Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Silence is golden, ignorance is bliss (but chilly)

I'm a big fan of watching sports without broadcasting. You might not learn the tragic life story of some guy's mother, but you'll probably enjoy the game more. I tried out this philosophy on the weekend, which was another weekend where I followed a few Koreans around the country, this time down the west coast.

We went to Osan, Jeonju, Gunsan and Ocheon. Seen on the way were Asan, Ansan, Iksan, and Oksan, proving that if you can name a consonant and suffix it with 'san', you can name a Korean city. The trip was often a tour of underwhelming delights, such as the first bakery in Korea, a tax office built by the Japanese in European architecture, and what was apparently a 100-kilometre detour just to go eat a $5 bowl of noodles in a tiny cave.

I try and be accepting of the Korean style of making decisions for other people (e.g. "we're having bean sprout soup for breakfast"), but sometimes a desire to make conversation leads me to ask questions like "where are we going?" and "why are we here?" The answers, like the destinations, were often underwhelming.

I considered what would happen if I stopped asking questions and just let the trip happen to me. It would mean that we spent about 15-20 minutes walking along a frosty harbour in a small town looking at buckets and tanks of fish and other marine creatures for no apparent reason. I guess it could have been, like at the bakery, that someone wanted to buy something for their parents, but a box of biscuits is a much better gift than freshly sliced fish.

By turning off the subtitles and the commentary on the trip, the entire weekend had the absurdity and failed poignance of a Wes Anderson movie. I suppose that leaves the question of how I still managed to enjoy myself, unlike a Wes Anderson movie, which drags on and on in a sequence of scenes that are supposed to be funny, but occupy that unfortunate space in which objects lack both gravity and humour, like a paint store or a seminar on nutrition for yoga enthusiasts.

9 comments:

Janinel said...

Come onnnnn Adeel! You mean to tell me that wasn't your first time seeing fish in a bucket? ... Really...?

Adeel said...

It definitely wasn't, no, why? I just didn't see why we didn't get back in the car after dinner.

andré said...

The Royal Tenenbaums is fantastic, though. You have to give him that. Everything else I've seen ain't so great, with a special hat tip to The Darjeeling Limited. Talk about a movie that blew. That movie blew.

Adeel said...

That's mostly what I had in mind when I wrote that.

andré said...

I don't remember it very well but I feel like I could spend an evening talking about how awful it was. Let me know if you want to do that the next time you're back in Canada.

(Okay, that seems a bit masochistic. I wish we'd watched it together, or something.)

Adeel said...

Thanks. I'll remember this for the next time I'm back.

andré said...

Sweet. Also, Google translate tells me that your breakfast this morning was "tuna and mobilization."

Adeel said...

Ramen.

andré said...

That doesn't have quite the same ring to it.