Friday, July 15, 2011

Stig's Second Year - The Adventure Begins

This column originally appeared in The Chautauqua, and describes my return to Korea for another year of Morning Calm and Afternoon Difficulty.

Korean Adventure (April 19, 2002 Chautauqua)

I took off from Calgary on Monday the 8th. It was cold and there was still a lot of snow on the ground. As I write this, it is raining in the city of Taegu, South Korea. Saturday was brilliant sunshine, just really nice. I had been in the country about three days by then, and I went to visit my friends, who were holding a "Welcome Back" BBQ for me.
I rode the bus across town, for almost an hour-and-a-half. The Koreans have some pretty good roads, and some are dire, and you have to sque-e-e-e-e-e-e-eze your way through. The problem with the good roads is that everybody uses them at once, so sometimes traffic can be frustrating. You can always amuse yourself by watching someone head for the sidewalk and scatter some pedestrians.
Anyway, I finally got to my friends’ place. Allow me to introduce them. The one that's been there the longest is Mick Dundee, an Australian from Perth, who was my roommate from March until May last year. He's a good guy, down to earth in that way some Australians have.
Then there's Blondie Bumstead, a Canadian from Ottawa. She gets loaded with all the dumb blonde jokes we can lay on her, but she's really smart and funny.
The third person is Jane (who's last name escapes me), who turned up after I had left. She's pretty quiet (like me), but can surprise you with a quip, and has a passion for all the candy she can get her hands on.
All three have apartments in the same building, so they're pretty close to each other. You have to have someone to rely on and trust when you're this far away from home, and these guys are the best.
The Koreans have these cunning little BBQs, that hold small charcoal bricks that ignite with the touch of a match. Or that's the theory. Sometimes they just smolder, and only slowly build up enough heat to cook on. We had a pretty ordinary western type of meal: steaks, salad, potatoes, washed down with beer. Just a group of friends catching up, and relaxing from a week of teaching the kids at school.
Aaaaah, the kids. A story for another day...

My new school was in I-dong, which is on the west side of Daegu, while my original posting (and my old friends) were in Jisan-dong, waaaaaaaaay in the southeast corner. I would visit them there maybe once a month, but usually we'd meet downtown and go to the Rock 'n Roll Bar, or the patio at Berkely.
You know, I look at pictures of the old gang, and remember that these were people that I was quite close to at the time, but now we've drifted apart. I hear from one of them, maybe once a year. The others just stopped responding to my e-mails.
It's a shame.


  1. It is strange how easy it is to drift apart from people even when you live in the same town.

  2. they no like racists