July 10. Avant-garde.

Meet old friends in a coffee near one of Seoul’s many universities. They haven’t changed much. We tell each other about our lives and smile friendly. Then I go and buy a ferry ticket to Vladivostok. The office is in the lively Insadong district. I head back to Tom n Toms coffee house to write despite of my inspirational drawback. I have to go through this.

Meal consists of fried seafood in dough and fish on a stick and I don’t care if there are better ways to name them. The woman next to me is typing much faster than I do and that gets om my nerves. Having this meal entonces, I am sitting at a small table where a Korean guy starts talking to me and offering me soju, the local strong alcohol. He is a translator between Russian and Korea and in the course of our conversation, which is conducted partly in Korea me using words I’d never think I had them in me, so in the course of our conversation he writes down the greetings in Russian, which I already know, but it is very kind. He says I have a good “angle” on my face I take that as a compliment he keeps smiling and we drink to avant-garde. I’m not kidding: this guy says what he likes most is avant-garde, he says it with a naughty smile behind the black frame of his glasses he says it and we toast again. To avant-garde! He asks for my cellphone but I give him my email-address (of course he won’t write me like nobody and I want to prove them all wrong). Then he buys some more food and explains it is symbolic and not for eating. It takes me a while before I ask can I have a little potato, but of course. Not drinking but eating wouldn’t have made me popular among Koreans, but I’ve already built up some credits I can use. A woman joins us and she reads a Korean poem from her cellphone. Maybe she’ll mail it to me, I’m curious… but it’s time to go, the sauna is waiting and I need it as a cure for my sore throat. I really like it. I hang out with a Philippian exchange student and a friendly Korean who offers me something to drink. I’d love to have a conversation with them, but I am so tired I crash a random mat, dreaming a random dream about betrayal.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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