The Strike

1987 in Busan, South Korea

Sept. 3
Long time.* We rented a car and made money all night driving all over town.** It was a blast. I met Young-Sook and drove all over town to Gwang-An beach and back. I met her again the other night and she came over and I love her intensely. My student in Nam-Cheon Dong quit and I started teaching at Yangsan (Samchullyho Bike Company). I called home for Mom's birthday.

*Eight days without a single journal entry is the longest I went in Korea without writing something. My good friend Brian had just arrived to teach with me at KHI. From now on I use "we" to refer to the 2 of us.

**All of the company taxi drivers went on strike. There really was no way to get anywhere once the personal taxis shut down around dinner time. Brian and I went and rented a car for 12 hours and started picking up people and driving them to their destinations. I drove while Brian DJ-ed from a shoebox full of tapes he brought from the States. Blancmange and The Eurogliders got a lot of air time that night.

We picked up 2 couples from Gwang-An beach, piled the four of them in the back seat and drove them out to Gupo. With almost no other cars on the road, we flew. We blazed up the hill, through the tunnel, and down the hill. Think about that couple for a minute. You think they still tell their friends about that one time they got driven home by two speeding foreigners in a rented car with the windows down, and music blaring? I wonder.

Other highlights: a lone, semi-intoxicated girl walking down the street late that night. We pull up alongside and ask where she's going. She says where and I tell her to get in. She gets in and I tell her it will cost however much. She gets pissed and jumps back out and starts to walk away. I feel bad and drive slowly alongside trying to talk her into getting back in; I tell her I won't charge her. Eventually she gets in and off we go.

In On-Cheon-Jang there where throngs of people stranded with no way out of there. We returned there many times to pick up riders, telling others we'd be right back. A group of friends fold their loaded pal into the back seat and send us to some nearby apartments. We drop the guy, he overpays, and leaves. I still doubt he had any idea who drove him home that night. His friends probably had a good laugh at his expense.

At some nice apartment complex we pick up a very pregnant lady and her mother. Once we are all buckled in, I come flying out of there and am hauling ass around a bend with them both white-knuckling it in the back. Nobody else on the roads, windows down, music blaring. All of a sudden, sirens. I get pulled over by a motorcycle cop. The ladies in back are freaking out, thinking what we are doing is illegal, plus I was clearly speeding. As the copper walks up to the car, I put my head and arms out with palms up and say loudly in English: "What seems to be the problem officer"? He stops dead in his tracks. Looks at me. Waves his hands at me as if to say: "Go on asshole." We drive off laughing. What a couple of tools.

We refueled at least once and by 6 a.m. when we returned the car having driven all night, we had enough money to pay for the gas and the rental fee. Ahhhhh, good times.

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