Monday, October 25, 2010

Jenny and Gustie's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

I love Justin Bieber.

Or so the sign says.

Well, actually, it says something more along the lines of: Jah-seu-teen Bee-bah, but whatever. I swiped it anyway. I think it is a nice addition to my happy collection of desk chotchkies. At the moment, this assortment happens to include a red Badgers cup, no less than five different versions of Bingo, six thousand scribbled-upon worksheets and the ever-present emergency can of cheesy cheese Pringles. I have decided that upon my triumphant return to the States, there will be at least one piece of luggage solely devoted to the transport of these heavensnacks.

For the record though, I did not make this Bieberlicious sign. One of my students did. I just stole it. One of my many minor acts of thievery in this country. The "Most People Put Their Butts In The Bin" sign is now hanging on my refrigerator.

Anyway. This post is not about my mounting kleptomania.

It's about this past Saturday. Or, as it shall further be known:


The Day Where Literally Everything Went Wrong. Seriously.

Here's what happened.

So, it's pretty difficult to manage a day where everything goes wrong. To that end, I will lay out this disclaimer: one thing went right on Saturday.

We found pesto.

That was the lone success of the day. I have to say though, that we have not yet sampled this pesto, and should it turn out to be completely disgusting, I would not bat an eye.

Saturday, or TDWLEWW.S., was supposed to be a day in which we met up with friend Jake in Itaewon for lunch, went to Gangnam for a rocking KPOP concert and danced the night away at a hot club in the downtown. And exactly none of these things were accomplished.

Roadblock #1: We miss our bus.
Well, to be more accurate, we never had our bus. We were shooting for the 11:00AM into Express, but instead had to take tickets on the 12:00PM. Only mildly fazed, these things happen.

Roadblock #2: Dunkin Donuts is out of my donuts.
At this point, I should have known. No plain glazed raised... this day is just going to be off. But stupidly, we brushed off this clear sign from heaven and crossed the street to Mister Donut.

Roadblock #3: Mister Donut is out of my donuts.

... I ate some thing called a "rice ring". I am confident it is still wedged in the bottom of my stomach. This day will be a disaster.

Roadblock #4: Traffic.
The bus is late. We get into Seoul around 1:30PM. Jake is leaving. We are never gonna make it in time. No Itaewon for us. What this means in layman's terms is: no Taco Bell for us. Enter: sadness.

Okay. Regroup. We decide that the best way to salvage our afternoon would be to check out the purported Western grocery selection at Lotte World in Jamsil. It's only a few metro stops from our final destination and we're suddenly flush with time. We. Need. Pesto.

The hunt is on.

Roadblock #5: We get off at the wrong subway stop.
Why or how did this happen? Not totally sure. Can probably be chalked up to us not being able to count, but we had to be aided by an elderly Korean man in the station. Who then went on to mock our pronunciation of "Lotte". After about five minutes of discussion on this single topic, I still couldn't give you a correct answer.

Roadblock #6: We are starving, and there is no food.
We are now wandering about Lotte World, which is unpleasant. It looks like one of those attempting-to-be-fancy-but-really-just-has-a-lot-of-washed-out-pastel-colors-and-ugly-fountains-everywhere malls from the U.S. in the 1970s. This food court is nasty. We want out. We want sandwiches. This will not happen.

Roadblock #7: We cannot escape Pizza Hut.
Okay. My first night in Icheon, when I pulled up all jet-lagged and exhausted in a foreign country, I have to say: I was so thoroughly thankful to have a Pizza Hut in my city. I love Pizza Hut. I really do. But I don't love it every day. And Gustie and I had just eaten there the night prior. And I'm lactose intolerant. So this is shaping up to be unpleasant.

Roadblock #8: Our hands are tied.
Because we're foreigners, our waitresses assume we are stupid and trade in our full-size, full-menu menus for the English ones. Bah. Our pizzas come out twenty minutes apart, and Gustie is about to eat the table. An order of chicken fingers is accidentally sent to our booth. Thinking it is free service-ee for the wait, Gustie tears open a sauce packet, only to have the plate whisked away moments later. We start crying we are laughing so hard. Hunger delirium has set.

Roadblock #9: Korea does not make sense.
Gustie has advice that the pesto can be found in the "department store". I am skeptical. Department stores sell clothes, not condiments. I am wrong. We find pesto. It is roughly $12 USD. We do not care.

Roadblock #10: We do not really know how to find this concert.
Okay. Olympic Stadium. Should be evident. But there are signs in Jamsil leading to a Sports Complex. Is this different from the "Sports Complex" metro stop? We don't know. Risk it. Hop back on the subway.

Roadblock #11: There are no lockers. Anywhere.
I have a full backpack. I do not want to bring this thing into the concert. Most subway stops have locker banks for just this circumstance. The Sports Complex stop however, despite being the biggest, most open subway stop I've ever been to, does not have lockers. Curses.

Roadblock #12: Jenny does a faceplant.
Mhmm. Right in the middle of the subway station. Because, for some inane reason, there is a stage right in the middle of the subway station. This thing is only raised like six inches, but I am busy scoping the joint for the invisible lockers, and did not make this particular observation. It's too late. I go flying. Spectacularly so. And my backpack, which is now weighed down with tomato sauce and pesto continues it's trajectory over my shoulders, banging my head down to the ground. Delightful.

Roadblock #13: We need a hotel.
What's making this difficult is that the Olympic complex is sort of squatting right in-between two downtown areas. There is no hotel in walking distance that we can see. Okay, we shall find a taxi. No big deal.

Roadblock #14: We can't get a taxi.
We were turned down by a cabbie because he was not willing to make a U-turn.

I am about to kill someone.

Roadblock #15: Our eventual driver has no idea where we are going.

Roadblock #16: This is because our hotel address is wildly inaccurate.

Roadblock #17: Our hotel is out of Western style rooms.
What this means is that we will be sleeping on mats on the floor. Luckily by the time we actually got back to the hotel, we were way past caring about this.

Roadblock #18: We are running dangerously late.
It says on our tickets that the concert "may stop admitting" people after 5:30 PM.
It is 5:15 PM, and we are on the other side of the river. It is rush hour traffic. We are screwed.

Roadblock #19: We are in the nosebleed section and it's freezing.
After a breakneck sprint from the cab, we have arrived. We made it. Tickets are exchanged, beer is bought, and we find our seats. Which are in the second tier of an Olympic stadium. It is not close. We learn that our friends have snuck into the VIP area. Mood: sullen.

Roadblock #20: They are playing all ballads.
Seriously?? We came for some tunes. We are uninterested in your soulful murmuring in Korean. This is now boring.

We are out of here. The cheap beer buzz is wearing off, and we have dancing to do. Goodbye KPOP.

New plan. We're going out in Gangnam. Hoping to resurrect the broken shards of what was supposed to be an awesome day, we will recreate the splendor of our last trip to Gangnam. A trip to The Tacos has us feeling pretty good, and we are ready to rock out. Club time it is!

Roadblock #21: The club is a morgue.
There is nobody here. This is a train wreck.

The rest of the night was spent alternating between bars and clubs, drinking too much beer and rubbing elbows with way too many Koreans. I am sure that several fire code restrictions were violated in Noise Basement that evening.

The whole day was a complete disaster.

I suppose karmically, we had it coming. Korea has been pretty great so far; maybe we needed to have a dud.

I just hope the next bad day doesn't involve any more ballads and bruises.

<3 aggravation from Korea. Jenny.

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