Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tapa De Botella, or 뚜껑

Bottle caps. When I was 12 years old, my Mother took me on a trip to San Francisco for a conference, returning via Mexico City. Her story was that this was the last year I could fly on a discount children's air fare (do they even have those anymore?) When I was 12, I also had started a bottle cap collection in the basement. I gathered bottle caps from wherever I could find them, and stored them in this big cardboard cheese "box". Actually it was a huge circular box, and really sturdy - the cheese it once contained would have fed several families for a year. Naturally, I was excited for the opportunity to collect bottle caps from Mexico (or rather, "tapa de botella", as I called them, correctly or not). I particularly remember leaving Mexico, passing through the metal detector at the airport and setting off the alarms. The guard asked me if I had any metal on me, and I sheepishly emptied my pockets, which held about 1 liter of bottle caps each (it was a large, winter coat). I think that was a first for the security guards. They got a big laugh out of it, and let me through with my stash (today, bottle caps might be considered a concealed weapon).

Fast forward to last night, when I met up with my friends Tuttle and Gargamel for dinner. We began eatcing some delicious lamb meat skewers, where we set next to the manager at the Coca Cola office, who has been working there since it's beginning in Korea. Tuttle and I couldn't pass on this opportunity to complain about the scarcity of Diet Coke here in Korea, and the nastiness of the more common Coke Zero. We'll see if our complaints amount to action, but I won't be holding my breath.

After dinner, we visited a new HOF called "The Beer Bottle Cap". This place is really unusual for Korea, and was great. The decor is simple, wooden tables and benches. One wall is lined with coolers of beer, sorted by price, and from every country in the world. A few simple snacks are available (we had a bowl of Cheese Balls), but most guests order food from outside restaurants by delivery! As Gargamel pointed out, it's a much different business model than the typical places, and it seems to be working very well, judging by the crowd.

I've since lost the bottle cap collection passion that I had as a young boy. And The Stumbling Brother disposed of my cheese box of bottle caps many years ago when cleaning up the basement. But after last night, I may need to return to my old hobby. But first, I need to buy and eat 100 pounds of cheese...

No comments: