Sunday, October 31, 2004

From an email conversation with a friend who reads my blog. He knows both the boy and me:

"I am worried. Your blog sounded alarming.

~ I have been kind of alarmed these past few days...things have been overwhelmingly intense.

I've just left the boy at the dinner table. Abandoned him, actually, while he chatted on the phone with a friend who'd called in the midst of an important discussion we'd been having. As the boy began talking, I left him there with his Guinness and half of mine.
I regret leaving the Guinness.
We were speaking of things, after a day of little speaking.
Until then, our dinner was quiet. We were at a gorgeous restaurant with even better food. Black linguine with seafood and squid ink, Caesar salad, bread&olive oil.

Tell me it is just the full moon and your wiccan coming out to play for Halloween and that Seoul is not stealing yours.

~ Ah, no, it's not Seoul. It's only ourselves, unfortunately...

The other night as I went out for beer and cigarettes instead of booking a hotel room I really wanted to hop a flight to Thailand then head to [where my friend lives] with the 1.5 mil [around US$1200] I'll be getting in the next week or so.

There are many reasons to postpone it till next year. I think?
I dunno...will keep it in mind?
Thanks for your email."

He's a great guy, this CC friend of mine. And, CC, if you'd prefer another moniker here, email it to me!!

Logistics - the boy rented this 2-bedroom apartment while I was in Bangkok. The extra bedroom was for me: either as a painting studio, sleeping-room, or both. I've always had a hard time sleeping with another person, and need more personal space than most. I'd been nervous about moving in with him, because I can be prone to fits of "need to be completely alone in the apartment time", and most Asian apartments are lilliputian.

This place he's discovered is actually a great size, and filled with light. A rarity in Seoul.

It scared me, the idea of living with him in a city where I knew absolutely no one else (actually, I think if I had some girlfriends here, that'd have helped a lot recently), but I decided I wasn't going to run away from what I wanted with him anymore. None of this is complete, or sounds quite right.

Vi's often noted that I tend to bring out extreme emotions in my lovers...I can be infuriating.
She's actually not contacted me in weeks, due to, I think, something-or-other I've said that's offended her.

So the boy and I've been together for a year now.

~ For the first 2 months we knew one another, I lived in an apartment provided by my first employer.

~ Then, due to being fired by that employer based on lies told by my 60-year-old alcoholic male roommate, I lived with the boy for the next 6 weeks.

~ I moved into a Korean love motel for the following month, after I briefly broke up with the boy. Essentially, among other things, I needed to have my own room and time apart. We got back together, still living in our separate places.

~ He then spent a month in Thailand after he'd finished his year-long contract, after I insisted he go. He needed a long break from Korea between contracts; it's standard - even those who love it here profess to need one.

~ He came back to Korea and stayed with me in my love motel for a month. All was well, yet after 4 weeks, I had a temper tantrum - we were living in a tiny, airless room, and I'd become clausterphobic with him constantly there - and he realized he'd have to get a job to have his own apartment. He got a job, went back to his home country for 2 weeks, then moved into his own place in Korea upon his return.

~ For 6 weeks, we lived at the opposite ends of a nice-ish beach. A northern beach, with ugly white highrises everywhere. We loved our apartments, and hated our jobs. I quit mine, and went to SE Asia for an indefinite period of time (it ended up being 10 weeks). He moved up to Seoul, where I've now been for...6 weeks.

What a year it's been.

Some day I'll get into my convoluted work history in Korea; it may explain my ambivalence to many things Korean.

Our time together has been segmented by plenty of time apart.
All I know is, he's the most interesting lover (of about 2 dozen) I've had - both in and out of bed. And I respect him completely (however much my behavior can belie that sometimes), which is more than I can say of any other man I've really known.
Most men bore me, or don't attract me, or are incredible egoists, or I find unable to satisfy me in bed without toys - and who wants to bring those through airport customs?....he's the only one who's been able to do all the above, and so much more.

It's time to go home, after a few hours at a PC room.
Likely the first words he'll say to me will be an apology for answering the phone while in the midst of our discussion. He'll mean it, I'll smile, I'll mean it, and we'll see what happens.


Friday, October 22, 2004

THIS Article 

is a mystifying read on Korean sexual relations and what is considered "respectable". If anyone has any similar experiences of miscommunication from culture or language gaps, feel free to mention them here.

One that occurs to me is of the Cuban lover I had one night on a black sand beach. We'd met the night before at a "Casa de la Musica" a bar with relaxed, informal concerts.
He was well over six feet tall, with eyes that were heavy-lidded yet sharp with intelligence, and delectable lips wrapped around marlboros.
Unlike most of the other men who'd dropped by my table, asking me to dance, he had his own beer, his own cigarettes, and his eyes didn't ask me for anything I had.
Just my body, I suppose.

