Ignore the date at this point, let’s just get this done.
The night before, amongst the talk in the common room, I mentioned how I would love to do karaoke. It’s so different from the UK that I always make an effort to wrangle some people into joining me if I can. Hanna was keen, even with her sprained ankle, which she insisted was healed enough to leave the hostel. As it turned out, quite a lot of people were on board with the idea; more than I had even talked to. The plans beforehand were different, but everyone’s now ended with karaoke. My plan, along with Kelly, an Israeli called Tal, and the German from Mecklenburg, was dinner first. Kelly asked whether it should be BBQ or bibimbap. I immediately said BBQ, as I’d just had bibimbap with Yoomin. Perhaps I said it too quickly in hindsight, it could have come across as a bit rude. Everyone was fine with it, so maybe it doesn’t matter. The place we chose was just up the road, s I got to see more of the area. Lots of small buildings with restaurants and bars, but very quiet.
One Korean man, arm in arm with his girlfriend, said to me, “hi! How are you?”
“I’m good, and you?” No response. That was either all he knew, or all he wanted to say. We arrived at the BBQ place, the ground floor almost entirely empty. We had a choice of only about six cuts of pork. I don’t remember exactly what we chose, but they were good, and were not filling enough to only order one. It’s cool how the staff come to cook it for you. Although, I remember there being more rice and cheese before. Still nice enough, and everyone was too polite to eat the last bit of meat. Eventually I was polite enough to break the stalemate.
Now we were finished, it was time to meet up with everyone else and head to karaoke. Everyone arrived at different times, but eventually we gathered to walk up a street full of neon lights and club music. Unfortunately, we were not headed to the parlour that had glass walls overlooking the street with different shaped rooms, although I did do a little dance for them from the street. Our parlour was empty when we arrived, so we got a fancy room. For the next hour and a half, and with help from alcohol, we had the best time ever. The only blemish was when the friends of someone else showed up and were complete buzzkills. They complained at the choice of songs, how they’d been waiting forever for their song, and then at the end one of them left the room because they hated ‘Under Pressure’ just that much. It was the only song we scored 100 on, by the way.
Lastly, a quick drunken trip to my second photo booth of the day, a ‘quick’ drop into a nightclub where they let you smoke indoors, and a half-run home through barely familiar streets when I realised how desperately I needed a wee. Successful evening all round. Did you know that the bedsheets at the hostel are the same as I found when I moved into my flat in Hong Kong?
I did have one more day in Seoul, but I think I’ll keep that one for me. The important thing to know is that Yoomin is an amazing friend, and I don’t deserve her. This trip was excellent. When I came back to Hong Kong, one of my flatmates said I was noticeably happier, and I could have believed it. I don’t think there was anything bad about this trip outside of the insane stress I had arriving at check-in (ad the money issues of the second night).
I honestly couldn’t have enjoyed myself any more than I did. Who knows, maybe next time Yoomin and I meet will be in New York? Reckon I should give my bank account time to recover before then.
END OF SEOUL 2022