Friday, 28 May 2010

Ken’s Birthday! (On Paper)

I had waited a whole month for this day. For weeks upon weeks, I tactfully and secretly scanned the upcoming weather in any Korean weather website I could find. My plan for Ken’s birthday was to be a masterpiece, painted to perfection from start to finish, with daytime events, nighttime events, transportation routes from one place to another, and a heck of a lot of food. I was so antsy for this day, especially since it was going to be a surprise.


We were to begin Ken’s birthday weekend on the Han riverside under the moonlight, nomnoming on some picnic goodies and sipping on drops of sparkling champagne. I had planned to pull out a crepe cake that I had made hours before, drizzled in layers of decadent chocolate ganache, just waiting to be licked off the fingers. I would sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, in the best voice I could, hoping that the thought would count, more than anything.


I dedicated this weekend towards fun. I figured that this would be the one weekend where Ken and I could let loose.

The first event of the morning was to spend the day at the Seoul Racecourse Park. Since Ken and I aren’t avid gamblers, I researched and printed off a list of the race times, the fastest horses, the best jockeys of the season, how to bet, and how to collect winnings. Bet limits were from 100 won (10 cents) to 100,000 won (100 dollars). I took out 100,000 won from the ATM to prepare for how risky we were to feel that morning.

Inside the racecourse track, we were to walk the sunny paths laid out in between gardens, and perhaps, enjoy the children’s water park, set up for tired parents…

In the evening, I had planned a route from the Racecourse Park to the nationally famous rollercoaster theme park, Everland. Naturally, this item on the agenda was to let out Ken’s inner child (and mine) :).

The cherry on top of our night was to have dinner in the foreigner-friendly region, Itaewon. Since Ken and I don’t have a selection of any ethnic food in Andeok, I thought that a choice of Indian, Italian, Japanese, or any dish other than Korean would be a treat for this night.


Unfortunately, none of the above actually happened. We decided that Seoul was too unpredictable a place for this weekend, mainly due to the current tensions, caused by the Cheonan Incident, between North and South Korea, and the escalated rioting near the Seoul City Hall by Korean War veterans. We couldn’t risk setting aside North Korea’s threats of retaliation against the south, if South Korea continued to put blame on the north for the sinking of the Cheonan ship. It made us a little queasy to know that four North Korean war submarines had gone off-the-grid, and the U.S. and South Korea were aggressively searching for them. We didn’t want to be meandering around the heart of Seoul while South Korea was setting up anti-propaganda speakers along the DMZ, projected at the north. We took into consideration North Korea’s reaction of threatening to blast those anti-propaganda speakers into oblivion, which could commence the second Korean War…

It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

- Jess

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