Saturday, 24 March 2012

posts

I've been writing like mad. Not for you or me, ha ha mostly for me. I haven't posted any of it. It's a little too personal. One day, I'll put it up. I've been thinking about family. It's a loaded word. What does it mean to you?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Booty call

The other night, I got a call at 2 am from a girl I've been "dating". She was at a bar and wanted me to come and meet her. Since, I have nothing better to do than be at the beck and call of the opposite sex, I obliged.

When I got to the bar, the girl was already drunk. No big deal, I'm often in the same situation, it was 2 am, after all. She introduced me to her friend, I bought a round of drinks. Of course, after the first round, I was expected to buy the second round, too. Girls got it easy, I wish people would offer to buy me drinks all night.

After we finished out drinks, the girl and I went home. Almost as soon as we walked in the door, she passed out on the couch. I knew she had been drinking, so it was really no big deal. I like this girl a lot, and I think she likes me (or she wouldn't be calling me at 2 am), so the actual lack of booty was no big deal-- been there, done that, and I'm pretty sure I'll go there and do it again... She slept, I watched TV and drank some wine. At about 6 am, she moved to the bed. I fed her, tucked her in and went back to watching TV (I'm a night owl-- I wake up at 4 pm and go to bed at 7 am). She asked me to wake her at 10, so I did. She got up, put on her clothes and bolted out the door, barely saying 'good-bye' as she went...

WTF?

I felt used and abused. Cheap, like a prostitute. I take care of the girl, I treat her like a gentleman - holding her hair out of her face as she makes an offering to the porcelain god, feeding her breakfast, taking her boots off before she falls into bed, and I get shafted in the wrong way.

I later learned (after I bitched about it) that she was expecting a delivery at home and needed to be there to pick it up. Hence the 10 am wake-up call. And in the end, she came over the next night and smoothed it over.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Women

I have never understood them and I never will. I'm not even going to bother trying anymore... not that I really tried that much in the first place... and I'll leave it at that. A pleasurable frustration.

Melancholy

I really want to get out of this country. At this point it's more about money than ability. The government doesn't want me, but they can't force me to leave. My housing lease, worth 5Gs is under her name. Since I'm technically still married, I can do things in her name, so getting my money back is no problem, it's how much money I get back. When every cent counts, a loss of a couple hundred dollars hurts. Haven't been able to pay my rent for 2 months because of all the bullshit that's happened. My fault, my loss. Now I have to make up for it. I've had to borrow as well, so I'm about 3Gs in the hole. It's a tolerable amount, but it's still a headache. If my new roommate can buy out my lease, it makes it easy and everybody's happy. The landlord has a tenant without having to spend hundreds on a realtor and renovations, my roommate has a cool place to live in a cool part of town, and I get my money and the fuck out of here.

This alone is not the reason for my melancholy. A lot of this involves a lot of waiting. Waiting for letters, waiting for translations, waiting for court dates and judgments. If I can gather all my loot before hand, the government has told me they won't/don't want to stop me from leaving if I happen to miss all my court dates and fine payments. I can never come back to Korea, but I don't give a shit. Everybody I know is a foreigner. They'll all leave eventually and I'm sure I'll meet the good friends I've met here again, somewhere else in the world, and that will be way too cool. I'm sure I'll meet people I've never met except on-line in different places in the world, and as sure as shit is dirty, it won't be in Korea. Waiting for money and government is boring. I spend a lot of time watching tv and drinking. I guess I do far more than that, since I write, do stand-up, and paint, as well as the duties that pay me an income like design and editing, but for the most part, I do fuck all except sit around my house a lot. Too much time spent like this makes one depressed. Proven fact, it's true. Even though there's really nothing wrong.

The third thing, is this weekend. It's the St. Paddy's Day weekend. The one day of the year we'll all trot out every Irish stereotype we can think of and get really drunk. Can you image if white people celebrated Black history Day like this (I heard that from a blogger I follow on facebook... or maybe it was twitter...)? It's also my daughter's (15th) birthday the next day, so inevitably, I call her on her actual birthday after tossing back a few year after year. No different this year, but I actually remember the conversation, so I was more sober than usual.

