A Few Busy Weekends and St. Paddy’s in Seoul

This is not my photoThis post is a little overdue, but I’ve had a busy few weekends. I’ve done a lot of sightseeing, quite a bit of partying and even found myself at a St. Paddy’s day festival in Seoul.

Last Friday was much like most others. After work Joe and I jumped into a taxi and got ourselves to Bupyeong. We bar hopped for a bit before ending up (as usual) in Woodstock. After a while Joe took me to Ho Bar, part of a huge bar chain that I had managed to avoid until then. It looked like we were the only westerners. Most Koreans are really friendly and when you’re in a club you’ll often find that people want to dance with you. The girls are often quite reserved but are usually happy to join in the fun after a while, the guys are a lot more enthusiastic. I’ve found that there are three types of Korean guys in the clubs here. The genuinely friendly ones who are more than happy to have a dance. Then there are the quiet ones who stand at the side of the dance floor, but jump at the opportunity to dance the second you beckon them over, these are my favourites. Most just seem to want an excuse to join in and once they start they usually don’t stop. Finally there are those who think it’s funny to try and make you look like a fool, these are common but easily identifiable. It seems if you actually dance with them they quickly get bored and leave you alone. Korean guys are great fun generally. While in Ho Bar I also met a fellow Brit, Nikki, and some of her friends. We stayed in there for a while before heading back to Woodstock and then home.

On Saturday I met up with Nikki and we went to Namsan Tower.  Spring has truly hit Korea and the weather was great, warm enough to leave the jacket at home and wear a hoodie. Namsan, or N Seoul Tower, marks the highest point in Seoul and there is a 360 degree observatory a couple of hundred feet up. We decided to be lazy and get the cable car to the top. The queue was huge but the line moved quickly and soon we were zipping our way up to the top of Namsan Mountain. By the time we got up it was nearing sunset. Unfortunately, the air above Seoul isn’t the cleanest. I’ve heard about  ‘Yellow Dust’, or ‘Asian Dust’, sand whipped up from the deserts of Mongolia and transported across Asia. Sand isn’t so bad, but it picks up a few things along the way.This is not my photo. The ever reliable Wikipedia says ‘Sulfur (an acid rain component), soot, ash, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants including heavy metals and other carcinogens, often accompany the dust storms, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi, pesticides, antibiotics, asbestos, herbicides, plastic ingredients, combustion products as well as hormone mimicking phthalates’. I’m not sure if it was this or bog-standard smog that filled the air, but either way the sun  set high in the sky into a layer of dense, grey cloud. Despite this the view from the tower was good. We went up in what is apparently the fastest lift in the world, shooting up and down at 14.5 km/h. Visiting the tower was a great day out and we were ideally placed for a night out in Myeong-dong.

Myeongdong Night FestivalIn Myeong-dong that night there was a night festival in the street, the first of many that will continue until next December. We met up with Joe and got ourselves a few bottles of Soju. The festival was just getting started and it looked like it might be good but after an hour or so we decided to head to Hongdae and FF’s. By 3am, earlier than usual, we were all ready to go home. Happy hour can be deadly.

Sunday was for golf and a few beers in Woodstock. The week was normal and flew by in minutes.

This weekend was St. Patricks. I stayed in Friday, got a pizza and watched a movie. On Saturday, Joe and I went to the St Paddy’s day festival in Sindorim. It was pretty busy, a stage in the centre played host to Irish dancers and an Irish band, Sweet Murphy’s Fancy. We met Kerr and a friend of his, Jae Hyun, and I had also planned to meet with Nikki there. I also ran into Sarah, the CouchSurfer who hosted me when I first arrived in Korea. The festival was good, lots of people dancing and even drinking in the daytime, not something I’m used to in Korea. I’m sure the Korean’s who walked past must have been a little confused by the hundreds of green dressed waygooks (foreigners) drinking beer and filling the subways. From there a few of us went straight to Hongdae and got ourselves some Korean microbrewed beer at a nice little pub called ‘The Queens Head’. Later we met up with some others in a Irish pub and eventually ended up in FF Club. After a good night and just a little drama we headed home, via Woodstock in Bupyeong. I slept well that night and late into Sunday.

Looking forward to a good week at work, we’ve got a new Korean teacher starting, hopefully everything will go smoothly.

James Vs World


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