Except for a great week of vacation in the Kentlands, it has been awhile since I was actually doing anything other than working in either Mexico or Korea.
My Korean co-workers/friends in Mexico are very nice and very blunt – after the “Mexican-Korean food vortex” ended I put some of the weight back on in Korea which led to this conversation:
Mr. X – “Mr. Jarrett – aren’t you cold?”
Me – “A little”.
Mr. Y – “It is OK, his fat keeps him warm”
Mr. Z –“And white people don’t get cold”
I assured them that white people get cold, it was a chilly morning of about 60 degrees with dew. But they had Carhartt jackets, gloves, and ear muffs…so they were prepared.
Back in Korea we were coming to the end of a long Saturday at work when we got a meetup group text about the “Great Korean Beer Festival” – we had not heard much about it so we decided to try. It was a craft beer festival – about 80% western (and mostly U.S. Expats) and pretty much opposite of what we were expecting. Low key, people drinking beer for the taste (no gombae), and talking to Americans & British about normal stuff. Expats are very friendly as everyone is in the same boat so it is always easy to meet people and some Samsung
Expats were there as well to introduce us to others. It was on the museum grounds of the national war museum in an area called Itaewon where most all the Expats and military live (we were considered to have gone “native” living in in all Korean area). Many of the booths were microbrews in Seoul – so we got the addresses of multiple places to eat handmade pizza and other western food that I just do not get in my neighborhood. One shocking fact – I met a senior manager from Outback – there are 105 Outbacks in Seoul metro area.
On my one day off, I drove cross the entire country to Gangneung on the east coast – About 2.5 hours total. It was cloudy in Seoul but sunny and spectacular on the east coast and the leaves were at peak driving through the mountains. The ocean had no waves and was crystal clear. It somewhat reminded me of Lake Tahoe with the trails in the pine trees just off the sandy shore and I rode about 25 miles up and down the coast and around an lake inland. One thing different here from Seoul (besides 26 million less people) is that I was not invisible – people noticed me. At first I thought everyone was very friendly waving at me saying “anneyo” – which I though was short for “annyeonghaseyo” or hello. Then an old guy jumped in front of me waving both hands and I scraped a pine tree avoiding him. I confirmed “anneyo” is actually “no’ – I guess no bike riding on those trails. The indoor sports at the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in this town – it is in the Pyeongchang region. Unlike Socchi, Korea isn’t spending $50 billion…they are focused on temporary facilities (that can be moved) and few new resorts – the big investment is on high-speed train through the mountains to Seoul and most everyone will commute up and back an hour each way at 250 MPH. Some excitement on the drive back as my bike partially fell off the rack while going about 60 MPH – the elastic cord that secured the bike to the rack broke and the rear tire was drug for awhile, no major damage but it did my get attention. Cord was only 22 years old…
Back to Mexico Saturday with one quick stopover…pictures from the beach below.