Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fermentation Adventure, Day 2 Part 1: Saturday, June 18th

I don't know where the time goes...well, I do know that I struggle with writing sometimes, but I also have been quite busy lately. M. moved back to the U.S. last week and I started teaching an intensive class this week, so between work and life stuff I haven't had time to write...anyway so here's the first part of the second installment of my vendor story; I figured it would be better to just write something than nothing at all...

Saturday's breakfast
Saturday dawned with sunlight streaming in, lighting up the sticky floor in the living room next to where I was crashing. G. woke me up and started making strong coffee his way with instant grounds and milk - (I ended up having 2 or 3 cups that morning). We got going on our respective tasks, me peeling a small mountain of potatoes and him starting to bottle sauces until we realized about halfway into it that he'd mis-set his alarm and we had actually gotten up at 6, two hours before we were supposed to. This proved to be a good thing though because we ended up working up to the minute until 10:30 prepping and packing stuff - I boiled a bunch of quartered potatoes, let them cool and then weighed and packed them into plastic sacks. We loaded up our two ajumma carts with ingredients and cooking supplies - it took a bit of time to get everything strapped down and secured - and set off for the subway.

Fueled by a few cold croquettes eaten with yoghurt cheese, stopping periodically to re-secure the carts, stacked high with old water bottles filled with G's sodas at various points of gassiness, we made it to the subway. The soda bottles, as it turns out, required a bit of minding along the way. They started to bloat up and he told me before we got on the subway that we would need to release the pressure periodically - to prevent the possibility of a big explosion. I just sort of nodded and didn't think about it until we were sitting across from the subway, kind of chatting on and off, and he kind of reached down all of a sudden and twisted the cap and there was this big "pop!" that intruded into the subway car - and I was expecting some kind of chaos but the biggest reaction he got was the ajosshi next to him kind of curiously turning his head and then going back to his dozing. There's no way that would have flown in the States...afterwards, I told G. that he was really lucky we were doing this in Korea - they probably just passed us off as weird foreigners.

Things were going pretty well until we had to transfer lines. We were in a bit of a rush so didn't have time to find the elevator and had to navigate the escalators with our laden carts. The first time, going up, was easy - I just pulled it snug against the stair immediately behind me. It was going down that proved to be the problem. Things were going fine until about halfway down when I started to feel the wok pan handle catch on something and after that it was only a matter of seconds before there was chaos - the cart twisted out of my grasp, bottles started falling off, I lost my balance and went tumbling down the rest of the escalator to the shouts of the ajosshis and ajummas behind me - who were surprisingly civil about it - they just kind of hurried me and my stuff off the escalator to the right and then continued on their way. No one checked on me to see if I was alright but no one cursed me either - a mini miracle. I got away with a few scrapes and bruises on my legs and a tear in my skirt that I only discovered later. The stuff, surprisingly, was unharmed. It could have been much worse, but after that I told G., "no more elevators."

The rest of Day 2 soon I hope...

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