The following events take place between March 20 and March 26
I've spent most of this week running. And running. And complaining about the state of my legs, then running some more. As a result, I haven't really done too much of note. I am up to 14km now, so have to find another 6km for the race on April 25. My target time is 1hr 40mins, which is pretty quick, but I am on track. What I didn't know was that treadmills automatically turn themselves off after one hour. I don't know if that's a Korean thing, as at home I ran outside. It's too dangerous to do that in Siheung, or any built-up area, and still a bit cold to venture further out to run in quieter regions.
It is still cold. It is also STILL snowing. Monday morning was beautiful, but within one early afternoon hour it had transformed the school into a mystical white kingdom. One of my students suggested that the events of 'The Day After Tomorrow' were unravelling in front of our eyes. Of course, she wasn't quite so lyrical, but she got the point across when saying the word 'DIE' quite loudly. The school did look rather nice under the white blanket, but it emphasises the fact that I need new shoes. The soles on mine have decided to part from the rest of the shoe, so my feet got rather cold and wet.
I forgot to mention a bizarre occurrence last time out. I was in school on the 15th, when suddenly a load of sirens started blaring from the near distance. No one else was reacting, but I was still a little bit unnerved, so asked Mr. Kim about it. He said that on the 15th of every month the military do a training exercise to be prepared for an attack. The sirens used to be taken seriously - he told me of many times when all of his class would hide under their desks - but it is now not a particularly serious issue.
Monday I wasn't feeling too great. This is undoubtedly due to the weekend I had. Friday was Britt's birthday night, so we went to get some food and a few drinks. We wanted to try a different bar, as we go to the same two or three places around Siheung. We ended up in a bar directly above our regular boozer, Von Tees. I have no idea what it was called, but it was an intruiging place. The seats were lined with velvet. There was a corner of velvet sofas under very dim light. The speakers were of a quality that would be branded as unacceptable in North Korea, let alone the South. A few drinks turned into a few more, and soon it was 5am, and we had a big bowl of kimchi jjigae, the spicy kimchi soup, in front of us. Oh dear.
Suffice to say, football didn't happen. Again. Because of the running, I won't be playing for a while, I think. What also didn't happen, which I wanted to check out, was the St. Patrick's Day parade in central Seoul. It started at around 2pm - I woke up at 2.30pm. Juno had invited me to a welcoming party for new recruits, so I decided to drag myself over to that. It was in Sinchon, a very nice and rather Western area of Seoul I had yet to explore. As I got lost finding the welcoming bar, I got to explore it rather more than anticipated. I saw a giant shoe outside a department store. I would have taken a photo, but would have had to get in line, as lots of people were doing the same. I didn't do that as I was running late, but there was another reason.
Yellow dust. The sky was yellow when I left Siheung (it was, even though it hasn't come out on the photo). There were many more white masks on show than usual. There were also less people, as most opt to stay indoors when the dust arrives. It was an eerie experience, but by the time I got to Sinchon most of it had dissipated. I spent a bit of time there, meeting new people and the like, before getting another response to the mass text I had sent asking if anyone was out in Seoul. Ellen told me that a few people were in...Sinchon?! Nice. What really sold it to me was the allure of all-you-can-drink. For 15,000W. That's about 8 quid. For ALL YOU CAN DRINK. There is no way that would be legal in Britain. People would die.
With that scandalously good offer, I shouldn't have been surprised at the amount of people there. It was packed. I paid my 15,000, was given a blue cup, and headed in. It was stopping at 11, so I had approximately 90 minutes to get my fill. I found Ellen, Natalie and Deb sat down, surrounded by Korean guys. This 15,000 wasn't solely beer, either. It was anything they had, which included cocktails and bottles of soju. The latter did serious damage. Soon after I arrived our seats were transformed into a rickety stage, where people were encouraged to engage in beer-drinking contests (I hid) and sexy dance routines (I hid). Nat was brought onto the stage, which was rather funny as she then was auctioned off. I didn't have enough money to make a bid.
Shortly before the end of the event, we saw someone grab a bottle of soju. Lightbulbs in heads and all that, I walked up to the bar and got us three bottles of soju. Three bottles, for four people. Deadly stuff. We had one at that place, and took the other two with us to Hongdae. Our destination was a drum 'n' bass night in a club called Mansion. After spending ages trying to explain who Ryan Giggs was to the taxi driver, we headed in. It was 20,000 to get in before 11.30, and 30,000 after. We got there at 11.32. We paid 20,000. Kudos to the girls for that.
It was great fun in there. I had drank too much, however, as I was struggling to stand upright and still. Luckily the music was really good so I could keep bobbing around in my unique way, and pretend that I had control over my body. We were in there for a long time. After Mansion is a bit blurry - I've been told that we went to a restaurant, and there are incriminating pictures suggesting that me and Jon went to another bar and got more tequila - and the next part I remember was being on my own in Hongdae at around 8am. Nice. Probably time to go home, I think, so I hop on the subway. And inexplicably get off after one stop and change onto line 6 - a line that goes absolutely nowhere near my place. I got towards the end of that line before realising that I needed to get off.
Half an hour passes with no return subway, so I end up getting a taxi to an interchange station, and get to Bucheon at around 12. I was still drunk, and still hadn't slept, so text Kelly to see if she wants to meet up. Bless her heart, she agrees, totally oblivious to the fact that I haven't gone to bed. She realised that pretty quickly when I saw her. We waited for Matt to pop around, witnessing a Korean TV drama being filmed while waiting. Well, I hope it was a drama, as it involved a man faking his death repeatedly.
We had lunch, at which point the night caught up with me. With the race beginning to appear on the horizon, I have decided that next weekend will be my last for drinking until I have done the half-marathon. I know, I wouldn't believe me either, but the idea is nice.
Love you all