Saw him the next evening at a danceclub on the mountain overlooking the sand. After I'd had several Cubra Libres with syrupy dark rum, I finally agreed to dance with him. "It runs in my family - we all dance," he said when I complimented him on his finesse, though compared with other Cuban men, his movements were clumsy. I didn't mind: he had, by far, the most (conventionally) handsome face I'd ever caressed.
"My father's white as you are and my mother's even darker than me," he murmured, and I thought of this combination, unusual in much of the world, but not remarkable in Cuba. Racism there exists more in the government than among the people.

The club closed after 3am, and we walked down to the beach, arms linked. I looked forward to some langorous petting and slow sensual removal of what little we wore in the heavy evening air. We lounged on the black sand, and I pushed his hands away as he tried to slip off my trousers.

"American girls like to talk a bit more," I said, unsettled by how quickly he was ready to get to what we both wanted. "We need to be warmed up first." He was patient, and soon enough, we were naked and cavorted in cool waves. I motioned for him to slip on a condom, and we collapsed on top of the foam. Suddenly a wave broke over us and snatched our clothes. I shrieked, and he slipped out quickly. We ran to retrieve them, threw them up the shore, and lay again on the sand, eager to continue.

"You just like Cuban girl," he said as my hips reached up for his. I suppose he'd heard that white women were frigid.
It wasn't till he slipped out again that I felt pain from the sharp black volcanic sand, and saw the shredded condom. Sand had coated us when we lay down, and abraded....everything. I've never felt pain quite like that as I walked gingerly to smooth asphalt, craving a shower to wash away salt and sand and whatever else had escaped the condom we wore.

Also, there are plenty of what have become standard ways to find my blog:

"thai girls/pussies/prostitutes/ladyboys"

"asian" anything sexualized

recently: "western women married to asian men"

"free 10 to 12 year-old girl sex photos" This asshole from the Netherlands (I'm assuming he's male) stayed on my site for over six minutes.

"asian boy" (from Yahoo! Germany) This guy's command of english must not be too great, or he'd never type anything so broad in a search engine.

"Kanchanaburi girly bar" from a guy in western europe

"farang boyfriend" Portugal

"Khao San get laid"

"Pictures Clitorises" A surprising number of those...

"Uncircumcised boyfriend post"

"Malaysian indian girls photos"

"Indian sex stories with no misleadings"

"katoy bars in Bangkok Patpong" from Germany


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

For some reason Vi's latest post reminded me of something my CC [Creative Canadian/Crazy Canadian/definitely a Carbon Copy of no one I've met] once said:

"On Sunday afternoons in North America, you'll see a young woman walking down the street, paper Starbucks coffeecup in hand, yoga mat slung over her shoulder, on the way to class.

"On Sunday in Latin America, you'll see a woman walking from church services to meet her lover."

He's lived on both continents, so would probably know better than most.

On another note, I've begun to name the dozens of different kind of orgasms the boy gives me. At around 4am, exhausted and delerious and technically sober, we discovered a brand new one, I call [ack! I'm embarassed! but the description's right on] the Hungry Lotus. The image has got to be from the hundreds of huge pink blossoms I've seen floating in ponds and ditches in the past week.

Jesus....it was incredible.
Ours were synhronized as some of the best ones are. Internal layers opening up and outwards, further than I'd thought possible. Trembled for a half hour afterwards.
I've never felt anything quite like it, and can't wait to try for more.

That's what a few days apart will do for you.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Currently jacked up on caffeine.
It's coffee Korean style, a.k.a. "coffee mix". This strangely addictive coffee substitute is equal parts powdered creamer, sugar, and freeze-dried coffee that'd give any coffee connoisseur a rollicking stomach-ache. Trust me, you get used to it.

Other countries naturally adapt western products to local tastes, and the results can be ghastly. Like the garlic cheese bread I once had in Wales: sharp cheddar drooped flaccidly over cloves of garlic on a week-old baguette that'd been slathered in rancid butter.
Korean versions of western foods might be a good subject for another post.

Anyway, as I entered a dark, nearly deserted PC room after boring Baskin-Robbins employees with tips on writing business emails, I wondered about the effect of the environment on my writing. As I don't own a computer, I've [nearly] always written blog entries from dark, smoky PC Rooms. They're typically filled with Korean men and teenagers playing online games.
They smoke like fiends, often play shrieking K-pop music at full blast, hack and spit into ashtrays and disposable coffee cups. But they'll never steal my mobile phone if I dash to the girls room. Or my CD player. They've all got MP3 players anyway.

