Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Grand Finale: The Last Big Night and a Recovery Day

Well, after the DJ Festival, which did prove to be the best night of the week, what rae we to do to follow that up?

What better way to spend a Saturday night than in Hongdei (bigegst University and party area_ in Tin Pan. TinPan is, ummm, an interesting place not really comparable to anything at home, but a little like a Blues meets Hit Bar for those Harbin people. It's abuot half foreigners, half Korean. The majority of forigners are North American, but there are still plenty of English,Chinese, Indian, and pretty much anywhere you can think of. The thing I like about this place is that the people are approachable.

One of the biggesgt turn-offs to me in Korea is the unaproachable people. Don't get me wrong, if you do say hi to many Koreans they will say hi back, and if you are lost or have a problem many will be more than genrous enough to help you. What I'm talking about is in most pubs/restaurants/bars Koreans not only don't talk to foreigners, but also other Koreans. Rarely will a group of people meet and inter-mingle with other groups. So, when going out for a night, it can be hard with only two people to find people willing to, shall we say, shoot the shit. TinPan is quite the opposite, whether male/female, Korean/Foreigner, people will come UP TO YOU and talk.
It's also nice and cheap. So, instead of repeated runs ro the bar, we do the asian thing. A bottle of liqs at our table. This night we chose....

Jack Daniels. Sure it seems like alot, but with 6 people drinking on it, it managed to dissapear within about 20 minutes. The dance floor is usually well and packed (sometimes too full) and by the end of the night it's not uncommon to find people up and the tables and chairs dancing the night away.

If you get bored of the same old bar happenings (as most do) you are till in the middle of a big Uni area and the options are countless. I'v found myself out at teh nearby park chililng out, at another pub, or even just chilling on the side of the street meeting randoms as they walk by.

Here is my buddy Ariel having some fun with Sungku outside TinPan.

Richie wanted some too, but got a different treatment.

So, obviously had a great night AGAIN. Met lots of people and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Only thing left to do is get home. How we get home depends entirely on how much we've, shall we say, given'r. An early night, between 1-4 means a 20,000 won taxi home (not bad $20 for a 30-40 minute drive), or if we manage to stay up to the early morn, it's the good old subway home.

You see quite the characters on the subway obviously as it's early early Sunday morning. Lokos at this guy, what happened to him. Hehe

Yes, that would be Ryan. It's his 2nd subway sprawl of the week and he's getting used to it. It's an interesting mix the drunks with the early morning time-to-go-to-church'ers. But we usually are pretty, ummm, quiet shall we say.

Last Day

After a good nights sleep it's up and ready to go for the last day. Ryan and I met a Korean girl in Harbin last summer who was hopnig to meet up so we headed downtown to say hi. Grabbed some yummy friend chicken (Koreans are well known for their little batter and crispy fried chicken) and listened as Ryan and her chatted on in Chinese.

After the food, we headed to Insa-Dong. It's the main tourist attraction geared toward traditional Korean goods and memorabilia. It's always busy and although most of the stuff I don't care for, there are always lots of people watching to do. As you can see, it can get a 'lil busy:

A look down the main drag at Insa-Dong

There are always people givin out free hugs.

After walking around a couple blocks and having enough of the busy area, we searched and found Jongyesa (Jongye Temple). It's the bigegst and oldest Buddhist temple in Seoul and Buddha's birthday was just around the corner. The sky was filled with small lanterns and there were big animal lanterns which were to be put on floats scattered around the temple grounds. There is a good site with pics here. The following Sunday was a huge 2 hour Buddhist parade, which unfortunately we didn't have our camera for.

After the temple we headed down to City Hall Square where it was the ending ceremonies of the HiSeoul Festival. If was great luck that the boys had decided to come to Korea in perfect timing to catch as much of the festival as they could. It was only a 25 minute walk from where we were, so we decided to walk it. Ryan was imnpressed by the millenium building, a major landmark of central Seoul.

We enjoyed the last sunset in downtown with the heavy fog on a nice shade of yellow before we got to the festival grounds. The ending festival had plenty of seats and we were hoping for more B-Boy shows or fun dances, although it ended up being classical music.

Supposedly some famous Korea classical muscician. We lasted about 20 minutes and then decided, hey, Spiderman 3 just came out. That would be much more fun. So, off we went.

We had to wait a little before the movie. And without and Sortsplex across the street to keep us busy beforehand, Ryan (Skins) decided to provide us with some of his own entertainment.

