Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Part II: "#$%@ you! I'm swimming around Jeju!" ...

What actually happened Saturday to enrage Sherrin with such vitriolic disdain toward a Korean man?

I will offer my take.

On our approach to Hamdeok Beach, the three of us - Sherrin swimming, Steve paddling in the back of the kayak, and Sung-mi riding in front as passenger - were about 10 minutes out from landing at the beach closest to Seoubong.

One moment was peaceful and the next moment I saw a large jet ski coming at us full bore, and I immediately was on guard. In addition, there was a floaty raft with an engine with three young men onboard following. The one man on the jet ski started yelling, "HEY! HEY! HEY!"

There were Korean exchanges between the power tripper and Sung-mi.

I had no idea who these four people were. I assumed the water police of some sort. The raft with the three men gently corralled the kayak off to the side and Sherrin kept on swimming toward the intended beach.

The power tripper proceeded to continue yelling and did full circles around Sherrin, dangerously close, splashing water all around. I remember Sherrin getting POed and the eloquence ensued: "#$%@ you! I'm swimming around Jeju!"

In the midst of all the translating, I did pick up these men were concerned about safety.

Our transport and newly minted Big Swim team member Tracie - waiting on shore for our arrival - phoned Sung-mi on her cell phone. Sung-mi handed the phone off and Tracie asked me, something to the effect, "What the heck is going on out there?" She instructed me to ask what their authority was. I looked at one of the young pups on the craft and he did have a hat and shirt with "police" written on it.

I knew Sherrin wasn't going to cooperate by continuing to swim toward Tracie. I took the kayak in where the three (four) men wanted us to go, and we arranged for pickup after.

With nerves settled and kayak loaded on Sherrin's car, Sherrin and Sung-mi went into the Hamdeok management office and asked who these people were and why that just happened.

Turned out, the jet ski power tripper was the operator of the banana boat business. In more eloquence Sherrin later communicated to me: "The ___________ who was hooning on the jet ski was a nobody. ... Thanks to Sung-mi for her great (diplomatic) translating skills."

Later, the Hamdeok Marine Police phoned Sung-mi and said he had no authority to tell us anything.

Also, the Hamdeok Marine Police acted like real men and were apologetic about the events.

I've noticed, no matter the culture, the bigger machine and the louder the bark of an individual man, that's usually just all psychological compensation for a small __________ .


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