2.275 Grilled Garlic-Pepper Shrimp

2.275

7 (Fri) October 2011

Grilled Garlic-Pepper Shrimp

0.5

by me

at Sanjeong Camp

-Pocheon, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ, LJY and B

What was intended to be a camping trip to showcase all my camping skills to Number One Fan LJY turned out to be less than successful.

First, hoping to avoid weekend traffic on the highways, I selected a campsite outside of Pocheon, a city north of Seoul and thus away from the popular getaway destinations south and east, but I failed to consider that we would therefore be driving through city traffic, which resulted in a 70-km drive that took nearly 3 hours, what with hitting a goddamn red light every intersection.

The language barrier was a problem at first, but eventually DJ realized that acting like a dork would elicit giggles from B, so he ran with it.

Second, we discovered upon arrival that we were the only campers in the entire site. Compared to the refugee camp environment of the previous week’s outing (see 2.269 Grilled Bulgogi Chicken Thighs), it was liberating to enjoy free reign as to where we could set up.  However, the utter lack of humanity also made it a bit too quiet, too lonely. I n part, I’d wanted to show LJY the extravagance of Korean camping culture – by contrast, I alone tend to be relatively minimalistic – but all we had to look at were trees and rocks and dirt.  Later that night, a few teams did arrive to break the silence.

Third, and this was the worse part of all, I hadn’t packed enough to eat.  In reducing the bulk of our gear so that everything, including 5 people, would fit into my car, I got overly stingy with the food.  W said that she’d been nervous when she found that I hadn’t packed a cooler and instead just tossed a few random items into a plastic bag.  Whereas eating is one of the best things about camping in Korea, I was woefully unable to deliver.

Finally, even with the inadequate food that I had brought, the preparation thereof was also a bit off. T he shrimp, for example, before they were fully thawed, I placed them over dying coals – something about the combination of ice crystals and low heat has a nasty effect on the integrity of the flesh – resulting in the only thing worse than rubbery shrimp, which is mushy shrimp.  In my defense, I was forced into hypermultitask mode, which prevented me from devoting adequate attention to the cooking.

Fortunately, for lame asses like us, the campsite had a kitchen offering various dishes.  We ordered a baeksuk, which was so-so and overpriced at 40,000 won.  Even with that, I ended up tipping the pan and letting most of the broth go to waste.

Still, it wasn’t a complete bust.  At least we got to enjoy some fresh air.  And it was peaceful.

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(See also PLACES)

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