Y knew I didn’t eat meat (except fish and seafood), yet she took me to a Korean BBQ restaurant called 강강술래 (Ganggangsullae). Whatever, she’s been teasing me from the very beginning we met on interpals, so I got used to it. I suppose the place was very traditional, because the first thing we had to do was to take off our shoes. At least I didn’t wear my holey socks that day. The waitress took us to our table which had very short legs and was really huge and I later found out why. The legs were so short you had to sit on the ground for whatever reasons, which can be quite problematic for westerners.
My friend has ordered a vegetarian 비빔밥 (bibimbap) and a Cass (a Korean beer) for me and she got some kind of weird pork soup for herself. I didn’t expect the beer to taste anywhere near European beers, but for my surprise it was really tasty. While Y was trying to talk with me, I was, on the other hand, trying to fit in under the table. I have no idea why would Koreans prefer sitting on the ground, but I just couldn’t handle it.
The waitress brought tons of food on the table, which didn’t look anywhere near what we’ve ordered. I haven’t paid too much attention to that, because it was so delicious anyway. Only later when she brought another food, I found out the first one was just a starter. Imagine two people sitting by a 4 meters square table totally filled with a food. I knew Koreans like to eat a lot, but what I saw in front of me, was way beyond my imagination.
I’ve ordered couple more beers just to practice my weak Korean and went straight to a 보라매공원 (Boramae Park) with Y afterwards. She took me to a small cafe in a back alley somewhere along the way. She knew I hate coffee, but she just loves to be mean to me sometimes. What a great friend I have. I gave her couple of weird looks so she treated me with cup of cold tea in return.
On the way to the park we went around street food and clothing stalls with ahjummas loudly negotiating prices. One of the clothing stall employee was carrying lot of stuff in her hands, which happened to fall on the ground. I stopped a conversation with Y to pick up the stuff for her as a good mannered gentleman. I felt like whole Seoul was staring at me at that point, asking themselves what’s that crazy fuck doing. Even Y gave me really weird looks because she didn’t understand why I would bother helping a stranger girl.
The park was packed with kids fooling around and old people practicing some kind of weird wheel steering. I saw those steering wheels in every Korean park I’ve been to, so maybe old Koreans are preparing to become bus drivers, I don’t know. Even though the park was full of people, it felt really peaceful given the location next to a busy street. We made a quick circle around the park and went to the Sillim station, as Y had to go back to school. Yeah, Koreans study until late evenings.
It was around 5PM and I wanted to practice my Korean even more, so I went back to Hongdae to look for a bar. You wouldn’t believe how hard is to find a place to drink in Seoul. Sure, there are tons of places you can get wasted, but people primarily go there for a meal and they somehow accidentally end up drunk along the way. Nobody ever plans to get drunk, right?
Anyway, I walked around the central part of Hongdae, but couldn’t find any place that would only serve some alcohol, because I wasn’t hungry at all. I somehow ended up next to the Hongik station where some university kids were shouting at me. They went something like "junkie, junkie, junkie".
Did I smell or what? Maybe they were just practicing their english. I continued my way, because spending a night in a Korean jail for beating the shit out of kids wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. After all, it was quite funny, because they couldn’t get the pronunciation right anyway.
I’ve circled the area once again and I saw a flashing "beer" sign in a back alley. It looked little bit dodgy, but I was thirsty as hell so I walked in. I greeted overly beautiful waitress around my age in Korean and quickly got her attention. They had some European beers so I thought it’s a good place to hang out for a while, even though the prices felt like the whole pub is a tourist trap. Two beers for 19 000 KRW is just way too much.
I was sipping Paulaner, when the waitress politely approached me out of nowhere. She asked where I am from and got back to her table. It was weird and cute at the same time. Meanwhile I was bitching about expensive beer on facebook and she was back at my table once again showing me some pictures on her iPhone.
She wanted to know if that’s Slovakia, but I couldn’t recognize any of that, so she just gave me a long disappointed "ooooh" as only Koreans can do. I told her to show me the pictures again and I saw a presidential palace there. Her face lit up, she said she wants to visit Slovakia, but I didn’t even have a chance to continue the conversation, because all happy, she ran back to her table. Damn.
Two older guys walked in and one of them greeted me in english. They acted like they knew the waitress, because she sat with them, so I was constantly looking their way. The guy that has greeted me noticed it and ask me to join their table. Why not? I wanted to get some alcohol for them in return, but I was quickly shut, because "this is South Korea, we are older so we pay for everything". Little did he know I’m a beer addict.
We chatted for couple of hours, having too many beers and giving compliments to the pretty waitress which she seemed to enjoy a lot. Too bad she was getting married soon. The other guy was quite quiet, except when he was giving me a hard time. He was a pro martial artist, but I was so drunk that I couldn’t resist teasing him back in a friendly way. Daddy Woo, as the talkative guy wanted me to call him, didn’t want me to get in a conflict so we all walked out of the pub to go home. I guess it was too late anyway.
Being really drunk, I walked back to my apartment across the area with my eyes shut, so I’m really surprised I didn’t die in a crazy Korean traffic. I have no idea how on earth I could open the apartment door with that broken handle, but I could find myself inside the other day. Safe and sound.
- Korea Part 0: Traveling to South Korea to See My Best Friend Gone Wrong
- Korea Part 1: An Accommodation Was Supposed to Be Easy to Find, Right?
- Korea Part 2: Chocolate, Ahjummas and How to Talk to HER
- Korea Part 3: Where Are All the Smiling Korean Girls?
- Korea Part 4: This Is South Korea, We Are Older So We Pay For Everything
- Korea Part 5: Kings, Cops and Foreign Beers
- Korea Part 6: Gyeongbokgung Palace and Gogo Bars
- Korea Part 7: Hangover, Naksan Park and Shitty Jeju City Public Transportation
Where to stay in Seoul
Are you traveling to Seoul in the near future? If you haven't booked your hotel or hostel yet, now it's the right time.
Check out my favorite sites that I use to find and book the cheapest accommodation in Seoul.