I miss my daughter a lot. She's now turned into a young woman. A 15 year old teenager. I was a 15 year old teenager once, it wasn't good. If you think I'm bad now, imagine when I thought I was always right and invincible... wait a sec... Anyway, My daughter is growing up on skype, facebook and twitter or at least that's how I interact with her. I can't leave the country even if I wanted at this point, and I'm stress out because of money or lack of. Maybe I'll do some stand-up on Wednesday, or maybe just watch and laugh. I could use a good laugh. Melancholy.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Impressions

It's funny how the people you meet, become caricatures of your first impression. You become a charticture of yourself.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Stand up.

Those are loaded words. Stand up off your seat, take a microphone and start talking about fucked up shit in front of a room full of strangers.

I like to laugh, who doesn't? I don't laugh much. I like to go to stand-up comedy shows, because, on the odd occasion, they make me laugh. I watch a lot of stupid sit-coms for the same reason. Lately, they're all about disenfranchised women-- New Girl? Two broke girls? Humourous, but not really funny. I've had to deal with that shit for 20 years. It's just a sad reminder of life. Work all your life, date, get married, procreate and die. Been there, done that, except I haven't died yet, and I haven't worked all my life.

When I used to go to these stand up shows, I'd get drunk (big surprise) and heckle. I'd have conversations with the comedians on stage. They'd get off stage and tell me I should go up so they could heckle me. Now, I'm on stage, in front of all these 'peers' and all I hear is... crickets...

There were a few giggles...

After a few times of getting on stage-- Who's in the audience makes a huge difference. My musician friends tell me this all the time. I never understood. Tonight was mostly other comedians. Good ones. Well seasoned. As I took to the stage, I was being judged. I didn't feel good coming off stage, but those few giggles, from this stage, made it worthwhile. I'll try again tomorrow in some random bar in Itaewon.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Writing

has almost inspired me to draw again. About a year ago, I started a drawing project I called the 365 day project where I would draw at least a drawing every day for a year. I produced over 200 drawing in 6 months. And then I lost it. The rest of life catching up to me, killed the drive.

As one commentor, on another blog linked to this one said, "that was the most depressing thing I have ever read."

I drank more, fought more, and not much else.

Originally, when I started this blog back in November, I had planned to be out of this place in January. Leaving proved to be harder than anticipated and here I still am. Recently, after some pushing from friends hearing about my jail story, I decided to try my hand at stand-up comedy. I don't know if I'm funny or not, but people seem to laugh at certain things. After 3 shows, I've tried to use just the funny parts in future shows.

As a way to gather my thoughts for the stand up, I started taking notes on stuff I thought was funny. Then, I realized I had already started this blog back in November and decided to utilize it to further gather my thoughts.

I don't use anybody's real name other than my own, and that's not even real. If you think my depiction of women is chauvinistic, I'm bitter. I don't always think this way and I'm sure in the future, my mind will change, as it has many times in the past. And I probably wouldn't spend so much time talking to them and fighting with men. If you think I'm racist, you're probably Korean (and I'm bitter), and you should take a good long look in the mirror before you start throwing rocks at glass houses.

Since these are strictly my opinions, I'm entitled to mine and you are entitled to yours. If you don't like it, go read something else. If you think I'm wrong (or right) feel free to comment on it. I may reply, or I may just laugh and ignore you. I've turned off comment moderation, because I said, you are entitled to your opinion, and I feel, on the internet, the only anarchist place in the world, censorship does not belong. If you don't like it, don't look at it. If you have something constructive to say, by all means, go for it. If you're just trolling to get a rise out of me (I'm looking at you, Korean netizens and kimchi apologists/cowboys/kool-aid drinkers), then fuck off. Don't read it. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.


Monday, 12 March 2012

Art

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, painting for about 25 years and a professional graphic designer for over 15 years. Because of my artistic bent, I've been called artsy fartsy, and gay more times than I can count. The irony, is that most of the people who called me those names were latent homosexuals-- jocks  trying to overcompensate. Thou protest to loudly, is usually the case. In Canada, I would usually just take the ribbing and go home and fuck my girlfriend. I've had girlfriends asked by other men why they were dating me since I was so obviously a fag. I've been hit on by more than my fair share of actually gay men. In Korea, the home of the metro-sexual Asian man (cool purse, dude), I just usually just punch the fucker out. All because I'm a little more sensitive than the average guy (father-son/daughter scenes in movies make me bawl like a little girl), and I like to draw pretty pictures.

