EPISODE 8. Broadcast on May 2, 2014.
girlfriday: New bestie duo Soon-jae halbae and Gu halbae go sightseeing and stop to admire a bell tower that happens to be ringing because it’s noon. From behind them, Seo-jin makes this face and declares to his VJ that he hates bells. Huh?
javabeans: That is the weirdest thing to have a “thing” about. You have an irrational hatred of bells? And he doesn’t just mean “Oh, I don’t care for bells,” he actually, actively, really dislikes bells.
girlfriday: It almost sounds made up.
javabeans: He says that when he took part in a commemorative event for Korean Independence Day that involved ringing a bell back in 2008, “I thought I was gonna die.”
girlfriday: I still don’t understand it, but apparently he has some visceral reaction to the sound.
javabeans: I’m going to assume that he is the one-in-hundred-millionth person to react to bells the way that other people react to nails on a chalkboard, or something. He shudders and says the sound makes his head funny.
girlfriday: At least it doesn’t seem to have lasting effects. As soon as it’s over, Seo-jin rushes over to Soon-jae halbae wanting to zip up his puffy vest because it might be cold. Soon-jae halbae waves him off, but he persists, which is really cute. And then when he can’t do that, he later silently walks behind Soon-jae halbae and ties his scarf just in case.
javabeans: We get a whole retrospective on Seo-jin’s quiet caring for the halbaes over the various trips. You know, it’s so funny when you put him next to Seung-gi even though their motivations are very similar (wanting to care for the elders): Seung-gi is the puppy who is so eager to help you that he gets all in your way, and Seo-jin is like… the old, gentle seeing eye dog.
girlfriday: You mean actually helpful? Now I’ll never be able to see them as anything else but that doggie pair.
javabeans: They walk along a stone-paved road, and Seo-jin remembers from Noonas that Yoon Yeo-jung liked this kind of road because it’s pretty. Seo-jin’s perspective, on the other hand: “This kind of road is so hard to roll luggage on.”
girlfriday: Ha, at least his one-track mind is on the right thing?
javabeans: Then they pass a hotel in the narrow street and he wonders, “How would you even get your luggage into that hotel?” Na PD teases him about his fixation on luggage, and he retorts, “Do you think I was originally like this?”
girlfriday: They finally reach the big castle at the top of the hill and get the full view from the top, and then have some fun looking at the old weapons and knight armor. Na PD says it’s a good thing that the teachers don’t shoot sageuks in this country because the armor is so heavy, but Seo-jin tells him that a Joseon king’s costume easily weighs 30kg: “That’s why they die with one sword stroke! They can’t move because it’s so heavy!”
javabeans: Is it me, or is Seo-jin getting a little bloodthirsty as he examines all the killing armor and weaponry?
girlfriday: He must actually be interested in this stuff. Maybe he does sageuks because he likes all the old weapons. Pwahaha, he peers repeatedly at something and a staffer guesses that it must be a medieval codpiece of some sort, and he protests: “It’s too small!”
javabeans: Na PD asks if Gu halbae has ever played a general (“Who would cast me as a general?”) or a king (he has, Gojong), which turns into this hierarchy of kings with Soon-jae halbae at the top because he played Yeongjo, while Seo-jin played Jeongjo, and Gojong gets third place.
girlfriday: I love it when they talk dramas.
javabeans: I particularly like when they talk dramas in really down-to-earth ways—not about the art or the craft or the hard work, but about the funny little details. It’s serious work when they’re doing it, but they don’t take it too seriously outside of that. After the castle tour, they head to a fancy-looking restaurant for lunch, which serves traditional Spanish food.
girlfriday: I thought Soon-jae halbae was kidding when he was talking about eating a whole pig back at the castle, but they totally order a whole pig.
javabeans: Eek, pig is delicious but I don’t really want to see it all in one piece like that. I mean, I’ll eat it. But I’d prefer it in cheerfully anonymous chunks.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s the face, all Wilbur-like. The waiter makes a big show of serving it in the traditional way, by cutting the pig with a plate and then breaking the plate on the ground. Once it’s served on plates it doesn’t seem so bad.
