But before I jumped on a cramped cargo ship for 25 hrs I needed to get some last minute shopping done (Seoul is my last modern city to stock up on supplies.) I spent the better part of yesterday on a quest for an English language book store
. After finding one and picking out a few books I started the long process of trying to find my way home. When you do not speak the language and cannot read the signs this is not always easy to do. Like always I ended up some where I was not trying to go. I found myself wandering around in the middle of Seoul's red-light district. The Seoul red light district is no way different then any other red-light district anywhere else in the world. It has the same countless rows of non-descriptive windows decorated with scantly clad woman offering their services to the window shoppers passing by. If you really think about it these prostitutes are not that much different then the sad little puppies you see in pet store windows. Really they are all just looking for someone to love them and maybe even take them home at the end of day. At one point while I was aimlessly wondering and admiring the sites (in a state of sad disbelief) a slightly over weight, yet oddly attractive Korean women popped her head out of one of the windows and offered me her services. As much of a bargan as it was I had to pass! I politely declined giving her the brief explanation that I had 2 new intriguing books just waiting to be devoured! For all of you not interested in the picture I am trying to paint for you here the books I bought today were "Welcome To The Monkey House" -Kurt Vonnegut and "1984" -George Orwell.
Now moving on for those of you who are interested in my tall tales
! I sit here in amazement thinking about the contrast of the world we live in. Even more importantly to me right now, the contrast of the Far East vs. Middle East. If by the grace of some higher power then I and "Team Hay-Zeus" makes amends with "Team Allah" in the next few months and we do end up pulling off a tourist visa for Iran, Special Agent Wieners will have to cover her head while we are there. In Iran all women are required by LAW to cover their heads with a hijab (the headscarf worn by Muslim women.) In Iran women are not allowed to show any skin or part of their body (including hair) other then their face. It is a mind boggling contrast to the women here selling their innocence out of a shop window for pocket change. The way they look at sexuality in the Far East is a very strange and hard thing to explain. They are very reserved in everything that they do, yet at the same time the everyday young girls in the cities here dress like street hookers and prostitution is an accepted part of daily life?
"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." ~Thoreau
March in Step ~Johnny Nomad
It looks as though I will be making the puddle jump to the mainland (China) and finally start heading towards home in the next day or so! In Beijing we will have the long awaited / much anticipated reunion of Johnny Nomad and Special agent T. Wieners. Special agent Wieners will be joining the "Johnny Nomad Experiment" for the next few months (I met her about 2 years ago while I was bumming around South America.) Our reunion will be a joyous day because much like myself Miss Wieners is a connoisseur of stupidity. Wieners and I will start our long journey West (Central Asia / Middle East) from Beijing! It is hard for me to understand / explain that while I mentioning that I am heading home at the same time I am starting a 7 month trip in the complete opposite direction. Anyway, I plan to get onto a cargo ship heading in the direction of China in the next day or so. You know my journey is almost at completion when I can add a "slow boat to China" to my resume!