The lovely weekend was a rush around Seoul for most of Saturday night complete with kebabs, Long Islands and salsa.
I met Jennifer and her crew in Itaewon for a lovely sushi dinner at Rollin’ Japanese. We had a lovely time talkin’ shop and discussing all the changes hagwons are constantly experiencing. I ordered a rainbow roll and California roll, more excited about seeing my two favorites on the sushi menu then really focusing on whether or not they were the kind of rolls I wanted.
In that wonderful way of being in Korea, the sushi rolls came out completely different than I expected both were stuffed with crab meat, carrots and cucumbers then topped with the ingredients that determined the rolls name. Each roll was delicious though I think they would benefit from less crab meat and mayonnaise in the future. The entire experience has me wondering what sushi is like in Japan.
After dinner we checked out Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. I ordered the caramel cheesecake on a regular cone. For my inaugural Basin Robbins visit, it was a poor choice. The caramel was much too sweet and overpowered the cheesecake ice cream. The whole thing left me wishing for real cheesecake more than appeasing my appetite for ice cream.
Next we settled on Caliente. As far as I know, the only salsa club in all of South Korea. We hung out for a round of drinks. I ordered a Long Island that came out far too strong and far too watery. It was shocking to see Korean men and women out on the dance floor showing off their best Latin-inspired moves. I was sufficiently intimidated after the first song and remained firmly in my seat until moving on to Hongdae where I met up with the Chungju EPIK gang.
I first met up with John, Hannah, Sarah and Ken in BEF–Best Friend. The bar is trendy, cool and modern. Yet another Hongdae haunt going for the industrial warehouse re-imagined vibe. The bar was nice and quiet, a great place for a second dinner of chicken and coleslaw. We played a couple of drinking games as I introduced Hannah to cojingmek which is apparently called cosomek as well.
Around 2 a.m. we made our way to a nearby club joining up with the complete EPIK posse. Even Karlie came, despite having moved to Seoul just a few days before. I helped myself to a free beer and jumped on the dance floor.
Just as I was gettin’ my groove on with Sonia I was asked, “Hangukin?” As in “Korean?” Only it wasn’t me the older Korean man was interested in. It was Sonia. I replied letting him know that we are both American, “Migukin.” He nodded, turned around and left. I had no idea it was so easy to turn men away.
Not too much later, we found ourselves catching up and winding down at another club. I have no idea what the bar was called, but it looked like the kind of place you could smoke a joint. If you could get weed in Korea.
We sat around drinking beer discussing teaching, Korea, relationships and all the usual conversation before heading back to Chungju at 6 a.m. Just the kind of night I love that makes me never want to live in a place where bars close at 1 a.m. (Ahem. Utah!)
The super sweet bartender even let my drunk self talk to him in Korean. I’ve been needing someone to encourage my efforts at hangeukmal. He answered my questions in Korean, spoke slowly and asked me questions too. It was practically a whole conversation–short and basic, but still I’m going to hang on to that accomplishment all week.
At some point after the kebabs on the slow walk to the subway, the group shrank from everyone to just Scott and me. It was nice to reconnect with my old neighbor as we took the subway and bus home through the breaking dawn.
By the time I made it to my comfy bed at 9 a.m. I was more than happy to crash out for the next eight hours.
Just another Sunday in the ROK.