Saturday, 29 September 2012

(Day 71) Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center-day 58 C-25

sit-ups push-ups chairlifts
1 x 100, 2 x 50 2 x 35, 1 x 30 2 x 35, 1 x 30

Breakfast 2 hard boiled eggs
donut filled with red bean paste
orange soy drink
Lunch rice & kimchi
cucumber kimchi
kimchi in hot water with fish and potatoes
Dinnerrice & kimchi
bean sprouts with carrot & sesame oil
egg and soft tofu in hot water

Its Chuseok weekend in Korea. This is the equivalent of Thanksgiving and is celebrated by families traveling to their hometown. Since the population is about 50 million people, in a country that is only about 700 km by 500 km, this means most of the population spends the first 24 hours driving along highway in their family van at about 10 km/h. The TV is showing reports of traffic conditions on  the highway with one side going towards Seoul nearly empty and the other side going away from Seoul jam-packed, barely moving at all.

The other most remarkable thing about the pictures on TV is that 80 percent of the vehicles are white and the other 20 percent are black. There are no cars of any other color on the road. No red, blue, green, yellow-- nothing. Just black and white-- mostly white. What makes this interesting is the distribution. Black is usually reserved for the boss or owner of a company which makes the white cars belonging to all the worker bees.

This afternoon, undoubtedly because it's Chuseok, we had fried chicken and cola delivered. We had four big plate of fried chicken and 16 individual bottles did Coca Cola. Of course, everybody joked about the absence of beer and soju.

When we were finished, I was on my way to the bathroom to wash up and someone had left a full cup of water at the foot of their mattress, out in the area where everybody walks, which I promptly kick across the floor. I got a mop from the bathroom and cleaned it up ASAP, picked up the offending cup, now empty, went to the common room and explain that whoever left a full cup of water in the middle of the floor was a complete, fucking idiot. Then, after putting the offending cup on the table where it belonged, I went and sat down on my mattress to read. Minutes later, the Chinese who yells (who else? Out of all 16 people, of course it had to be him) comes marching up to me yelling in Korean (I  later found out) about how I'm an idiot for not watching where I'm going! Shocked at how ludicrous his argument was (why should I be concerned about things blocking my path in an established walkway? Cups of water do not belong on the floor in any culture), I retorted with three words that everybody knows, "Fuck you, asshole." When he continued to yell at me in Korean, I just said "blah blah blah" and made talking motions with my hand-- another move guaranteed to piss people off in any language, turn around and sat down.

The reaction from everybody else witness to our confrontation, only confirmed what I had already suspected. The Chinese who yells really is crazy. Everybody else shared looks of sympathy with me, said "it's okay don't worry about him" in a mixture of languages and we all went back to do what we were doing previously. Order restored at last.

So much for keeping my head down and staying out of the way. Still I'm surprised I lasted this long. I didn't expect to get past the first weekend in this cell.

Dinner totally sucked. Good thing we have a whole plate of fried chicken for a midnight snack.