It’s a while since I’ve been to a football match over here as I spent a fair part of June in Europe. I caught up with family in the UK and squeezed in a trip to the European Championships with my mate Paul. We only saw the one game live, Croatia v Italy in Poznan, but it was enjoyable enough spending a week watching two games each day in a variety of Polish bars.
We managed to get some hiking in as well, briefly crossing the border to get to the top of the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, the 1602m Sněžka. I sent my Mam a Czech postcard just for the confusion value as to where I was. Paul managed to tick off the tallest peak in Poland, the 2499m Rysy in the High Tatras. That was a bit much for me but I had a pretty good time wandering around a thousand metres lower in the valleys.
I got back to Korea just in time for the rain. I’ve worked the seasons out here now. Initially I’d bemoan how quickly Spring came and went with it sometimes only being three days between needing the heating on and having to use the air-conditioning. Really though, when Koreans proudly tell you that they have four seasons what they mean is Winter, Summer, Rainy and Autumn. Winter is cold, Summer is hot, Rainy is wet and Autumn is when it’s just about perfect for hiking. That one is a good couple of months away yet though and before then we are in for a few weeks of heavy rain.
Jen and I try not to let the fact that it’s pissing down spoil our fun if we can help it and so we caught the train to Jeonju on Saturday morning and checked into the Feel Motel near to the bus terminal. We’ve stayed there before and it’s clean, cheap and convenient. Well, convenient if you want to be near the bus terminal that is. It makes a point of advertising that it has a 24 hour porn channel, as if this is something out of the ordinary in a Love Motel. I reckon that there will be more motels without beds than there will be without at least one adult channel. We checked it out and it was so softcore that we couldn’t be certain that it actually was porn. I thought that the invention of the internet would have made that sort of malarkey on the telly redundant, but apparently not.
As it got to the scheduled kick-off time of three o’clock it was still pouring down and we were still in the motel. We decided to get a taxi to Jeonju University where the game was due to take place, drive up to the pitch and after confirming that the match had been cancelled, get the taxi driver to take us to a bar somewhere. It took a bit longer to get there than I’d expected and there was a brief lull in the rain as we arrived. I nipped out of the taxi and was astonished to see that not only was the game in progress, but there were a couple of hundred people watching from the small stand by the side of the pitch.
It turns out that the Jeonju University grass pitch is actually artificial turf and so able to cope with a decent downpour. Half an hour had gone and the visitors, Paju, were a goal up. We found a couple of seats towards one end of the bus shelter style stand where not too much rain was blowing in and the drips from the roof weren’t too frequent.
It didn’t take Paju long to double their lead with one of their strikers finishing well after catching the home team with a quick break. At half-time the subs seemed to resent having to warm up in the rain and I couldn’t blame them. Whilst it’s quite enjoyable playing in the rain, it’s not quite as good arseing about for ten minutes before going to sit back down again in wet kit.
It was quite a niggly game, not helped by players sliding into tackles from five yards away. You’d think that in those sort of conditions the players would have come to a consensus that it would have been better all round if everyone stayed on their feet.
Jeonju pulled a goal back a quarter of an hour from the end and the game looked set for an exciting finish. The goal coincided with the rain easing up somewhat though and good as it would have been to see if the visitors could hang on, we took the opportunity to leg it whilst we could. A quick check later confirmed that Jeonju got their equaliser and the game finished two each.