One of the things that has always amazed me about Korea (in comparison to Australia and Malaysia) is the efficiency of the public transport system.
Who’d have thought it was quicker to take a train to Busan than to drive.
Choya, gumiho, tear, lucky, supreme, leenock, thebest all piled into a Kia minivan to drive to Busan, which took 5 hours.
The rest of us (the awesome crew as I like to call us) got the subway to Seoul station to purchase our tickets to Busan.
At Seoul station, I bought the awesome crew KFC (their choice not mine) and we munched whilst we waited.
Hell went and bought the tickets and it was time for me to experience REAL rail technology (Thats right Julia Gillard, High speed rail IS a good form of transport you idiot). We caught the KTX of which I have no idea what means, to Busan. The train was shaped like a bullet so I knew this was going to be good.
Call me a fool, but I was always infatuated with model railways, and this was like the real life thing, so I was pretty excited to catch this train, just as I was in Japan and France when catching high speed rail.
The awesome crew had to split into 2 groups of 4 because of ticket availability and we caught 2 separate trains that departed 10 mins from each other, and both were full. No wonder the tickets were so cheap (40 dollars Australian). Supply demand rules the world, I guess that applies for PPV in e-sports too, more people who sub the cheaper it gets? Unless the company is greedy though. Anyway.
I spent the entire 3 hours talking to asd, Sirius and hell. Between the 3 of them they were one fluent english speaker. So it was alot of fun doing word games and translations and hand expressions. I also got to know the 3 of them alot better which is great. I can now see myself never removing them from the team just because of the great people they are and skilled players of course (and coach of course).
Within no time we arrived at Busan, only to find out that there was a major tech error on the train of the other 4. So we went to a PCBang.
The good thing about Korea is there is no shortage of PCBangs, all battle.net accounts work in PCBangs and they are so freakin’ cheap you dont even notice that you are spending money. We sat there for 1-2 hours waiting for the other 4 and we once they finally arrived we crossed the extremely, hot street to collect them from Busan station.
We then go to the underground to go to another station (name has been forgotten already) and whale realises he has lost his wallet. The poor cute little whale was in a panic, and using some foul language which made me laugh :) He retraced his steps and still didnt find his wallet. Delay number 2 occurred, the beauty of travelling in groups :)
At this point I started to take it all as a big adventure before my brain started to think negatively, we arrived at the station where our motel would be (again forgot the name) and stood waiting for choya etc for another hour. Being the only white meat on the street, I was getting extremely self conscious because every single korean person who walked past decided to take a glimpse at the human side show that is me. At this time though I was clean shaven so I didn’t look too raggity, but I was extremely dirty and it was damnnnnnnn hot.
Eventually we gave up on Choya and we went to a Pork place. I know it was a pork place because its signage was all pigs, derp.
We had aweeesomeeee pork ribs, stacks upon stacks upon stacks of them. And for the whole team it was super cheap. I was extremely satisfied and it made up for all the delays and what not. Damn, I can still taste them now.
After 30 minutes Choya and the gang ended up meeting up with the awesome crew at the pork place, we were pretty much 3/4 of the way through our meal, so they ate quickly. I sat their listening to leenock call me a pig cos of the pile of rib bones infront of me. I eat alot, what can I say. They were so good.
When everyone finally finished eating, Hell and supreme set off to find the hotel/make sure rooms are ready etc and the rest of us went to a PCBang.
The great thing about Korea is that if you go with pro gamers to a PCBang, you will almost always get noticed. In this case, the two girls behind the counter knew us, so hooray, free banana milk (one of my favourite things in the world).
One thing I did notice different between my two most recent trips to Korea was the PCBangs all of a sudden adopted 30 inch samsung monitors as standard. They used to be 21 inch maybe? But now they are enormous. It makes playing sc2 a little daunting when you are used to an 18 inch monitor.
The boys started practicing and I started playing with my new account (my NA account). I once again got placed in Platinum after winning all my placement matches. Disappointing it was. But my mass baneling strategies seem to make koreans rage at me, so I guess thats all the more fun.
We called it a night around 10 pm and went back to the hotel.
Now the one thing I have ALWAYS had terrible luck with was hotels in korea. Some expensive places have terrible services and rooms.
This time we started at a place called “green one” motel. Some might call it a love hotel, I called it lovely. The room was huge, the bathroom spacious, and for the kiddies out there, there was free weird porn.
