Friday, December 15, 2006

Bit of an oops moment

So, as I mentioned in my last post, last night I was going to take my brother and others out for Korean BBQ. It's a little ironic how excited I was, considering I just fled Korea like I was on the lamb. Still, I do love me some galbi, not to mention kimchi chigae, both of which were available at the restaurant I picked. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to sharing that part of my Korean experience with some of my loved ones.

When taken in that light, the way the evening unfolded was especially tragic.

The day got off to a rocky start, so I should have known the gods were against me. My Uncle Max and Aunt Sets picked me up around 2 so that I could get out of the house for once and pay a visit to this super-cool travel bookstore. My brother had discussed the location of the bookstore with Max, so I assumed that my brain could just check out on the whole process. Right before we left, I had a brief moment of, "Hmmm...maybe I should write the address down..." which I quickly ignored in our haste to leave. Mistake.

We drove to the intersection that Stephan had told Max was nearest to the bookstore. It was the correct intersection, but we weren't sure which way to go to find the bookstore since it wasn't just right there. Well, we went in every direction but the right one, unfortunately. So, for the time being, we decided to just carry on to the travel agent's office that Max and Sets needed to visit for their upcoming trip to China.

This travel agent has an office on one of the busiest streets I've seen since I got here. Needless to say, no parking. Plus it was pissing down rain, which does nothing to improve one's mood even when not desperately searching for a parking spot in heavy traffic. Eventually, Uncle Max vetoed the whole idea and decided that we'd have another search for the travel bookshop.

Once we were back in the right area, we parked near the intersection and went to look in a phone book at a nearby motel. Lo and behold, we had just not driven up the street far enough. OK, problem solved, so we skipped off to the bookstore. It was pretty neat, although not as big as I had imagined. I got a couple books on Turkey, foregoing a cool book I had seen on their website ("Vroom with a View" a story of driving a '61 Vespa through Italy--how cool!) in the spirit of financial moderation.

After spending close to an hour there, it was time to either feed the meter or find another place to kill time until our 7pm dinner reservation. The crappy weather, and my never-ending headcold, prompted me to suggest that I'd like an Irish Coffee. Unbeknowst to me, Irish Coffee was actually invented in San Francisco. So, fast as sin, we were on our way to try the original at The Buena Vista.

Located near Fisherman's Wharf, this place was too too adorable. Quite cozy and inviting, I must say. Through the windows, we could see tables of businessmen and women enjoying a post-work drink, the ring of camraderie in the air. Not to mention the twinkling white Christmas lights doing their bit to set the scene.

The Irish Coffee turned out to be a whole lot of Irish and not much Coffee, which was just fine by me. But, even though we had ordered potato skins to kill some time and a bit of our appetites, we couldn't sit there forever. So, back into the van for the drive over to the restaurant, an hour ahead of time. Figured we'd get some drinks and just hang out in the restaurant until our reservation time came up. Ha.

We were driving down the street, looking for the sign for Brother's Korean BBQ... Finally, we spotted it, and--lucky us--there was a parking spot right in front. We got out of the car, practically singing at our good fortune, only to find that the place was locked up tight and black as midnight. Chain on the front door. But no note indicating why they would have taken my reservation that morning, only to be shut down that night. Did the health inspector get them in the interim? Was there a death in the family? Peering through the windows didn't help, because everything looked alright inside, not torn up or anything. Menu in the window, hours sign posted up. Baffling. And goddamn fucking horrible. I was SO mad, I cannot even tell you. I wanted to throw a brick through the window, with a note saying "Thanks for nothing." Grrrr...

But, we still had to wait for Stephan and Julie to get there so that we could decide what to do next. (Max and Sets didn't have a cell phone, and pay phones are non-existant here, so we no choice but to wait.) Sets had noticed an Irish pub just before we came to the restaurant, so we headed back there. Wow, what a nice place. Totally mellow, great imports on tap, Irish music playing in the background, old wooden furniture. It was a place I would definitely visit with my friends on a regular basis.

Eventually it was 7, so we returned to the vacant restaurant to wait for Stephan and Julie, but they never came. We waited like 15 minutes and then decided to eat at the Vietnamese place right next door, where we could see them walk by. But they never came. I was getting seriously worried by the time we were done at 8.

Driving down the street after dinner, Sets spotted a Korean BBQ place across the road, and we decided to check it out in case they had gone there by mistake. Nope. I thought I had seen a sign for Korean BBQ too, so we turned around and checked that one out. Goddamnit. There it was. Not two blocks from where we had been waiting was the NEW Brother's Korean Restaurant. Oh, I wanted to set the place on FIRE, let me tell you. And, of course, there were poor Stephan and Julie, who, like us, had been waiting all night, worrying about where the hell we were. Unlike us, though, they didn't eat anything, which made me feel double bad. What a fuck up from start to finish. I would like to say, however, that it would not hurt for the Brother's people to put a note on their old door to direct people to the new restaurant. How could one guess that there would be another one just down the block???

Today has been much less of a fuck up. I actually got some errands accomplished, and Stephan and I enjoyed some Vietnamese food *together*. We did cut it close on the time, though, so I'm sitting here typing this in the library of his college while he's in class. Not so bad. It reminds me of my own time at university. :-) At least *I'm* not the one with all the papers due (or past-due, as my own college experience went). That's at least one good point about being almost 30!!

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