Racing Throught the Streets of Daegu

No, this post is not about taxis, or any other type of automobile driving in South Korea.  I know, the title threw you, didn’t it?  Yes, driving can be a bit hectic here, but I’m actually talking about the IAAF World Championships.

Daegu was chosen several years ago to host the International Association of Athletics Federation’s 2011 world championships.  It is actually pretty exciting, considering I’d never even heard of this particular organization before 2 weeks ago.  Since then, this sporting event has been messing with my life.

Because our very nice hotel (the small prison I mentioned a few days ago) was the host hotel for the championships, we were evicted on Tuesday and would have had to go to a reputed “love motel” had it not been for the intercession of a particular angel.  (Thanks, T!  Wherever you are…) We are now in a borrowed apartment, hopefully until our apartment is ready.  I am so grateful for many reasons.

In our new apartment, we woke up yesterday morning to loudspeakers playing triumphant music and the cheering of many voices.  Looking out the window, we discovered that the two intersections on either side of our apartment building had been blocked off.  Being a sucker for all things memorable and patriotic, we got dressed and headed downstairs.

Have I mentioned yet that we are quasi-celebrities here?  Daegu is about 97% Korean, so there really are not very many caucasian people here.  Koreans think blonde hair is good luck, so Gabe has them all wrapped around his little finger.  Top it off with a low bow and an “Anyong haseyo (hello),” and Gabriel has everyone eating out of his hand. 

His charm finagled us 3 pairs of boomsticks, 2 bottles of water, a Korean flag, and a fan in the shape of the IAAF Championships mascot (The mascot is a Sapsal-gae, a dog native to Daegu and pictured below with Gigi and Ali.  Boomsticks, if you’re not familiar, are those things waving in the pictures further down). 

As I mentioned, I am a sucker for all things memorable and patriotic.  I get choked up at the national anthem.  Every time.  I get a little teary when the high school marching band performs in a parade.  I get darn near weepy at most sporting events, including high school events.  So you can imagine how I felt when the fastest long-distance female runners in the world ran right past me. 

On our way back up to the apartment, we stopped to watch a group of very talented breakdancers perform.  Very entertaining, but no, I did not cry watching them.

And this is the view from our 13th floor apartment of the other intersection as they ran through some time later.

Nothing like some good ole world championships to make me feel a sense of civic pride toward a city I only just relocated to.  I guess it’s not fair, then, to say that the championships have been messing with my life.  It’s more accurate to say that the excitement of it all has made our move that much more memorable.  Oh geez.  Here I go again.