Thursday, June 26, 2008

KR Travelogue Day 6d: This Kiss, This Kiss

Right. There’s no turning back now. The first sight that greeted me once inside the Jongmyo Eternal Shrine was a frozen pond. Obviously, it looks amazing from someone like me who has first seen it and what’s more entertaining is that there are birds splish-splashing on it. Cute!! I grabbed a copy of the pamphlets available in the entrance and started reading.

Jongmyo (this according to my cheat sheet alright) is the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon dynasty where the tablets of the kings and queens are enshrined and memorial rites are observed in respect of time old Confucian tradition. Hmm, I know that one of my favorite Korean dramas of all time Princess Hours (Goong) took place in the same dynasty but unfortunately this is not the venue of the shoot. :(

Again, one of my goals here in Korea is to visit those shooting venues of my favorite Korean dramas. According to the staff in Insa Dong Information Center, the Geonghulgyung Palace (venue of the drama) is quite far from where we are and what with my limited time today, I couldn’t make it. Same is true for the famous 63 building – one of the highlights of Korean drama My Girl. :(

It was an early afternoon and we continued on walking through the benign sunshine. The air was so cold it was impossible to take off my knitted gloves only occasionally when I am taking pictures. We first went into this library of the palace and while I was in the process of removing my mittens, Samuel passed infront of me and the holder that I use to hung my camera into my arms went with the gloves. Aaaaack, I dropped the camera. Samuel quickly turned around and believing it was his fault, he apologized.

“No, it’s not your fault. It’s okay.” I felt his hand on my elbow and despite the 1°C cold, my trench coat and the thermal wear within, I felt heat.

My god, if he’s gonna hold me like that again then I’ll be more than glad to drop my camera again and again. Wahaha!!

I inspected the poor thing and the first psychic pain came in when I found it scratched!! Oh. My. Gosh. My pink Kodak V803 that I’m still paying monthly is SCRATCHED!! I turned it on and thank goodness it’s still functioning.

“It’s okay?” He asked.

“Yeah. My bad.” I replied. Of course it couldn’t and wouldn’t hurt to be a fluffy-coy.

“I’m really sorry.” And then he gave me one of those puppy-dog looks that could make any living breathing woman forgive any transgression he might ever decide to commit, including any one of the mortal sins. Haaay.

One of the staffs was insistent on us entering this ritual hall. We gave in and saw inside displays of ritual vessels and incense, some hieroglyphics sort of writing on the walls and infront is a huge Samsung LCD showing a clip of how the rites are performed. Samuel asked me to take a pic of him inside. Golly, I have this odd feeling that I will be entranced for hours, maybe days just watching him flash that enormous toothy smile. :) Ka-gwapo!!


Outside, while putting our shoes on, he found this dirty pair of gloves on the floor and joked that he’s tempted to use it. That’s the only time I noticed that he doesn’t have his gloves on. He left it in the hotel. Oh, poor hombre!! Gosh, I’ll happily volunteer to offer my hand and I promise I’ll keep him warm. Hahaha!!

I finally got him talking - a small success but no time to celebrate. While treading that brick-covered central walkway to the Jeongjeon hall, he discussed about how Spain recently changed their monetary unit. I instantly snapped into my investigative journalist mode, racking my brain for quick questions. Anything – just to get this conversation going. I didn’t mind that Esther was being put out of place; I’m loving the solo attention thank you very much. :P

But as fast as it happened, it was over. When we reached the Hall of Everlasting Peace Yeongnyeongjeon, he once again slid back into his serious mode – observing closely the structures, looking for better angles for his shots, and sincerely reading the short lectures. Mind you, he’s studying them as though there’s going to be an exam later!! Not that I find it negative but I felt quite ashamed of myself – all I ever think about is shopping!! So, I decided to match his curiosity level, skimmed through the pamphlets and hope I will beat him in the exams later. :P

But its’ getting frustrating. I’d rather have dibs on his life than know all of these. Or maybe it will be nice learning all of these while having a nice conversation about them. Upon stepping down from that utterly loooooooooong hall, I saw a bird flying and unconsciously crooned “Skyline Pigeon” and stopped only when I saw Esther turn around and smile at me. I laughed, noticing for a short while that I was desperate to impress this stranger. Samuel auto-timed his camera and took pictures of us with the main hall in the background.


