What be yer favorite ports o’ call? Where would ye want to hoist a mug’o’rum, were ye given a large pile ‘o’ booty to finance yer stay?
I may not be an official Friday Five member, but sometimes the questions are interesting. I’m going to be more specific than some of the other people who posted about this. I’m going to talk about establishments…
1. Coffee Beans, a little coffee shop in Iksan, South Korea. It’s the best coffee shop in town. Now, wait, which one am I talking about? There are two, an old one where I have lots of good and bad memories (but so many good that they few very bad ones are far outweighed)… pretty waitresses, classy music, nice interior, and cute clients (so many cute girls). The new one, down in Young Deung Dong, is fancier, but the old one was my stomping ground for most of the year-and-two-thirds that I lived in Iksan. I was just there tonight. In fact, the fame of Coffee Beans extends to before I arrived in Korea: one of my friends who’d worked in Iksan wrote me about the place, the peace and tranquility of it, and the first time I sat there alone I knew this was the place she’d written to me about a year before, even though it’d changed names since. I fell in love there, had my heart broken there (once), learned a lot, and found a lot of contentment… as well as having written most of my novel-in-progress there.
2. The Genesis family restaurant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. simply because it’s the place my family started to go for dinners after I moved out. I have many memories of meeting my folks there and having a good meal and talking and just hanging out.
3. The Word bookshop in Montreal. It advertises itself as a Academic Used Bookshop but really it’s just the finest used bookstore in Montreal, and the best one I’ve ever frequented. I love that place. It was like a candy store, but one that never hurt my teeth and always was good for my brain (though not my pocketbook).
4. McGibbin’s Pub, also in Montreal. This is purely on sentimental grounds. It was the place where I think I can say I saw the beginning of some of my most important friendships in Montreal. (Except Helen and Medrie, for we always met in Second Cup instead.) This was one place where I got close to Jack, where Jessie invited me along to her party on our mutual birthday, where I had some of my best talks with Josee, where many people heard me read my poems for the first time (and turned my ee cummings tribute into a local classic), and where I finally got the feel for what it meant to be in grad school, after I escaped the nights hanging out unhappily with negative poseurs and rejectionists.
5. Yeobogae Chingu, a little beautiful tea shop in Iksan. There are some photos of the place in my static photo galleries. It’s a beautiful traditional tea shop with a wonderful owner whose granddaughter decided one day to teach me the words for the different colors in Korean. She did so by fetching her colored markers and writing into my notebook the name of each color in Hangeul, in the corresponding color. Wonderful kid. I used to sit on the floor there at the traditional floor-tables and drink tea and study Korean until late in the night. The best tea is the monk’s tea, which is contains alcohol (forbidden to monks, except when of course it is euphemistically called “special tea”).
According to Adam, the other “bilge-rats participatin’ in this endeavor be: Captain William Bonney, Dirty Davy Kidd, Iron Charity Bonney, Colleen, Chris, Craig, Cap’n Bess Read and Dirty Anne Flint.” Check them out.