Being artistic in high school isn't a lot of fun. I hung out with the "freaks" (now we call them 'goths'), skinheads, mods and punk-rockers. The outsiders. It provided me with a certain level of protection from the other groups at school. When you have a couple of big female skinheads beating the crap out of preps, rockers and jocks because they looked at you funny, people tend to leave you alone. The outsiders accepted my artist streak since many of them were musicians, or stoners or both, usually with a large appreciation for tattoos. Being able to draw tattoos in a fringe group like this is very beneficial. I still got called a fag by some people in this group, but the irony is that a couple of them came out of the closet after trying to hit on me. It was around this time I started painting.  In comparison to my latest work, it was primitive. I had no idea what I was doing, so I studied. I experimented. I developed a style of my own. Now, if you have seen any of my paintings, there is no doubt who did it.

While I was doing secondary education, I learned a lot more. I painted a huge number of paintings and had my first show. I even sold a couple. Over the years, all those paintings have disappeared. Someone still haves them, but I have no idea who or where. There are a couple of lost years in there somewhere. I had a daughter. I tried to do the right thing, and failed miserably. I couldn't hack having a 9-5 job, but I gained new skills as a graphic designer and I started to get more and more freelance work in that field. I also discovered I was really good with computers. I naturally knew how they worked and how to use them, so I would supplement my income fixing them.

This new found lifestyle of pretty much doing whatever I want whenever I wanted to do it led me down a very destructive path. I had money and a lot of free time. This led to drugs, each harder than the last and me turning into a deadbeat dad. I maintained a relationship with my daughter, but I was useless financially and I was sporadic with my visits. I met a girl and we mutually went further down the spiral. I went to Africa, Spain and Germany with this girl, found myself with out her in a foreign country and used the Canadian consulate to borrow money to get home. After a couple of months living with my dad, I got a job in Korea. The entire time, I continued to do freelance graphic jobs and even spent a stint writing articles about certain products used by search engines to improve rankings.

Korea, the first time, was a clusterfuck. I lasted 3 months before I did a runner. I had to live in the same house as my director and I had just discovered an evil liquor called soju. On one hand, I always had money, cigarettes and booze, as well as being drug-free, on the other hand, I was drunk all the time and could barely function, so I went back to Canada.

I lasted three more months there before I realized, that even drunk, it was better to have money, smokes and booze than no money, no smokes and no booze and I got another job in Korea. This trip hasn't ended yet.

During these lost years, I stopped drawing and painting almost completely. About 3 years ago I started again. My output isn't as much, but I think the quality is a bit better. And even in this economy, they sell a lot better, too

I get a lot of questions about my art. What does it mean? What are you trying to say? Why did you paint that? So, here it is: It doesn't mean anything. I'm not trying to give any message. I painted it because I thought it looked cool. I draw a lot of individual pencil drawing. Sometimes I screw around with photographs. Sometimes I take all those different elements and I combine them into one painting. The result usually looks cool. That's how I do it. I've spent a lot of years practicing, and studying composition and colour theory. Certain things come naturally, like a musician playing scales or the blues, but for the most part I'm just making it up as I go along-- much the same as I live life.

Girls II

When I was released, I called the girl I was with just before I was locked up. She was worried. The last time she saw was more than a week earlier as I was being dragged away. We made a date for the evening, but she cancelled due to ill health. Another girl texted me and I end of spending the week with her instead.

About a week later. The now-not-sick girl texted me at 2 in the morning on a Sunday.

Come to Hollywood

Now? Why? I'm in bed. If I wanted a beer, I just have to go to the fridge...

If you don't come, you'll never see me again...

Why? Are you leaving the country? I have to get dressed. If I come, are you buying the beer?

Sure, I can do that.

So, I get dressed (which really is just a matter of putting on shoes and a coat) and head out. The girl I'm about to meet is a very young Korean. Cute as hell, but really just a little girl, barely older than my teenage daughter. I get to the bar and she's as drunk as a skunk. She's killing time at Hollywood until the subway runs again at 5:30 am. Essentially, all I'm there to do is babysit her until then. I tried (half-hearted) to just get her to come to my house to wait for the train, but she was having none of that. I was too much of a "bad boy" and if we did that, she wasn't sure she could remain a "pure" Korean girl. Typically, at least in my experience, every Korean girl tells me she's a virgin. It was bullshit with my wife (she told me she only had one boyfriend before me, but what she meant, she had had only one serious relationship, but slept with lots of other men before me... took years to get that info out her), the girls before her, and bullshit with this one, too. Normally, after my wife, I wouldn't even bother with a Korean. If you think I have a lot of baggage, it's nothing compared to the idiosyncrasies  of the "typical" Korean woman. However, this one was pretty good looking and in my sorry state of mind and her drunkenness, would have been a good notch on the belt. Alas, it was not meant to be...

