In four days, Josh and I managed to absolutely destroy our bodies and very nearly out minds. Here’s how it happened.
This was Liberation Day in Korea and a national holiday. We had been planning of visiting a water park but on Wednesday night it was decided that we would climb a mountain instead. ‘We’ was made up of Josh, Susie and myself. Susie arrived in Incheon bright and early whilst Josh and I slept through the worst of our hangover from the night before.
We were just about to ready to go, in fact, we had just left the house and were just running back to grab an umbrella (just in case) when the thunderstorm started. The three of us flumped onto the sofa and started to work on Plan C, which it turned out, was the classic ‘find food!’.
Once our spicy bacon and rice was finished things were looking a little brighter, as they always seem to after a good meal. We decided to risk the weather and trust that the sun would keep shining. By the time we arrived it was hot, real hot, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We grabbed some water and decided to quickly use the public loo before setting off. That’s how I ended up getting by bits squeezed by a smiling old man. Later that day I wrote:
“We were about to start our climb up Gyeyang mountain. At the bottom were some nice looking public toilets. I went in with a friend (because guys can’t pee alone) and, in the ready position, I prepared for the release. An elderly man approached and asked in Korean where we’re from. He seemed to be a little deaf and so come right up to my face, pushing his hairy, slightly waxy ear near to my face as I told him we were form England. “Yongook!” He exclaimed, showing he understood.
Then he looked down. By this point, not being too happy with his ear in my face, I had put me member away. Still he looked down. ‘Gochu’ he said, smiling. ‘Gochu’. I admit I got a little worried. Gochu means either penis, or pepper, and the only pepper about was mine.
‘I don’t understand’, I told him in Korean. To which he leaned forward (I was still facing the urinal), looked over my shoulder and… and… and squeezed my man bits. Twice. With a smile.
I took this as my cue to exit and I quickly left the public toilet. Angry, bothered, bewildered and with the unhappy realisation that I still needed to pee.”
After that we continued up the mountain, taking the dirt and rock track up the mountain, rather than taking the stairs. The mountain was busy but our route wasn’t and for most of the time we were all alone as we wound our way through the trees and grass to the top of the mountain. We summated at 395m and celebrated with ice cold makkoli, an alcoholic drink made by fermenting rice and wheat.
It was great to see the view from the top. Incheon looked like an advanced game of Sim City, hundreds of huge apartment blocks and units, all in the same cream colour. It was beautiful in a uniform, urban kind of way.
We took the stairs down and had a celebration beer at the bottom before heading home to shower and change. We had work the next day so we grabbed some Korean BBQ for dinner and headed into Bupyeong for arcade games and beers. Well, some things have to be done.
With aching muscles we got through a Friday at work. Then it was the weekend! With plans involving an early start on Sunday we decided Friday was the night to party Seoul style. After work we jumped on a train, stopping to say hello to Mira, who wasn’t joining us for the night. We got to Hongdae and found a nice little rooftop bar that was unfortunately completely empty because I think it should be a popular place. If your reading this and looking for a nice rooftop bar with huge, high backed sofas and amazing low drinks prices then please check out TERRACE bar, opposite ZEN bar in Hongdae.
What followed was a strange night. We headed to our usual go to, FF Club, a rock club, and met a friend of ours, Sonu, who runs a kebab stall outside the club and a restaurant in Hongdae. We first met him around the time I arrived in Korea and have ended up drinking with him at his house after nights out a few times. We ended up standing outside the club for longer than we eventually spent inside it, but after a few hours of dancing we were out again and stepping into the daylight. We spent some time with Sonu again and went to his house for a few more drinks. Susie and I left after a while, and, on his request, we left Josh with Sonu and some other friends we had and that night.
He didn’t thank us in the morning.
End of Part 1