I haven't been writing much about my weekends lately. Couldn't tell you why, though.
A couple of weekends ago, I went on the Wine Train, which did indeed get a post of its own. However, I didn't mention the entire experience. You see, while I went down to stay near Suwon on Friday night, our friend Padraic had a leaving party to attend that night. Post-party, however, he headed into Seoul, so he'd be a bit closer to Suwon the next morning. Unfortunately, he'd had a bit to drink at the leaving party and had to ask his boyfriend to pick him up at the station. Not just upstairs at an exit at the station - no, right from the platform. His clothes got dirty and so his boyfriend washed them - along with his phone. This caused problems, as naturally we were set to meet at a Dunkin' Donuts in Suwon Station and it turned out that there were two but there was no way to find out Padraic's ETA or which Dunkin' Donuts he might end up at. He made it with minutes to spare and off we went to spend the day drinking wine and the evening out in Itaewon - the usually Dolce Vita, Stompers and Soho.
Ray, Carol, and Melissa crashed at my place so that we could get up the next day for Buddha's Birthday Parade, aka Lotus Festival. We met Brian and and Sharlene to try out the newest place in Haebangchon - HBC. It was absolutely the worst brunch I've had in Korea- and that's saying something that is pretty impressive, actually, as I've had some odd breakfasts here in the land where breakfast is normally kimchi and rice. After food that bad the only thing we could do was hop in a cab, head to Insadong and go and have lunch at a restaurant I've been going to since the first year I arrived in Korea where the food has always been fabulous.
After that we headed over to Jogyesa Temple. After a quick peek around (and a lot of photos) we ended up watching, and then participating in, some traditional Korean drumming and dancing. Next up was an incredibly bad talent show and some ping pong playing, followed by the main event: the parade. I've been every year I've been in Korea and it's still pretty cool. Lanterns, flaming dragons, lots of lit floats. We ended up right behind a row of seats occupied by some halmonis (grandmothers) who took good care of us - snagged us some seats, got us all some lanterns towards the end of the parade, and, wait for it... beat up a Japanese spectator who was waving his flag too vigorously for one halmoni's liking. Okay, maybe she just hit him a couple of times with her umbrella, but still. To make the whole thing funnier, there were a row of police officers whose job it was to hold up a rope. Yep, no silly barriers for this parade, they had dudes who had to stand and hold up a rope. They didn't do a thing about the altercation. Hilarious, yes?
The next weekend was a hashing weekend - a bunch of us went down to Songtan and rented hotel rooms. The run itself wasn't much fun, seeing as it was raining and the short straw way of choosing hares didn't work too well. On top of a series of hard to follow hashes, the hares crossed their own trail, which is a big no-no. There was a huge On After, which was a great deal of fun, but the funniest part of all was the hotel rooms. Wacey, Sharlene and I started off sharing a double bed. That would have been cosy but fine, but then Kevin showed up. I guess Kevin had had a few drinks because he couldn't remember which hotel room he was in. Apparently he wandered the third floor looking for an open door. He walked in, asked if Countess was there and when he was told no, asked if the people in the hotel room were hashers. When he got a yes, he threw himself into the bed and started cuddling. We had to push the bed against the wall to ensure none of us fell out. I skipped out on Southside the next day but joined everyone for the On After at Wolfhound. Naturally, we stayed for the quiz, though it was fairly killer.
Almost part of that weekend was the fantastic Cinco de Mayo - granted, the party thrown by Tomatillo's wasn't great. They ran out of both food and booze. I grew older in the lineup for the margaritas and then I blew May's entire budget during some intoxicated book buying. Oops. That Friday I went to the circle for the Full Moon hash, though I didn't get off work in time to run it. However, can't complain about a night at Scrooges.
