyingly frequent, and which usually involve the slight but very palpable swelling of one of my eyelids. You'd notice the swelling if you stared comparatively at both of my eyes. I have antibiotics and anti-inflammatories that I can apply to my eye (along with the old warm-washcloth-on-the-eye approach), so that's covered. Normally, an infection takes a few days, with treatment, to die down. I'm washing my pillow cover right now, just to make sure it isn't rife with pestilence. Because I woke up with a sore throat today, I'm also gargling with salt water. Hurts like hell, but sometimes pain is good, especially if it means bacteria are dying.

2. Get a haircut. I've been needing one for a while, now. Some local places charge a steep W10,000 for a cut, while others charge a more reasonable W8,000. I hope to find an W8,000 spot nearby, get my head buzzed and shampooed, and be on my way post haste.

3. Watch some movies. I successfully downloaded "The Sunset Limited" (Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson in a film based on a Cormac McCarthy play about a suicidal white college prof rescued from death-by-rail by a black ex-con), so I'll be watching that later today. I unsuccessfully downloaded "Star Trek Into Darkness," so I'll be attempting to restart the download with my laptop before I give up, demand a refund, and obtain the movie through Amazon Prime Instant Video. That'll fix my movie jones until Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) hits Korean theaters—hopefully later this year.

4. Shop for kitchen stuff, and for other household stuff. Bowls, plates, a pot for budae-jjigae, storage units of all sizes and shapes—all for cheap at the local Daiso. I'll also need to go out again and hit the nearby market for galbi marinade ingredients (gonna do some damn galbi in my spanking-new oven!). I'm pondering buying a rice cooker as well. I also need to buy some more wipes for my sweeper/mop, so I can keep my floor clean and pube-free. For my kitchen, I need to buy a tall, skinny bookshelf—one with many shelves—to use as storage space since I don't have much in the way of cabinet space. (This was how I lived when I was at Sookmyung Women's University as well.) I also need some more hangers.

5. Construct gnat and fruit-fly traps. The bug problem has gone on long enough. The madness must end, and it's up to me to end it. I'm going to construct three traps: one for my computer desk, one for my kitchen, and one for my veranda, whose humidity level is always high because I hang my laundry there. The little bastards love humidity. In a day or so, I aim to be surrounded by tiny, odious corpses. And I'll hope that the smell of vinegar has aromatherapeutic properties.

6. Do a walking tour of my campus. I've been meaning to do this for a while, but now I'll have the luxury of even more free time than usual to do this tour. I'm embarrassed when a coworker will ask me something like, "Do you know the gym? Over that way? Well, the student center is just behind that." I'd like to know what people are talking about when they talk about different parts of campus. I'd like to know where the various facilities are, especially the gym and the student center. A comprehensive walking tour of CUD's campus would do much to cure me of my current ignorance.

7. Visit Daegu proper. I know so little about where to find all the important stores and restaurants that people keep talking about: the Home Plus, the Costco (need to get a membership there, really), the restaurant that serves the mean-looking, four-stack "challenge" bacon cheeseburger for W25,000, etc. I know nothing about Daegu itself, and haven't roused myself to travel there extensively. It may be that I have a bit of an attitude problem about the place: I hate the subway system, which covers only a tenth of the city, unlike Seoul's.* The Daegu system will eventually get another two or three lines (see a map of Daegu's future here), but right now, the subway amounts to the same two lines the city has always had. In my mind, I imagine Daegu's subway map to be a sort of drunken or crippled X-chromosome. That doesn't improve my opinion of Daegu's rail network. It also doesn't help that 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the horrible Daegu subway fire, in which about 200 people died, and about 150 more were injured, after a desperate man attempted to kill himself (he survived his own suicide attempt, but died about a year later). All those ghosts, eh?

God, there are times when I miss Seoul.

8. Meditate. This is, of course, something that a person can, in theory, do anywhere. A temple environment certainly helps, though: it contributes to the seriousness of mind that makes a good subtext for effective meditation (if meditation can be said to be oriented toward effects). With Hyangrim-sa so close by, and with an open invitation from the nuns to just come on over during the quiet periods to do cham-seon, there's little reason not to do this.

9. Find a local mountain to hike. I really, really need to get back in the habit of hiking. With the weather starting to cool down, with the sun's grip on daylight temperatures loosening slowly but surely (it's already quite cool in the early morning and at night; the warm/hot periods are getting shorter), now is the time for me to be up at altitude, enjoying breeze, sunlight, and majestic views. If I find decent hiking somewhere, I'll be sure to photograph my route the second time I travel it: the first time around, I'm guessing that I'll waste time blundering around and getting lost.

That really ought to be enough to occupy my big ass for the next few days.

*If Korea can be likened to Asimov's Galactic Empire, then Seoul is Trantor, the capital planet upon which George Lucas based his Coruscant. Trantor has all the best stuff—the best food, the best buildings, the best bustle and boom. Seoul, compared to its rival cities and the provinces, is a lot like that.



Unknown said...

Your US Costco membership should work here (just as my Korean one works there).

Enjoy the holiday.

Kevin Kim said...


Good point, but my US membership lapsed at the end of August, so I'm back to being a Costco ronin. I'll pledge my loyalty to a Korean Costco soon, though.