Going from Auckland to Seoul takes a fairly long time – longer for me as, due to the astronomical cost of direct flights, I was going via Singapore. However, the aircraft were fairly modern and had video and music on demand – so over the course of sixteen hours aggregate flight time I managed to watch four films, eight television shows and listen to several CDs. I also encountered St Elmo’s Fire (the phenomenon, not the film) for the first time, flaring up on the wings as we left Singapore, and accidentally got served chicken as a vegetarian option (they did find me something edible though). I touched down on a balmy afternoon, Amy spotted me instantly and we took the long bus ride back to Yongin. It was good to be back.
The Seoul Veggie Club had a meeting the following day, so we went into Seoul and another branch of the SM (Supreme Master) Chiang Hai cult restaurant chain in Insadong, then went up into Jongno with Anne and Dan (some of Amy’s friends) for ice cream, palm reading (at a “destiny cafe”), a hugely entertaining film (Stardust, which looks like it’ll be a cult classic for kids seeing it), beer and fruit soju…altogether, an excellent reintroduction to Korea. I was dealt a bit of a blow on returning to the WWOOF Korea office though – the organisation has downsized quite a lot, and Gyeonggi Province’s farm quota has been reduced from double figures to a mere two. I’m currently awaiting confirmation that my preferred placement can provide meat-free food, and should be able to head down there this week sometime.
The past week has been fairly jam-packed with activities, most free time being taken up with films, books (including, finally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Korean study, bits of cleaning (Amy is looking after a rabbit, who has developed a habit of relieving himself on the sofa, eating books and chewing electrical cables but is very endearing and constantly entertains us with some kind of happy rabbit dance, which is rabbit body language for general glee), logic puzzles (which Amy and I seem to be able to do together, but not individually), the ongoing saga of Amy’s bathroom (leaking into the apartment below, but should be fixed by this evening) and Puzzle Quest (a highly addictive roleplaying / puzzle game for the PSP). There has also been cooking and baking. Just a few examples of our culinary skills are veggie burgers (tofu and chickpea), bread, pumpkin scones (a recipe I got from New Zealand), chocolate courgette bread, gazpacho soup and tofu satay. More delights will surely come.
Saturday night saw us in Itaewon (an area of Seoul geared up to foreigners) for a gig by U R Seoul, an expat band playing mostly covers. There was much consumption of Canadian rye and ginger, some excellent tunes and a brief introduction to expat nightlife in Seoul. We wrapped it up around one, stayed over in Shinchon and made it back to Yongin for some much-needed chilling out. Farming and volunteer work, hopefully, await.