Sunday, 15 November 2009

Double Date in Andong City

It was a balmy, beautiful Saturday night.

Actually, it was a freezing, see-your-breath-outside kind of night. I was pretty excited, because Ken was planning on taking me to dinner and a movie.

What could possibly be better? It was going to be a double date with the best-est teachers in the world, Corey and Ilana!

Only a 40-minute bus ride away, both Ken and I didn’t know why we hadn’t gone to Andong City sooner. We could’ve conveniently hitched a ride with one of my Andong co-teachers (hiding in the vehicle’s trunk) every Friday evening since we’d arrived in Korea. In truth, they had offered several times – almost every week, to be more precise.

Deciding to spend only one night in Andong, we waited at the bus stop in the dead of the night, listening merely to the sound of nothingness in the air. It was a Saturday night, and the only party that went on probably included the village’s chocolate-coloured cows and two calico stray cats (who usually play hide-and-seek in the rice fields).

Finally, we heard the crumble crumble crumble, and deafening BEEP BEEP!! that broke our peaceful moment of solitude. Our carriage to Andong had arrived.


The bright, streetlights almost singed my eyes. The vibrant, beaming signs of the convenience stores, multiplexes, and buildings that lined the street nearly gave me a seizure. I had to avert my eyes to the ground every other painful minute, just to get the teensiest bit of relief.

We finally recognized it – the Andong Bus Terminal. The bus came to a halt, and we stepped off.

Inside the terminal, we immediately saw Corey and Ilana. It wasn’t too hard to pick out the Westerners in the mass of Koreans. It was like a real life couple’s Where’s Waldo. Exchanging several warm, bear hugs, all four of us were ready to begin our double-date ^.^!

For dinner, we ate in a tiny room at the end of a narrow corridor (not sketchy, I swear!)  in the Old Andong Market. Despite its size, the room was comfortably cozy, with an ondol heating our icy bottoms. Around us, the walls and the ceiling cried out messages from lovestruck couples and phone numbers from desperate, lonely singles. Above an abused soju poster (displaying a model with her hair and eyes scratched out), Ken and Corey managed to etch Ken+Jess Corey+Ilana 2009 with my dying black pen.

We ate an insanely large plate of jjimdak (soy chicken with clear noodles, sweet carrot, starchy potato, and spicy red and green peppers). This savory-sweet dish, representative of Andong, made one of Ken’s top Korean meals (that’s saying a lot). It was goooood.

Next, what was our double date without the movie? We had our choice of two English movies that were playing at that time – The Time Traveler’s Wife or 2012. Luckily, they weren’t voiced-over, so I didn’t have to be the half-wit translator for the night (I would’ve turned the movie into a nightmare!). 2012 was the obvious choice (because of the boys), and the suspense and maxed-out volume blasting out of the speakers didn’t leave them disappointed. With sugary caramel popcorn (which seemed to be the only kind they were selling) and delicious peanut-buttered, dried squid (mmm…), we enjoyed the movie that kept us clinging to the edge of our seats.

After the three-hour-long movie, we made it to Corey and Ilana’s to get some nappy time (it was past midnight…hey, we’re not that old!). After watching some typical, oddball Korean programs (which was kind of nice, since Ken and I don’t have cable), Ken and I slept on the soothingly-heated ondol floor and dozed off for the night.

T’was a fulfilling double-date for our first night in Andong. We’ll be looking forward to more of them :)!

- Jess


  1. Sounds like a lovely time. So glad that you have Ilana and Corey to hook up with from time to time.

  2. We should do it again soon!!!! You guys are always welcome :-)