We reached the far end of the palace and made a quick dash for the loo. I was expecting that after this we’d traced back our steps and exit from where we entered. To my chagrin, there’s a special interconnection between this and another palace and Samuel insisted on going. Even without my watch on, I know that the high rise of the sun can only mean it’s already past noon. I was trying to decide whether I was ravenously hungry, utterly frustrated or just plainly exhausted but when I saw that dazzling smile of his, I had no choice but to smile modestly and give in. For crying out loud, how heavily did a girl have to hint around here??? If he wasn’t so damn charming – I repeated this to myself.

For all we know, it’s just a palace of same structures – houses for different members of the palace. I just took pictures and prayed that they will listen to their tummies so that we can eat lunch. At long last, he didn’t ask to gallivant some more. When we saw the entrance of that palace, we all agreed to leave already.

While walking, I noticed (again) that he’s not wearing his eyeglasses on. We had a short chat and I learned that he’s planning to have an eye laser surgery while I told him about persons who’ve successfully done that – my ex being one of them. And I used the exact word – wrong move. Yay!! Afterwards, he and Esther again resumed to their Spanish conversations. L

All of a sudden, I missed Lawrence. He’s the type of person that won’t bore you when you’re together. He’ll keep you entertained on his vast and varied stories on anything. As compared to this guy – this one’s so reserved. But hey he was tall and extremely handsome and sweet and nice and hey, you can’t have everything in life!! I was pretty foolish when it comes to men it goes without saying. I can only rationalize it as hormonal. :P

I studied the situation and I blamed it on the language barrier. Of course I noticed that he’s not that honed in speaking English that’s why he opens up more on Esther. Oh, why didn’t I have a Spanish blood?? Hahaha!! Or maybe it’s the ex thing. I might have given him an impression that I’m still hung up on him. Tsk!! Yeah, maybe that’s it.

It’s about 1 PM when we’re finally ensconced in Pizza Hut. My tongue was so dry it stuck to the roof of my mouth that when I saw my iced tea coming, I immediately sipped on it. Uuuuulk!! It’s the natural tea with ice – I forgot to say lemon iced tea. Yay!! After this, Samuel will visit another place and Esther begged off in my behalf mindful of my flight. She’s a total star!! Samuel and I were seated beside each other and although situations like this can bring me utter bliss – I couldn’t bring myself to knowing that this would be our last moment. I didn’t care that they are still talking in Spanish over the salad and pizza and leaving me with zero understanding of their conversation. I just actually played along by guessing and translating what they said. And most of the time, I was precise!! Although it was quite fun, my heart is still heavy. I don’t want to leave yet. I just want to stay beside him – like this. God, why am I being all of a sudden so dramatic?? When Esther invited me for a retouch in the comfort room, I passed only to savor these few moments of US together. Before we leave, I just had one more seminal thing to do. Took a lungful of air,

“It’s probably the last time I’m gonna see you. Can I have a picture with you?”

Aaaaaaaaack!!! I still can’t believe I said that!! I’m so THICK!! But whatev!! He posed as though he’s a star and is already USED to women asking for photos like this.

A few minutes more and we’re back in the cold outside. He’s headed to the left and we’re going on the other side. I shortly turned around only to spread what was left on my lip gloss before I say my goodbye. That Jonggak street was so noisy with the hustle and bustle of the Korean people in the afternoon. When I faced him he was directly infront of me and was murmuring something, I was stunned and surprised at the same time. I couldn’t make out the words he’s saying.

“……….it was nice to meet you.”

He turned his face forward, kissed me softly on the lips and walked away.

It was one of those deep, longing kisses that stole the breath right out of your body and the sense right out of your brain that left you hanging, hoping and hungering for more.

I was devastated. And his mouth was perfect.

a scene from Princess Hours

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