Surfing in Busan
Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
120Trip End Jan 30, 2010
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As taken from my journal
Two friends have found themselves laid up in the hospital. One has a broken back in three places and the other is recovering from hand surgery. Our health is such a thing that we might take for granted and it might only be when we find our rides going though a dark tunnel hovering slightly above hell that we might realize what it means to be healthy.
I stayed overnight in the hospital on Monday to provide a friend and fellow teacher with comforts such as water, food, and most importantly friendship. Gavin had surgery on his hand Monday afternoon. His ailment: a bacterial infection on one of his tendons. He was still pretty weak from the surgery and mostly slept. To pass the time I played Starcraft on my computer in the six person room while a few patients looked on. It was Gavin's birthday tonight and most of the CIS staff and Matt went to see him at the hospital. We brought cake and fried pork for all to eat. He'll be in for another weak until he is in the clear. We sang and ate to cheer up his spirits. This night the school felt like a family. A mix of Koreans and ex-pats. As I visited him I recalled a dangerous experience I had back in the late 90's where I might have lost my arm if the last stand of antibiotics I was being given had not beat the staff infection I had. I skipped out early to head to Busan with a request from one of my supervisors to take her with me, to which I was totally into (she's smoking hot). I promised Gavin the boys would be in on Wednesday with Axis and Allies to have a game.
Juni is also hospitalized after flying 15 feet face first into a metal chair on a city bus after it slammed on it's brakes to avoid a scooter. His back is broken in three places and he'll be in for two months. Shiat!
This weekend is Chuseok, the massive Korean holiday, the biggest one here, that is like Thanksgiving. I'm writing on the subway now and it's 1030pm. I am meeting up with a group in Itaewon and were heading south to Busan for some surf. The selected late leave is to avoid the massive congestion on the highways as there will be a mass exodus of people leaving to be with loved ones.
Work is going well. As I have said before the weeks fly by and the old saying "time flys when you're having fun" could not be more true. I've been here for a year now and it seems like such a short time has passed. I've had some periodic bouts of home sickness, ironically when I see traits of my friends at home in people here. And of course how I recognize how I speak, laugh and and act like my dad. My feminine side from my mom makes appearances too.
Doesn't look good for making it home at Christmas . We had an emergency staff meeting at work last Friday where an emotional principal tore into me for discussing vacation times with a teacher that I worked with at another branch of CIS. Not sure how it was found out that I sent her an email to ask about their situation. That's the draw of running a business like a family, emotion... I might go back to Taiwan at Christmas and tour some more of the island. James and I have been discussing this over the last few days. We will most likely be working the 2nd of January, a Friday, which will kill holiday plans home.
Today at work I had a great moment with the students. As I was writing on the white board I could hear a few of them out of their seats and I directed them to sit and that I could see them with them eyes in the back of my head.
"Kevin Teacher you don't have eyes in the back" a few said.
"We can't see them" said another.
I replied that my hair was covering them, to which Rosie challenged me. She stood up and went to walk behind me. I said "OK", hold up a hand with some fingers up and I'll tell you what you have up. I turned around and said "you have two up". As I turned back to the class there was a collective ooohhh and I couldn't help but smile at Rosie's frustrated grin. I think I'm psychic. This performance combined with my accurate to the exact second of when the bell would ring the other day keeps them smiling. Of course there was protests of do it again, to which I replied that I can only do it once a day. I hope they don't remember that on Tuesday.
Trading magic for fact
No trade backs
I'm changing trains in two stops, I'll write more later.
I'm sitting in a PC bong and am exhausted after two days of surfing. The waves have gotten bigger over the last two days. No so big that a noob like me might not be able to ride but big enough to have power. Tomorrow will be even bigger. The typhoon we have been waiting for hit Jeju Island today and should be here tomorrow. The cops might be an annoyance as they freak out a bit but I hope not. I'll back track to where I left off on Friday night.
I made it to Itaewon on the subway and found that I had miss calculated the leave time. I thought it was at 1130 when it was really at 1230. I found the hotel we were leaving from and grabbed a shawarma and some Gatorade and sat on my bag and began to people watch to pass the time. A hobo with an Ipod, I was glancing at such characters as a white guy with a hot Korean girl on his arm who gave me the stare down as they passed by (porbably because I was looking at his girl), the loads of foreigners strolling along drunk, and people of all colour and creed. I soon noticed a group of wasted guys on the other side of the hotel lane way. One guy came over and asked me to come and chat with him and his friends. I politely declined as he and his group of obnoxious, cat calling, fight starting, hooligans were certainly not the type of folk I would like to hang out with. He told me he was not trying to fight me, a kind gesture on his part, and then left after some persistence. Right after that I met three lovely ladies that were coming on the trip. We chatted and asked the standard "where you from, how long have you been in Korea, and what ages do you teach" questions of each other. As we were chatting the guy that approached me earlier started walking across the lane way towards us. He the broke into a sprint and charged me fist cocked. I saw this out of the conner of my eye and being a lover more than a fighter I waited until he was almost on me then moved to the side. He went flying face first into some plastic shelves and landed on the pavement. The Gahndi in me asked him if he was OK to which there was no reply. He got up and walked back to his friends.
You must always love you enemies.
Moments later another guy from the group tried to start a fight with a Korean guy.
Moments later Nathan showed up in the van and told us to meet him at the petrol station up the street. As we walked past the drunk guys I quietly asked the girls to protect me. They giggled.
Once at the van every one exchanged hello's and we were off. There was 10 of us in the van. Isaiah, a huge professional rugby player from Tonga and I sat in the back, four girls sat in the middle, two other big boys sat closer to the front and Nathan and his dad rode in the front. We got to the beach at 7am and had a quick dip in the ocean before heading to the love motel where we would stay for 20,000 won a night. I am rooming with Isaiah. He's married to an American woman who works on a base as a civilian. We chatted over beers last night and he told me he works in a school for special needs kids. We talked about being kicked in the balls, spit on, and bitten while on the job.
As I sit out in the ocean I find inner peace. A guy I meet in Taiwan last year told me once you know how to ride a wave you'll make you life around being able to surf. I really feel this way and finally am able to stand relatively consistently now. It's a such fun. There is so much dept to this sport. You have to know how to paddle, read the ocean, and tell when a wave will come. You also need to know how to get past the big waves that will come crashing over you if you don't duck dive them. I love listening to Nathan explain the way surf comes and why there are some waves that are different and how he check to see where the storms are out in the ocean that will deliver good swell to the coast. As my friends back home are having babies and buying houses I wonder if that is what I should be doing at 33 almost 34, then again I can always be joyful for them and their lives and see where this adventure leads me....
-Thanks for reading