The laugh’s on CanadaSoggy bacon is against our religion, so we stayed away from the Canada Day party held Sunday at that grass patch down from the Crown Hotel.
That’s rather a shame, because we usually get a kick out of going places where everybody assumes we’re Canadian. When the Canucks ask “Where ya from?” we say “Regina,” and proceed to be amazed at how they keep a straight face.
Although Canadians have no idea what they’re celebrating on Canada Day, we did a little research and were able to dig up the history behind it. Evidently it marks the date when George Washington, after whupping the English, decided which parts of North America would make up the United States, then had to name the rest: The part with all the loons he called “Canada,” and the part with all the lousy roads he called “Mexico.”
Like we said, we didn’t make it to Sunday’s party. But we did see the Web site that advertised it, and can more or less guess what happened. English teachers came from far and wide to lounge around swimming pools, feast on loads of free Canadian food and beer and enjoy a concert by the beautiful Canadian Kylie Minogue, capped by a sexed-up version of “O Canada.”
Oops ― that’s what it used to be like. On Sunday the poor Canadians had to plunk down 38,000 won ($32, or 4,700 Canadian dollars) to slog around in the mud, eat a plate of grub provided by an American restaurant chain and drink two cupfuls of OB.
One silver lining was the music, which was provided by that band that plays at the Electric Cat, Kun-yang. The boys played a powerful rendition of “O Canada,” which was quite touching ― until toward the end when a few party-crashing Americans started shouting, “Drop the puck!!”
Kun-yang followed that with a cover of Canada’s de facto national anthem, Bob Marley’s “Jamming.”
Thankfully, while the tunes swelled their pride, the partygoers had the good sense to refrain from public displays of “true patriot love.” Maybe that two-beer limit was a good idea after all.
Later, when it came time for games and contests, Frisbees and footballs started flying across the skies. But as the afternoon progressed and the field got muddier, the more resourceful people put plastic wrap around their sneakers and started playing Canada’s favorite summer sport: mud hockey. And over where the mud got deeper, a few adventurous folk were having canoe races.
Friday is the Fourth of July, so it will be the Americans’ turn to celebrate. In the past, the army base at Yongsan used to let in anyone with a U.S. passport so they could enjoy the fireworks show the base puts on every year.
We tend to mix up the Fourth with Cinco de Mayo, so it was an Itaewon Wanderings tradition to flash our passport every Fourth and head straight to the Oasis restaurant for a huge plate of nachos and too many cervezas.
This year, though, with the heightened security situation, the base will be closed to outsiders. Guess we’ll have to get our nachos at Pancho’s.
by Mike Ferrin