Farewells, Spa Bars and Percussion Injuries

Sometimes the spate of goodbyes seems never ending, luckily the first one seems to be temporary. Tak – recently probably my closest friend in Korea – left for Thailand late last week, but seems to have fallen hard for his new girlfriend (sorry mate, its true!), so we’re all convinced he’ll enjoy Thailand for a few weeks and be right back. We had a quiet meal to celebrate his goodbye, impressively cooked by the man himself after picking a fish fresh (i.e. alive) from the tank at the local fish market. He made me feel like I need some serious cooking lessons.

Next up was Marielle. She wont actually be going until around 10 days time, but had to get her leaving party in on a weekend and before our North Korea trip this friday. Unlike Tak’s quiet send off, Marielle’s was unmitigated carnage: most of Berlitz in the same place for the first time in a while, and plenty of dodgy Korean wine, live music and DJ bothering. In fact the DJ in ‘Gogo’s’ – a local Indie bar – had my Radiohead article up on the wall behind his DJ box, which made me feel like something of a local celebrity. Anyway, to cut a long night short, everyone lost and found each other, we watched some great live music and I managed to bash my hand to pieces by playing tambourine on stage with Seoul’s biggest expat Indie band. Fool that I am. It still aches now, and they’ve already publically denied any legal responsibility.

Monday nights promotion celebration never really materialized, which was probably for the best from my wallet’s point of view at least. Instead Helena and I went to see Sex and the City (disappointing) and visited a ‘Spa Bar’ – another one of those wonderful concepts that we really should have thought of back home by now. You sit around a table with your feet in a spa pool whilst drinking cold wine and being served regular free ‘service’ extras. One of these was Sake, which I had never had before. It tasted a little like watered down Vodka – similar to Soju, in fact, but with much less of a kick. I love these random experiences.

Random is certainly what Seoul seems to be: I’m constantly stumbling across odd connections, and the last few weeks have thrown up another one. Joe, who I went to primary school with but haven’t seen since, got in touch via facebook to say he was moving over here to teach, and did I have any tips etc? Well now he’s here, so I spent Sunday night discussing Salisbury with someone who knows about it for the first time in an age: mutual friends; the old hang outs and how few people of our generation are still there. A very surreal experience, and after David Oakes appearing here late last year and a guy I used to sit near in the Holte End at Villa Park turning up the other day as well, it’s all starting to feel like Seoul isn’t so far form home after all. Who knows what’s next!

I’m sure anyone who follows the news closely will have noticed the political chaos going on in Seoul right now – I went down and took some photos and felt very uneasy standing amongst all the protesters at City Hall last night. Separate diary entry on that to follow (probably tomorrow now), along with a few photos. It warrants it! I don’t think I’ve ever attended anything other than a sporting event that was genuinely newsworthy before, quite an experience!

I’ll stop rambling for now, as this entry’s going to seem dull as anything once I get onto the next couple (Protests and North Korea) anyway! Stay in touch, miss you all,

James x

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