Friday April 8
Friday was my friend Joanna's birthday. We got dinner to celebrate and had some drinks at a local noraebong (singing room) and sang our little hearts out - and although the group wanted to get a good rest (most of them were going on a bike trip in the southern part of Korea), we ended up walking some Seoul streets late into the evening.
Of course, we were in the one part of the city that you CANNOT get a cab late at night and the group had to abandon the plan to go to and sleep at a recommended jimjilbong (a large sauna/bath house). They tried to find another one. A closer one. Meanwhile, with my friend Quinn having to get up at about 6am and my not having anything to do - the two of us decided to pass some late hours with one of our favorite Korean past times - screen golf.
After searching for a bit - we had to call Seoul's English Help Line and they instructed us how to get to the nearest 24-hour golf zone. This also proves how valuable a service they provide...
We ordered some jajamyeon to our room (it's like a noodle dish in this dark black bean sauce - it's their "chinese food" and it's very popular here) and golfed. We left the 24-hour golf place around 6 or so and since it was so late I was able to take the subway home with the other zombies and the other people that were actually working that early on a saturday and got some rest.
Saturday April 9
Woke up somewhere in early afternoon and called some friends. Our plan was to go to the Seoul Racecourse (horse racing) sometime in the afternoon and so we met there. The race track was large, and in typical Korean style, was nice, large and surrounded on all sides with awkward English.
I'll throw a picture up so there's something nice to look at here. There's a pretty great city-view just over the course's bend.
Anyway, we stayed at the track for a few hours. We learned how to bet on the races with the Korean scoring card and a couple of us actually won. I came out down about 5 bucks but I won a few races and it was certainly worth it (entrance ticket was about 75 cents USD). It was a beautiful early Spring day and we were surrounded by cigarette-smoking Korean men who, depending on the race and the horses, were either mad enough to throw down their cards, curse in mangled Korean and spit everywhere or jump with great joy and hug anyone around. Noticeably absent were their wife and kids - although there was a large park in the middle of the racecourse - and we suspect they might have all gone there.
Koreans aren't allowed in their own country's casinos, so this may be the only place they can get the gambling going.
After the track we got some sushi in the city and were pretty exhausted. We found a DVDbong nearby, which I haven't explained is just a place that has rooms where you can rent movies and watch them. They have large selections of American and Korean movies and the small group I was with chose The Girl Next Door figuring it'd be familiar and we'd be fall asleep pretty easily. Not so. The three of us stayed glued to the movie and watched the whole thing. The room was nothing more than a very large bed and an even larger (relatively) television.
We went to my friend Nate's cousins open-mic night at a bar and listened to some cool freestyle music and hip-hop and drank some beer. Met up with some other friends and had a late night, but a fun night seeing some new places out in Itaewon.
Sunday April 10
Sunday I slept in and woke up and got some lunch with people around my town. A really good bulgogi galbi place (a combination of two good Korean things) and some great kimchi chegae (a spicy kimchi-based soup) and hung around and spent the day relaxing and eating more. Enjoying each other's company. Somewhere around 8 or 9pm we got a bit restless and someone, probably me but I don't remember, brought up the fact that there was a casino only 10 minutes away by car.
Two friends and I went. We stayed for a few hours. Drank free beer. Unfortunately, my two friends lost a little bit of money. I, on the other hand, came out with one of my best nights ever and take home more than a few hundred dollars. Cheers!
Got home a bit late, after have some celebration drinks and braved the cruel and cold world that is Monday at any school in the world.
Here's a pic of the casino we went to....
In other news I finally booked my ticket for my May mini-vacation. Doing SHANGHAI for a day and a half and HONG KONG for 3 days!! very, very excited. will tell more as that approaches.