Anyway, we ended up just talking at the bar for a few hours. She had just quit her job at another bar and was preparing to go back to university the next day to study fashion design. The university was in a different city, which is why I would "never" see her again. I saw her off to the subway, and I'm sure if she's ever in the area again, I'll probably hear from her again. I'm not holding my breath over this one, I'm too infatuated with someone else.

Girls

I've been infatuated with a particular girl lately. I don't know what it is about her, but I can't stop thinking about her. So much so, that sure things with other women don't interest me. I've actually turned down women literally throwing their clothes at me (she was an Asian dressed as  schoolgirl... an drunk old one, but she was Asian and was wearing the shortest tarten skirt...). I tried again to forget about her by hitting on other women the other night, but then I just ended fighting with some dude (he pushed me first). And the girl who came to bail me out of trouble with the police was the same woman I'm infatuated with. I don't know what to do about it. Some days she won't even give me the time of day, and the next she's picking me up at the police station because I was fighting over another woman. I need to find some other distraction to get her off my mind.

One of the great mysteries of life-- why do the opposite (or the same) sex drive each other so crazy? For all of the differences between men and women, they sure do act the same when it comes to hormones and responses. You always want what you can't have.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Castles made of sand....

I turned on my computer and saw this. My desktop wallpaper cycles every 15 minutes through photos I've selected. Some of them are of times best left forgotten (I should really change that...) and some of them are memories like these.

Before I came to Korea, in 2003, I was in a wonderful, disasterly, destructive relationship with a fiery, red-headed german girl. She left Canada, she bought me a plane ticket to go with her. I went.

I found myself in Essaouria, Morocco, west Africa. A frequent destination of Jimi Hendrix.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Drugs

It amazes me that in a country where rape, murder, and pillaging is an acceptable behavior if you claim the booze made you do it, I'm a barbarian and criminal because I'd rather smoke a joint. However, it's so cost prohibative, it's nearly impossible (I hear stories all the time of how a friend of a friend of a friend paid $100 to $150 a gram), so I'm forced to be a mean, angry drunk instead, just like so many ajjoshis. If a few more ajjoshis smoked a joint after work instead of a couple shots if soju, they might actually learn to relax and enjoy life. Maybe spend more time with their wife and kids. Maybe the children would actually have a childhood instead of intensive training to be worker drones. No wonder there are so many suicides.

The date.

So, I'm free. I've had a shit, shower and shave. My phone bill is paid off, I can both send and receive. One girl cancelled with a cold (more on her later) so, I go meet a buddy for cheap wings and beer at a local watering hole. He feeds me, gets me drunk... "So happy to see you out of jail." He shows me the debts he's collected from his peeps to spring for my bail. You know you have friends when... Another girl txts me. A girl I haven't seen or talked to in awhile, she has no idea what I just went through. She's not Korean.

The long and short of it is, it was just what I needed. Fresh out of the slammer, in a foreign country with an exotic girl as fucked up as we all are. I had now fulfilled the three goals I had set out for when I walked out that door... a smoke, booze, and women... it was a good day.

I'm pretty sure I'll see her again sometime in the future somewhere in the world. She's cool. We have a lot in common.

A letter

I got a letter from Seoul Court. I scanned it and sent it to Kay. I love technology, I did it in less than 5 minutes and I used the same device I am writing this blog with, which is also my phone, as I sit at a bar at 5 am. Anyway, Kay phoned me about 5 minutes later. Apparently, all the letter said is that I would get another letter giving me more details.

Basically, I got a letter telling me I would get another letter. Korean logic at work.

Dating

It took me awhile, but eventually, instinct overcame depression. I needed to get laid. I was depressed and only talked about myself and my sorry excuse for a life for a long time. Girls don't like that.

Image is everything. you can look like you haven't bathed in a week, and if you wear a suit, girls talk to you. If you wear jeans and t-shirt, good luck.

Job is next. Everybody in Korea is an English teacher. If you can prove you're not a teacher of English and have some other jobs/hobbies, it's a guarateed shag.

