Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Trip Diary: Nicole and Yvon (pt. 1)

July 29th, 6:55am:
Jim and I jump in a cab, and I quickly learn the word for "train" (열차 or "yeolcha") to get us to the Ulsan train station to meet Nicole and Little Nicole. We board, Jim sleeps, and I play rock-paper-scissors with Little Nicole for most of the trip to Seoul.

Our route includes stops in Gyeongju, Daegu, Gimcheon, and Daejon. Nicole and Little Nicole leave at Suwon (about a 1/2 hour before Seoul) for their short vacation to Everland Water Park. Jim and I get off at the end of this train's line - crossing the Han River into Seoul Station at 12:45pm.

After a quick bowl of train station bebimbap, we navigate our way to Hongdae - a hip arty university area where our hosts, Yvon and Michelle, live. We rest for awhile, getting to know Michelle and their tiny dog, Kinky, while we await Yvon's return from a big grocery trip. Seoul native Michelle has seen more of Canada than most Canadians we know (and yeah, she's been to Iqaluit). She loves Shediac, in particular.

Yvon comes home, we drink some truly excellent coffee, then set out for a little tour of the 'hood. I buy a ring from a local art student that features a bronze bit moulded from a rippled potato chip for 12,000 won. Lots of open air arty markets going on here.

Michelle's made a big pot of spaghetti for tonight's potluck and guitar party. A few friends arrive, bringing either guitars or food. We're introduced to an excellent drink - red needles (tequila, cranberry, and lime... how come I never thought of that before?! It just seems so deliciously obvious to put those tastes together). We each have a couple. Or a few.

The guys break out some Canadian acoustic standards - Rogers, Cohen (who reportedly loves red needles), Cockburn, Young. But the feature of the night has to be Jim and Yvon bonding over a whole lotta Waterboys tunes.

A friend of Michelle's drops by and the ladies chat in the kitchen while the Maritime kitchen party continues in the living room.

Good friends, good food, and good drinks. Welcome to Seoul!


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