Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I've taken some time off from the blog mines. My weekends (the usual blogging time) were eaten in pursuit of my scuba diving certification. One weekend was spent in a very cold pool in Suwon, the old capital of Korea, and the other weekend was spent in a very cold Korean sea. Some people come here thinking Korea is comparable to Thailand and end up very surprised when instead of spicy, Thai chicken and palm trees, they instead get kimchi and dried cabagge fields (at least in the winter). We've taken it one step further at Avalon school. We know Korea is not Thailand, but we're going to pretend like it is. We will scuba dive and we will enjoy it!

Actually last weekend was an adventure. We planned to leave Friday night, and after a very chaotic and hectic taxi ride, we barely made it to the bus station in time... in time to find out that all the seats were sold out on the buss. One stranded, and extremely nice lady going to Sokcho bargained a four hour cab ride that cost thirty bucks each. Not bad, except four of us were crammed in the back of a cab for four hours. It was a community bonding experience.

On Saturday we got our first taste of the sea and it was nasty. The sea was angry that day my friends! It actually was, very rough and very unforgiving. Once all of us were in, it was like a waygook washing machine set on high agitation with cold water. I bumped into rocks, scuba instructors, and other scuba students. I would have felt bad and apologized (to instructors and students, not rocks) but I hoped that the friction from bouncing into things might warm me up.

When one attempts to earn scuba certification there are certain tasks that one has to perform: clear the mask of water, retrieve a lost regulator, try not to freak out. These can be difficult tasks in a pool, but when you're getting jostled to and fro, they can be down right impossible. When you're freezing and jostled, forget about it.

We canned the rest of the dives that day in hopes that the weather would be more forgiving the next day. We took our written tests at the hotel, ordered pizza, and then performed additional scuba tasks; namely clearing our masks and snorkels of beer. Scuba Instructor Nick swore that this was part of training and that we will get super scuba merit badges for successfully performing these tasks. We all drank out of my mask and my snorkel which explained the funny, bar-like scent I kept smelling while diving the next day.

So the next day it rained; however, we found a nicer and cuddlier dive spot. We still froze our asses off, but we managed to pull out all the tasks, and, more importantly, no one drowned; which I've learned is a pretty important thing in scuba diving. That's kind of like the king of the scuba tasks: Do Not Drown.

Would I repeat my experience this last weekend? Probably not. Would I trade it for anything? Not a thing. It's strange how I can put myself in a compromising situation and hate it and love it at the same time. Comparable to dating.

So now I am Nathan: novice scuba diver, teacher of small Koreans, and the terror of the Asian bike path. I wonder what other titles I'll accumulate. I'm sure the people who know me well can think up a few less-than-spectacular ones.


theorris said...

Ah the Life Aquatic!

sis said...

what were you thinking?? Can't scuba certification wait until it is warmer?? So funny! Remember, you are considered a leader there since you are older. The young ones look up to you, oh wise one.