Actually, the only hotel I’ve stayed at in Korea that is better is the Koreana, and the Koreana is 300 bucks a night, compared to the 45 that this place cost. I was pleasently surprised and content with the choice. I had a room on my own, the others split up into groups to share the hotel.
The bed was a circle, so no matter which way I slept, I fit in it, god bless geometry.
The first night, I turned the TV on and it opened on channel 88. 1 guess what channel this is.
It opens up to an obviously Korean pornographic movie, but there was something off about it. Oh thats right, there was picture in picture, instead of private parts, there was another screen cap of the girls expression on her face. So basically, I was intrigued and a little bit freaked out. So of course I changed to channel to FOX, NCIS marathon…. Now thats my porn!
We woke up at 11 am the next morning to go to a famous pork place (pork soup and braised pork) there was only 1 thing on the menu and a line up in the street to get in. I am not really one for lining up in really hot weather, but they insisted that this would be good.
Well, they were right, Pork pork pork pork pork, yum yum yum yum yum.. for 5k krw we got pork soup, braised pork, kimchi, vegies etc. The soup was amazing, the pork was great and I got to sit and talk with thebest and leenock. (One of the best parts of travelling to korea is getting to know the guys better).
After this we took a taxi ride to Hae un dae??(might be wrong spelling) and went to a PCBang to “warm up” as choya would have called it.
When we arrived there was a group of PC’s reserved for us, and the guy working there gave us free grape drink (I call it grape drink, cos its not soda but it tastes like grapes and I love it). I guess free stuff is always tasty.
At this point I was just analyzing the FIS data and going through forums and twitter and making sure people knew we were paying attention to the fans.
Once again, the person putting in the most effort in the warm up was gumiho, and he was getting into the zone.
At 4 pm we walked from the PCBang (in the terrible heat) to centre stage to let GOM know we were there (I actually think someone screwed up the time and thought we had to be there at 4, but no one told me anything).
After we dropped our gear in the players tent, we went to Starbucks to bask in the beauty that is air-conditioning.
After a few hours re-gathering our strength, we went back down to the tents to get our make up on and look pretty. Of course, the Korean people seem to really enjoy make up time, but I am really self conscious about my image and don’t think that make up can fix anything. But, I let the girl do her job and she tried her best. I don’t know the result.
We did 1 quick run through of the proceedures, and helped GOM set up their camera angles, then chilled out in the shade by the beach (watching the eye candy walk past no doubt). I was assured by Mr Chae earlier that the temperature would drop at night, and if it did, I didn’t notice it.
By the time slayers had gotten there, it was almost time to start. Cella came up and gave me a hug and a massage (probably the 4th? massage I had gotten since being in Korea…. free massage is always the best one).
Anyway after a little bit of wasted time, it was go time. Nerves started to set in and I started to do my on the spot jogging i do when I get nervous. Fortunately the team didn’t realise thats what i do when I’m nervous.
We march on stage, do our bow and sit down on the bench. Now many a person has messaged me in private asking why I wasn’t wearing a suit. A few reasons 1) This event wasn’t about me at all. It was best i blend in as much as possible and let the guys have their time … I had contemplated wearing the fOu uniform, but choya and I discussed it and we decided against it. 2) My suit needed dry cleaning cos I wasn’t expecting to be in Korea until 12th of August. And due to being lazy and time constraints, I simply didn’t get it dry cleaned. The other option of course was to buy a shiny one (Korea has many shiny suits) but it wasn’t necessary. So I became choya for a day and he became the BoSs.
Anyway, we all know how it went from here.
The first game against MMA was so damn intense. The team was pretty sure gumiho had lost, but I kept saying to weekend.. NO he has banshee.. It ok.. He has banshee..
Fortunately, I was right, and he did have the banshees. And when I saw the way the game was going about 5 minutes from the end, I was pretty sure he had it.
I felt the most exciting moment of the night was when he won that game. It was so intense, and the nerves were shaken out a bit after that. I am not sure how the others felt, but thats how I felt. I felt alot more relaxed and comfortable with that game down.
The second game was pretty gentle in terms of intensity. There was aww’s and laughter about the excessive numbers of CC’s, and the thor drops. But after min was selected, I can’t help but think the crowd (mostly slayers fans) were a bit dumbstruck.