The movie itself was pretty good. A nice relaxing way to spend the last night.

We headed off to home tired from the week, but good and exciting. Why? Well, this had only been the first week of a two-week asian tour for Richie. I wasn't planning on letting him do it along. So, where to next. Where else but a Dushonville. Tomorrow morning, we're off to Xiamen, China. The stories have only begun.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 5

So Thursday is one of my more busy days of the week (I have 2 hours of kindy in the morning before my other 5 hours of class) so Sungku took the boys out for a tour of Olympic Park. I've never been myself and since it was a lovely day, they figured they should get a little exercise and fresh air so they can make it through the weekend.

What's 0-2-4?
Olympic Park was created for the 1988 Seoul Olmpics and they've kept it in good condition and even made continued improvements in the recent months. Concerts and events are often held in the area, uncluding the recenty Korean phenom, B-Boy Dancing.

Other interests of the park include all kinds of crazy art stuatues and displays from all over the world. Some nice forested area and one of the only places in Seoul to get some peace and quiet.

Night 5

I got home just about the same time as the rest of them did. Grabbed a quick dinner at home and started on the beers. In the recent months me and a group of friends have been having poker nights here in Seoul and using the 100 won coins as chips. I got Richie to bring me over my set from home, so tonight, it's poker time.

Maybe some people will say, why go all the way across the world to play poker, but then they mustn't be poker players who know how sociable the game is. And definetly not Langley poker players, who manage to spend more of the Liqs than they do the game and use it as a pre-drinking activity rather than the old school drinking games.

So, had a good few people over and went at 'er. Ottowa Jeff took the loot, but being the kind, get-rid-of-your-money-as fast-as-you-can type of person, he gave it to teh Chinese boys who were complaining of the high costs in Korea. Course this also could have been due to Skins' crying all game about us playing the not 'strict tourny' rules and not wanting to lose his money.

Anyways, we made it out to Iteawon later in the night. Checked out some FA Cup (Man U vs Chelsea), wrote a whole bunch of Duhsons on pub walls, danced a little, ate a lot, and had a good time.

Day 6

As always, another work day for me. But work was the last thing on my mind as this Friday night was the much anticipated DJ Festival. I had had 3 4-person tents and tickets all pre-bought a month in advance and this was to be the pinnacle of the whole week.

On the way to the Festival

Even on my one hour break I went home to continue my prep (mostly consisting of pre-mixing my juice/tonic/lemon/lots of gin). After a good hike to get there, we finally found the place at about 930ish and Sungku was coooking some meat on the BBQ.

Iranian friend Sinisha

She showed my the empty bottle of rum, the beers, and the garbage splayed everywhere from an already hammered group of Langley boys at a campout. I knew they arrived back after I heard some "Ole, Ole, Ole' chant over the edge of the headge and a whole bunch of 사랑해요's (I love you). Indeed, they were at a state which I know led to such debauchery as fighting/puking/losing cell phones/wallets/ and whatever else a careless alchoholic can find the energy to muster up.

The night was awesome. We continued BBQ'ing and meeting random other people also camping out. There were 3 stages about a 5 minute walk from our tents. One main stage with about 1000 people at it, and two smaller stages with anywher from 50-300 at diferent points in teh night. We also found a group of hippies baning away on the bongos in a little sand playground. Very cool cause they were all squatting or splayed in and around all the jungle gym.
I wish I got more pics of the whole event, but Richie was smart enough not to bring his camera and Sungku's was acting all funnny that night. Some good pics can be found here though. Its a facebook photo album so log into Facebook first.
I remember at one point dancing at the side of the mass of people on the main stage with my English buddy Rich. He hadn;t met my bro yet and since most of our group had gone back to the tent area we thought we would snake our way through the crowd. It didn't take us long to spot him. Why. It's a Dushon. Within 2 minutes we see a group of about 6 Korean girls all dancing with big smiles on their face...across from them...a dushon with arms flailing and an even bigger smile on his face.

We met some good people that night. One guy is now my new Korean tutur. Another guy Jeff has brought out to soccer games. I've met a few foreigners at the clubs since, and Richie had a little fun in one of our tents with a nice little lady.

