Monday, 9 July, 2012
Pohang, South Korea
I’ve finally done it – I kept the country’s unwanted stereotype alive and ate dog.
It is a controversial choice of animal meat, I know, and I won’t be eating it again – but I simply fell victim to novelty. The same way I drank cat crap in Indonesia, I do what I can’t traditionally do at home. I could swig some brown I guess, but I’d be forever labelled a weirdo, I’d have to do it on the sly like a secret smackhead. I wouldn’t want that life, I want to drink poo loud and proud – therefore, I travel to do so.
Furthermore, I enjoyed the taste. A dog, or at least, this dog tasted like a tender steak – soft, chewy and quite flavoursome. The dish was particularly complemented by the ginger and red pepper sauce dip, which again, was also delicious. Regardless, as I said, this serving will forever remain a one-time thing.
Now I must be a man and accept responsibility for my actions. I did what I did, and I know it will have hurt some of my nearest and dearest, so, listen up – I would like to send my sincerest apologies to Well ‘Ard, The Bounty Hunter and all my dawgs down in Compton; love ya’ll to death. I hope our bond is tight enough to look past this one.
When I started writing about the experience I thought I would have more to share. Although, my brain is telling me otherwise. Instead, I will offer an interesting dog fact to make up for my lack of a story – the earliest European images of dogs are found in cave paintings dating back 12,000 years ago in Spain. Who knew?
I, along with a couple of the other dog eating scoundrels, also took a trip to Pohang this weekend. The city’s biggest attraction, and the key purpose of the visit, is the fourteen waterfalls that spread out along the Naeyeonsan Mountain.
The waterfalls were beautiful and the trek was very enjoyable – when boys are left alone in the outdoors they never grow up. We tried to climb everything in sight, shoved each other into the stream and continuously jumped out from behind the waterfalls hoping to scare the crap out of the next lad.
However, my biggest highlight of the trip was seeing local kids having fun throughout the hike – laughing, smiling, taking selfies (it is still Korea). Sadly, I’ve not seen too much of that since arriving here – they study, and then they study some more. The only time I previously saw a kid crack a smile was when I told him that that day’s test was out of ninety rather than the usual one-hundred questions. It was actually quite overwhelming to see – children, being, well, children – playful with a ball and not face smashed into a book.
See – I may eat dogs but I care about children.
After a pleasant trip around the mountain, we headed to the beach. The beach being our chosen hotel – hey, it’s a cost cutter, that’s for sure. While wandering to our accommodation, the one with the the crabs and sea urchins, we notice many young families riding around in a two person pedal bike (similar in appearance to a golf buggy). The vehicle came with a front pouch to secure a baby or very young child.
We wanted some of that, as it looked hilariously good fun. Especially as we were drunk. Unfortunately, we were faced with a problem – there were three of us. So, the first suggested solution was that I could play the role of toddler. I opposed, but was outvoted 2-to-1. That’s right – little baby Dragon was about to receive dog karma.
After a minute of failed attempts – I eventually managed to just about fit in the buggy – only with my left leg pointing north and my right leg pointing east. Basically my lower half looked like a wall clock a three o’clock, but regardless, I was in and we were moving. Quickly. Also, our nonconformist method was gaining us a lot of attention, naturally. We were getting a lot of waves and shouts. It was all great! Well, until one man stuck his arm out, grabbed my leg and almost sent our ride tumbling over.
The prompt stop damaged both my groin and upper thigh – I assumed this would be followed by a stern telling off. After all, I was taking up the seat designated for people of a different milk preference. As it goes, he damaged me to ask, “Which country?” He cannot be serious right now?! He could have broken our necks, and for what, to simple ask where we come from?
We answered his question and then the conversation was apparently done. Weird. Does he now assume that the motorways in the UK are crowded with over filled peddle bikes?
We left the oddball in our tracks, and once again started racing off into the distance. However, the buggy rental had a time limit. Therefore, it wasn’t long before we hit a U-turn – just before the police station in fact, which was probably for the best, even if the sharp spin did bruise a nut. The return journey was complete déjà vu – same route, same speed, same nutter grabbed my leg and almost caused us to crash. What is this guy’s deal?!
“English teachers?” He enquired. Flipping heck. If we did a few more laps he’d be after our shoe size and blood type. Ben, one of the guys sitting like a king in the comfy seats at the back then proceeded to invite Mr. Q&A to share the front pouch with me. Well, of course he did. And wouldn’t you know it, Question Time was oblivious to the constraints.
Yep, I was suddenly sharing a baby carrier with a fully grown Korean man as we bombed onwards to the finish line. Not ideal. Oh well, the lack of room meant there was nowhere for my arse to go other than over the steering wheel and very much in the faces of my two smug friends in the back – so, at least there was that to keep me smiling.
We went straight through a busker’s crowd, which generated a great cheer. Apparently, two men sharing a basket-sized child space is a hit in South Korea. Who knew? While it was fun, I was happy that our time of playing Siamese twins was quick to come to an end – and wouldn’t you know it, the odd fella ended things by taking us to a convenient store and buying us booze. We should probably hang around with this one more often.
The cheers from the busker’s show had a bit of an impact on our egos and the booze elevating our confidence. Thus, we decided to head back to the crowd. In our heads we were superstars. We jumped in the middle of the formed circle and danced the night away, stopping to occasionally tell the viewers, ‘I can fly’ or ‘I can breathe fire’ – some of the few Korean phrases I know. I could have chosen more useful vocabulary, sure, but the crowd found it hilarious. So for that moment alone, I made the correct choice.
The audience doubled in size before we were done, meaning the buskers should have probably paid us a few quid to be honest – I’m just saying. We were the talk of the town, but also drunk and warn out. We were soon on the beach passed out – it was all simply too much excitement for one day. Enjoyable trip.