Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tennis anyone?

For all of you who've known me for awhile, you may remember that I really like tennis. I used to play on the team in high school (when they'd let me...I wasn't so good). But anyway, I've been wanting to get back into a racket/racquet sport, so after a long search for racquetball courts (it costs like $65 a month), Geoff and I decided to buy tennis rackets so we could play outside at assumedly free courts. The courts at my school are free; however, they are also crumbling and cracked (don't think tennis is too trendy here).

We found some that were halfway between our apartments that were really nice, so we attempted to play there. Some dude was yelling at us and waving his arms in Korean, but that happens enough here for no reason so we just resumed play. Well, he didn't stop making a fuss and since we didn't stop playing, he ran over. Evidently it's $25 AN HOUR to play at these courts, even though it's a university. I tried to pull out the "ME NO SPEAK KOREAN" card, but it didn't work. We still got kicked off.

Fitness is so expensive here! Gyms are at least $60 a month (crappy ones at that) and now they're charging to play tennis outside? Pretty soon they're going to put a toll-booth on the street for when I walk to school.

Anyway, I know it's a city of 14 million, so I guess there's got to be some regulation on public spaces...but it made me angry. I guess we'll stick to playing on the cracked courts of my university. That way I have something to blame when the ball doesn't go where I want (it hit a crack, I swear!). Anyway, here are our sweet tennis poses. Geoff is so hot that he even wears sweat bands.
If you'll notice, my cap says "ME". The back of it says "Sweet dreams are made of me". That's right. That's the kind of quality merchandise you'll find in Seoul. Top-notch.

Summer's here!

Real excited about our Western-style breakfast!
The massage chair line-up. That's Sarah and Nicole.
My new friends Sarah and Scott horsing around.

Yeah baby! Summer weather is here!! One weekend in May, 6 of us went to the coastal city of Busan. It's 3 hours by high speed train from Seoul. The train gets up to around 190mph. Saturday it rained all day, so we hunted out a place called U-Para. It's a huge game center. Like an adult Chuckie Cheese or something. It has bowling, table tennis, darts, video games, massage chairs and so much more. It was huge! You pay $8 (!) and get use of their facilities for 3 hours. Pay $10 and you can stay as long as you'd like. It was great! I bowled, played some ping-pong, and sat in a massage chair for an hour.
Sunday's weather was amazing! We went to a popular beach that usually gets packed in the summer (umbrella to umbrella) but in May it was pleasant. We sat around and soaked up the sun. My friend Sarah brought her guitar so she played for us on the beach. Geoff and I brought our tennis rackets so we hit the ball around a bit. (oh yeah, I'm playing tennis again...I'll save that for another entry)

Another highlight of the weekend--we found a place that serves Western-style brunch. It's hard to come by in Korea, the land of rice, soup and kimchi for breakfast (vomit). So we thoroughly enjoyed pancakes, omlettes, french toast, bacon, sausage.....

Interesting instance--our group was 6; 3 guys and 3 girls. In Korea, there's an option of an "ondol bang" hotel room. That is Korean style. It means there are no beds, just mats for the floor. That's usually the best choice when you want to cram 6 people into a room. And it's like a slumber party! So as we were comparison shopping for the best price of the beach-front hotels, we got turned away by one who refused to let us have men and women sleep in the same room. They told us that no Korean hotels will let us do co-ed (bullshit). Anyway, it was sort of a strange form of discrimination. It does speak to the conservativeness of the culture, but in most cases they want your business so they bend the rules a bit. Anyway, the next place we went checked us in no problem. Here are some pics. New friends: the blonde girl is Sarah and the reddish blonde guy is Scott. They are super cool.

Happy Birthday Buddha....and Geoff

May 24th was a holiday. Buddha's birthday as well as my friend Geoff's. So of course Geoff loved that b/c he shares a birthday with a god. Great. I got to hear about that all night. Anyway, we had a celebration for his birthday in addition to going to the Lotus Lantern parade. Not on the same day, but I'm going to combine the pictures. There were some really cool floats at the parade that you just don't see in the States.

I wonder if Buddha would approve of Geoff's celebration....emptying beer into his mouth from a keg...
probably. I hear he's a pretty cool god.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Me in my gear. God, I look tough, don't I?
Battle wound. Looks worse than it felt.
Scott and I

I tried paintballing for the first time today! I went with my friend Scott and a group called Adventure Korea. They plan outings like this quite often. There's one in the future that involves bungee jumping ...I may attend. Anyway, paintballing was pretty cool. I felt like I was on the battlefield in 'Nam or something (not that I know what that was like...). But after I got over the fear of being hit by the extremely fast-moving, hard paintballs, I loosened up and started taking more chances on the battlefield.

I got hit 3 times; first in the mask (thank god we wear face masks), in the boob (big target i guess, haha!), and in the leg. I took a picture of the leg wound. It didn't really hurt when it hit. It's more shocking than anything, and it felt sort of like a pinch--not unlike ones I would receive from my brothers back in the day. Anyway, it's something I'd like to do again when it's not so hot (I was really sweaty and dirty) and with more of my friends. I would just love to nail some people. But none of my loyal blog readers, of course.