The main reason this province was part of our itinerary is because it was Candie’s hometown for a year as a cultural exchange student. It was supposed to be a stop over to visit Hannam University and her old professor for according to her, there were absolutely nothing of interest in this province. It’s just a modern city with lot of people living in it, hence, the numerous buses between Seoul and Daejeon. The bus costs W8700 and takes 2 hours. Because we were slow pokes, it wasn’t until noon time that we left for Daejeon.
We arrived at the university around 4 pm. Candie gave us a tour of the campus showing us all the nooks and reminiscing her time there. She also pointed out the Little World logo she made for the international students’ lounge and finally introduced us to her teacher friend, Mr. Hwang. We arranged to meet at 6 p.m. to have dinner together.
What we thought would be a simple dinner turned out to be a major reception of 12 people (including us). It was hosted by the Career Service team chief, the boss of Mr. Hwang, and invited along the International Relations department of 7 people, including the coordinators for Japanese, Chinese, and English studies and their director. It was an extremely extravagant (really!) dinner with fine food and bottomless soju and beer. I guess they were so happy to have an alumni come visit or an excuse to merry make. We had an octopus sashimi where the tentacles were still wiggling and when you try to pick them with chopsticks, stuck itself to the plate refusing to be taken (I saw this in Antony Burdain’s No Reservation). We also had live octopus soup where you throw in a live octopus into a boiling broth, cutting the tentacles with scissors before. They really don’t taste like anything. It is obviously the novelty of eating them alive.
The young staff were really friendly and we had a very pleasant time chatting with them. It was a dinner filled with good food, beers, and cheers. Seeing how impressed we were with dinner, the peppy chief of international exchange studies who refused to be overshadowed, decided to treat the whole group to nore bang! Back to back night for us. They were all so game that so as not to draw attention to myself, I belted them out like the rest of them, “I say nobody, nobody but you!” clap, clap, clap.
It was a Monday night. We were told that we had just witnessed a typical salaried man’s after work program.