Still in Gyeryong, of course. Precisely, in Eomsa - myun. Not that it makes any difference for you who read this, but anyway.
I decided to skip the family ritual. Nobody of the family was giving me strange looks, but I felt I would be an intruder. I just don't feel as a family member. Not that I'm not comfortable with Chae Hak or the others, just the opposite. He is so cooled down that is almost unbelievable. To be polite I will say that he and his wife are not really youngsters - but she is so elegant and charming that for the first time in my life I don't wish her be younger but regret me not being older. And when she dresses all in pink for working in the fields, she doesn't look foolish at all. Just... cool. And she has such a sweet voice that gives me shivers. Today, after lunch, we were talking about food and cooking, my favourite subjects. Upon listening to my recipes, she complained, that her husband never cooked for her. He looked at her with a sweet smile and said: "Dear, but that is because I love your cooking!" So I promised I will cook tomorrow.
Chae Hak is a walking library of knowledge on Korean history and tradition. Yesterday afternoon we went to visit the home - museum of one of the most important Korean Confucian scholars, Kim Something, don't ask me the name.
As a devout Buddhist Chae Hak doesn't really like Confucianism, but since it has been shaping - and still is - Korean history, he knows almost everything about it. The funniest thing he showed me was the Confucian version of dice game. They didn't use real dices, but hexagonal prisms with cuts on the edges, from 1 to 6 and used them just like dices, for moving pawns on the gameboard.
Now, the gameboard is the fun. No, the game in itself is fun, from my point of view. Because they moved their pawns through government offices. The start was at the lowest and the winner was the first who reached the office of Prime Minister!
Probably there were some other rules, like stabbing in the back the opposition, poisoning the current Prime Minister and so on... no, wait, I'm making this on!
Later we went to another Counfucian University, founded by a student of the above mentioned Kim Something. The writing at the entrance proudly states that this school was among the 47 that survived an edict from 1866 which declared abolition of the Confucian schools. I asked why they were abolished... and Chae Hak, of course, had the answer. Because the students (arrogant aristocrat perverts, that is) had such a bad influence on the common people living near the schools, that at one point the king just had enough of it and sweeped the schools away. There were more than 900, just 47 remained.
This is the study hall. I really wonder how they studied in winter.
And this is another famous Confucian scholar, who hardly ever studied (in winter, that is).
As I said, I skipped the ritual for ancestors. I went drinking in a bar instead. It was a good idea. First, some folk invited me to have dinner with them. Then a girl invited herself so I buyed her a beer. Then the waitress engaged in some deep conversation with me, in Korean. The more I was explaining her that "한국어를 못해요" the more she insisted. So I just patiently "listened" to her and kept ordering more and more beer. Then two guys saved me, inviting me to join them in drinking, one was already wasted, the other on the good way. We had some lively discussions and more than some dead ends in which we found the language gap way too big to fill with anything understandable. The only way to fill it is with a loud 건배! and find something else to talk about. Girls, for example. Or girls, to make another example. (These are the Koreans I know, not that morons I met in Daejon. Probably they were some foreigners disguised as Koreans. From the U.S. Or from Slobenia.) At some time - very early, in my opinion - almost everybody left the bar so I had another beer alone and decided that I'll be drinking in this bar again. When I approached my pretty waitress - not the very talkative one but the other, prettier and with some basic knowledge of English - for the bill. One beer. What do you mean, one beer? Yes, you have to pay your last beer, nobody paid it. Again: what do you mean, one beer, last beer, nobody? She finally got what is confusing me. Your friends paid all your beers. All? Even those that I drunk alone and the ones I bought for... hell, can't remember for who it was. Yes, all. I looked at her in total disbelief. She laughed cheerfully, gave me the thumbs up and said: Korean people, good!
I couldn't agree more.
I managed to fall in my bed at three in the morning - so much for the early goers...
And the next day, to add to my misery... I was mistaken for some military crap. What it hurts is that I surely wasn't mistaken for a Korean soldier and there's just one other country that has soldiers here. Made me puke.
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