Sunday, March 29, 2009


Jes and I met a event promoter at a bar a couple weeks ago. We started rapping about DJ's, deep house, Burningman, etc. He invited us to club Vera where he was promoting a DJ from New York the following night. We caught the tail end of the house DJ set, which was really fun.

He just sent me this photo from that night. Looks like Jes is the new covergirl...

Saturday March 28th, 2009 Seoul Korea

Today: Saturday, March 28. Clear and Sunny. 55 degrees.

6:30am: Was suppose to get up early and take an overnight trip with Jes to the coast but felt like shit. Sinus infection started at my upper lip and wrapped around the sagittal crest. Nose very swollen--looked like a like a native indian, or like that Neanderthal from the Gecko insurance commercials. Apologized to Jes and went back to sleep.

8:30am: Made a pot of coffee from a drip maker Jes recently retrieved from a friend whose been storing it for her for a couple years. Coffee is very dear here--about $40/pound for subprime beans. Coffee is served everywhere in Seoul. However, water with brown food-coloring at $4 a Grande is as bad a purchase as a condo in Las Vegas in 2005. I fold and cut my own filters from paper towels. I have yet to find anyone vending #2 cones.

9:00am: Settled back into bed and dove into Cloud Atlas by Robert Mitchell.

11:00am: Ate half of a left over pizza and another pot of coffee. Still in Cloud Atlas.

12:30pm: Jes came home with groceries and a new domestic product--a folding drying rack. It allows us to dry our laundry in a consolidated space rather than hanging and draping our stuff over every available surface in our apartment. Drying machines are only for the rich.

4:00pm: Put down my book. Jes served us homemade traditional BLT's, fresh strawberries and Fanta for a late afternoon lunch. It was hands down the best meal I've had in Korea, and definitely one of Jes' top three specialties (to the best of my knowledge Jes' cooking repertoire consists of five items.)

5:30pm: Watched Sprout on my laptop. Made a mental note to look up Ceylon as a possible surf destination. Listened to a Jack Shimabukuro album I downloaded yesterday and tried to work out a couple Beatle tunes on my ukulele. Need a tuning fork.

8:15pm: Sinuses are feeling much better; my nose is back to a more agreeable size. I might even go outside tomorrow.

10:00pm: Feeling restless after a day indoors, Jes and I opted to go for a walk in our neighborhood. Our apartment is 2 blocks from a subway stop. Our neighborhood is divided by an overpass. The north side of the pass is populated with more wanna-be western establishments--it feels like Stonestown. The south side of the over pass is more traditional and is more like Irving St., By Seoul standards we live in a suburb. After an hour of exploring, we settled on a traditional Korean restuarant (there are hundreds around us and its sooo difficult to choose one) and had a a really nice meal...Jes taught me how how to order food speaking Korean!!! 'Yo gi Yo! Twogay Tedchi Gowbi Geyeso' - "Over here waiter! Two BBQ pork dinners for us." "Comsadeenya" - "Thank you!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dobongsan Mountain

Last sunday, Jes and I took the 3 subways to get to Dobong station, which drops you off at the foot of Dobongsan. San stands for mountain. Hiking is a favorite pastime among Koreans, especially among the older generation...and too their credit, Korean seniors appear to be very cheerful and healthy.

The approach to the mountatin is about a 20 minute walk from the subway. As we waited for the cross walk light to change at the station we were quickly enveloped in a crowd, several thousand strong of senior Koreans. Their numbers surprised me, but more so, their outfits. These Koreans were donned in the finest alpine climbing gear to be had, titanium telescoping walking poles, 2010 hiking boots, ultra-light packs; the lightest, most breathable, nylon/wool hybrid fabrics, the most teched out shit you can get: The editor of Outdoor Mag would be proud.

I thought we were just going for a light day hike but judging by the accouterment of my peers Dobongsan might be less like Mt. Tam and more like Everest. I turned to Jes, "I think we might be seriously under-dressed for our hike." I was in all cotton: t-shirt, jeans, hoodie and tennis shoes. Aside from and REI pack, Jes wasn't any better off. She assured me that Koreans were just realllllly zealous when it came to hiking outfits.

We crossed the street. The approach to the mountain is a paved path about 30' wide, both sides lined with restuarants, food stands, and major brand gear outfitters for every letter in the alphabet. I wonder if Tibet and the Himalayas are as smothered with Helly Hansen's, North Faces', Mountain Hardwares', Berghaus's...yikes!

Maybe we we're unprepared. Maybe not. Maybe those Koreans know better. We didn't it make it more than 20 minutes up the mountain before we decided to turn around and go home. Maybe it was because it was that time of the month for Jes; maybe it was because we drank a lot the night before and danced til 2am; maybe it was the yellow dust that was blowing in from Mongolia, maybe jet-lag had caught up with us, and maybe it was just because we thought the mountain was way too fucking ugly and packed with people to be bothered with. Or, maybe it was because we didn't dress right...I guess we'll never know.

However, during that short hike we found an unbusy outcrop off of the side of the trail where several, recently restored, Korean Temples stood.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Web Cams

Jesus I wish I hadn't done that! I swear I was just looking up news articles on the web; looking for a topic to review in my ESL Free Talking class tonight. Then I deviated from my purpose (as one necessarily does on the internet). I thought, huh wonder if I can pull up the Ocean Beach cam over the internet all the way from Korea.

Brilliant idea Anthony....Not! Why would you do something like that? Maybe corporal mortification--after all, I was raised Catholic.

I did it. The cam worked. Why wouldn't it? And guess what? It was windEEE! And yes, 5 kites were out; that I could count. The ocean was bathed in golden, Californian, sunset light and the sand was blowing in streams down the beach, in a pixelated webcammy sort of way.

Instinctually, I assessed the conditions superman-fast: A small short period swell out of the west and judging from the angle of the kites I think the wind was North-north-west. Maybe the NPH (North Pacific High Pressure) has set up off the north coast of Cali. Conditions might persist several more days. Let's see, I could be at the airport in 1 hour, in San Francisco in 15, but with the time change....

My eyes started watering. I wish I could be in that cold wetsuit, saltwater filling my everything, adrenaline pumping, a song in my head, the constant soft roar of the breaks. And when I was done there would be perfect exhaustion and decent beer.

I stared at the heart sank lower and lower with each press of the refresh button. Refresh. Refresh.
But then I caught myself. Stop!!! I shut my laptop.

But the memory lingers.

Today is Friday morning. Fortunately I'll be too busy to sulk about missing Cali...last class is over at 10pm.