I wonder about you.
What most often surrounds you when you type pixels onto your online pages?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Back Pain 

is one of the most universal (physiological) pains out there.
And it's a tiring subject for others, particularly if they haven't got empathy from experiencing that particular version of hell.
Here's how I got my crippling pain this week:

The other night as I walked down labyrinthine Seoul alleys, I blinked.
There were strange pale garbage bags with hangeul (Korean writing) all over them. Clear bags filled with water jugs, beer bottles, and tuna tins rested alongside the garbage.
I nearly cheered in the street.

After nearly a month at this apartment, I'd finally discovered a trash day, and it appeared that Mondays were recycling day, too!
Garbage disposal in Korea is a great example of personal responsibility. You buy individual trash bags at the grocery store, so the more garbage you leave for trash collectors, the more you pay for it.
It's also an incentive to recycle, which thrifty Koreans do with a vengeance.

Anyway, as our landlady doesn't speak English and neither do our neighbors, and we don't speak Korean, we had no way of finding out when we could dispose of our trash, etcetera.
So we'd let about a dozen bags - mostly plastic bottles - accumulate on our patio...we don't use it for anything at all now, as I don't smoke anymore. I'd worried about rats & roaches, as I've lived with them before in Brooklyn, and never wanted to again.

So - here was the solution to the problem of rat and roach bait: Mondays.
I hurried to the grocery store, bought around ten (20L) plastic bags for about $6 US, and made a half-dozen trips down three flights of stairs with all of our rubbish. I placed them in front of a steel door next to our driveway that looked like it hadn't been used in years, forgetting of course that most everything here is so cheaply made that it ages (unattractively) within weeks of purchase.

On my final run, I heard a commotion. Three old men ("ajoshis" in Korean) scrambled into the street and wailed as they gestured at all my bags piled near the door. They didn't seem personally slighted so much as simply wound up. Probably sedated/inflamed by soju (soju = lethal Korean drink) as well.
Anyway, one said, "Move!" and pointed at what I'd left.
I looked up and there was another ajoshi on his patio hollering to his neighbors about the westerner who was blocking her neighbor's door.
(my god, didn't he have anything better to be doing with his time than eyeing where I'd placed my rubbish?)

It must've happened as I was tossing bags into our driveway. None of them were particularly heavy, but somehow I twisted/wrenched something-or-other in my spine.
Didn't notice much till later that evening. Thought the soreness was from sitting in a strange position as I'd read the Korea Herald that afternoon.
Had a typically acrobatic time with the boy that night and it was no problem. We did nothing reckless, like having him slam into me as I sit atop our little fridge, though I've asked him for it.

(then again, that'd mean clearing off spare change, a painting palette, his armbands, and god knows what else from the top of the fridge, which it seems we've turned into a table, because we don't have one. We could be dramatic and sweep it off onto the floor, but I think the idea of having to clean it all up later might ruin it for me. Though once we can afford red wine again, I'll likely not give a damn about strewing it all over our faux-wood floor)

Woke up the next morning and could hardly breathe, as deep breaths moved something internal - my spine I suppose - that caused a deeply intense pain. It grew stronger as the day went on, and was worsened by sitting down.
My god, I've felt helpless ever since, though it's slightly better today than before. Sometimes. Breathing's often difficult, sleeping is too, of course. The boy gave me a gentle backrub (he's a trained massage therapist) but that wasn't the greatest idea. It helped and hurt all at once.

All right, enough! I sound like a 75-year-old already! There are plenty of things to experience before then, and I won't let this interfere with them. It seems the body gets used to a steady level of pain, as thresholds are passed...
If anyone's got advice on websites, or what's worked for them, just leave a comment here.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Penang II: Older Men 

A tale of two Walters: one German, one Swiss, encountered my last day in Penang.

After avoiding the Canadian, I went for breakfast at a cafe on the other side of Love Lane (yes, really!), near the spare hotel where I'd stayed the night before. It looked a friendly, reasonably clean place to spend an hour, though I decided against spending a night there after viewing one of their single rooms: a cot, the room barely partitioned from the next, a squat toilet down the hall.

Still, they had a delectable western menu.
A gruff man handed me his copy of a Malaysian english newspaper, and eventually asked if he could sit at my table. Internally I sighed, but I could always toss my money on the table and plead a hangover if I grew tired of him.

He was from a small German village near the French border, and knew well a French city where I'd spent a few years of my childhood. He enjoyed tourist-ing in that town more than I had when I returned there during university.

