Friday, December 26, 2014

Old Gods, New Gods

The next day Quartermain and Ladybug were slated to visit. I spent way too much time doing sweet fuck all until my lady love returned from work. My Inanna bag had finally given up the goddess and died, so we decided to spend the time waiting replacement bag shopping. Originally we considered heading out to Insadong for this, but eventually decided the best place to hit would be Itaewon. As my last trip to the Won had been during full dark, I felt it would be nice to have at least one trip there during the day.

A taxi was hailed on the rainy Korean morning and we moved about as swiftly as be expected across most of the Seoul. As we approached Itaewon I suggested coffee and hit one of my favorite working coffee shops down the strip towards Sujis. We walked with our coffee in the rain, skipping into some of the shops that make up the mall to warm up, where a nice pair of shoes were acquired. From there we managed to land without too much ado on bag street, where one happy bag seller was happy to wave us in.

“All right, yes, first customers, okay. What do you need?”

I explained I was looking for a carryon, and I really wanted to get an Inanna if he had one, but sadly all the Inannas he did have were hardshell carryons and that just doesn’t work as well for domestic American flights. I’ve watched people fight with it too often, so I abanadoned my desire and started looking for something that seemed like it would be an adequate bag that would last me as long as my Inanna bag had lasted me. That Inanna bag had been around the world at least six times, had been to Europe, as well as all parts of Asia, and Latin America, not to mention the States over and over again. In its 8 years of life it had seen things no bag should ever have to see, but it had done so with cheer. However, on the last flight we had taken the zipper fob, which I had already replaced once, got entirely smashed off in a way that couldn’t be fixed because there simply wasn’t a place to put a replacement zipper tab. I’d would have tried getting the second zipper going, but sadly that zipper was rusted or welded in position making it impossible.

My bag was dead.

After about ten minutes of browsing I finally settled on a bag that not only looked rather durable, but also had was appeared to be the etching of a butterfly on it.

“It is butterfly like. And Pele is a goddess.”

There was that.

And so my bag was replaced. Now the tricky part. To haggle when I didn’t have cash for the bag. Cash had been at a premium since my bank was decided that Korea couldn’t be trusted, and I knew that not having cashy money was going to make a haggle difficult but I still wanted a deal. Even with my cash problem the ajoshi was relatively polite about it.


“No 75.”


Pulling out my card.

“Oh, card. No, then 85.”

“Come on.”

“No, you know, first customer. If you use the card, 85.”

“First customer. Last customer.”

He smiled at me.

“Okay, okay… okay sure.” He smiled again.

“Iiiiigo, first customer, last customer…jinja.” He muttered as he swiped my card but he did give me a deal. Bag won, we hit the foreigner mart for some last-minute Thanksgiving knicknacks for the young generation coming that evening, and from there hit the High street where a bottle of wine and some birthday cake later we were feeling generally better about life the universe and everything.

Our taxi ride home was smooth and surprisingly fast considering weather and traffic, and we relaxed while waiting for everyone else to get there for the second to last party I would have before leaving the country.

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