javabeans: They all dig in and appear to enjoy the pork. Then Soon-jae halbae says, “Tastes like chicken.” HAHA. They wrap up lunch, and the next thing on the schedule is the soccer game, which I hope nobody freezes at because the show keeps mentioning how cold it gets in the stadium. There’s a Korean restaurant right outside it, apparently, which gives them a comfort-food dinner to look forward to. Ha, it’s cute how Il-sub halbae is obviously pleased but also chimes in, “I didn’t ask them to take me to Korean!”
girlfriday: They go back to the hotel where one of the staffers tells them about travel plans tomorrow, and she mentions that Soon-jae halbae is getting on a plane to Korea, but Gu halbae is going to Lisbon. That’s a surprise to both of them.
javabeans: Aw, but I’m glad because he was so disappointed when that leg was cut.
girlfriday: I know, it makes me all warm and fuzzy to think that Na PD felt bad about it enough to plan a separate trip for Gu halbae.
javabeans: It works out with the timing, because the other halbaes have to be back to work in Korea and he has a little extra time. But first, the game. Seo-jin fiddles with Soon-jae halbae’s scarf again (as he’s been doing the whole time, making sure he’s warm enough), and okay, now he just reminds me of the maid of honor at weddings whose big job is to arrange the bride’s train every time she moves.
girlfriday: They make their way through the large crowd outside, and head into the stadium. Why does Na PD look the most excited out of everyone?
javabeans: He looks like a kid on Christmas. I love the contrast, with him all revved up with the energy in the stadium, and then we cut over to Seo-jin who’s fixated on practical matters like buying cushions for them to sit on. (Na PD’s captioning points out that he has to think of this “in this thrilling moment.”)
girlfriday: Hee, that’s why he’s the little brother. Man, Seo-jinnie is prepared. He even pulls out two thick blankets that he brought from the hotel to keep the halbaes warm.
javabeans: He missed his calling. I know he’s from a fancy rich family and also has his own personal wealth as a star, but he has a talent for service, lol. Which I doubt he even knew till a year ago.
girlfriday: Yeah it had to be forced out of him by Na PD. Seo-jin has this really cute Seung-gi moment when Il-sub halbae compliments him on thinking ahead and preparing the blankets (they really do look like they’re cozy), and he lights up at the praise.
javabeans: We get a clip from later that night as Gu halbae and Soon-jae halbae comment on the blankets and call Seo-jinnie a really good child, and the show is all, “What a good child (44 years old).”
girlfriday: The good child leaves again to buy refreshments, and the team heads out to the field. A song plays and the captions decide that they’re singing “Ha-ra-bo-ji~” (grandpa), which of course they’re not, but now it really sounds like they are, once you point it out.
javabeans: For the halbaes’ sake, I’m glad that it looks like it was a fun game to go to, with lots of scoring going on.
girlfriday: Yeah and the fans are so animated too. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but that stadium is packed.
javabeans: I’m pretty sure I heard at one point Na PD exclaiming offscreen, “This is fun!”
girlfriday: He’s still grinning from ear to ear as they file out after the game, and head back to the hotel. While Soon-jae halbae watches the rebroadcast of the game they were just at, Gu halbae tries on outfits for what to wear on his Lisbon trip.
javabeans: A coordi drops by to return the wallet Gu halbae left in his jacket, having forgotten to check it himself. So he thanks her and is all, “I didn’t even know it was missing.” Then Soon-jae halbae gets a nagging feeling and checks HIS wallet, only to find out that it’s missing. Gu halbae gets on the phone to call the producers and explains how his came back to him, saying, “But you see, there’s an even older person here, you know. He forgot his too! We can’t fight age…”
girlfriday: They sigh to each other that traveling should be done by younger people, and they both say in interviews that these opportunities were simply not an option when they were young. It seems all the more relevant when Na PD cautiously offers up the suggestion that Gu halbae could take a small staff and go to Lisbon on his own if he wanted, and Gu halbae doesn’t even let him finish the sentence before saying yes.
javabeans: He says in an interview that if you get the feeling that you should do something or experience something, you should take that chance and do it. So if you’re vacillating between “Should I?” and “Shouldn’t I?” you just should. It’s not advice I haven’t heard before, but it’s somehow extra credible hearing it like this, like it’s not just some platitude.
girlfriday: Yeah, from someone who’s obviously living it by example. I just love Gu halbae’s attitude. He heads out first thing in the morning, and the Korea crew has a later flight so they see him off first.
javabeans: Eek, we see footage from the one-hour flight to Portugal, and it’s footage of the wing from the window showing how turbulent the flight was. As soon as the wheels touch down the whole plane bursts into applause, so you know it must’ve been a rough ride. I think some people may be wiping away tears.
