Thursday, May 9, 2013

Everyone Has Their Tics

It's not a tic, I promise.

Every time I get on the bus to leave the island, I only sit on the driver's side. Bus 508 (Mondays for tutoring, Wednesdays for Bible study), Bus 7 or 71 (Tuesdays for prayer meeting, Friday for a writing date in the book ally) and even Bus 70 (my mortal enemy): I sit on the driver's side on the way out. On the way back it's the opposite. At Busan Station or the Yeongdo bridge - I only scan the seats on the passenger side, even when it's dark outside, even when it means sitting next to an ahjusshi whose body emanates with kimchi-stink or a woman with a surly slouch taking up more than her share of the seat.

Down the mountain, off the island: driver's side.
Up the mountain, back on the island: passenger's side.

It's not a tic, it's the coast.

Busan is not a beautiful city. Most of my visitors have commented on that. It's colorful (in more ways than one), but it's buildings are not old and its streets are not clean. In gray weather the city embodies grayness.  In the sun it manages a dull smile, but not much more.

Yeongdo, though, is different.

Yeongdo is more colorful than the rest of Busan combined. It baffles the local taxi drivers with its twists and turns. Its ahjummas are louder; its restaurants are smaller, cheaper, and dirtier. Its cockroaches are probably bigger. The literal color of the buildings--odd green and blue roofs, the yellows of signs and the pale oranges of walls--is matched only by their precarious perch hanging off the mountain over the ocean.

The ocean, though, is the best part.

Every day it's different. Today it's an emerald blue. Really. At dusk it's almost pulsing with this blue light foggy and gleaming at the same time. On stormy days the waves add little white caps, little harrumphs of discontent. At night it's an obsidian snake, undulating so smoothly with endless muscle and bright gold where the ship lights illuminate themselves, sentinels over stillness. In the morning it sparkles golden pink or sullen gloom or clouds heavy with righteous anger. It's different every day and I love that I have front-row seats.

Down the mountain, off the island: driver's side.
Up the mountain, back on the island: passenger's side.
Because that's where the coast is.

*Apologies for the substandard posting recently. This semester has been . . . full of things that don't make for good blogposts. I hope to be more posty in the upcoming months.

1 comment:

  1. Before you could explain, I knew exactly what you were talking about. I did the same. Watching the ocean, either from the bus window or from the top of the mountain, was one of my favorite things about your place.