Sunday, December 31, 2006

In the Dungeon

In the War Memorial Museum, there is a really cool exhibit of what the Koreans call a "turtle ship." Designed and built by Admiral (insert forgotten name here) in the late 16th century, it was used by the Koreans against the Japanese navy during one of their earlier invasions of Korea.

It is unique among ships of that period because the top is completely covered with a thick armored surface to prevent the Japanese from boarding the ship (something they were apparently adept at). The ship also had an unusual box shape that made it possible for sailors to use oars while still behind armor. Only a small opening in the top allowed the sailors to raise the mast.

They had a cool video about the boat playing in Korean. Seeing that there was an English button, I waited patiently to learn more about this very fascinating ship. 3 minutes into the English video, some little kid comes up and presses the Korean button while I'm watching it! I give him and his parents a dirty look, and the child rightly gets scolded by his folks nearby. I look at him and push the button again. About 7 minutes into it the second time, the same little brat comes up and pushes the Korean button again! I contemplated stapling his chubby little cheeks and snot covered nose to the polished granite floor, but thought that maybe it wouldn't be the wisest course of action. So I gave the impudent ilk (and his bonehead parents) another dirty look, and went off to see another exhibit that featured a medieval dungeon and torture devices.

I returned to finish watching the video later, when the coast was clear. I pushed the English button again, this time excited to learn about the brilliant Korean naval leaders from the days of old. This time, 15 minutes into the video, this same little rugrat shows up again and presses the Korean button for the third time! Now normally, I'm one who is willing to let things go especially when I'm in a new country and culture. But this kid already had a chance to watch the movie! I wasn't happy about having my time wasted by an impudent 6 year old! Other tourists weren't around, and his parents were nowhere in sight either (go figure), so I took matters into my own hands!

I picked him up by the shoulders and started carrying him back into the dungeon exhibit I had just come from! He started screaming something in Korean and crying, so I wrestled him to the grownd, put my hand over his chocolate ice cream covered mouth, and picked him up around the waste, careful not to let him make any noise. Fortunately, somebody had left a sweater on a nearby bench to tie around his face. And there was a scarf I could use to keep his hands tied up too. I pinned him again on a table to secure his hands and stuff the sweater in his mouth.

I also happened to remember I had left a magic marker from school in my bag! So I took the magic marker and gave him a lovely beard, unibrow, third eyeball on his forehead, and a "scratch and sniff here" on his stomach in Japanese.

Climbing up onto the exhibit, I dragged him right up to a cage the king used to hold suspected assasins. And what tremendous luck: the padlock used to secure the cage in an open position was itself unsecured! I threw him into the cage (big enough for 1 person) and shut the door.
After sealing the padlock on it (this time in the closed position) I ran as fast as I could. 30 seconds later, I heard the same kid squealing in the cage as his high pitched voice reverberated in the granite halls and spacious ceilings.

Leaving as promptly as I could, I didn't get to finish watching the dumb video!

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