Location, location, location. No girl wants to spent time in a cab. They might talk to you and discover what an ass you really are. The quicker you get home, the better your chances.

Friday, 9 March 2012

40

So, I turned 40 years old recently. Not sure how I feel about that. I don't look 40. I don't feel 40. I certainly don't act 40. The year leading up to 40 was pretty fucked. So have the weeks following. I've been relating a lot to Louie C.K. I'm 40, a failed father and recent divorcee. I live in a foreign country because I'm too lazy to make an actual living in my own country and I drink far too much. Am I happy? Hell, no. Am I depressed? Not really. Do I care? Hmmm... maybe a little.

When the wife left, it was a little shocking to say the least. I was bewildered. I spent weeks analyzing what went wrong. I paced. I fretted. I shaved my head. Just before she left, I had just got screwed over by my last job teaching English. I was stressed out about that first, when I got bombed by my wife. I was incapable of finding a new job, I was gutted. I would wake up at 6 pm, eat, watch TV and go to the bar at about 2 am. I did that for months. I was awake for 16 hours a "day" like every one else, but I spent most of it awake at night, sitting at the bar, drinking beer and Jagger.  On the odd occasion I would find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on and usually take them home. These pathetic attempts at intimacy actually did me some good. My confidence found a new source. I realized that women still found me attractive as a 40 year old deadbeat alcoholic divorcee dad. I wasn't the worst one off. I once lived on the streets with no shoes. I met a guy with no feet. I took his shoes.

I'm often asked "If you hate Korea so much, why don't you just leave?" My answer is actually a couple reasons. First off, I'm white in Asia. I'm practically a god here. I just have to show up to an interview and I have the job. I could be wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans, stinking of gin, incoherently drunk, and still get the job. Simply because I'm white, have blue eyes and speak English. I just cancelled an interview and the recruiter was shocked because I didn't want the job. She couldn't understand why I didn't want to teach English at 7:30 in the morning 2 days a week for $50 an hour. First, I usually go to bed at about 6 am, so I'm not getting up an hour later to teach. Second, for $50 an hour 2x a week, that only works out to about $400 a month, which barely covers my rent. In my current job, which is just design and editing, I don't even have to get out of bed. I just turn on the computer and people pay me the same rate per hour. I keep my own hours and it's more than 2 days a week. I know I'm being lazy and it's a first world problem, but shit-- I'm 40 and worked long and hard enough that I should be able to dictate what I do. I did what my wife told me to do for 6 years and where did that get me?

Now, before you get all defensive and bombard me with comments, hear me out. I didn't create this environment. The Korean government did. Parents crazy about education did this. They have created such a situation in their craziness, they have had to hire foreign workers to actually do all the work that needs doing, to run the country. Their children are too precious to work in a factory or clean up the garbage they themselves have thrown all over the street because of a lack of garbage cans. And then, they complain about the bad quality of foreigners, that again, THEY have let into the country. So, if you are a Korean and are reading this, stop blaming the foreigner. You did this to yourself by refusing to do 3D jobs, and getting so crazy about education that children are no longer allowed to be children and they study 16 hours a day learning shit they will never use and spending a fortune on it. As long as you're willing to pay me money, I'm going to take it. Thank you very much, now fuck off.

Second, because my wife left me with no contact for over a year, I've had to do everything myself. I have 9 years of my life here. It's a lot of baggage to get rid of. I have money tied up in my house. TVs, furniture, a dog. Since, when I leave, I'll be going by plane as there is no other way to get out of the country, I have to get rid of everything, get all my money back and find a home for my dog. No easy feat in a country that can't speak English, no matter how much money they spend learning it.

9 Years?!? How come you can't speak Korean? I can understand some of it, but I can't speak it because every time I try, Koreans laugh at me. They don't want to teach me Korean because they are too busy trying to get me to teach them English. My "ex"-wife spoke English all the time and whenever I needed to use Korean, she would translate for me. There was no need for me to learn Korean. There is now, but now I'm trying to get the hell out of here... where am I going to use Korean once I've gone? What's the point?

In addition to my laziness because I have it so easy, and my excessive baggage, I also have immigration problems due to getting drunk and fighting too much due to my marriage collapsing. The government won't let me leave. I'm under investigation for marriage fraud and I have to go to court and pay my fines. I literally couldn't leave the country if I tried. And I have tried on New Year's with three Aussie chicks going to New York...

