Late For Dinner

"Adventures...Make you late for dinner." -- Bilbo Baggins

Featuring Thoughts and Images both Adventurous and Otherwise. Dealing mostly with those Occurences and Happenings which befall one Jordan Emmans, during his Sojourn in the Far East (South Korea, specifically). Giving no promise as to Quality or Frequency of posts. Expecting, however, great Diversity of Subject Matter. Hoping sincerely to Entertain and Enlighten those Readers who would care to glance herein. Or Something.

Location: Gwangju, South Korea

I'm a follower of Jesus and a guitarist/drummer/vocalist. I'm from Cool, CA, USA, and I've been in Korea since Jan. 27, 2006. Right now I'm giving teaching a try. Next year...who knows what I'll be doing. Life is an adventure!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ancient History: Jejudo

Here at long last are my Jejudo (also spelled Chejudo) pictures. I did this trip in four days last June, all by bicycle (well, except for the plane ride there and the taxis to and from the airport). It was one of the crazier and cooler things I've done in my life.

Day 1:

I barely made my flight, but all went smoothly once I got to the island. I rented a bike and promptly began my trek...into a very strong wind. There was absolutely nothing to see, not even near the water. I made the mistake of wearing my backpack, rather than strapping it to the bike, which made for a miserable existence. My butt ached, my back ached, my shoulders ached, my mind cursed me, my emotions raged against me. The bike's seat was not made for long-distance riding, I can tell you that. Nor was the bike iteself made for one of my proportions. But I endured.

I also made the mistake of not taking enough money with me. I thought I could do the trip on a shoestring budget, and I was right, but there were moments when I wondered if I would have enough money to eat by the time I got back to the airport (I made it with money to spare, mostly by eating very cheaply).

So, the first day was one of extreme discomfort. I was questioning my sanity in even going on this trip. To make matters much worse, I stayed in a little homestay place that was also a
raw fish restaurant - with loud, progressively drunker patrons. Nonetheless I slept better there than at any other motel that trip.

Here's a view of the room in Seongsan (or Sungsan). It looks nice, but it wasn't, believe me:

Day 2:

Here's what I saw right outside my door in the morning:

The next three days were awesome, the polar opposite of day one. I wised up and strapped my pack to the bike instead of to me, which made all the difference. Though my derrier was still unbelievably sore, I was able to carry on and even enjoy the experience, which included lonely roads like the following:

One of the island's ubiquitous mandarin orange groves:

Me, resting briefly from my labors:

I reached Seogwipo late in the day.

A funny thing happened to me at my motel.

First of all, I had to slay several beasts: two healthy cockroaches and a couple of tiny spiders, the latter of which were hiding in the bedclothes (needless to say, I slept poorly that night). Then, I turned on the swamp cooler. It made a funny, flapping sound. I thought, "What is this, more cockroaches?" But no, it was...two 10,000 Won bills, equal to $20, and also, coincidentally, equal to the amount I payed for the room. So I stayed that night for free. Who would stuff 20,000 Won into the vent of a motel swamp cooler, I don't know. A kid, maybe? Regardless, I consider it my bounty for slaying the vermin.

Day 3:

The daytime view from Seogwipo:

The day was incredible; so incredible that I took few pictures. I went up in elevation, into the high country and away from civilization. The terrain reminded me of Northern California, specifically Grass Valley. From there it was all downhill to Hallim, a mid-sized fishing town that was under a blanket of fog the entire time I was there.

The motel in Hallim was the best yet, except that the A/C didn't work. So I had to leave the window open all night, which let in the light from the bright, bright neon sign across the street. I slept poorly again.

Day 4:

I was on the road early, as I had to catch a 5pm plane from Jeju City back to Gwangju and I had about 20 km (approx. 40 miles) to ride before then.

I noticed an interesting lighthouse on the way. You'll notice the turtle foundation (see this previous post for more turtles -- apparently, in Korean mythology, a turtle is carrying the world):

A peaceful little park, perfect for comtemplative relaxation:

The decals on my bike were interesting; I'm still not sure what the second one means...

"I found the mind million miles away"...?! Huh?

I saw this rather humorous sign, and dutifully photo graphed:

I made good time back to Jeju City and was able to do a little sightseeing. Here's the famous Dragon Rock:

This was the coolest place I saw on my trip, and it was right in the middle of town:

The girl at the bike rental shop took this picture. I think she wanted to emphasize my height.

So I made it home (to Gwangju) safe and sound, very sore but satisfied. I'll do it again if I get the chance.

I have many more "Ancient History" posts coming. As I've mentioned, I've been a little behindhand in posting the evidence of my adventures, but I'm working on being more current.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My new toys

I bought this sweet little setup on Monday. The amp is a Roland Micro Cube. It's cute, but yea verily it screameth. I can't even turn it up halfway for fear of bringing the wrath of my neighbors down upon me. The effects pedal is a Digitech RP50, which is all I could afford. I'll be upgrading in the near future. The guitar is a Samick Malibu, made in Korea (well-made, I might add), and obviously based on a Strat. It plays and sounds great. And....I got out of there for a mere 460,000 Won (approx. $460). I'm excited!

Coffee remains

The view from my apartment window...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mike and Dave's Speakeasy

Last weekend I...

...had dinner with students (the guy grinning is hilarious; the guy to his left is his friend and straight man, also very funny; the girl and guy aren't a couple, though he wants them to be; the guy in back is an air traffic controller for the South Korean Airforce. We had sushi.)...

...went to Mike and Dave's Speakeasy, the local foreigners' bar owned and operated by two Canadian guys, where we (my students and I) saw a Canadian named Matt play a bunch of covers and originals (all I could capture was his lower half)...

...and played a few of my songs with my new jamming buddies, Dan from Britain and Dave (not of Mike and Dave's) from Canada.

The gig went well, considering that Dave hadn't heard any but two of my songs until that afternoon, and we didn't know we were going to play until about 5pm (we ended up going on after midnight; we played for about 45 minutes). Dave's quite accomplished. He can sing backup as well as play very tasty grooves on his bass. Dan's also a consummate musician. They're easy guys to play with.

Playing in bars, as those who have will know, is like practicing in public. Most people are there to socialize, not listen to the band, so they pretty much ignore you and talk louder to hear each other over the music. But it was still fun. And the owners loved us so much they said we could come play anytime (I don't know if there will be any payola involved...).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Talent Show Biz

September 24th there was a talent show at "The 12th Gwangju International Community Day," which is long for "Foreigners' Festival." I played a couple original tunes with a British drummer I go to church with. It was a BLAST, let me tell you! As you can see, it was a big stage, and there were probably 600 people there, mostly foreigners. The sound system rocked, my guitar sounded great, my vocal was was good. And Dan (the drummer) and I had 'em dancin', screamin' and encoring'. Loads of fun!

You can see the judges on the left. We won third place (100,000 Won, which is about $100). Second was a Chinese girl who did a traditional dance, first was a group of Filipino women who did a traditional dance, and the audience choice award went to another group of Filipino women who, coincidentally, also danced.

I think we would have won if we had also had dancing girls up on stage with us...oh well, live and learn.

Here's me greeting the assembled throng and explaining the tunes (you can barely see Dan in the far background):

Here's me rocking out:

(One of my students took these pictures with his cellphone camera, hence the lack of zoom and focus.)