Monday 14th February 2005
Well, the last couple of days of our trip were a little disappointing, everything seemed to be closed because of the festival, including over half of the things on our city tour, despite the fact that they made us pay extra cos it was a holiday!! However, we both saw so much in the first few days that we needed the rest anyway!
A few clothes shops were open, but apparently everyone in Vietnam is tiny, cos each time we went into a shop we got variations on ‘we have no big size’, ‘large size only in black’ ‘you come back tomorrow, I make you special large size’….. it ended up making us both a little paranoid – I mean neither of us are exactly petite, but we’re hardly elephants!!
Anyway, apart from a minor hiccup at the airport our journey home went smoothly. We’d bought souvenirs at Cu Chi tunnels – bullet shaped keychains and lighters, but on the x-ray in our luggage they just came up looking very realistically like actual bullets!! Luckily when we got them out, the security lady realised where we’d been and agreed to let us put them in our checked luggage, after I signed a bunch of forms and let her examine my passport!
So, the temperature change was a shock (it was 36*c in vietnam when we left, and -10*c when we landed back in Seoul!!), but it felt amazingly nice to be back in civilisation. I honestly hadn’t really thought of my little flat here as home until I went away, and I must say it was really nice to come back to my little room with all my stuff in it, and unpack and relax!
The school has been redecorated in my absence, and is now very classy in shades ranging from pale coffee to cappucino through mocha!!! Unfortunately, they laid the lino with some kind of heavy duty chemical adhesive, and the fumes are still very much a part of the decor!! We tried to keep the windows open, but it’s too cold, so most of the staff had headaches by lunchtime and mild wooziness by dinnertime!!! With any luck the smell will fade quickly though.
That’s about all I have to say this time, except to tell you all a little cheery Valentines’ day Korean tradition! On Valentine’s day, only the women are allowed to buy chocolate and candy for the men. The men don’t lift a finger, at least not until March 14th, or ‘white day’, when they have to return the favour and buy pressies for the girls. Even better, on April 14th, we get ‘black day’, which is for all the poor sad lonely spinsters who didn’t get any chocolate at all!
It’s not what you think, however. Rather than getting their own chance to get chocolates and flowers from friends and loved ones, they have to sit at home and eat noodles, accompanied by the ‘black lady’ ghost, who wails for eternity about her misery because she never got married! However, I have absolutely no intention of eating noodles on black day, single or not, and instead will probably throw a huge singles party instead – with costumes naturally!! Maybe the theme could be black ghosts, or better yet, come as your favourite kind of noodle!!
hope you’re all well and happy,
Happy Valentine’s Day!!