Thursday, 25 October 2012

(Day 97) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 2 D-154

100 x 250 x 440 x 5

Breakfastrice & kimchi
dry seaweed
soybean soup with cucumber & tofu 
Lunchrice & kimchi
kimchi soup with beef
glass noodles with veggies & corn salad
Dinnerkimchi seafood stew & rice
yellow radish
kimchi mandu with soy sauce

And back to rice and kimchi 3 times a day for the next 154 days. I don't know what's worse doing nothing for 154 days or eating rice and kimchi 3 times a day, for 154 days. It all sucks really. I'd forgotten how often roll call is here. Immediately in the morning, then again at 8:15 am. I'm not sure why they even have it. There are cameras in all the cells and we spent 23 hours of the day in the cell. There is no possible way out without tools of some sort, so we're not going anywhere and we have no privacy when you're being watched by CCTV the rest of the time. These cells are sealed up so tight, I saw one insect the last time I was here. His name was George. He left me through the drain.

I met a guy during the one hour exercise today who spoke English, but then I had to go to my “education” session. Here, they tell me the rules and procedures, but it's all in Korean. The guard asked if I understood, I said "no" and he shrugged his shoulders and kept going with his little speech.

Then they took us to get all get a medical check-up. They gave me a bunch of papers to sign, again all in Korean. I think some of it was about my medical history. Then, I saw a doctor and he shrugged me off as well. It's a good thing I'm very healthy or I'd be dying in my cell tonight like the Mongolian and Chinese dude at Hwaseong. I guess I won't be getting any pain relievers for muscle relaxants for my back this time.

When I got back to my cell, I noticed all the other inmates had mattresses, so I asked for one, too. I was told I had to buy one, but no one knew how much, or when I could do so. So, I asked for more blankets instead. The guard babbled something at me in Korean and for the 3rd time today, I told him I didn't understand. He, too shrugged and walked away. The inmate worker came back later and said he would bring me a couple of blankets on the down-low later.

Back to the inmate I met during the exercise period... he is an older dude. He told me when he first got here, he had a hard time, but now he's gotten used to it. However, he's spent so much time overseas, he can't stand the food either, so we spend some time complaining about the rice and kimchi 3 times a day, together.

The “education” session was a waste of time. I would've rathered continue my exercise period especially since it only happens for an hour, once a day. Someone had put a couple of roses in a coke bottle outside. I drew a picture of it with a pencil. I didn't get to finish it though, so I'll do that tomorrow.

The food may be rice and kimchi every day, but at least the quality is better. There is some actual meat in the dishes and, because there are no Muslims to worry about, it ain't chicken.

It turns out I can use my mini table to do the chair-lift exercise.

After lunch, there was a special concert. I've mentioned the TV show that is a traveling karaoke contest before... Well, it’s even worse live. It wasn't the actual TV show, but same format. The first hour was a bunch of inmates singing old songs. The winners, instead of $100, won a whole box of cup ramyeon (instant noodles). The first place winner won 3 boxes. After that, the next two hours were older women and men caterwauling away. If you are at all familiar with Asian traditional music, you'll understand the torture. It really does sound like dying cat. Beyond the concert from hell, I was in an auditorium with approximately 600 inmates (20 rows of 7 benches holding for people each = 560, plus quite a few individuals chairs) and I was the only foreigner. Everybody else was Korean. Not one person was even remotely Pakistani, Uzbekistan or any other race that I could tell. I saw the guard who was so helpful the last time I was here, is going to come visit me tomorrow. I also saw the two inmate workers from 3 months ago and the guy who helped me way back in March. The guy sitting behind me happened to have lived in Orange County, California USA for 8 years, so we talked through most of the concert. He was a pretty young kid. He told me I might be able to work in a factory job to get my time reduced. So, even though the concert was shit, getting out of my cell and seeing some familiar faces was okay. It's actually been a pretty busy day. And now that I have some pencils and an eraser, I can work on that DNA drawing that took me all day to come up with nothing the last time.

The trend has been broken! No actual kimchi was served at dinner-- just kimchi based food like stew and mandu...