Saturday I headed down south once more to meet Melissa, Carol and Ray. We saw the new Star Trek, which was pretty damn awesome, and then had galbi and beer. By the end of it we were all ina pretty good mood and so we headed up to Seoul. We ended up smoking a hookah at Alexandria's and then going back to Sharlene's for rum and Cherry Coke (that was my first experience with Cherry Coke and I can't say I was that impressed). Then we decided to try an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) that someone in the military must have given to Countess and then she left it behind when she moved out. I tell you, "experiencing" the MRE was one of the best evenings I've had lately. First off, they are pretty damn delicious, which was unexpected. It was vegetarian, with some Potato Sticks, cake, some ice tea mix, and the tiniest little bottle of Tabasco sauce. The best bit was using the just-add-water heater thingy. On the back it instructs you to lean your meal in the heater thingy up against "a rock or something". We spent quite a lot of time joking about what you could use as the "or something." Considering how hot the package got, your boobs would not be an adequate "or something."
I hashed Southside the next day and it was an awesome trail - though I was soooo waiting for that downhill after we practically walked up an entire mountain, only to have it turn out to be all stairs. My knees are not fond of stairs. I scooped a bunch of cheesy movies and a couple of books at the Wolfhound book swap afterwards and then we got our asses handed to us at trivia - the only section we did at all well on was the gay history section, though we failed to come up with a famous gay cellist. In fact, other than Yo Yo Ma, we failed to come up with the name of any cellist. Ach, well. You can't win them all (and lately, we can't win most!)
This past weekend, I spent Sunday running many an errand. I bought new jeans (and a new jean skirt, which I didn't need and was no good for my already fucked up budget) and grabbed some groceries from the international food place and then got my hair cut. They spent ages telling me how nice and straight my hair was and then they spent another age straightening my hair! That started off the running late trend that lasted the rest of the evening. I did manage to clean, shower and be the first person to meet Alex for his birthday dinner (only because everyone else was later). We ate at Villa Sortino's - the Italian food there is incredibly good. After that Adrian and I joined some of his coworkers in Sinchon, as I needed to be there for Crystal's birthday at Beer O'Clock. It took us ages (due to a couple of rounds) to find our way to Crystal's birthday celebration, but we made it eventually. Crystal was hilariously trashed and very amusing until she took off rather early and we ended up at Mike's Cabin. I've heard of the Cabin for years but that was my first time there and I have to say I quite liked it. There was some makoli in the streets with some teachers from Taiwan and then some norae bang and basically I didn't get home until about 7 a.m.
As such, I spent the majority of Sunday sleeping. Even though it was obviously I was going to want to sleep through the hash, I figured I didn't need to set the alarm to get up in time for Shawn's surprise party. And I didn't, sort of. However, I woke up only an hour before I had to be there and of course, there can be no being late for a surprise party. Unfortunately, I had intended to do some more grocery shopping before having to cook for the Mexican potluck theme. Since there was no time to shop (or even shower), I ended up making a little dish I like to call "the Mexican Contents of my Fridge." Turns out that just about anything tastes Mexican if you cook it in taco spices. I made sort of quesidillas with onion, tomato, peppers, and cheese filling. It's good that Shawn's a vegetarian because there would have been no time to defrost any meat.
The party was fun. The only non-hasher present was my coworker, Sara. She spent a lot of time looking perplexed, as all the hashers kept introducing themselves using their hashing name. You'd look confused too if people kept claiming to be called Skywalker, Irish Spring, Desperately Seeking Dick, Marco Pornho or Flip Me Over. Shawn being late, as always, we started in on the snacks and margaritas. That was cool, though it meant we ran out of margarita mix fairly quickly. It turns out that Kool Aid and tequila is almost as good. After cake, ice cream and jello, four of us split because we wanted to make it to the quiz at Wolfhound - we made it only because we called the quiz master from the cab and begged him to wait five minutes for us. Since I had brought a plate for the potluck, to add to the hilarity of us dashing through Itaewon, I did it brandishing the plate in front of me as some sort of shield. We didn't win, but I was pleased to find that I actually knew a fair amount in the genetics round - even a few things that our residence science gal didn't. It was a tiring weekend, in spite of the fact that I slept through Sunday, though a great one. In fact, lately I've been on a roll with great weekends.
So I have big hopes for this weekend's Bundang Pubway (aka a subway pub crawl.) After all, I don't think I've even gotten off at more than two of those stations and this Saturday I'm going to visit the entire line! Thankfully it's a short line though, as most Seoul Subway lines couldn't be done in a day.