The UK trip, first leg

Well,  it started out rough.   I got up early enough. Made it down to the area in which  1330 (tourist hotline) said the stop is nearby but could find the stop.   Now it’s getting a bit stressful.   They told me it was near exit 9 bit I don’t see squat. When I asked,  the best anyone could tell me is to go to this local fancy hotel and grab it there.   After a few minutes,  when I discovered that the stupid  Seoul us failed to bring up a map which would have told me exactly where it was,  and also discovering that the stupid KT people (my cell phone provider) cut out my service  TODAY  when I clearly told them  TOMORROW for the very reason I might need to use the thing….. I gave up,  grabbed a taxi and prayed that I recalled properly that there is another bus in 30 minutes because there is no way I could make it to the other stop before the bus I will miss,  will be there.

That went fine,. And I had  20mins to spare.   While there I got the idea to reinstall the  Seoul us app…. Oh look,  the map function is working now….  :/

My flight is at  11am.  I get to the airport at  1010am.  Luckily there is a priority line for “leaving real soon” flights because there was no way I could wait in the line to check in. I get my boarding pass,  get through security but now it’s like 1040 and apparently the gate for my flight closers at  1040! At this point,  I still have to get on the little shuttle train to get to the right gate and now I can’t even see the signs to the shuttle….. sigh.   I ask a local worker who decides to patiently write out details,  with a heavily drawn arrow for emphasis. It takes all my will power not to raise my voice as he clearly did not look at how late I was running.

Directions in hand,  I thanked him and walk very briskly,  get on the shuttle train,  and walked a bit took fast up the escalator stairs at arrival. My legs are kinda burning,  I’m sweating way to much for this early in the day  and it is now 1050!  Did I forget to mention that I am starting because I only had a Pocari Sweat ion drink and a small chocolate milk by this point?

Luckily I can still get on the plane and wasn’t the last one.   Then I get to my seat and some Korean girl is sitting in it. Oh this aughta be good. I show her my boarding pass with  20A on it while noting 19A being empty.   The girl is now trying to find her boarding pass to confirm she is in the wrong seat.  A stewardess comes over,  the chick finds her boarding pass,  which says  the suspected 19A which then begins the moving and juggling of bags and people because these seats are window seats.

Eventually I get seated and have the most pleasant flight because the  Malaysian lady beside me and I hit it off and we chat for nearly the whole flight. If it’s very refreshing to have chatty “single serving friends” (Flight  Club reference)  as it makes flights much more entertaining and seem faster.

So now I’m a in Kuala Lumpur airport,  just finished a sandwich and writing this post.   I got  6hrs left before my next flight leave for London.   We shall see how entertaining this leg will be.

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Tattooing in Korea

It is a sad state to know that anyone who performs tattooing service is breaking the law,  technically. From my understanding,  the only person who is allowed to put a needle in your skin is a medically-trained doctor in Korea. That being said,  there are still quite a few tattoo shops around Korea, some even have advertising signs in public. I see it as one of those soft-hard laws.  Meaning as long as no one really complains,  you won’t get bothered by the authorities.

The whole stigma attached to tattooing is a left-over thought that only gangsters got tattoos,  which is obviously severely outdated. Still,  I have read stories of  people being banned from using the public bath /saunas because of tattoos. It’s even more of a ludicrous belief when you see advertising and people have tattoos in them along with the whole  k-pop singers,  which all the kids want to emulate,  that have rather large and obvious tattoos.

I got one taro about 7 years ago,  why seen my wife first went to Korea by herself  :D

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This one needs going over again because it’s faded a little and there is a second part that I want to get done to this. Tattoo done by  Oz at  Cottage 13 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Now,  I did have an idea for a second tattoo after I came to Korea,.   The plan was to get it done when we went to Thailand in our first year here(2011).   I researched some places and contacted one of them.  When we went,  I dropped in and gave him my research ideas and description.  Since my wife forgot her  pre-paid credit card in Korea,  the extra money I brought had to go to our trip but at least I got the artist to sketch me up an idea.

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OK,  now I have a visual to work with but it won’t be for another  3 years before I revisit this again.   In that time,  I looked around for shops but I really wanted a referral.  This is a process you want to make sure the poison is good and respectable.   I talked to a random foreigner on a subway once, got a recommendation from him but never followed up on it.  About two months ago a friend of mine said that a Korean friends of his was coming to visit and that she had tattoos.   I said I would like to meet and talk with her.   I did,  saw the work that she had done and it was good.   They were done by a friend of hers in  Itaewon.   I got her contact info and meet her for lunch one day. From that,  I have her my research and the above drawing for her to come up with a completed design that I would like.

