Monday, September 7, 2009

Short and Soju

So I got to Seoul on Saturday evening in time to have dinner with the ESPN crew and go out to Itaewon, a popular bar, restaurant, and shopping area. The camera guys, producer, and I ventured out to the Seoul Pub where there were numerous GIs, foreigners, and Koreans alike. I was able to do what may turn out to be my most important job of the trip, and that was to pull an older obnoxious gentleman away from a couple of Korean girls the crew wanted to talk to. After entertaining this man with my witty banter (ok, I really just bought him a beer) and after the Korean girls had to "leave unexpectedly", we went to another bar before going home.

Sunday we went to a K-League football match and filmed one of our main subjects, a player named Ahn Young Hak who plays professionally for a team from Suwon, a city near Seoul, but who also plays for the North Korean National Team. While there we also interviewed fans about the possible joint North and South Korean cheering section that has been proposed for the 2010 World Cup. Monday we interviewed Ahn, who was raised in Tokyo by his Korean parents and grandparents, and had the option of playing for the Japanese, South Korean, or North Korean National Football teams; I was reminded of when I had the option of playing for Oregon or, well, just Oregon. Ahn is a really genuine guy and expressed his true sadness at the heightened tension between the two nations. He believes that his national team, who haven't qualified for the World Cup since 1966, could have a good chance at showing the world that there is more to the controversial nation and that perhaps there could even be improved relations between North and South as a result of both their involvement in the tournament. Let's hope...

In between all this hard work (ok, it's not really that hard for a PA like me), we've been able to do a bit of shopping for cheap knock-offs and souvenirs. I especially like the fake purses with backwards designer emblems similar to what one could find in downtown LA.

My favorite thing to do thus far, however, has been to sample the Korean cuisine. I LOVE kimchi, but those I speak to after eating kimchi don't love me (too much garlic). I've also had some very good bibimbap, an assortment of "healthy food" aka vegetables, rice, an egg, and sometimes raw meat, which is served in a pre-heated stone pot so that everything is cooked as it is served to you (think portable, individualized Benihana's). Aside from these two dishes, beer is beer, and then there's a drink called Soju (spelling?), which is similar to both vodka and sake but a bit sweeter. Very good, but very dangerous!

Anywho, I'm off with the crew to do a couple more interviews, one with the President of the Korean Football Association and one with the Chairman of the 2022 World Cup Bidding Committee, and then to sample some more Soju! Best til next time...

1 comment:

  1. Fun stuff! Glad you're being fed haha =) Can't wait to watch this when it airs! Have a safe rest of the trip