Monday, March 21, 2011

The Idleness of March

Nothing really exciting has been going on these days to post. This week was a little more active. First, I met up with Ben and Sandy for some Galbi in Itaweon, followed by a long overdue visit to Trevor at his new pizza place, Beer O'Clock Pizza (review here). Had a fun time, and met his French pizza chef Julian. Despite my four years of French studies in my younger days, I couldn't catch a single word of Ben and Julian's carrying on in French.

Business must be good - several times during our visit he had to hop his scooter and rush the pizza order to the customers. We just had some garlic fingers, having just eaten dinner. But I'll go back soon and order something hearty - probably my favorites, the BBQ Chicken. Or I wonder if I could convince Trevor to learn to make CiCi's famous BBQ pizza???

My friend Tuttle told me there was a free pre-season baseball game on Saturday. It was a last minute decision, but I decided to go join him and his friend Nick. This was only my second time to see the Heroes at the Mokdong stadium. And it was quite a let-down. Not the team, although losing 10-1 might be considered a let-down unless you follow the team closely. But I mean the stadium itself. First of all, looks like they had been changing all the stadium seats. One might thing that was a good thing, and it was, to a point. The seats were comfortable, wider, and in great condition - in the completed sections of the stadium, that is! Only about 30% of the seats had been installed. The remaining 70% of the "seating" was bare concrete, closed off with ropes and closely monitored by well trained and uniformed seating police.

Furthermore, the sections between first base, home place, and third base were among the sections roped off. So everyone had to sit way out along the outfield (well after we were seated, we noticed they had suddenly opened those sections - not sure if people were sitting on concrete or what...)

The other complaints include no food or drinks being sold in the stadium, either from people walking around nor any of the 650 shops lining the stadium. Obviously we missed the memo on that one. Fortunately, we contacted Nick who was en-route, and he managed to scrounge us three kimbaps, some beef jerky, dried squid, and beers on the way. It was an interesting lunch. Despite all this lack of food, it was amazing to see nearby Koreans feasting on huge meals of hamburgers, pizzas, fried chicken, and of course Ramyen noodles. I have no idea where all this food was coming from, but they must have brought it in from well outside the immediate neighborhood.

Just an observation, when I was a kid, I rememeber my Grandparents had a number of thin cushions for using at the ball park. I remember them having the name of a gas station, so I'm assuming they were given out with a fill-up. Here's one I could find online, for the Arkansas Razorbacks:

What surprises me is that I didn't see anything similar here at the Korean ballpark. It isn't because they don't want to carry stuff to the game - witness the plentiful food, and one fellow seated in front of us even brought a Hello Kitty scooter with him! It isn't like these cushions are unknown to Koreans - almost every home and restaurant have them, for sitting on the floor (bang-seok, or 방석). Maybe there's a business opportunity there for the enterprising cushion salesman...

On the positive side, it was a beautiful day and the weather couldn't have been nicer. (I'm using my Blogger Writer's License to ignore the yellow dust level, which rose from Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups, to just plain Unhealthy, to Very Unhealthy and Hazardous during the course of the game).

The restrooms were among the cleanest I've seen in a baseball stadium, or indeed in Korea. I'm guessing they were recently renovated as well, along with the new stadium seating. Fortunately all the plumbing fixtures had been installed, except for the hot water heater. There was even soap!

As for the game, not being a huge sports fan, I can't comment well. I think Tuttle summed it up well when he said "the Heroes "magic" is still with us this season".

Finally, Nick reports that a new stadium (with a full dome) will be opening soon neraby in Guro. I can't find the opening date online, but I see reports from the project's onset which said it would be open in time for the 2011 season. I was told Saturday that the season opens April 2nd, so if it's not finished now, looks like it maybe the 2012 season! That will make two ballparks nearby, Mokdong and Guro.

1 comment:

Tuttle said...

In addition to restaurant style cushions, I've seen many Koreans with foam egg-carton tri-fold cushions for picnicing. I've been to the free concerts at Seoul Plaza a couple of times and they always hand those out for sitting on the grass.

I guess they feel that a seat outdoors doesn't warrant cushioning, it's already a seat.