The biggest factor in this design is how I described the tattoo.   My drawing skills need a ton of work but my writing skills do a good job at describing my thoughts.

“The Dragon encircles an OM symbol with his forearms propping up the upper portion of his body on the top of the symbol while he gazes down upon you and lands forward as if to challenge you with the question ‘Do you know who you are?’ ”

Armed with my requirements, she came back with a design that I liked.

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OK, now we have something to work with. This one will get a little bit of colour, the OM will be read and so will the spine of the Dragon. She suggested the belly be a light red but I will wait till the core idea is compete before I consider any further modification. The only thing left is to actually do the work.

5hrs later and we have the outline done. Damn did that thing hurt like hell! Seriously, I was not expecting that much pain. Since there is less fat between my skin and muscle in my leg , it really hurt. My arm did not hurt as much as this did at all.

That was 4 weeks ago. Last week I went to start round two, shading. Here is a comparison. Now, it will look darker than normal till the skin had properly healed. I’ll post up an updated pic in a few weeks or so.

It sounds funny, over the last week, the son has started to peel as the new son below finally healed. I was like a lizard shedding scales because it was only coming off in the shaded are and lines. I’m sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere right? :)

Sadly, the shading could not be competed as my son was “too stressed” and the tattooist said she would only be doing damage of she did any more work. 3 weeks wasn’t quite long enough for a proper heal it seems. So, now I’ll have to wait till I get back from the UK in September to finish this. Still, it’s pretty cool :)

SCORE!

Korea, South Korea, xenophobia

Annnnnd not just 1 but I’m calling this a 2.25!

Not only did two ladies refuse to sit beside me,  the  third one did but is constantly looking for another open seat.   She’ll not the moment there is one,  but since she did sit,  I count her as a 0.25.

Update :

As predicted, she’s gone. So I suppose I’ll have top up this to a full 3 points now.

Souvenirs you can buy in Seoul

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Itaewon is the place every tourist goes to.   The regular foreigners avoid the place life the plague…. Well,  not the young and drinking crowd.   None of us way good here,  who are truly interested in culture,  like Itaewon. It’s loud,  rowdy,  and full of drunk westerners. Still,  on occasion you find yourself there because it ends up being the most convenient place to meet up with people.   It does have an ally high concentration of restaurants,  some of sick you won’t find anywhere else.  I guess it’s an OK place if you are feeling homesick because you can get your fix of  McDonalds,  Burger King,  KFC,  Outback,  Subway there.  Plus a million other street stalls to buy over-priced ‘Korea shirts’ (as it was shouted to me once).   Here is a fine example of such great things you can buy there.

Spider-Man Statue Removed From South Korean Playground Because It Has A Gigantic Boner Read More: Spider-Man Statue Removed From Playground Because Of Boner

Yes…you read that right…..Spidey with a Boner….
spider-man-boner-443x560

I’m sad to only just hear about this now, else I would have made the trip to Busan just for this. Too damn funny. Read the full story here:

http://comicsalliance.com/spider-man-statue-south-korea-gigantic-boner-eunsuk-yoo/

아줌마~~~ You’re going straight into a 5 entry,… – That guy in 3004.

I normally like to stick to my own material but this had to be shared.  Besides, I was there when it happened too.

http://thatguyin3004.tumblr.com/post/88746107355/youre-going-straight-into-a-5-entry

Ooops!

The fun never stops here!

I’m on a bus back from Seoul.  Its a 4hr ride and there is a half way stop for washroom and food.  Its usually a 10 – 15min stop, we all get back on, driver does a head count and off we go.  Which its exactly what happened.  About 5 mins after we leave, the bus pulls over and the driver does another head count… twice.  Seems we forgot someone!

The bus continues on and stops at the next rest point area along the highway that is about 15mins away.  Here we sit.  He made some sort of announcement but I didn’t get any of it.

In about 10 mins another bus pulls up and our lost passenger gets on the bus.

This is not really a significant tragedy as there are tons of busses all day long, but it is a severe annoyance to the pour guy who got left behind.  Oh well, just one more of the whacky things that happen here.