Last night I went out to dinner with my friend Mr Kim, the engineer from the power plant who I like to go hiking with, although lately I haven't done much hiking, mostly due to the neverending flu thing I have. We also invited Haewon, my bilingual coteacher from work, who Mr Kim calls Ms An - she teaches an evening class at the power plant, and it was through her that I originally met him.
Because he doesn't get off work until after 6, I went home first and waited. He called at around 715 and picked me up at my apartment. It was extremely foggy. Driving was strange - the regular Korean highway chaos, but in slow motion. We went to this "middle of nowhere" restaurant (near the turn-off to Bulgapsa along highway 23, a few km south of town) and had a very spicy chicken stew.
It was a night that would make a good setting for a ghost story. When trying to find the turn-off to the restaurant, we ended up at some dead-end on someone's farm, with barking dogs and decrepit, broken, ceramic toilet fixtures and a mossy tile roof. There were trees hovering off the ground through the dismbodying headlamps of the car. The restaurant had this weird electric rainbow neon flashing outline going, and in the fog it looked like we'd stepped into a zombie video game setting.
Talking with Mr Kim is different when someone like Haewon is around to provide translation. It's more communicative, but less direct. Of course. It's good to have a reminder - for both of us, I'm sure - that we are not blithering idiots, which is what our respective language skills might lead each of us to believe about the other.