Good evening! It is that time again: time to write my blog.
It has been a good day, although it started out a bit roughly. I woke up feeling crummy because of a later than usual sleep that was disrupted by smoke fumes filtering into my apartment from below. I guess the neighbors burned something on the stove. I had to turn on the hood and bathroom fans, and open the window for a while until I could sleep again.
My eyes got dry and uncomfortable during the night and were a bit sensitive and red-rimmed this morning. The smoke is probably not the only cause, though, as there are some reports of the seasonal plague of yellow dust from China combined with the usual spring allergens.
Anyway, I felt a bit down this morning. I procrastinated about going out to get things done, but rather than face another day in the “box” at the computer, I decided it best to get going to do some errands.
Before I left, I knocked at B’s door to give return her plate. She did show up after nine o’clock last night and invited me in to share a birthday cake, explaining that people from her Turkish language department invited her out to dinner at the last moment and brought a sumptuous mocha cake. B said that they don’t practice lighting and blowing out candles on birthday cakes in her homeland, so it tickled her to do it then. We drank wine in her interesting mushroom shaped, lavender tinted goblets and had a nice talk. She insisted I take two more pieces of the cake back to my room, which I felt necessary to gobble up immediately upon re-entering my place.
B got a pretty good birthday present today as some kind of intellectual or official from her home country visited our campus today and she was one of the hosts. I would have gone to there to hear the lecture about her country if they were speaking English, but they were only using Russian and Korean.
Hopeful that I would find a bank branch open, I went to my old haunting grounds where one branch of my bank used to be open on Saturdays, toting all the necessary documentation. There is a bus that goes from here through the heart of the city to that area, so I took it from a bus stop a block from my building. I was uncomfortable on the bus and not optimistic. Indeed, I found the bank and others in its vicinity closed. I experimented with doing a wire transfer using one of the fancy-dancy international machines, and it worked except that it only sends money to my home bank in Canada. (Now I get it.)
I did get something else done, however. I found a very stylish and professional eye care store and went to see if someone would pin my sun glass ear stem back on. I very kind and polished gentlemen did it for me free of charge. I would have bought a new case for my reading glasses had he any to offer, but he did not.
Near that bank is a popular and well accredited restaurant that serves Japanese style dishes at good prices so I went there for lunch and had seafood udon. It was wonderful and made me feel better.
I was so close to the seaside that I went down to the beach to take in the sights and smells under a bright sun for a few minutes. It helped to relax me and make me feel brighter.
What I really had wanted to do was have a swim. I have been longing to get back into swimming for a few weeks. On that same bus route is a major sports complex with an Olympic sized swimming pool. There are four pools, actually, that are leftovers of some past international event: the main deep pool with several lanes, a diving pool, a children’s pool, and a large shallow pool for swimming lengths when water sports are not going on. (I guess it would have been the water polo pool, originally.) However, the complex lacks a sauna and hot tub, unfortunately.
I splurged on buying new swim goggles. (Having lost a pair before was one reason I fell out of the habit of swimming couple of winters ago. Also, I have found it hard to find suitable swimwear, and what I ended up purchasing is a bit on the large size.) I was wondering how it would feel to swim again after such a long relapse, but it was okay. I still took it easy and swam about half my usual workout, only about 400 meters. Thankfully, it was not very crowded. Pools generally are not, as few people swim well in Korea. Actually, water exercise programs and swimming lessons were going on, taking up a few lanes.
Figuring that most places provide towels, I did not bring one and had nothing to dry myself with after the swim, so I stood by the oscillating cooling fans in the change room trying to get dry without catching a cold until a kind and very pregnant person noticed my predicament and offered me a towel, for which I was quite grateful.
Beside that sports complex is one of the largest department stores of the city, and one of the companies where I prefer to shop especially for my supply of cereal and coffee, as well as bargains and variety with regards to produce and meat or fish. Coming out of the food floor, I happened upon a sale of spring hiking clothes and tried on a pair of lightweight pants. They fit! I have been wanting to replace the pants that I use hiking during the warmer seasons as they are a bit tight, short and shoddy looking.
The exercise and brief escapade to the seaside certainly improved my mood. I found Sunday afternoon at the packed department store much more tolerable than usual, and the remainder of the journey home on public transit felt more comfortable than the outbound ride.