Monday, October 11, 2010
What Happens In Hongdae...
My head snaps back up. I accidentally nodded off again. It's 7:42 AM, and I'm in a strange place once again. No ugly lamp this time, but as I watch the morning sun racing up outside the window, I am similarly disoriented. I rub my eyes. Doesn't help.
And then the silver-haired Korean man asleep next to me finally rouses.
We sort of appraise each other, embarrassed. Clearly this isn't where either of us thought we would end up this morning. I don't know your name, sir, but I do apologize for falling asleep on your shoulder. In any case, please let's not mention this again. I think we're both content to let this be a one-night thing.
Then the train screeches to a halt, and I quickly scamper off into the Gangnam Terminal.
I saw probably the most accurate reflection of my disheveled state in the eyes of Christine, an incredibly sweet English-speaking Korean news reporter on my bus back to Icheon. We had met a mere 12 hours earlier, on the bus into Seoul, back when my hair and outfit were still presentable.
Now, however, I am crashed into a red leather seat on the Dongbu Express, curled in a ball, wishing for death or breakfast, and Christine comes trotting down the aisle.
This. Is. Mortifying.
"Jennifer... did you get to sleep?"
"Ohh... I am sorry."
Later, she comes up to hand me a pear.
"This will help you."
This is what Hongdae does to people. I'm from the burbs. We don't party like this in 이천.
Started out as almost an afterthought. Angie and Gustie had never been yet, so sure, Friday. Let's go. Hit a club, have some beers. Little did we know.
First order of business: food. And by food, we mean chicken. We stopped at a restaurant literally called "Food Place". I love this country.
At dinner, we became acquainted with Angie's new friends: Natalia, of the Canadian persuasion, and Sam, a young English gentleman. Then the five of us dove into two platters of chicken and an enormous pitcher of beer.
** Author's Note: PALAU IS A COUNTRY, B*TCHES! I Wiki'd it. (Re: Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States) in 1994, it is one of the world's youngest and smallest sovereign states.) Maybe you had to be there. In any case, all parties in attendance owe me a drink. **
It's club time.
I think we thought that finding a dance club would be a little more self-evident than it actually was. We wandered for a bit, and then ran into a group of Korean guys out celebrating a birthday. (Korea Fun Fact #8769: It is always somebody's birthday. If you have no excuse to go out and party, you're just not trying hard enough.) So, we're off. They ask if we prefer an electronic or a hip-hop club, but I don't really want to drop X in some Korean club bathroom, so hip-hop it is.
Begin the descent.
Into Cocoon, one of the biggest dance clubs I've ever seen in person. This place is wild. It's just this massive stimulus overload. There are people dancing in rows they are packed so tight. There are these neon green beams of light flashing everywhere. There are like five truly gigantic screens on one end of the club, playing music videos. There is a twenty-foot wide DJ booth with three emcees. There are poles and stairs and different levels and it is hot and booming. And we are right on top of all of it.
I don't really know what else to say about Cocoon, other than that it was absurd and almost too big. We were there for awhile... probably an hour or so, but after that we were so dehydrated and tired that we had to wade back over to the bar just for water. Decided that a smaller club was in order.
And what is right down the block?
To protect what's left of the dignity of everyone involved, I won't go into all of the gory details of Papa Gorilla Round 2. Suffice it to say, all five of us had a very interesting evening, and it took about two hours of debriefing Saturday afternoon to get the whole story on what happened Friday night.
Here's what I will tell you:
Someone ended up on the 7:30 AM bus back to Icheon.
Someone ended up passed out in the club's stairwell.
Someone made out with a Venezuelan.
Someone didn't leave Papa Gorilla until 6:30 AM.
Someone didn't watch The Bounty Hunters at the DVD 방. And changed clothes in a 24-hour KFC outside the subway terminal.
If you want the real story, you'll probably have to inquire later. Which will give us enough time to come up with something convincing.
<3 from Korea. Jenny.