Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 222 - Eat Mexican Food in Korea (made by Koreans)

Hello all you loyal 365 Brand New Days Readers.  Your entry for today has been outsourced to our offices in Suji, South Korea.   I, Jonathan Hop, will be taking over for Kristen's new thing of the day, and let me tell you, a lot of my plans fell through :)  This project is harder than it looks.  At first I wanted to do a Nore-Bang, which is a karaoke place, but then no one wanted to go and I remembered I did go once before (I just suppressed the memories).  In fact, being a work night it was pretty difficult to get people to do anything,  but I was determined. I've been in Korea for about a year so I've done a ton of new things already so trying to find a new thing was a challenge.  But, I had a plan.  My co-worker Matthew and I were going to go to Lotte World, a huge indoor amusement park with a roller coaster and everything.  We were going to drop down from some 15 story tower and scream our heads off.  I'd never been to an amusement park so it was high on the list.  Which brings me to one of the lessons we learned that day.

Never trust Jon Hop to read directions.  Ever.

The directions started from Seoul Station, but I read it as "Go to Seoul Station and then go to Jamshil", and then my mind moved Jamshil from its original position close to Jon Hop to beneath Seoul Station.  Here, I'll translate.  Jon Hop thought Lotte World was on the other side of Seoul, like 40 minutes or so, when actually it was right next to him and he went across Seoul anyway.

'Nuff said.

So, no Norebang.  No Lotte World.  No cooking troupe cuz they're playing on another day.  Matthew and I were both feeling dejected, sitting in the PC cafe sitting next to some Korean guy with blonde hair that looked like he walked out of an anime convention.  What were we going to do?  Then we saw a sign from God.  Well, actually from Dos Tacos. See, unlike back home, Mexican food is NOT popular here.  They have T.G.I. Fridays, Bennigan's, McDonald's, Coldstone, you name it, but Mexican food is not the thing.  They just opened up the first Taco Bell in the country a few weeks ago and that created a huge buzz.  They sold out of food the first day, as in the restaurant didn't have a packet of hot sauce for anyone.  So, we were both starving and thought to ourselves, "Hey we haven't eaten Mexican food in Korea."

Imagine this.  You are dropped from a plane into the middle of the Sahara desert with a half full canteen and little to no hope.  You crawl your away across hot desert sands, the blistering heat sapping away your strength as you realize all you have left in your canteen is sand.  You see a mirage in the distance, a hazy apparition seemingly from nowhere that forms.  You miraculously gain enough strength to inch your way forward.  A beautiful, cool lake of crystal clear blue water shimmers before your very eyes.  After having spent a year eating Korean food, quesadillas looked like this:

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Nachos never tasted so good, and Guacamole was never more delicious as it was at Dos Tacos located in Seoul Square plaza.  Now you can say "Well you've eaten Mexican food before."  Well, that part is true but it was my first time at Seoul Station and my first time at Seoul Square.  ALSO, in no way shape or form did I expect to come across a billboard for a Mexican restaurant let alone find one where the waitress speaks perfect English and I can enjoy quesadillas and nachos with a bottle of Dos Equis half the world away.  I also figure I can use up all the new stuff I've been doing all year, from high fiving an 85 year old woman who pushes a cart full of cardboard to the dump every morning to convincing my students that if they didn't behave the Terminator would be their teacher and mow them down.  So I offer up my plethora of experiences to the novelty Gods and ask them to accept my sacrifice of enjoying the best damn burritos in the land of Kimchi.  Also, no Mexicans were involved in the making of said Mexican food.  

Normally Kristen ends with a Jerry Springer style after thought, reminding us of what lesson we've learned that day and how our lives are the better for it.  I could probably talk about globalization or something where we're all learning each others culture and whatnot, I could even babble on about some of the lessons I've learned in Korea.  Instead, I'm just going to close with the fact that on the train today, I saw a young 20-something girl with the word "Gangbang" emblazoned across her chest.  Dictionaries, for the love of god.