Strange Sunday!

Sunday should be a time for relaxation, a time to unwind with family and friends. put your feet up with a cup of tea and just chill out (all the while trying to forget you have work on Monday). Well this particular Sunday had all of these promising traits; I’d had a significant lie in, had a greasy brunch, chatted with family and piled enough carbohydrates in my body to run a marathon (naturally I didn’t do this, instead I took a nap even Snorlax would be proud of). Sounds perfect? Well it was. But what came after dinner shook my whole Sunday out of sync…

…as I fell out of my favourite Chinese restaurant clutching at my (now) spherical stomach, I saw three men sprinting at full speed towards me – one guy in a police/security/mall cop/traffic warden/YMCA outfit, another lazy Sunday clothes similar to what I was in…of course I just stood there like a rabbit in headlights – as usual you think about doing something, but the fear of tackling the wrong guy and then being labelled a massive dick by the local press freezes you to the spot. So yeah, I just stood there still clutching at my bump (but still thinking about dessert), as they advanced closer and closer. Perhaps this gross image freaked them out a little, as instead of running past me they darted into the Chinese restaurant instead! What came next was better than anything I’ve ever seen on Sunday afternoon telly…

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As the three burst into the restaurant, it became immediately obvious which one was the antagonist between the three…it was the lanky, slightly more dishevelled one, who happened to have foam coming out of the sides of his mouth (no, this wasn’t obvious straight away! I was taught not to judge a book by it’s cover! Humph!) – anyway, so he started raving and screaming at the other two, as bewildered diners looked on or ignored him completely in favour of their noodles. It seemed he took exception to this; he demanded the stage, Godddamnit! So as the other two edged closer he grabbed a beer bottle from an unsuspecting pensioner’s table and smashed it to smithereens, leaving only a jagged shard in his hand as a make shift weapon  – cue shrieks and wild “oh my GAAAAAD” hands from the entire population of the restaurant.

By the way, yes – I had a fantastic view from outside…and had decided on triple choc chip ice cream for dessert once the show was over. 

Well anyway, as the crazed character (let’s call him Bobby) edged around the perimeter of the restaurant, he was met with more screams as he waved around the shard of glass defiantly in the air…I wasn’t sure what Bobby’s game plan was from here on in, but I was thrilled to be a spectator of this great escape…well, apparently his would-be captors weren’t quite as confident in Bobby’s abilities as I was, as they continued to advance on him…slowly but surely…

So, to increase the terror level to 11, Bobby decided to shift gears; try something different, it was do or die, fight or flight – it was a crazy plan, granted – but sometimes the crazy plans can provide new hope! (I’m not trying to relate this to Star Wars, this was of course nothing like Star Wars) As the cautious faux comforting arms got within reaching distance of Bobby, he grabbed for another larger bottle and smashed it again (cue more shrieks and hand waves of course), but this time placed the glass shard to his cheek, threatening to cut should anyone come any closer – I know, right? Bold strategy Bobby!

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It was then that I wondered if I would get chocolate sauce on the triple choc ice cream, or was triple choc ice cream chocolatey enough without it?

This thought was interrupted when I saw Bobby, who was not getting the response he hoped for, held the glass a millimeter from his eye ball – this seemed to do the trick as people gave a resounding “whoa, whoa, whoaaa” as if Bobby was some kind of overzealous horse, it was this break that Bobby was looking for – so as soon as he spotted a gap he darted over tables and raced for the door. – only to be met with the heartbreak of some party pooper holding it closed from the outside (not me, obviously – I would never do that to Bobby), as he turned around in disappointment he held the glass to his cheek once more, but I could tell his heart wasn’t really in it this time, and he was subjected him to an involuntary five man game of pile on, until he dropped his make-shift weapon.

After seeing his defeat I continued my wander home. Later I was told it was pretty “normal” behaviour in Korea (using the term “normal” very loosely here of course), when a person has their backs well and truly up against the wall it is thought to be just mental enough to work…so much so that it is often parodied and satirized in Korean dramas!

Well that was my story from last Sunday…if you take anything away from this it should be this – there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, not on a Sunday anyway. 


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When MERS Attacks!

My boss sent me a rather rushed message last night regarding my work for the next day, the gist of which was; no school tomorrow. Please stay home. 

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This is because South Korea is on high alert at the moment, especially in my close area, due to the recent outbreak of the MERS virus*This is pronounced like “Merris” for some reason, which to me sounds like a sweet old grandmother who bakes cakes, and sucks on extra strong mints in her spare time – but the reality couldn’t be further from that. It’s actually pretty serious, or at least that’s what I’ve been told…

Little is known about it other than that it is thought to have started in Saudi Arabia…possibly something to do with camels. Never did like camels – all that spitting always struck me as insanitary. I’m not quite sure how it all works, but I imagine the camel spat in someone’s eye, and then that guy licked someone, and so on, and so on…in time the camel had enough of being judged so took a flight to Korea, naturally one thing led to another and now…MERS virus panic in SK!

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What does that mean for me? Well, I am forced to have the day off (BOOO HOOO, I’m crying a river over that one), and when I go out I am recommended to wear a face mask in case someone sneezes directly into my mouth at some point. It makes me look like a bit of a ninja, especially with sunglasses it just feels like a rather shit halloween costume…so I’m opting out of that. Instead I’ll just try my best not to kiss any camels should they start to flirt with me.

