Samsung Lions in Daegu and Gyeongsan

It’s a little-known fact that the major league baseball teams in Korea have feeder teams, but Craig is nothing if not thorough in his research of various Korean sports. He discovered that Samsung Lions have just such a team in Gyeongsan, outside of Daegu, home of their major league team. So, after the double-booked double header in Cheonan, we were back on a train, this one bound for Daegu.

How much do I love the KTX? A little too much, perhaps. I look back on my early days in Korea when I nearly always took the bus, rather than walk five minutes to the train station to book my tickets in advance (this was back before online booking, much less the KTX). Now, the thought of traveling for three hours to get to Jeonju seems ridiculous. We arrived at Dongdaegu in about an hour and a half (maybe less, I can’t be bothered to check) and decided to stay near the station, rather than go to Gyeongsan and look for a room there.

We walked around for about five minutes before finding THE ONE. Fortunately, Craig and I are very like-minded when it comes to choosing a yogwan: it must have a more overdone exterior than the surrounding competition. I prefer rooms with computers, but now that I have an iPhone, I’m willing to forgo even that. This place had it all: not only was it named Paradise, there were onion domes on the roof, a condom machine at the checkout counter, and barbed wire visible through the bars on the window. I’m not sure who they thought was going to be shimmying up the side of the building to squeeze through the narrow window, but they were prepared for jockey-sized thieves.

Neon palm trees and onion domes. That's what I call Paradise.

I never knew paradise looked like this.

Welcome to the Paradise Hotel. If there are not enough complementary condoms in the toiletries kit, more are available in the lobby...

The blackout curtains on the windows led to a bit of a lie in. Usually, Craig is up at dawn, trying not to tap his feet, but we slept until about 10. The game didn’t start until one, so it wasn’t a big deal. We grabbed a cab and I carefully told him the address, making sure to emphasize that it was in Gyeongsan.

He drove us straight… to the Daegu Citizens Park. I told him again the entire address and showed him the map on my phone. He seemed angry that we didn’t want to go to the perfectly good baseball game he had brought us to, but headed to Gyeongsan after only a couple of minutes of arguing that, in fact, there is a stadium there, and that we actually wanted to go to that stadium to see the game being played there.

He got us to Gyeongsan, after ignoring his satnav and the road signs the whole way. Then, he started making random turns and asking teenaged pedestrians the way. So, we said our farewells to him and went in search of a local cab driver. We found a guy just finishing a break who immediately knew we were talking about the Samsung Lions Stadium and took us there. We realized pretty quickly that it was just as well that we gave up on the first driver, because it was down some country roads and he never ever would have found it.

Samsung's JV team v KIA's JV team

So, having been stuck in a taxi for well over an hour, I went in search of the ladies room. I got back to see everyone packing up. They had decided the night before to change the start time so every one could have a slightly longer weekend. Fortunately for us, a Daegu cab driver was in attendance, and we were able to get a ride back to the game the first driver had insisted was the one we wanted to see.

We arrived just after the game had begun and were able to get seats after just a couple of minutes. Most of the areas were sold out, and the one we were in had the usual arrangement of every group taking 1-2 extra seats for their snacks. That wouldn’t be a big deal at most of the soccer games we go to, but the baseball tends to be well-attended and it means that hundreds of people end up sitting on the steps and standing at the back, blocking up the walkways. I really don’t understand why telling people to move their crap is considered more rude than giving your crap a seat in a crowded place.

It's a man-parasol, a manasol. At Samsung Lions v Nexen Heroes.

Anyway, it was a good game. By which, of course, I mean, the sun was shining and it wasn’t too windy. As usual, if you want to hear about hits and runs, you can check out Craig’s version of events. Once he’s got his blog caught up, that is. In order to catch our train, we had to leave shortly before the end of the game. As we got in the cab, we heard a run being scored, but I think that was basically the end of the game.

We had just enough time to grab a baguette from Paris Baguette and bottle of wine before catching our train. So, we had our usual train meal of wine, cheese, and Spanish ham and were home before 9. Plenty of time to prepare for the week ahead.