There wasn’t a huge reaction to much other than the seeker missles (which work vs broodlord corruptor infestor if you use them properly with the right number of other units).
The 3rd game was the most predictable one of the series. The amount of sweat coming off gumiho after game 2 was insane. I was sure he was going to 11/11. And after the first attack didnt exactly work out, I was still sure he was going to win (drone losses). It just seemed to shake coca up that little bit too much for him to come back or take advantage of the failed cheese. Gumiho also executed quite well. There was a chance for him to win the game earlier if he had measured out the space below the spines in the main. He could have walked all his marines into the main and avoided the spines completely, but he was playing cautious. Anyway, with Coca out, I could see alot of positivity within our team.
The next game against Ryung was weird.
I actually couldn’t see what gumiho was going to do, and weekend wasn’t helping me by telling me what build it was :(.
Either way, the minute i saw the SCV’s get pulled… I face palmed, mostly because I was thinking about what the people in the LR would think, next because I was scared his scvs might line up at some stage and ryungs hellions might get lucky and flip the game upside down. Fortunately, it all panned out well and the slayers BM late GG got on my nerves. At this stage I was ready to do a ceremony, but was asked not to to keep the team in the good manner books with the KR fans.
Actually, I felt like sticking my finger up, because emotions were all mixed up and tense.. Its the GSTL finals for petes sake, dont do silly things like that!
Anyway, with Ryung down and Coca already gone. Puzzle was our guess and Puzzle it was. The odd thing was, it already felt like we had won.
I had no doubt at all that this was it, the series was over and we had won. This would be the reason why Choya etc didn’t cry like they did in the semi. Once gumihos third was up and puzzle was reluctant to attack, that was it.
When the GG came out, we stormed the stage to bask into a well earned and hard fought victory.
Gumiho looked dazed and a little out of it on stage, he was even stumbling around, the rest of us were just happy and cheering.
After this it was media time, there was about 1-2 hours of media time afterwards, then a lovely group of American people came to get autographs.
I had a good chat to them and i made the team sign and take pictures with the girl who was hunting the autographs.
After this it was BBQ PARTY TIME. I got meet some of the parents of the team, and I had promised choya that I would pay for a bbq party for them. So we went to a BBQ place and found one with an upstairs exclusive area for us to have our BBQ and soju.
Now, I had only just learned that Leenocks dad speaks some english moments before, so I was a little bit nervous about doing/saying the wrong thing. But in the end it was all good.
I had 5 shots of Soju to celebrate and I tell you now that stuff melts your brain. I could feel my brain slowly snapping. I forgot that Soju was so dangerously bad for you. But I stopped at 5 so I maintained full competence and control.
I mentioned to Leenocks dad that he has a good son, and he goes “nono bad son”. Then leenock whispers in my ear “my dad bad manner”. I couldnt stop laughing after that.
We were all enjoying our food, and drinks and before we knew it it was 1 am and time to go back to the motel. But not before bumping into slayers people in the street. Cella ninja hugged me (snuck up without me knowing and hugged me from behind, kind of erotic really) and we shook hands with a few of the other guys. Didn’t see boxer and jessica, but maybe they drove to where ever they were going.
Anyway, the next morning, or afternoon we woke up for the long trek home. Gumiho came with us on the train this time, cos the train rocks!
Everyone fell asleep pretty quick on the train and I was just watching the monitor with the speed on it. 300KM/H 1/3 the speed of a plane. Yep, Julia gillard, you are an idiot for turning down that proposal. High speed rail is the future of domestic travel in Australia. Anyway, when we got back to the house, Choya decided to buy everyone pizza cos he was going out to see one of his friends.
Now, I dont know if anyone of you have experienced Korean en mass eating pizza before. But think of someone with wet rubber shoes walking x 16.
That is the sound that echoed through the FXO house, and it is the sound I can still hear in my ears today. I am so used to eating silently, I forgot what it was like to actually enjoy food, like my team was. Its good to see that I can learn things from the younger generations, and teach things to them as well even though our ages aren’t so different our personalities and culture certainly are.
Overall, my trip was amazing, not just because of the GSTL final win, but because for the first time I feel I got to know my team much better than I had in the past. They are a mixed bag, but they are all amazing.
Thanks for reading.
A very proud FXOBoSs
You can follow our team on twitter http://www.twitter.com/FXOpenesports
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