Sunday, August 2, 2009


My passport has been stamped again. My body is sweating. I just ate some strange yet very tasty street food that was a combination of fried bread, egg, lettuce and spicy red sauce. I'm sat in a dank internet cafe surrounded by young men wearing no shirts playing computer games and chain smoking. I have an overnight train ticket with no seat reservation. I can only be in China.

I finished last week in Japan. I wanted to see the Japan All Star Baseball Game in the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima (who wouldn't?) but the tickets were sold out and so i got a train to Fukuoka instead and stayed in the same little guesthouse that i stayed in the first night i was in the country. The next day i left Japan by high speed ferry promising myself to one day return and see more of it, meet up with Muto and maybe hike somewhere.

I'd only been away from Korea for two months but somehow it seemed longer. Korea felt like an old coat that you've not worn for a while and it was great to meet up with friends, get drunk and eat Korean bbq again. I stayed with my mate Sang Min and his wife Soo Min in their apartment. I wasted a few days whilst waiting for a Chinese visa by doing all sorts of useless stuff. Me and Sang Min went swimming in the sea at the beach with a load of Koreans who either couldn't swim or were swimming in their clothes both of which make no sense at all. We went to a baseball game in a stadium that was only a quarter full and so the best entertainment was when a player hit a foul ball into the stands and we could sit and laugh at a dozen or so people clambering over empty seats to get to the ball first, shoving each other out of the way as if the ball was made of gold or diamonds. I asked Sang Min if he'd ever caught one and he said no, never. Two minutes later the next batsmen skied the ball, it hit the flood light behind us, bounced off an empty seat, bounced off the floor, hit Sang Min on the shoulder and landed in the safe hands of a fat man sat in front of us. So close. Sang Min was not happy. And then his team lost.

I wanted to see some strange museums in Seoul. In Tokyo i managed to find The Tokyo Parasite Musuem where you can gaze at dead parasites in small jars or large cases (one was 8.8m long and was found in a human) and Seoul is home to lots of silly museums and art galleries (i once went to the Seoul Museum of Chicken Art) so i went to the Lock Museum but it was being refurbished and then i found the Robot Museum but it didn't have any robots - just toys that looked like robots. There was also a Kimchi Musuem and a Quilt Museum but i didn't have time to visit these due the amount of alchohol that i was putting into my body. It was a bit of shit search for musuems really. I guess i'm trying to make myself look cultured or intelligent but the truth is all i really did in Seoul was get shitfaced with alarming regularity. Everyday actually. It was great.

Yesterday i got a ticket on a 14 hour overnight ferry from Incheon to Weihai acoss the Yellow Sea (which isn't yellow just in case you were wondering). The ferry was bursting full of people and all the sleeper berths were booked up already so i had to sleep on a matress on the floor of the ferry convention centre sandwhiched neatly between two Chinese guys one of which snored quite loudly and kept reaching out in his sleep and touching my shoulder and then quickly waking up and trying not to look embarrassed. I have no idea why a ferry has convention centre (who the hell would have a convention on a ferry between Korea and China?) but i do know that it looked a little bit like a makeshift refuge you see on news reports after a natural disaster somewhere. This morning we sailed into Weihai and i landed in China ready to travel through it for a third time.

I got a bus to Yantai and then i bought a ticket on an overnight train to Beijing. Unfortunately it seems that there are yet again no sleeper berths or seats left and due to a bit of a communication error i bought a standing room only ticket. The 12 hour train journey starts at 11pm. Should be interesting. China normally is.

If you're really bored and want to see some pictures of Japan then hopefully this link will work

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