Thursday, February 3, 2011

Strange day indeed

It's an odd day.

Almost everything is closed for Seollal, though Lauren and I did manage to get together for coffee, as two of the four coffeehouses in the neighborhood are, surprisingly, open. But E-Mart, Costco, and every restaurant-- everything but the convenience stores-- is closed. The streets are nearly deserted. It's 41 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly 30 degrees higher than the recent norm, but nobody's out enjoying it.

Meanwhile I'm watching remarkable live coverage of the Cairo uprising on Al Jazeera's English web site. It's objective and comprehensive, much better than you could find on an American cable-news channel; I've been listening to gunfire and seeing Molotov cocktails being thrown by thugs and undercover cops, thinking of my friend Joelle, who lives in Cairo just a few blocks from the square where all the protests have been taking place. The US government said to get out now. She sent out detailed live-history emails six hours ago, but I hope she's on her way to the airport. If she's not scared, I am.

Funny how a couple of months ago people were worried about my safety.

Meanwhile, I made my very own improvises ddeokboggi, the spicy red rice-cake-and-sauce dish so popular at the ubiquitous street vendors' stands, like this one.
The big letters say "Gongju Ddeokboggi".

My improvised recipe: boil the ddeok for a minute, drown it in store-bought pasta sauce, throw in tomato chunks, sprinkle in Tabasco sauce, nuke, eat. The whole process took five minutes and the meal cost maybe fifty cents. Ddeok dishes are to Korea on Lunar New Year what hoppin' john is to Dixie on Reg'lar New Year... what you eat for good fortune in the coming year. So I'm all set till the dawning of the Year of the Dragon.

...and the Eagles are playing Seoul in six weeks. The flippin' Eagles. I'm going to try to see them, though a foreigner practically needs to submit a retinal scan and a polygraph test to get a ticket to anything.

I'm a-walkin' down the street and I'm not eatin' meat, I got three big hashes on my mind.
One's up in Ouijeongbu, rhymin' like this song do, one's the Sunday morning kind.

ah, heck, songwriting's hard.

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