Wish me luck… 

*Jokes aside, here is a link to a more credible source for information regarding the MERS virus, should go without saying that I urge everyone in the proximity to be careful – and should you spot any symptoms seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY.

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Scream Train

Public transport is a funny thing isn’t it? Not haha funny, but you know…weird. Odd. Strange. Often horrifying. That kind of funny – so not really funny at all I suppose, but still – often eventful…

I find the Seoul subway is actually quite tame for the most part, perhaps because I am comparing with the trains in my hometown…filled with youths attempting to use your face as a punching bag, and piss-smelling strangers trying to tell you their life story over their first morning beer. The Korean experience differs somewhat. People are just in their own personal space, on their phones or books – generally keeping themselves to themselves.

I’ve adopted this side of their culture; and consequently no longer punch people in the face, piss my pants, or have morning beer. So big pat on the back for me – hopefully I’ll never relapse. Instead I smile politely, pop in my earphones, and either play the Pokemon Fire Red emulator I have on my phone – or read the New Yorker articles I had bookmarked during the day (depends if I wake up feeling like a child, or an adult). Anyway, I basically blend in – as anything else would be breaking strict protocol…

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So on my way home last night it was to my shock and horror that I heard a wild screaming match taking place (even over the top of some pretty blaring earphones!) It sounded shrill, rage-filled, and totally out of control…a domestic thing of some description – not my business, so I kept my back turned to it…but couldn’t help but peer into the small window of the door to catch a reflection of the drama…

But there was no heated argument, no back and forth; it was just one woman, clearly intoxicated – yelling, and cursing things out at random. She was middle aged, with greasy black hair draped over her dark sunglasses…I’m not quite sure she knew what she was saying, but my goodness was she going to say it anyway. As a result people were evacuating left, right and center, as if she was a mad hate filled hurricane one must get out of the way of as soon as humanely possible…meanwhile others were just staring at the floor, or glancing across nervously whenever they thought she wasn’t looking.

It was all very very polite, but was still very very weird. 

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I tried to tune into what her mad Korean ravings were actually about, if anything. I could make out that she wanted everyone to fuck off, and that everyone but herself was a massive prick (not her words, but her actual words were a little more harsh), but apart from that it was anyone’s guess. Until she caught sight of me in the door’s reflection.

That’s when I became the target, something about “English, English, English – fuck off is this Korea, or England?!” She was shouting and balling with such ferocity it was like dragon fire on my back…well, I was certainly sweating like it was anyway. My entire being was emblazoned red with embarrassment, and my palms were so moist with nervousness it was becoming difficult to even hold my phone. I slipped it into my pocket instead, and decided all I could do was do my time…stare at my feet like the others…and do my time.

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Eventually she exhausted herself – or possibly ran out of offensive vocabulary to use against me, so switched and went back to telling the rest of the carriage to fuck off – instead as well as continuing to remind them all of the fact they are massive pricks, just in case they had forgotten. So back to the status quo then, that’s alright…

But oh no, the story doesn’t stop there my friends! Just as I thought it was over, out of nowhere a dwarf man…sorry – what’s the politically correct way to say that? Not midget I know that much, so let me Google it; smaller man, little person…ah – person of slight stature. Yeah anyway he popped up, and started to talk with her – trying to get her to calm down by a series of soothing tones, and a weird sort of shoulder massage thing (what a brave, and possibly stupid gent!) Unfortunately for whatever reason she didn’t take kindly to the treatment, and unleashed a frenetic and hate filled inferno of insults towards him – so loud that I thought the window screens would split and smash as a result…I couldn’t tear my eyes away – I thought at any second he was going to get a swift kick in the bollocks, or a fork to the eyeball.

Instead as her tirade continued, the man didn’t flinch at all…instead he chuckled broadly and then turned to face me with a wide smile and two over-enthusiastic thumbs up…A THUMBS UP!? IN THIS SITUATION MAN, LIKE…REALLY?!

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Don’t bring me into this?! I’m just an English guy…an English guy in Korea!

She lost it upon seeing this – and was suddenly reminded of her beef with myself mere moments ago…I span back to staring at my shoes, as the rage echoed throughout the carriage once more. It was then that I realised she literally hadn’t stopped for breath ever since stepping foot on the subway…maybe she’d pass out soon, and give our ears a break…

Well it could have happened, but instead she stood up – gave one last mad Chewbecca warble, before pointing at myself and marching out at the next stop. Phew. I had been saved, and returned the thumbs up to my miniature hero a few minutes later upon finally reaching my station. Thanks my friend, I owe you one… 

So that’s the story, just another day on public transport people, another weird, odd, horrifying – yet funny day. I’m suddenly very tired.

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Breaking Bad: Kindergarten

You could say we had a little…erm…”science experiment” today…

Breaking Bad (1)

Because, errr…we did! And it all exploded in my face, and now I smell horrendously bad. You see we had to mix sodium hydroxide with vinegar – and then the subsequent reaction would blow up a balloon…amazing I know! What I wasn’t warned about was that if the kid hadn’t attached it all together properly this would launch madly into the air, and slather me in wretched liquid!

Now I have a meeting, and no time to shower…excuses people – quick, quick, quick!!


Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

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