Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If you see the Buddha on the road shoot him (just don’t use your flash)

dj01 We all need an assistant librarian librarian in our lives. Here’s a pic of the aforementioned Sue – the co-librarian of the Korea International School elementary library. Sue was a cool customer – she had that Bond girl calm and collected demeanor greeting any problem or request we threw her way with a quick and thoughtful nod which meant whatever we needed  was as good as done. Sue was in charge of getting us onto the bus that was taking us to our next  destination – the city of Daejeon  a couple hours south of Seoul.

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Our bus ride was completely uneventful which is how one would usually wish their bus rides to go. Once we got to the city of Daejeon the bus terminal was under renovation so there was a little confusion finding our contacts. Eventually though we met up with our new librarian team – Connie and her able assistant Sungmee (I’m tellin’ ya – we all need an assistant librarian in our life.)

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dj04 Connie and Sungmee took us to a giant farmers market then to a nearby mountain where we hiked around some Buddhist temples. Hiking is quite the pastime in Korea and we joined right in with the throngs that were dutifully marching up the mountain paths. Along the way we saw stacks of rocks signifying the prayers of earlier trekkers and also passed a couple Buddhist temples. I climbed the stairs to one of these temples removed my shoes and stepped inside. The room was empty of monks or other hikers and I pulled out my camera and started taking shots of the shrine. No sooner had my flash gone off then a monk appeared and kindly, but firmly suggested that my camera and I continue on our way.

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dj03After our hike we descended back down the mountain path and had dinner. Outside of the restaurant a woman was selling Beondaegi – the boiled silkworm larva that I mentioned earlier – it’s in the pot in the lower right hand corner of this pic. For whatever reason this particular batch was not as aromatically challenging as other roiling concoctions that we had come across – I took this as a opportunity to try these things out so I stabbed one of the buggers with a toothpick and popped it in my mouth. A little crunchy outside, kind of gooey inside and pretty much tasting like potting soil.

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Beondaegi

The boiled silkworm larva’s flavor is not as bad as its aroma.
It offends the palette in a completely different almost subtle way,
earthen, agrarian, like dirt.
It tastes as garden soil smells at season’s end,
thick tined pitchfork turning spent stalks,
wilted leaves, and fallen fruit beneath the exhausted rows
with hope of nourishing the plot for next season’s seeds.
The city of Seoul’s taxi drivers
refuse tips,
become offended,
even if keeping the change amounts to less than 88 cents.
The city of Seoul’s taxi drivers
display their licenses permanently affixed to the right side of the dashboard,
directly in front of the passenger seat.
Their photographs
stoically staring at their fare
are never updated.
Fresh and full of promise as a high school year book photo,
hair as black as a mockingbird’s back -
skin as clear and smooth as an Asian pear,
while the man clutching the wheel
through his thin white gossamer gloves
wears a road-map of liver spots across his nearly bald head.
And I wonder,
what he and his photographed self talk about
when driving alone.

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1 comment:

mr. midge man said...

Hello... I am an English major at a small Liberal Arts school in Ohio who was told to write a blog for his intro to computing class...
I did this (check me out I have some poetry and a few short stories on it) I was also told to post comments on ten people's boards so... Mr Midge Man strikes again!

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