Goodbye, AsiaWheeling 1.0
It rained all the rest of the day in Seoul and we worked furiously on correspondence (as you can see by the date of this entry, we did not finish it all). But, as night fell, the rain ceased and a warm muggy night crept in on the city. Armed with a recommendation from one of the workers at this, our second hostel of the day, we set out upon the wet streets of Seoul. The fellow had drawn for us the characters for the name, and distinctive shape of this restaurant’s sign on the back of an old Yim’s house business card (dammit, Yim).
We initially had some problems finding the place, mostly because the skies opened once again and rain poured on the city, disorienting our searches. We huddled under a single umbrella and approached strangers showing them the card. Unbeknownst to us, we were presenting the character upside down, so each person we showed, took some time to discover what exactly these strange white guys wanted from them. Finally we asked a motorcycle delivery man. He pointed us in the right direction, and seeing the sign and slowly turning our now soaking wet Yim’s house card upside-down our spirits soared with success.
It was a traditional Korean “courses” style of restaurant. This means course after course after course of the most succulent and exotic dishes you can imagine. We had no idea what to order so we utilized a little slip of paper that the fine woman at the information desk on the Tian Ren Ferry had provided us with. We believe it said something along the lines of, “We have bicycled all throughout Asia, and now we are in Korea. This country is like the icing on our cake. Please help us to order the most delightful and authentic food you can.” It worked like a charm. And we were blown out of the water. Take a look at this:
First we were given a kind of mellow yellow porridge. It was mildly sweet and of a textural consistency I had never experienced before.
Then were were given a bunch of courses of little meats and sushi like things.
We were still a bit wet from the rain, but doing great non the less.
Here’s a better look at the flaming squash dish (one of the best).
A number of things were flaming. Our waitress was very friendly. Even when we ate some things which were ornaments and “not food,” as she later explained to us. Those were, I believe, her only words of English. Despite eating what may have been Styrofoam, we remain without symptom to this day. So I will chalk that as a win.
The courses simply kept coming. Astounding. We were needless to say stuffed to the gills. So we strolled around the city, digesting both the feast and the immensity of the trip. Of particular interest on that walk was the discovery of this strange sculpture.
The Next morning we rose and climbed onto a bus to the Incheon airport. Inside, Scott and I were separated prematurely. This is mostly my fault, I believe, as the woman at the United Counter expressed doubt as to whether I could catch my flight at all, citing a 40 minute ride to the gate. I rode an futuristic airport tram, filled (for some strange reason) with Russians, under the runways and emerged in a gleaming new terminal. My flight was indeed boarding and I got on. I should have dallied around the gate for some time, in hopes that I would find Scott, but I had no reason to believe he was even bound for the futuristic new United terminal. So on I got, my mind churning with the immensity of the trip which lay just behind me. And just before we were to pull away from the gate, a flight attendant came over to me.
“Are you Benjamin Schneider?” she asked. I replied and she produced for me an awkwardly folded piece of airport carbon copy printer paper. I thanked her and slowly unfolded the message.
“AsiaWheeling Strikes again,” it said in loud and frantic ballpoint pen. I smiled the deepest and most content of smiles and, for the first time in 45 days and 21 cities, took off towards a place I had been before. AsiaWheeling Strikes Again… Indeed. Indeed.