This weekend, the past weekend, and what will most likely all the days from now until touch-down in the US, was, is, and will be jam-packed. And jam-packed in the best of ways.
Last week I realized that I only have about two months left in Korea, and for some of those days, I actually will be playing host for my Southern Sister, or driving around on mopeds and running up mountains on Korea’s vacation island – Jeju. So what does that leave me, but a limited time to see, do, smell, hear, taste, and write about everything. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired, or sleepy, or groggy, you had better believe that these last two months I have a fire under me pushing me forward to just keep experiencing.
Also, news flash: it is summer. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s sunny. It’s full of watermelon and pineapple and ice cream and potbingsu and naengmyeon and lunch dates and backyard barbeques and sweaty runs by the river. It’s nothing but inviting and enlivening and adventure ridden.
With those two influences surrounding me almost at all times, I’m going to wear my tiredness with pride. As Emily says, they’ll just think you have a tired glow about you.
To get to the specifics, this past weekend may have been one of the best I’ve had in Seoul. Saturday morning, which bled into Saturday afternoon, which blurred into Saturday evening and then full on night, all started with the Fermentation Celebration. A gathering of what seemed to be the entire hippie ex-pat community in Seoul in one location sharing their knowledge and fermented goods with other like-minded, kind and generous people. Lining the streets like a block party, vendors stood behind make-shift tables talking to patrons about Kombucha mothers, whey, hops, and blue cheeses.
There were plenty of homebrew beers to satisfy the taste buds of those who miss a good IPA – see: Korea loves weak lagers. Sauerkraut was a big hit that played the lead role to the sourdough’s supporting flavors. Fermented salsas sat on top of boiled potatoes, or nacho chips, and cheeses – ricotta, cheddar, gouda – all hung around to help you enjoy a Korean taco or four. If you wanted a sweet conclusion, there was always the yogurt-banana smoothie, banana bread, or green energy smoothie to keep you in check. Vegan Kimchi? Check. Russian hard apple cider to cool you down on your trek up a hill? But of course, my dear. Korean Taco Trucks that are actually in Korea? This is the real deal, folks.
The event lasted a solid four hours and spanned about a kilometer of side streets. It was not only filled with amazing and fermented foods, but also with some of the kindest people I’ve met here. One of my fermented trail mates adamantly stated several times throughout the journey “People who ferment things are just nicer. You have to have a community of people to do this, so you have to get along with others.” I agree – completely.
My favorite of the whole thing wasn’t what you might expect. Yes, it was only the second time I’d had Kombucha in the past eleven months – once in Thailand, once this weekend – but I have to say that the Kombucha wasn’t nearly vinegar-y enough, nor carbonated enough for my tiny tastebuds. I need that astringent punch behind every sip. In its stead, I would have to say that one of the many fermented salsas was my favorite. Fresh, bright, juicy, with a kick of vinegar. Spicy, alive, refreshing. Simply delicious poured over a heap of new potatoes freshly boiled. It was early on in the trail, and I wish I had been able to go back for more.
The journey died down around 5pm, but that’s nowhere near where the weekend ended. Four of us retired to a rooftop bar to enjoy a sunset and a refreshing beverage and planned for the next day, when we’d potluck and grill in fashion and celebration of a good friend’s birthday. O! Summer – keep us flying