Kat: We went to Seoul for the long weekend to explore the big Korean city. On Saturday night we found our stomachs grumbling. Justin’s foot was still healing from his foot injuries which meant we couldn’t walk far. Luckily our hostel was in the middle of Sinchon near the university district, filled with restaurants and bars.
We walked into the first restaurant we saw, advertising a mix of sausages and vegetables.
“I can do a sausage,” I said to Justin. We sat down and the wait staff were very attentive. Only a couple of tables were occupied with university students finishing their meals. They brought us the Korean menu.
“Sausage?” I asked, pointing to the first item on the menu.
“Sausage,” the woman replied. I had no reason to think I wouldn’t be getting sausage.
The first course came out; some mysterious grey bits I suspect was dried tripe and raw liver. The waiter demonstrated where the body parts came from by pointing to his liver. Raw liver is quite tasty. We downed the tiny maroon cubes in a couple of minutes. We didn’t touch the tripe.
The waiter then brought out the main course, cooked on a metal hot plate in front of us. Potato, pumpkin, garlic, onion, some slices of something brown… He pointed to his heart. Two slices of heart. While that was cooking, he went back to get the sausages.
I thought I could handle the heart. It’s not that unusual. I did eat brains in Romania. Then the waiter returned with the “sausage”, placing a spindly coil of meat on our hot plate. That’s not sausage…
The waiter saw my face and pointed out the intestines on his body. My mouth still wide, he pointed to his butt while repeating aniyo (no). So it was intestines without the renal cord. Yummy. He chopped the cooked intestines up with a pair of scissors and indicated we needed to dip it in the sauce then the salt.
I took a slice of intestine in my chopsticks and dipped it in the salt. “Here goes…”
For everyone’s information, intestines taste like fat.
The next day at breakfast I explained our food adventures to one of the hostel workers. He laughed at me and explained, “Intestines are Korean Sausages.” We survived our sausage adventures with no ill effects and that afternoon got a cheap pass to the happiest place in Korea: Lotte World.
Justin: One of the things I truly love in this world is theme parks. Yes they do take me back into a world of awe, wonder and magic. I know when we have kids one of these days I am truly going to look forward to taking them there and watching their faces. I needed to go to Lotte World for many reasons. Last week wasn’t great for me; I injured my foot and was having a lot of trouble sleeping. I was in an irritable homesick mood, woe was me and my negative attitude. So after sleeping only an hour and a half I woke up really irritated not willing to face another day. Then Lotte World came around, one of the biggest theme parks in South Korea.
As befitting all serious theme parks the wait time ranges from bearable to ridiculously long, some lines pushing two and a half hours. Shouldn’t really complain though, do people really kick up a fuss when a first-rate band doesn’t practice precise punctuality?
As I wandered around, played, ate sweets and lost myself in the laser shows, Kat’s cuteness and the Korean randomness. I forgot one key thing: that I was miserable. I found myself on one and a half hours sleep being totally free and happy. Wow, what a way to short-circuit my misery-go-round, plant yourself into a theme park, lose yourself and reclaim your childhood. Reclaim, as Arcade Fire sang in the Suburbs, all those “wasted hours” they wouldn’t take back even if they had the chance.
The highlights were meeting and greeting the Korean version of Jack Sparrow, a damn impressive 3D horror ride and the firework and laser show that culminated the night. For twenty dollars each this place was an absolute steal.
That is what’s great about travel really, you need to find another level of self-acceptance and love because there are times when you get down and your sleep gets a little disturbed. Going back to joy, wonder, amusement park rides, dodgy hot dogs, fireworks, lasers, endless afternoons, endless summers, eternal blue skies and the state of joy.