So if this blog finds it's way to the netizens of Korea, fuck off. Vilify me all you want. You created the situation, and I took advantage of it. Some of my issues are my own problems, no one is perfect, but look in the mirror before you kiss my white ass. Eventually I can and will leave, but you will still be stuck in this bullshit country.

Speaking of leaving, since I am 40, still look in my early 30s and have a job that just requires the internet, my mid-life crisis solution has been to travel around the world or just to keep going until I'm too old or too bored. I have enough money from my shit here and the housing deposit to keep going without a job for a couple of months. I have a skill set (computers and graphics) that allow me to find a job pretty easily anywhere in the world so I can make money if I need it. And when I was younger, I did a lot of hitchhiking, so I know how easy it is to travel cheaply.

I haven't determined when I'm leaving, and I really can't because I don't know when all my legal issues will be dealt with. But as soon as I can deal with that and my wife, fear not fellow Korean netizens, I am out of here. Forever. Thank god.

Another new thing I have recently started due to my mid-life crisis, is stand-up comedy. I've gone to a couple of open mics and the response has been good so far. So, if you're in the Seoul area, and you hear of an open mic comedy, check it out, you may just see me.

...and freedom

After that first smoke (I felt like a kid again taking that first drag, I wasn't expecting the head rush) and hastily chugged beer in broad day light as school children and and stressed-out office workers rushed to nowhere around me, I found a phone booth. My cellphone was in minimal power, and I hadn't paid my bill this month, so I had limited calls. I could receive, but not send-- another detrimental notch on my bid to freedom. It's really hard to call for help when your phone doesn't work in any way. I called Kay, my almost new roommate, who had moved in by this time, and a couple other friends, one of which was the girl who was with me when I went to jail in the first place.

"Hey, it's me."

"Oh my God! where have you been?"

"Jail and Immigration. I just got out. They want to deport me."

"That sucks, we just met and now you have to leave?"

"Not yet. They let me go, I have to go to court. We can meet today. I'm free. I'm not leaving anytime soon"

"Okay, I'll have to bring you some white tofu..."

?

As it turns out, tofu is supposed to symbolize purity. So, when you get out of jail, you're given tofu to cleanse your soul. I never got the tofu. She cancelled with a cold, but she called me up at about 2 am, a week later, drunk and demanding we meet right away. I obliged.

I finished the phone calls and caught a cab. 20 minutes later, I was peeling off my dirt-encrusted clothes stuck to my smelly body and basking under the soothing cascades of hot water. After a shave that took longer than the shower, and some fresh clothes, I looked pretty much the same, but smelled much better. After a hamburger and a pizza, I was ready to go, right back to what got me here in the first place...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

to Deportation...

... and into the waiting arms of two immigration officers waiting for me at the front door. Since, I wouldn't be able to talk to an investigator until Monday morning, I would have to spend the next 3 nights locked up in the Immigration Detention centre.

So, after a short drive to the detention centre, I went through the entire process of getting a prison uniform and toothbrush again, only an hour after I had gotten rid of the last uniform. This time, I was given the option of buy a phone card so now I had some contact with the outside world. I called my new roommate so he could get a key to the apartment he was supposed to be moving into while I was in jail. I called Kay, my translator, so I could get some things delivered to me, and I called another friend of mine about getting some money to pay this fucking fine off and get the hell out of this joint.

Once Kay dropped of my stuff, I finally didn't smell as bad as I had for the last week of no shower or deodorant. I was able to charge my cellphone so I could access my phonebook and I had about $1000 in cash towards paying off my fine.

The overwhelming dread I felt as I entered the detention area was heightened by the dirtiness of it. It looked like the area hadn't been cleaned since it was built. There was graffiti everywhere and by the sink where we were to brush our teeth or wash, had cockroaches scurrying around it. I was given some blankets and shown to a common area occupied by 2 Chinese and a man from some indeterminable Eastern block country. However, there was a small TV showing an English(!) movie and seemed to have a full cable package. Since Kay had even brought me a couple of paperbacks and I had to only stay for the weekend, I figured I'd be able to handle an additional 2 days of incarnation.

I managed to read an entire book and spent the remainder of the 2 days watching TV and sleeping.

