Wednesday, September 23, 2009


On the deserted platform of Busan station I held my arms aloft to claim my victory. I was home, having endured yet another 27-hour Meniere's-fuelled travel-odyssey, this time with a large and apparently useless side-order of Valium, and now I could finally rest after five intensive weeks of disposing of all my possession back in England. I should have been exhausted, but instead I was filled with an inexplicable energy.

Friends met us at the station, and before long we were in a car playing the Korean version of Grand Theft Auto – I counted three near misses in the first five minutes. You have to remember that this is just the way people drive here. One day someone will make a fortune in this country by inventing a device which enables the local drivers to keep their cars in the same lane for more than five seconds.

Evil Korean Dog, which I parted from 15 months earlier – giving him the finger as I left as I recall – held no animosity towards me and inexplicably was my best friend all evening. In his excitement Korean Father had ordered an unwanted pizza which gave us another task to get through before we could take the showers we felt we desperately needed. I ended up sharing my shower with a mosquito – reminding me of something else I hadn't missed. It was 7pm Korean time and I'd decided that I might as well try and tough things out by going to bed two hours later and maybe getting straight back onto local time after our 31-hour day. But my body had other ideas, waking me up at 2am Korean time and leaving me to spend the rest of the night writing.

My wife couldn't sleep either – we got hungry and raided the fridge for something to drink. “Would you like milk? It's Korean milk though.” The words hung in the air for a moment before my mind connected the facts from my memory. “Oh of course, Korean milk is foul isn't it.” It wasn't really a question. I was, of course though, destined to drink it.

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