Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Long Weekend Is Never Long Enough

But this past one was a blast, minus the slight electronics problems (basically the universe has taken out my laptop and iPod in the same weekend. That seems very cruel.)

As long weekends go, my last was tiring. We went to Dokdo/Ullengdo and it was a great trip, but the kind from which you come back from unprepared to start the week fresh - I never quite felt I had time to unpack or unwind for the rest of the work week. This past weekend turned out perfectly - the weather was sunny and cool (T-shirt and jeans cool, minus any sweating), I mostly just chilled and we rode rollercoasters at Everland.

The month of October is a month of birthdays for me - this past one was Annie's. She skipped out on Ladies' Night on Thursday because she had an online class the next day, but Martha, Orin and I went. It was crazy busy, as you'd expect with a Friday off and free drinks. We went briefly to Helios but spent most of our time in the Loft. At one point they had run out of glasses at the bar and everyone was off washing them. Since the ladies have to keep their cup to get free drinks, we were all rather drunkenly annoyed to be kept waiting for no reason when I got the genius idea to just serve myself and half the line. I am quite surprised they didn't chuck me out of the bar for that. Not only was I not kicked out, they didn't even cut off my free drinks!

Obviously it was a late night. Orin and Martha stayed at my place and the next morning we decided it would be a fine idea to walk the one block over and sing happy birthday to Annie - however, at this point it was so early none of us had even had the time to get hungover. We hauled ass to Indigo, which was full of all the same people as had been in the Loft the night before, plus an army guy named Bobby who was in uniform and having lunch on a workday. He looked mighty surprised when three drunks plopped themselves down at his table as there weren't any free ones. Turns out that while I remember being introduced to him (friend of my coworker Lauren), he didn't have a clue who I was until Lauren showed up and he pieced it together. I can only imagine what was running through his head...

Orin, Martha and I went back to my place in search of a nap, which turned out to be difficult. Orin never shuts up (he talks more than I do!) and when he finally ran out of steam, Martha started coughing up a lung. However, Martha and I had dinner plans, so we attempted to look presentable - and awake. Annie's birthday dinner was at Villa Sortino's, which was fabulous. I had always assumed it was a bit pricey for my budget, but it wasn't acutally much more expensive than most good Italian restaurants here AND they served unlimited French bread. It was soooo good and I was so hungry, I deeply suspect I might have eaten an entire loaf. After stuffing ourselves, we headed over to Homo Hill to have drinks at Queen's. The party later moved to Soho, but Martha and I bowed out, pleading exhaustion, over-eating, and a desire to actually make it to Everland the next morning.

Getting to Everland proved difficult - at Nambu Bus Terminal they claimed that there wasn't a bus to Everland (though once we got there, we found out that indeed there was one). We wandered over to Gangnam and braved traffic to hop on the bus while it was stopped at a light. After a nice nap on the bus, we hit the park. We went on all the rollercoasters and a couple of other rides, including the music one that I will never forget riding for the first time with Babs, who was from Ghana and had never been on an amusement park ride before. The T-express rollercoaster was the scariest - beyond having a near vertical drop from incredibly high up, I wasn't allowed to wear my glasses and it was dark. Very cool. Martha makes a very good rollercoaster buddy.

After Everland, Martha and I retreated to the bars of Haebangchon, as neither of us was sure we'd have the energy for a night out in Itaewon. We stayed long enough to close down first the Orange Tree and then the downstairs Phillies, though I personally only made it through two beers. My reputation as the slowest beer drinker ever is not tarnished, in fact, I feel that perhaps I should contact the Guiness Book of World Records. Bobby joined us briefly for a beer.

We were up relatively early the next day, and Martha made coffee. It was really nice having someone over for the entire weekend to chill with, and the coffee making in the morning was an added bonus. We wandered out to the Waffle House for breakfast - the previous two days of Indigo breakfasts had fully satisfied my need for English breakfasts, so we thought we'd mix it up. After we ate, Martha wanted a cigarrette and we ended up sitting outside a coffee shop for about two or three hours. What I love about my new neighbourhood is that if you do that, people you know will inevitably walk by.

We walked into Itaewon slowly and by a slightly different route than usual, which brought us past a tiny solo art exhibition. It wasn't the most fascinating, but they gave us free magnets. We ended up at What the Book and I bent my book ban to buy two books that were $1 each and the newest Bust magazine - after all, with my computer out of commission and no TV, I'm going to have lots of reading time. Jenn met us for dinner at a new taco place called Amigos, which had decent food, and then we headed over to play trivia. There were lots of missing people, notably Alex whose Dad is visiting and we didn't do as well as usual, but it was fun. I walked home with Annie and Seedra and retired to bed to read.

All in all, one of the best long weekends I've ever had in Korea.

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