Monday finally arrived and investigators started arriving to interview the detainees. It was only a matter of time until my turn and the discovery of my final fate. As I sat down for my interview, I felt excitement and fear. Anybody who has dealt with any kind of bureaucracy, especially in Korea will know what I mean. The culture dictates that I have to be humble and subservient-- two things I'm not very good at. After answering some basic questions, I inquired as to when I would be able to go home. The investigator looked at me with a kind of shock at the question and replied that I would never be going home, I was being deported back to Canada, of course.

This shocked me, to say the least! I asked why, and was told that it is automatic immigration policy to deport any foreigner with more that $2000 in fines. Now, I've been in trouble before in Korea, and had more than my fair share of fines. I cried out BS and started freaking out on the poor official.

"I've been here 9 fucking years!" I yelled. "You can't deport me or you would have done that years ago! I have a dog, a house, rent to pay, bills to pay! I still have to get a fucking divorce!"

"Calm down."

"I can't calm down! Do you realize what the fuck you're doing? What about all my banking and money I have tied up in my house?

"Please calm down."

"Get the fuck out of here!"

"Perhaps we'll come back when you have calmed down"

I immediately got on the phone to Kay and explained to him what had happened. He, in turn, got on the phone to the police and immigration. A couple hours later, and I was still in a foul mood, the immigration officer came back in and said to me, "Are you married?"

"Yes," I replied, "I already told you that, you idiot."

"To a Korean wife?"

"Yes." My patience wearing ever thinner.

"Sign here, here and here, and you're free to go."

Assha! See you later suckers! You can keep the lotion! Less then 10 minutes later, I had my clothes and all my stuff back and was walking out of the front door. As I breathed the fresh air and basked in the sunlight, I thought about what to do next... cigarette, beer and sex, perhaps I should go home and take a shower and change my clothes first as I walked towards the nearest store to fulfill the first 2 things on my list...

From Jail...

Since I was separated from my wife a year ago, I've been on a little if a bender... for nearly the whole year. There was a brief time that I actually worked, but didn't last long. Mostly, I just been doing the odd graphic design job, some editing, watching a lot of TV and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. I sometimes wonder how I'm physically able to manage so much.

One of the disadvantages of drinking so much, my tolerance of booze goes up, but my tolerance of fools goes down. Usually Korean men. I get along with Korean women just fine, but almost every time I talk to a Korean man while drinking, I get into a fight. I've been in so many fights, I'm on a first name basis with my Korean police translator. We've even gone out drinking together once or twice.
Anyway, all this fighting was bound to catch up with me at some point and a couple of weeks ago, it landed me in jail. Apparently I had failed to pay a $2000 fine and I had a warrant for my arrest, so the next time I was at the police station, instead of sitting in the drunk tank and going home in the morning, they shipped me off to prison.

Since it was a Saturday night that I was arrested, I spent Sunday in a holding cell before going to prison. That was a joke. It was a room behind the front counter. The door was left unlocked so we could use the bathroom, and other than the two youngsters at the front desk, no security at all. In North America, the typical prisoner would have punched out the two people at the desk and bolted, but in typical Korean fashion, I accepted my fate and calmly awaited my transport to prison. Sunday evening, some police came and hauled me off.

When I got to the prison I was processed and received my prisoner uniform, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, 3 bowls, plastic chopsticks and a spoon. I was shown to a room that was designed to hold 3 or 4 prisoners at a time. I was the only occupant.

"This isn't so bad." I thought, "I have a whole big room to myself."

The next day I was transferred to a small 1m x 3m room with a small shelf, toilet and TV. Not so good. There was no bed, but I was provided with a couple blankets. I had no brush or comb nor a razor. By the end of a week I looked like a crazed Grizzly Adams. Adapting to my surroundings, I found the toilet brush made a pretty good hairbrush, so I was able to maintain some level of dignity. I had no deodorant and I was given one shower, so by the end of a week, I was smelling pretty rank.

Breakfast the first morning consisted of rice, kimchi and soup. The lunch and dinner that followed consisted of pretty much the same thing-- rice, kimchi and watery, tasteless soup. There's nothing wrong with that food, but 3 times a day, every single day? And I hate rice on the best of days. After a couple meals of me not eating anything, the guards found a prisoner who spoke English, to come talk to me.

I asked him "Do you think white people just eat hamburgers and pizza 3 times a day, everyday?"

To which he replied, "Yes."

