One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Run Away Train and the Quest for Taco Bell.

I would like to say that last weekend's trip to Seoul was more than a quest for the most sacred, Taco Bell, but ... it really wasn't.  A group of about 7 of us made the 2 hour train ride to Seoul on Saturday morning.  When we got to Seoul Station there was a procession of decision making. "Where are you going? Where do you want to go? What time will we meet back up?" Some wanted to go to the War Museum, others to the English book store, others to an art museum.  The one consensus was that we would be meeting up for dinner at Taco Bell that night.  Taco Bells around Korea have opened very recently, within the last few months, making it the newest taste of home.  They are scarcely found so it requires some planning.  The real mission: Taco Bell.  Everything before it felt like time killed.

The girls ventured to Insadong, a neighborhood in Seoul that sells traditional Korean goods.  We perused the shops for a bit and found refuge in a small coffee shop for a couple of hours.  Then we did my favorite thing of the day, second to Taco Bell, of course. There is a completely English book store called, "What the Book" in the foreigner abundant neighborhood of Itaewon.  I could have spent hours there.  I love book stores-not because I'm a particularly avid reader.  I like book stores the way I love watching the trailers when I go to the movies; except a bookstore offers an endless row of previews into what could or could not be the best book I've ever read.  The possibility excites me,  the pretty covers lure me, the idea of owning one thrills me.

Then we reached the pinnacle of the day. Yes, that flower tortilla filled with meaty goodness, mildly resemblant to low quality beef, topped with shredded lettuce and artificially flavored cheddar cheese sauce. It's hardly Mexican.  Yet it's like crack to my taste buds! yUUmmmm!  I think I said, "I'm so happy" at least 5 times during that meal.

Sunday I met a friend in Chuncheon and decided to try my hand at skiing.  In all reality, it was very close to my first time skiing.  I got the briefest skiing instruction from a friend a year and a half ago.  That day only amounted to sliding down the slightest grade for a half day and I couldn't have really called it a hill or even skiing for that matter.

Sunday, again, I got the briefest instruction.  This friend had me practice turns and stopping on a hill. So far so good.  After a few tries on the beginner slopes, he convinced me that I was "ready" for the intermediate route.  This might have been a tad premature.  Lets just say that I found as I was rocketing down the slope that I hadn't quite perfected slowing or coming to a stop.  I was, as this friend described, "a run away train."  "Get out of the way children! Move children!" I could have prayed and probably should have, but instead, a stream of profanities ran through my head as I tried to find the clearest route, unobstructed by other skiers and snowboarders.

The irony is that earlier that day I had chuckled as I put on the most vibrant yellow ski pants and jacket.  The guys at the ski shop probably sized me up immediately.  "That's a novice, if I've ever seen one. Give her the neon caution suit, Park Min Choi."   Now I thank those guys for giving me their most visible ski suit!

"Pie, make a slice of pie! Big 'A,'  Big 'A'!  This isn't working!!" 

Somehow I made it to the bottom unscathed and managed not harm anyone else in the process    either.  I decided it was best to practice my stopping technique a few more times on the beginner route.  With a bit more practice under my belt, I braved the intermediate route 3 more times.  I was no Olympic skier, and I certainly didn't look graceful doing it, but I got to the bottom, lived to tell about it, and had a blast.
I had actually pictured my end looking something like this


  1. Did you make those pictures? Amazing.
    Also, I LOVE Taco Bell guitlessly. There are like two in all of Canada, and I've eaten the stuff maybe three times in my life, so the novelty is still there, strengthened by the long gaps of time between visits.
    Where is it in Seoul?

  2. It's nice to read such story from Korea. It seems to be a good time for skiing. Have fun there greetings from England

  3. WhatTheBook is amazing! Here's their website where you can order all their books online and they will deliver them to you! Cool hey :)

    *loved ur cute drawings*

  4. Anne, thanks, the pictures are the trusty work of paint. The Taco Bell that we went to was off line 6, Hongik University Station, Exit 5, I believe. It's up the hill across from the Starbucks. I saw online that there is another in Itaewon, exit 3. Then make a u-turn and turn left at the intersection, just after the Cold Stone Creamery.

    Goran, Thanks! I hope you are enjoying England. I want to hear about it!

    Roxy, Thanks for the website! I'm excited to check it out!

  5. I want taco bell!!! I wonder if they have one in Finland. Of course, Americanything would be good about right now. I think the illustration portrays the situation probably very truly. I think what the little illustration is saying portrays it even better hahaha. Good stuff.