I think I passed out like 4 or so in the morning. I woke up at 930 with Sungku tugging on my shirt saying we had to pack up and be out of the tents by 1000. So, out I rolled and tried to wake up the rest of the crew. I found Dushon like this:

I was told he passed out outside the tents on the ground with only that blanket. We were all in pretty rough shape and planned to head towards home for some rest. 'Course nearing home we decide the day would be wasted the minute we stepped in the door, and we just happened to be passing the beach area of the Han River so, hey, why not go get some Z'z on the beach.

It was only a hope. Turns out the Korean food festival is going on right outside the subway station and, guess what, we hadn't had breaky. So, bring on more meat, some traditional Korean bibimbap (mixed vegies and rice) and yes, of course, the traditional Korean rice wine.

Me, Jeff and Sungku had a bit of a rest on the grass for a bit while the other guys went on the search for a littel more drink to bring to us. After an hour or so we figured we should go find them, they might be lost. Well. Not quite They had made it back to our original table and had ordered not one bottle of rice wine, but 3. They had also managed to start Chinese Gan-bei'ing (bottoms up) and were once again, in another blurred state. Dushon was passed out on the table within 30 minutes of that and Sungku and Ryan had to take him home. Me, Richie and Ariel were the men who had to stay behind to do the evil deed. Finish of the liqs.
Made it home, and out it was. But no, not for the whole night. Just a little power nap before another go at 'er again. That'll be the next and final Korean post.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Night 5 (I think)

Well, since this was all about a month ago now, some of the days and nights are blurring together. This is another good night. Richie had manged to get a number from a girl one of the first nights he was in Seoul. The three boys headed off to Apgujeong (the richest part of Korea) to meet her and a friend she was bringing out.

I, of course, was working again, but me and Sungku headed out there and met them at a pub where they'd been for a good while now. They had all had a good number of beers and tequila shots by the time we got there. Richie and the girl were pretty, ummm, close should I say, and the other boys were semi-irate at the other girl for leaving.

First of all, they let me know how expensive Seoul was to eat at. Before they told me anything more, I told them they let 2 Korean girls pick where to eat in Apgujeong. Bad move. Koran girls love to spend money on (what I call) nothing more than mediocre. They had Japanese food and of course the girls didn't even budge to get cash for the 80$ meal. Not good when you convert it to Chinese Yuan for two of the guys.

The boys with the 'other' girl

As well, the boys told the girls their real ages. Skins and Scott being 23 and Richie 24. Both girls were 25. Right away, the girls friend she brought changed her attitude and said she didn't like young guys who were in mature and no experiences. It wasn't that, that got the guys going, but her saying she has to leave at 10 o'clock or her parents will be angry with her. She just cut the guys off for being too young, and no she says she has a CURFEW. In Korea, a curfew if normal when you live with your parents (and especially when you are a girl). My gf had to be home at 12 most nights and she was 28!!!

Anyways, we continued with the 2000 ($2) won tequila shots and beer. It was a nice pub with a wicked name. Will be back again I hope.

Skins is happy at the " What Sub' Pub

From right: Me, Sungku, Richie, Richies girl (name who knows)

From there we headed out and across the street to another 안주(side dish with drinks) house where you get to choose three random side dishes for $12. Cheap beer and soju are also involved. There we continued to fog our brains while entwining another table in our despair. The two China boys had been speaking Chinese lots since nobody (they thought) understood them. 'Course one of the girls understood, they noticed, and they were over at their table within the minute. A relatively quiet group of Koreans, but we were bouncing back and forth between tables and making their night more lively than they expected.

Skins scaring a random Korean guy.

Another occasion was on the subway when they were speaking Chinese, about what else, a pretty girl on the train. After a couple of minutes of talking, once again they realize an older women had a huge smile on her face and her ears looked like they were burning. They gave an uh-oh, and asked her if she spoke Chinese. She did, and they talked with her a bit about it. She was actually friendly and talked with them... I think if it was an older Korean women who understood them, she would have been outraged and angry and not given them a 2nd chance to chat.

Suungku and her friend Justine (Scott was fixed Justine would be his future wife)

Back to the night. The 안주 bars can be a bit quiet, so once we noticed our eyes were closing it was off we went. There are two main bars in the area and we sat at the intersection contemplating which to try. We chose the right, and Sungku talked to them about which was better to get in. They said it's all the same ownership so you can go in both for one cover price (about $10). So, we head in to find the place absolutely empty. There were about 6 people in the bar, but I think they were all paid to be in there and dance. We left the bar and Richie and Dushon broke into a 'strike a pose' dance as I have called it. Take a look...

