All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.
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Sun, 09 Nov 2003
Eventful day today. Went to the big electronics market, where four years ago I was run over by some crazy Korean lady (but unharmed) and bought:
Next came the Molotov cocktail part of the trip. On the way back home from the electronics market we realized that all the roads were blocked off and there was some kind of massive protest going on. Luckily it was not an anti-American protest (it was some kind of labor union thing, I think) so we felt more or less safe until we saw the regiments of hooded guys with big iron poles, getting ready to beat the shit out of the police.
It's pretty clear that every male in this country undergoes military training. These guys were very organized. First they sat in rows on the street, holding the poles upright. Then they started marching double-time, in formation behind someone with a flag. They would stop every one in a while, beat the poles on the ground in unison while chanting some kind of Klingon battle dirge, then continue moving closer to the police while dragging the poles on the street to create a mass scraping sound, foreshadowing, no doubt, the scraping of human flesh from the poles that they would be doing at the end of the day.
The whole effect was pretty fucking scary, fo shizzle, but I was somewhat mollified by the fact that everyone not in the protest was treating it was a fairly common event—building guards were nonchalantly cordoning off the entrances with red tape, people were having dinner on the side of the street, etc.
Anyways, we fled the scene before the Molotov cocktails actually started flying and happened upon a tea shop with a decent selection of teapots and shit. We went in and chatted with the owner for a bit (old Korean guy) who made some tea for us. He overheard us conversing in Chinese and lo! it turns out he speaks Mandarin and that he studied calligraphy and art in Taiwan for twelve years—at the same university we had all been to. Pretty amazing. He had been so enthused by the Taiwanese tea stores that when he came back to Korea he opened one of his own.
So we stayed and chatted with him for a long time in Chinese about tea and Buddhism and his time in Taiwan and whatnot and I ended up with yet another teapot. Then we ate a lot of intestines for dinner (at my behest) and came home, the end.
He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. -- J.R.R. Tolkien