That time I shared a layover with Champ and Li'l Miss Catwalk. They'd heard me speak glowingly more than once about Korea, the home of my heart, and how much I loved to take layovers there on the way to wherever. They were particularly interested in my waxings poetic about Butterfinger Pancakes, and I promised them, on this most auspicious of layovers, that I would take them there.
We spent a couple of hours in the Incheon arrivals hall snoozing while waiting for the first train into the city. We may have talked a little then about what else to do in Seoul, or maybe it was prior to arriving; I'm not sure anymore. I do remember them saying they weren't really interested in "touristy" things. At the time, I couldn't - or wouldn't - formulate the thought that Seoul wasn't the kind of place that you could get to know in a few hours, and that "touristy things" were really the only thing we could experience in half a day. But they were my friends, and I was determined to do what I could.
After breakfast, we started walking through Apgujeong toward Coex. We saw a giant finger about to dong-chim King Kong, and a Barket - beer market - and eventually stumbled onto the Seongjeongneung royal tombs. I never spent much time in Apgujeong, being neither a drinker nor friends with the drinkers who liked to go there, and it looked like something interesting to explore, so I convinced them to go with me.
It was only 500 or a thousand won to get in, and it was a nice, quiet place to explore. Lil Miss Catwalk took on the role of tour guide, making up interesting facts about the tombs and their features. We made friends with a Korean ghost, whom I dubbed Fred - if you taught at GDA with me my last year in Korea, you might recall an adorably chubby student with that English name, which was my inspiration. We talked about hiding in fairly obvious places to scare people, doing the Asian ghost thing - hair in front of your face, hands clawing outward...like this:
We didn't actually do it. We probably would have gotten ourselves kicked out of a UNESCO world heritage site if we had, and that in and of itself kind of seems like a reason you should (I mean, how many people have gotten kicked out of world heritage sites for anything less than defacing them???), but in the end, it was early Saturday morning and not really enough people around to mess with. Instead, we wandered around for a while, made some jokes, and eventually made our way to Coex. It was not a particularly eventful layover, but it was pleasant enough.
There's this totally bullshit saying about how friends are there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Well, I think it's a bullshit saying, anyways. Maybe this is because if I like someone enough to want them in my life at all, it pains me to lose them. Take my life in Korea, for example. Over the years, I've seen lots of my former coworkers from GDA, including Dougie-Poo, who has actually brought his family to Mongolia to work at my school. Pretty much any of my friends from the last twelve years would be welcome in a heartbeat if they showed up at my door (Socrates being the exception, good riddance). So it was a slap in the face when Champ stopped talking to me this spring. I could try and break it down for you - without actually talking to her about it, I can't be 100% sure exactly what was up, although I have a pretty good idea - but I won't. I'll merely say that I had a lot of respect and affection for both her and Lil Miss Catwalk during the three years we worked together, always tried to support them, and even if they believe I stabbed them in the back and hate me, I still wish them the best.
|The layover coming back - visiting Jogyesa Temple in Jongno.|
Here's to more friends like GDA friends.