We were quite disappointed. We got our one free drink with cover, jumped around by ourselves on the dance floor and then decided to check out the other place (expecting it to be about the same.) We got into the other place, turned the corner and boom, like 20 people in line to check their coats. The place was packed..like 300 people or so and the drinks were even cheaper. Not sure why the bouncer didn't just ell us to go there in the first place, but oh well, they're bouncers. We gav'er well that night. Danced, drank, chatted, and what not. The other guys were torched as they started long before me. Dushon was trying to walk up the stairs, missed, and his foot went right the the hold between steps. Fell over, and took another Korean with him. Up comes the bouncer. He;s thinking, oh well, it was fun, but I'm gonna get kicked out. The bouncer says "Hey, I like your style, let me buy you a drink." Scott's a little confused, but says, sure and off they go.

We managed to get home OK. Although in the end my first guess was true. We were in the ritzy area of town, and the boys had no luck talking, or even dancing with anyone without getting a snubbed nose or a back in the face. All in all, another good night in the books.

Almost done with the Korean week. Only 1 more to come. Colin

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 4

We started our first day all together heading to Sejong University where Sungku graduated. I have been going there once a week for some Korean tutoring and since my new tutor is a cute girl, the boys decided they'd like to come too.

Unfortunately, I didn't warn her they were coming and saying she is shy is an understatement. Course our hung over states didn't help, and we decided to just et some grub instead. Ryan and Scott didn;t even touch their food, but managed half way through breaky to go have a smoke and came back in 15 mins later with a pitcher (1.6 L) of Cass Red (6.9% beer).

Anyways, after the meal she had some excuse or other to get away from us as fast as possible. Sungku was feeling sick so she went home, and the four LBC boys were left to meander around on a sullen gray day.

Children's Big Park was just across the street so we headed over as I know there are some animals and fountains to see there at least. The China Boys were enthralled with the little Korean kids running all around and of course they said how much cuter they were than Chinese kids. 'Course everywhere I go people always say the kids look better than at home. Guess it's jsut whats new and different always looks better.

The boys also enjoyed the Korean midle school girls. I never really saw many school uniforms in China, so their eyes were buggin when they realized most girls wore plaid skirts and ties to school here in Korea. Of course they had to get a pic.

The park was quite fun and we got a godo chuckle out of the animals. This next vid is hilarious to us, but not sure if you'll quite get the same kick out of it. Just listen to the words at the start. LOL.

Not sure if there were any don't feed the animal signs, but the Koreans didn't listen anyways. Here are some monkeys that kept us amused for probably a solid half hour.

Considering the lousy day, we made the most of it. I had to take off and go back to work...yah, somebody still has to pay the big Korean bills.

I directed the boys to a downtown area where they could see some traditional stuff, as well as some, not so traditional girls. Late in the day they said they managed to get out fo teh subway, but stopped and chilled at the Family Mart (Korea's 7-11) drinking water and coffee for a couple of hours, then headed right home.

The first time he's been behind the wheel in a long time.

They did enjoy the construction south of the Han River. Coming from Langley, where you never see a crane...to see 20 in a 2 block radius is quite the sight.

Sim City Korea

Be back again, soon. Colin

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 3

Well...after a few hours sleep it was time to roll out of bed. For what. Well a Canucks playoff hockey game of course. I found a site where I can watch live hockey right from CBC. In the end maybe I would have rather not watched it, but hey, at least the Dallas series ended right.

I had to work in the early afternoon so Scott and Richie headed off into Seoul for the day. They were planning on going to a underwater bridge (10 cm's underwater) where you could walk across the mighty Han River and feel like your walking on water.

They manged to order some noodles by themselves at a little basement restaurant. From the picture I figured out they had eaten Japanese U-Dong.

From their accounts, they managed to see the bridge, but was most easily distracted from a peculiar traditional looking boat.

This may have been a traditional boat in the past, but now, due to Korea's recent craze it had been turned into a soccer boat.

Richie was in heaven, Scott, well...he enjoyed himself at least (although probably stepping on/running over at least a couple of kids).

I met back up with Scott and Richie right away after work as the final member of the reunion was arriving at the bus station. Skins (Ryan) arrived easliy and I met him just as he got off the bus.

Seoul Subway Platform

Like father like son

We sat down at the closest little food tent and got ourselves a round of brews to celebrate the final arrival.

Not too sure what happened in the evening, I think lots of stories and drinks at my place and a good sleep to get ready for the next day.