Drink! Drink! Drink!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the past year a number of people have read this blog and been nice enough to send me a message or give me a call. One thing that seems to be repeatedly mentioned in these communications is the amount of alcohol involved in many of my stories.

2013-11-30 22.47.12It’s true that both myself and many other teachers here in Korea do drink a lot. It all links back to this year being a sort of working holiday. That, and the fact that we don’t start working until around 2pm, which allows plenty of time to get rested before work.

During the week, myself and Josh will often go out to bars once or twice during the week. A few months ago we went as many as three or four times but that was impacting our wallets as well as our bodies and I’m supposed to be going on an expensive and physically demanding trip next year.

2013-10-25 01.23.05Despite this it is fair to say that we drank a lot, and when we do drink, whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, we rarely finish before 3am.  When you finish work at 9pm and you don’t know you have to wake up until midday the next day your sleeping pattern shifts. I usually go to bed around 4am each night. That’s not to say we get drunk, we just prefer to spend our time in a bar with a drink and perhaps a few friends than sit at home watching TV or writing blogs. Many Koreans seem to drink everyday of the week and so there is usually someone we know to be found in Bupyeong.

Fridays are a little different, these nights are the busiest in Bupyeong and places don’t close until around 7am. We have a routine on Fridays. Josh and I will finish work and grab a big meal, usually Korean style BBQ before heading to a popular bar for beers and a tequila or two, then it’s off to our favourite bar, Woodstock, where there is always a mishmash of people we know. We can stay here for the rest of the night, chatting, drinking and dancing. But we sometimes head to shelter, a smoky hole in the ground which never seems to have any beer, but which has a DJ on Fridays and a lovely owner.

Saturday night is Seoul night. Once again the number of big Seoul nights has decreased since a few months ago but as the weather gets colder and days become less productive the pull to go out on Saturday night, whatever the weather, is getting stronger.

2013-10-05 07.01.43Seoul has great nightlife. Hongdae, and occasionally Iteawon are out usual destinations as the clubs here are pretty good and it’s always busy. Our favourite Saturday night destination, FF Club (the F’s stand for Funky), has an hour of free drinks between 11 and midnight and this is followed by shots and beers throughout the night. If we go to Itaewon we drink about half as much as the drinks are double the price, but we have been known to run to a local convenience store (that seems much more American when you write it) to have a quick, reasonably priced drink before heading back to the dance floor.

The clubs in the UK seem to shut down around 4am and everyone goes home. At clubs here the party doesn’t even start to calm down till around 6am and most places keep open till about 7am. There is even a place in Itaewon that stays open till 11, but I’m not man (or mad) enough to have ever made it there. So nights go on late and we often won’t get home till at least 7am the next morning, and as our disgruntled housemate will confirm, we often get back later than that.

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You might be happy to hear (my mum certainly will) that, while what I’ve described sounds disastrous, I don’t generally drink much when we go out, for two reasons. Firstly, someone has to be able to get us all home. Which can take some organising as the number we call is Korean only and mine isn’t quite up to scratch. Secondly, I tutor on Sunday afternoons, and dealing with an eight year old while suffering a killer hangover is not something I enjoy. Plus it’s always nice to remember the events of night out so you can explain to your friend that the reason he woke up in a Pakistani man’s bed is because he insisted that we leave him so he could keep partying at 7am.

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Overall, it’s fair to say that I drink a lot, maybe too much in a week though I don’t feel like I drink too much on any one night. While Korea is a very safe county  I still like to keep my wits about me and remember the many good nights out I have in Seoul and Bupyeong.

James Vs World

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