Sunday, May 16, 2010

South Korea - Part 4 - Dinner and a Birthday Party!

A funny thing happened as we were leaving our hotel to meet one of Rocketman's co-workers for dinner. This woman (the one in red) ran over to me, grabbed my arm and dragged me to a table filled with all kinds of food. Thankfully, Rocketman's co-worker, JG, was there to translate.

It was her birthday and she was having a party. She wanted us to eat and drink with them. It was funny because she was the only woman I saw at her party. They handed kimbapto me with chopsticks and how can you refuse when it's presented right in front of your mouth. Then they gave me a glass of mokgeolli. They were so happy to see us so I had to drink it for their enjoyment.

I had Rocketman take these pictures and they loved posing for them. Somehow JG got us away from the party and we headed to "Vomit Alley" to eat dinner.

Here we are in "Vomit Alley." Someone took this picture for us but I have no idea why it is so small.

We ate at a popular galbi restaurant. It also had stools so we didn't have to sit on the floor.

JG and Rocketman partook of some more makgeolli while I stuck to a Coke. The food was delicious and we saw why the restaurant was always packed at night.
After dinner we went to a bar for what is "Round 2" in Korea which is a bar. JG and Rocketman ordered more food along with more alcohol. I was so full from dinner that I just nursed another Coke.
By then, it was getting pretty late and JG had to get up at 2:00am. to drive back to Gwangju. He drove 3 hours just to see us. I was really touched. JG and me go way back to when I first came to South Korea to hunt for an apartment. The plant manager had a dinner to welcome us to Korea. JG was there and gave me a lecture on Korean men telling me that Rocketman would be considered a Korean man which meant that he would be going to dinners with co-workers during the week and coming home very late sometimes after 1am. He told me that I am not to get mad that this is just the way of the Korean man. He nodded his head to me letting me know that he was finished.
I had politely listened to everything he had told me and he thought that was the end of it. I looked at him and said, "That's ok but then I want the phone numbers of all the wives because when this happens, I will be calling your wife and the others and we will go out to dinner too." You should have seen the look on his face and everyone else there. They had a good laugh and thought I was kidding. Rocketman knew I wasn't but it was our little secret. We've been buddies ever since.
I have another JG story. He took another position in the company and I never saw him unless I asked Rocketman if we could get together. Shortly before we left Korea we went out to dinner. He got pretty toasted by "Round 2." He told me to tell his wife who was home in Naju that he says that she is beautiful. I told him that when I meet her I would tell her. He takes out his phone and calls her and then hands me the phone telling me to "Tell her." So I took the phone and told her that her husband says she is very beautiful. We talked a little, her English being excellent and then I gave the phone back to him. He was so happy and I thought that was a first for me.
So we make our way back to our hotel and what do we find still going on.... the birthday party but it had moved into a red ginseng tea store which we found out that she owns. We decide to drop by and say "hi" before we enter the hotel. She sees us and once again I am grabbed and dragged into a room full of Koreans. This time there were both men and women. We sat down and again food and drinks were shared. They all seemed pretty full in their cups and the laughter was pretty constant. She told me that they were all her boyfriends. I was wondering if she really understood what that meant in English.
It was funny trying to communicate when my Korean is minimal and their English was the same. So I did what I usually do when I'm nervous, I tried to get one of the men to sing Kim Bum Soo's, "Bogoshipda." No one would and they just laughed even harder when I sung a few bars myself.

JG really had to go so we only stayed a little bit but they were so glad that we stopped by. JG bought some tea for us sometime during our stay and presented it to us as a gift.

It was the most fun I had in a long time. I can't remember when I had crashed some one's birthday party.

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