When I first arrived in South Korea I went into downtown Seoul with one of the Korean teachers named Vicky. Actually, it was literally the day after I arrived in Korea. I had just moved into my flat. I didn’t know my address. I just knew that I lived near a Wal-Mart and a Japanese restaurant. I lost Vicky in the crowds. I had no mobile phone. I knew I lived in Incheon. So I told the taxi driver to take me to the Incheon Wal-Mart. He took me to a different Wal-Mart next to a different Japanese restaurant. It was quite a distance. I paid $60 and got out because he didn’t know the other Wal-Mart in Incheon. He said the other Wal-Mart in Incheon didn’t exist. I wondered if he was right.
I walked for a few hours through all the neon lights and Friday party crowds. Finally I gave up. Got another taxi. I told him I needed the Incheon Wal-Mart. He took me to the same wrong Wal-Mart. Another $60. I got out and went into the Wal-Mart. I at least needed some snacks for the journey. It was about 4:30AM. I wanted to find some ham to snack on. Alas, no luck.
Eventually, I found a night stocker. He was cutting boxes with his box knife. He cut a wee piece of cardboard for me and wrote the address of the other Wal-Mart in Korean on the cardboard. I went outside. No taxis. Walked another two hours. Through the drunk Friday night crowds. Got a taxi. Gave him the cardboard. He drove me to the right Wal-Mart. That was only the beginning of crazy world adventures!!!
Here is what I wrote in my notebook the next day. From 2006:
The weather had kidnapped me. Buzzing around with taxi after taxi. Bridge after bridge. Looking for the familiar.
bloated on elephant wings
bloated on lost brides
bloated on nan
The most wrong love found in cellophane.
Eggshells broke. Live animals crawled thru the shops.
I searched for ham but only found spam.