A month before I left Illinois for Korea, there was this girl in my salsa class that I wanted to get to know. A few days later I knew her, and as it turns out, she grew up in Busan. I hung out with her a lot during my last week in America, and she told her best friend/ex about me. She said he was really interested in meeting me once I got to Busan, saying how he's a super nice person. I chatted with him a few times on Skype, and he was just. This Friday I invited him and his boy to get dinner with a big group of GETs (Guest English Teachers) in Deokchon.
Our group met and the plan was to eat at this Italian restaurant that someone said was pretty delicious. When we got upstairs I was immediately unimpressed by the decor which looked like a purple doll house, and smelled like a purple doll house. There were even pillows on the seats. Imagine twenty foreigners packed into this gaytalian doll house and yeah, that's when I decided that I would not be eating with them. I went back to wait for the Ex and his friend as well as Brett who was coming all the way from Hadan. When the Koreans arrived, Ex introduced himself as Joe, and his buddy as Jeon. They spoke the best English I've heard out of any Korean so far. Fluent enough to fuck around with, plus they looked like jokers from the very beginning.
Jeon and Joe, being seniors at PNU had no reason to ever be in Deokchon. So we wondered around for a while until we decided on Okkudak, a famous baked chicken joint next to a famous fried chicken joint. Damn near died and went to heaven. Joe and Jeon were so interested in getting to know me. Of course they started with the obligatory Korean questions, "How old are you? Where are you from?" I haven't gotten the blood type question yet, but pretty much everyone in Korea and Japan knows their blood type. It's kind of like astrology to them. To make sure I understood their culture, they told me that as my seniors, they would buy this meal, and that I would get first round at the bar. Going Dutch is more popular in Seoul, but Busan is a friendlier city so they pay like this.
We finished the chicken and went to Wa Bar, a beer garden.
Jeon was the bigger ball-buster of the two for sure. He floored me with this fucking story:
"You know Korea has Domino's pizza? They were the first ever recall in Pizza history. It was too eh..."
"mmm maybe...I can not translate the word. Anyway, I was teaching a group of retarded-"
"Do you mean retarded as in just slow, or as in mentally disabled?"
"Ah yes, disabled. I was in charge of a group of mentally retarded children a few years ago, and the principal ordered three Domino's pizzas. He was very proud of this because each pizza was 33 thousand won ($30). For retarded children, you must watch what they eat, because they don't know when to stop. I have seen a small boy eat an entire pizza before. Anyways, when they ate the Domino's pizza, they ate only one slice and then they stopped and said, 'Teacher...I can't eat anymore.' So I tried a slice too. A few minutes later I just felt completely stuffed. Even the principal tried it, and after that he said, 'Just throw the other two away.' That was the first time there was a pizza recall."
I'm dying for a slice of that pizza, to satisfy my curiosity more than my hunger. It's a damn shame you can only get the watered down stuff now.
We decided to split off from the group to meet two female friends of Jeon in Seomyeon and drink at Metal City. Joe apparently had a lot of things planned for me. Of things he really wanted to do were
- Introduce me to his girlfriend
- Introduce me to his single female friends
- Take me back to Nampo-dong to shop and explore.
- Show me dozens of great restaurants round his campus and by Haeundae beach.
- Take a trip around Korea for a week with me and a 3-4 other people.
But for now, I just wanted to hear him talk about the difference between Clubs and Night clubs.
"Clubs are like where you go to dance and drink with friends and listen to loud music. Night clubs say Night Club instead of Club on the sign, and they are for meeting women. It is a Korean thing. You can sit down at a table, order something and tell the waiter you would like some female company. He will bring you some and then you will pour them drinks and chat. Who knows, they might like you, or if they don't they will leave. This is the only place in Korea where you should tip the waiter, and the girls are just regular girls, not prostitutes. There is a dance floor as well, and many Koreans just go for fun. It is like speed dating."
I did more research on this and the night clubs are known more popularly as Booking Clubs and like many things, the reality is not as awesome as the description. But I'll reserve my judgment until I actually go to one. Stay tuned.