girlfriday: Ugh, I haaaaaate turbulent flights. I never think about death as much as when I’m on a plane.
javabeans: I’m weird because I love turbulence, with the caveat that I have to survive it. I never think “Oh I’m going to die,” I think “Ooh fun, but I’m obviously going to make it out safely.”
girlfriday: Then you are braver than I. There’s some huge storm going on when Gu halbae arrives in Lisbon, which explains the bumpy ride.
javabeans: Wow, it looks like people are actually fighting to not get blown over, including Gu halbae.
girlfriday: Thankfully it calms down the next morning and the sun even comes out. He takes an old-fashioned streetcar and manages perfectly well on his own using English.
javabeans: It’s cute how he thought it might be an art exhibit at first because it was so old, and when it stops in the middle of a hill to let out passengers, he says he thought it pooped out on power. It’s very quaint though, and reminds him of the trams he would ride in the old days.
girlfriday: I wish the PDs had dug up a picture of him in his school uniform, because when he talks about it I’m just imagining Gu halbae carrying a bookbag. After touring a big museum, he heads to a bakery cafe that’s the home of the original egg tart, and after trying one he immediately orders another round. He even snaps at the VJ to hurry up and shoot it so he can eat, ha.
javabeans: Ain’t got time for you to get your pretty shot, I’m hungry! He looks like a little boy eating it, it’s so cute. He should do tart commercials. I’m hungry now.
girlfriday: Yeah he really knows how to eat. I’m sure they do some other stuff between that and dinner, but we just cut straight to dinner, where the first thing he does is order sangria. Mmmm.
javabeans: The people of this town are so cute, we see a bunch of them noticing the cameras and just waving and grinning. I think Gu halbae is just soaking in the town, not necessarily going on an itinerary. It looks fun.
girlfriday: That’s the kind of travel I like. No charts, no timelines. Lots of delicious things.
javabeans: At the restaurant, the producers order (I think they’re using an online dictionary to say they want traditional or representative foods). Halfway through it, Gu halbae looks over from the side, mouthing, “Liq….uor? W…ine….”
girlfriday: AHAHAHA, when he bottoms out the pitcher of sangria, he asks for the soju so he can make more. They call him Gargamel as he pours the soju into the pitcher and starts stirring to turn it into soju-sangria.
javabeans: They walk around a bit after dinner, as the weather gets stormy again. Gu halbae is given an umbrella, and I have visions of him flying off like Mary Poppins in this gale.
girlfriday: He does almost fly away, so they stop filming for the night and head back to the hotel. It’s sunny again by morning when they drive to the next town, the oceanside Cabo da Roca. They notice that he seems a little sad looking out at the ocean, and he admits that he misses the other halbaes. He’s always the one smoothing over relationships in the group and is friendly with everyone, so it makes sense that he’d miss them even if it’s only been a day.
javabeans: We get a sequence of clips showing us that the halbaes have all been under the weather in some way during the trip, like Geun-hyung halbae’s back and Soon-jae halbae’s cold, which his doctor says he doesn’t acknowledge because he doesn’t want to slow down the trip. I’m sure once they’re back home they’ll be glad they stuck it out, but in the moment you know it’s a sucky way to feel.
girlfriday: Soon-jae halbae says he still wanted to go up and see that castle in Segovia because he didn’t want to lose the chance, adding in his matter-of-fact way: “It could be my last.”
javabeans: He’s asked what his dream is, or goal, and he says he’s already dreamed them. So he’s asked about his dreams back when he was starting out, and he says, “Let’s not talk about then.” He says that this is a tough career that everyone opposed, and that it’s something they do for the pride in their art, because if they’d done it for the money they wouldn’t have lasted. “People like that just push forward and proceed, without caring what other people think.”
girlfriday: Maybe that’s the secret to success after all.
javabeans: We go out on an inspirational note, as the captions tell us, “A dream-like trip by people who have lived diligently. For as long as the the halbaes are happy… our travels continue.”
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 7
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 6
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 5
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 4
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 3
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 2
- Grandpas Over Flowers in Spain: Episode 1
- Na PD on grandpas, money, and Seo-jinnie the con artist
- Noonas Over Flowers: Episode 1
- Grandpas Over Flowers: Episode 1