After a long sleep Frank mustered enough energy to recognise hunger. Vincent, Liza, Frank and I made for dinner at a neighbourhood restaurant serving Korean barbecue. Generally, I’m not a big fan of restaurants where one must prepare one’s own food, as I attend restaurants to avoid that very thing. Aside from being a chore, it is doubly troublesome when the food, sauces, and processes are unfamiliar. Liza, who at one point managed a café of her own, took charge of things, cooking up a storm. In past, managing my own Korean barbecue left me uncomfortable that I was doing something wrong, so it was great to have a local running the grill. By the way, there is no “wrong”. Dinner was both excellent and a lot of fun, too.
The dinner reintroduced me to the Korean fondness for stainless steel drinking glasses and stainless steel chopsticks. These are extracted from a hermetically sealed autoclave by wait staff clad in surgeon’s gloves who whisk them to the dining table with some fanfare. Presumably this is to provide a level of assurance regarding cleanliness. Personally, I find it as assuring as those “Sanitised for your convenience!” sashes one finds around the toilet seat in a bad motel. (Yes, the Hotel Luxury and Sexy had one.)
Continue reading 08. My Korean Family
The night just wouldn’t end. The siren song of the toilet was irresistible and constant, the small step inexplicably architected in the middle of the room causing numerous stumbles and stubbed toes. In my fever-induced mania I grew claustrophobic, desperately trying to the find the window I’d seen Liza magically make appear from behind the faux wood panelling. Frustrated, I took a sleeping pill, which worked, thankfully.
Was it morning yet? Our windowless cell of swirling neon colours compelled me to have another crack at finding the window. This time I succeeded, sunshine and air flooding into our discothèque of slumber. I accidentally knocked over the bag of promotional goodies the hotel had left on the window sill, the spilled contents creating a ticker-tape parade of condoms, spermicide, lubricant, cheap cologne, and mysterious feminine products on the unsuspecting pedestrians below.
Continue reading 07. Hurt & Seoul
It was a morning of despites. Despite a forecast for rain and fog, we awoke to stunning sunshine and, most remarkably, clear air. Despite fighting off a head cold and having consumed a surfeit of Spanish tempranillo in the Executive Lounge the night before, I felt great and was eager to go for a jog. Despite having had hernia surgery only three weeks earlier, Frank Lee wanted to join me. Despite having no familiarity with the city, no map, and a directional orientation that would later prove to be off by 90 degrees, we headed out.
This part of Qingdao’s foreshore on the Yellow Sea presented a series of working piers between which there are dramatic cliffs of public parkland footed here and there by swimming beaches with a ten foot tide. It was easy to see why the city was chosen to host the sailing competition during the 2008 Olympics, as it showed us a dedicated sailing culture with all the world class facilities and accommodation one could expect.
Also a nice place for a jog, which is what we had.
Continue reading 06. Luxury & Sexy