Random stories, before discussing Mamma Mia. While driving to Costco, our bus driver got tired of the traffic and literally drove straight over the orange construction cones, you know those thin ones that are about 4 feet tall? It was a little surprising. Also, I went to Costco to buy actual food and ended up coming home with a blanket, Cheerios and chicken. The blanket is amazingly soft though, so it was totally worth it.
Also, I witnessed a fire in Hongdae while waiting for the bus home. Actually, it's possible it was an arson, since there was no fire then suddenly an entire construction wall next to the subway exit was engulfed in flames.
Then, literally two minutes later, I saw a guy while looking out the bus window completely asleep in his car long after the light turned green.
Ben and I went to see Contagion. It was at a theater I hadn't entered since my first month here and I was quite positive it was on the other side of the street. And he's new and didn't know. It ended up being in a building that I insisted did not have a theater. Oops.
I went shopping and got some nice fall clothes.
Anyway, two Saturdays ago, Elaine and I went to see Mamma Mia. Before we went, I taught my class as usual. Then, I went to get a haircut. I was a little concerned about communicating what I wanted, since before I had had my friends to translate for me. Luckily, my hairdresser here speaks English pretty well, so it turned not to be a problem. However, it does take a great act of faith to get your haircut when there is a language barrier. Luckily, it has turned out well so far!
I then headed to the station where I was meeting Elaine. She was a tad late, but it was fine because there was an orchestra playing Abba songs just outside the station exit. I took a video, but unfortunately accidentally deleted the video. I listened to them, while also marveling at the number of people coming down the extremely small escalator.
Which of course Elaine and I rode because it was so small that we had to experience it in person.
We went to pick up the tickets, then we went to dinner. We ate and chatted, since it had been a while since we saw each other. We looked at some of the cool buildings outside the theater and also the cool building that was the theater.
This building was the theater where the play was being shown.
We took pictures of the lights. And Angelina Jolie's look-alike who is really enjoying her coffee.
We stopped by the bathroom, which had an amazingly rare element: Soap.
Which also happened to be on a stick. I shall take this time to explain the lack of soap and paper towels or hand dryers in bathrooms in Korea. It has gotten to the point that if you see soap in a bathroom, you are pleasantly surprised. I carry handsantizer wherever I go of course. My favorite is when the toilet paper rolls are on the wall and you have to grab the toilet paper before going into the stall. Or when the toilet paper is on the wall in the middle of the restaurant. I am not joking.
After using the soap, we headed and found our seats, which were in the very back row, but it was ok because our view was perfect. While waiting for Mamma Mia to begin, there was a woman who was walking around trying to stop people from taking pictures. We noticed her talking to a couple who had their camera out. Then, we glanced around and I would say about 90% of the people there had their cameras/phones/ipads out taking pictures. The woman seemed resigned to people taking pictures, so of course I covertly took a picture of the stage.
That curtain had some trippy lights going on...it looked like the ocean and was kind of disconcerting.
When we booked the tickets, we assumed the play was in English with Korean subtitles (as they do have sometimes), due to all the posters looking like this:
When we arrived, the posters looked like this:
Why yes, I did watch Mamma Mia entirely in Korean.
Luckily it was a story I know very well and they were singing songs I also know very well, so there was only one 5 minutes section where I was confused.
They used the main phrases of each song, such as Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, I do I do I do I d, Honey Honey, Money Money Money, but then directly translated everything else. Somehow, it actually worked really well and they sounded like songs written for Korean.
Here is Dancing Queen in Korean. Same cast as I saw actually. Also, Chiquitita.
As it was 2 weeks ago and my Korean was much worse than it is now (ha) I could not understand very much. I was able to understand certain words, such as "friend," "She is 21 years old," "We are meeting our friend" but that was it. So, naturally, my brain chose to understand the words as they sounded in English. This is what I heard:
Mamma Mia, does she have a gun.
And at one point during "The Winner Takes it All" they said "Hamburger."
Obviously not, but I found those translations rather entertaining.
I was only confused during a very strange dream sequence where the entire cast comes out in bright orange and yellow scuba suits and sings a song that I had never heard before. It was called "Under Attack."
Elaine and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the theater. Even though we couldn't understand the play, they used very physical humor so it ended up being quite hilarious. And since I know the story so well, minus random dream sequence, I understood exactly what was going on. The woman who played Sophie's mother was absolutely incredible. She is the same one in the video, so if you can find her singing "Winner Takes it All" you can hear. Her name is Choi Jeong Won or 최정원 Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, they kept the English names while still speaking in Korean. It was interesting to see the men introduce themselves as"Harry Bright" or "Sam Carmichael" while speaking in Korean.
Afterwards, we took pictures with the poster cut out and I bought the Korean soundtrack, which I still cannot understand but I am hoping will magically infuse Korean into my head. All it's accomplished so far is me getting Korean Abba songs stuck in my head, but I still don't know what I'm singing.
We took pictures of the theater from the outside, which looked awesome:
hung out at a cafe for a bit and headed home. As we were waiting for the subway, a man comes up to Elaine and I and says, "blah blah blah blah" which turned out to be "You where nationality?" Then we answered "America" and he said "During Korean War, America come. Three Eight One One One America die. Thank you America" and walked off. I was actually rather surprised. It was a nice change from the leering and the staring. Not that I had anything to do with America during the Korean War.
And my post shall end here. Next up, I will write some students stories, I'll write about the international Art Festival from the day after Mamma Mia and my first trip out of Seoul!