This German Walther was in Penang with a construction company, and had a blustering, frank manner about him that I found refreshing after SE Asian deference and smarmy western men. [there'll be more about him added later but I'm existentially tired out today]

After dinner, we headed to his favorite Chinese bar to watch Formula One racing. I'd never had any desire to watch it before, but his enthusiasm infected me. It'd be a quiet nightcap on a few days in a quiet seaside town.

The walls were painted a matte chinese red that hovered somewhere between the sultry and the slattern. Within moments I was introduced to Swiss Walter, who, after they'd spoken incomprehensibly over my shoulder for a minute or two, asked if I also spoke German. Shook my head sadly, though there's no chance of me attempting a language that manages to sound serpentine and death-rattling all at once. French is close enough.

Our eyes were glued alternately to the small televisions inconveniently placed close to the ceiling and our beers reflected in the bar mirrors. [sighing again. I've no taste for recollections today. trying to hang on to sanity instead]

Though it's not - as it would've been several months ago - Korea that's driving me to this. Seoul's been a thoroughly positive surprise so far (probably has to do with the brevity of my intended stay here). It's teaching, and hormones, and my perceived inadequacies, and new situations, and...hell, I don't know what it'll take to sort this out.

Time, I think, and ideas for the classroom, and not letting reflexive reactions to criticism - which has been liberally delivered, and never direct - get in the way of its real purpose as a spur for change.
Strange the sensation of desperately needing to cry and knowing you're at the edge of it for hours while being scrutinized by strangers in public, but once home in a great, private space, unable to release it.

Violently angry, trembling at the keys earlier, for perceived insults and faults that are nothing but chimera. Damn, love an online thesaurus that finds the word that fits, exactly, the image, the sensation, your mind wanted in language.

It seems nothing's ever at midpoint. A Korean fashion photographer has, by some miracle, discovered my "Art in English" ad. It was placed under an assumed name, as tutoring by foreigners is generally illegal. Initially I was suspicious of his intentions, as he wanted me to come to his studio rather than his home, he didn't want to bring along his wife, who was a painter (and so, sometimes, am I, though I never pay taxes on what I earn), even though I'd tutor her at no extra charge...and his email had "nude" in the address.
I've found fashion photographers can be sleazier than others when dealing with them, but he agreed to my rate of about US$37/hour, which is more or less standard for a North American female in Seoul.

There's also the mother of a 5-year-old girl who'd like me to tutor her daughter in artsy-craftsy activities, in English, of course. So I'll be busy between PMS-inflamed bouts of neurosis.

During the week, I teach two corporate classes. One is for Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin Donuts employees, and the other is held for employees at the Seoul Racetrack. Really! One student creates new fruit flavors for donuts, another is the male secretary to the racetrack's CEO, and they all have stories to share. Once anxiety over losing face in front of colleagues/superiors/subordinates has dissipated, anyway. I've just got to figure out how to do that.

These dynamics, more strained than between strangers meeting in a classroom (then they are only based upon age and salary earned, rather than the host of other criteria that affect co-workers interactions), are much more complex than I will be able to comprehend in our 10 weeks together. It's all completely new to me.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Interlude: Links 

New link: Vi's my best friend in the whole wide world, and has been for the past 15 years, more or less. She lives in one of the cheeriest, strangest, surreal dream cities in America, and has just started her own blog. If you've some time, head over there and give her some love. It's a darkly poetic site (both content and template) and abstract. Good for the occasional white night. Or dangerously bad, I suppose.
She's an incredible writer, but is going through a darkish time right now.
OK, Vi - you can knock me in the head from the opposite side of the Pacific! You have my new phone number.

Have had to delete several links, as people have moved on from blogging lives to real ones. Or perhaps they've assumed new online identities.

So, if you've another minute, leave your opinion on the following: what's life like for the "average" blogger? What demographic does s/he come from? There seem to be some common traits in many of the blogs I've stumbled across. I used to browse the "10 Most Recently Updated Blogs" each time I posted, and here's what I found:

~ Lots of white people. Particularly Americans. Middle-class (hooray, it still exists!?) to upper-middle class. Occupations seem evenly split between university students with constant access to computers and hours of each day spent online to "professionals" in many occupations that require hours of time at computers - often online - each day.

There were occasional exceptions, particularly as I'd discover a few published from Asia, due to the time difference here. Still, through links from links to people who've linked to me, the above is a common theme.
Then again, I'm a whitish, middle class American, so in some ways I fit that mold too. But no one has a belly-tattoo that's identical to mine!

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