I tried to explain that I needed variety in my diet, so he asked if bread, milk or eggs were acceptable. I was okay with anything other than rice, kimchi and soup 3 times daily, so the next morning at breakfast, I got 4 slices of bread, 2 eggs, some strawberry jam and some milk. Then at lunch, I got 4 slices of bread, 2 eggs, some strawberry jam and some milk... and then again at dinner, I got 4 slices of bread, 2 eggs, some strawberry jam and some milk...

In their infinite Korean logic, they had substituted  one thing 3 times a day for a different thing 3 times a day. And they call us barbarians... By the end of the week, I had almost a whole loaf of bread and about 10 packs of jam.

There was no clock in my cell. The lights were on 24 hours a day, so I had no concept of time. Luckily, my window faced south so I could see sunlight. Using the shadows of the bars in the window on my cell wall, and some of the strawberry jam, I was able to fashion a rudimentary sundial. In the morning, the 24 hour lights got much brighter, signalling that it was 6:30 am. At 7 they would do roll call/cell check. At 8, breakfast was served. At 9, the radio would come on (loudly, with no volume control) and at 10 am, the TV would turn on. At 12, lunch was served. Using these as indicators, I was able to "see" what time it was by looking at the strawberry jam marked on my wall. The English-speaking prisoner eventually gave me a watch, but I still couldn't get a razor... am I really going to use the razor to kill myself over a $2000 fine or 40 days in the slammer? Apparently so...

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome was sheer boredom. Both the radio and TV were in Korean only. I tried to sleep as much as a could, but there was no way I was going to be able to sleep the entire 40 days, so I tried to do sit-ups and push-ups to tire myself out. By the end of the week I was able to do 50 of each. Not that great, but I started with only 10 each. Once again, the English-speaker (Kevin) came through for me and gave me a daily newspaper and a bunch of magazines and books. Unfortunately the books and magazines were all about business and economics, but I read them all cover to cover anyway. One day, Kevin brought a woman's magazine called Shape which basically had lots of pictures of women exercising. The next day, he brought me some hand lotion. Great, less than a week in jail, and I'm some one's bitch. With the 24 hour lights and CCTV camera on the ceiling, masturbating was the last thing I had in mind. I still read the magazine cover to cover. Now, I know what shade of lipstick to wear with my outfits.

The next thing a person thinks about while locked up, is how to get out. I had rent to pay, a dog to feed, a new roommate moving in, and no contact with the outside world. My phone battery had died, so I couldn't access my phonebook and they wouldn't let me use a computer to access my phonebook on Google. If I was to pay the $2000 fine, I could have been set free, but I don't have that much cash on hand, and I had no way of contacting anyone to get the cash. Thankfully, one person did know where I was, my police translator/friend, Kay. He came to visit me and I was able to give him a list of things I needed, such as a razor, deodorant, my phone charger and money. The one option made available was to go to court and appeal my fine, maybe get it reduced. This took awhile, because I had to be interviewed and have my case reviewed. Eventually, my appeal was approved and 5 days after going to prison, I was processed again, given my clothes and belongings and led to the front door outside to freedom...

Hello world, again...

It's been awhile since I've written anything. I still haven't heard a word from my "ex" wife. It's now been nearly a year since I last saw her. That's not entirely true... I had to renew my visa, so I went to immigration. I had all the necessary documents-- marriage certificate, family registry-- but when I gave the documents to the official, he asked if we had a daughter! Then there was a little problem with the fact we had two different addresses. The long and short, my six years of marriage is now under investigation for fraud.

As I was more concerned about this "daughter", I went to her parents' house to confront her about it. It turns out it's her niece from her brother's previous marriage. And the hostility! Holy shit. I still don't know what I did the provoke such a reaction and I probably never will know. 6 years of marriage wasn't all honey and roses, but there were some pretty good years in there. Enough, that I think I should at least get some civilized behaviour.

So as it stands, I've been an illegal immigrant in Korea for about 3 months now. I still don't have a job, although I do have an interview for one on Friday. I'm not sure I want to take the job though. I have to wake up at 6:30 am two days a week. Usually I'm just going to sleep at that time. I'm debating if an extra $400 a month is worth the hassle... although that would pay my rent at least. I was supposed to leave the country months ago, but due to many circumstances (that I will explain in later posts), that has been delayed until further notice. In the meantime, as well as dealing with the BS of trying to leave Korea, I have a new roommate. Chris found a job in China last month.