I arrived back from the east on the Sunday to find that I had no internet, no hot water and no working washing machine. Marvellous, especially as I hadn't showered since the Friday morning. There was no water in the minbak, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I visited the people who own the apartment block - they run a betting shop, not dodgy at all - and they indicated to me that they would come and fix it immediately. And they did. Well, at least the hot water and washing machine. 2 out of 3, I guess Meatloaf was right.
Except it was soon 0 out of 3. Five minutes had passed when I looked up at the plug they had replaced. I couldn't see it. Instead, plumes of white smoke were flowing into the room. Bugger. I grabbed the most important stuff (wallet and passport) and sprinted downstairs. I don't know the word for smoke in Korean, but it turns out they very much understand me shouting 'FIRE'. I still have that habit of exaggerating, and it worked here. Up the stairs we sprinted, and the man jumps onto my kitchen cabinet before ripping out the plug. What was left of it, at least. Over half had been melted away. Dangerous.
Awesome way to start the week, which itself was littered with peaks and troughs. On Wednesday I was due to have a date with a Korean girl who I met at Global Gathering. She had been very responsive - until the day. It seems many Koreans are like that, and not just with me. I was in Seoul anyway but gave up after a couple of calls and texts, so was on the bus home when I received a text off a mystery number saying, 'lets drk some makggeoli near bucheon stn if u want to'. Easy enough to work out that it was written by a Korean. Maybe the girl? So I headed back to Bucheon, and waited at our meeting point.
There were many pretty girls there. Key fact at this point - I have no recollection of what she looked like. Do I risk making an ass of myself by walking up to a stranger who may have nothing to do with me? I'm not averse to doing that, but decided to call the number. Three rings and an answer...from a guy. What?! I recognise the voice, and the fact that makkoli was the drink of choice suggested to me that it was one of my co-teachers. Except the new meetup spot was Jailbar. And my co-teacher knows nothing of Jailbar. Hmm...
I head over, and then I see a familiar face. It was my Korean friend Chris who I had got dog with! Why did I not think of him?! After all of that, we had a good night, and I had a bad head the next morning.
What has kept me excited this week is the arrival of a friend. Remember I went to Japan in May and met a friend from my TEFL course called Fumy? Well she was returning the favour, and was coming to Seoul for the weekend with two friends, Lucy and Katie. Nice! We had problems with communication, as I didn't have the right extension to call a Japanese mobile, but we soon managed to meet up and were on our way. Ddak galbi with octopus chucked in - welcome to Korea! Later we tried to locate Dr. Fish - an establishment where you put your feet into water and the fish eat off your dead skin - but to no avail. But Lucy managed to fall into someone's vomit. Come to think of it, that doesn't really constitute any sort of success...
I required the gym on the Saturday - going as much as possible before I leave and never get to experience paying £1 for a gym session ever again - so left them trio to their own devices. They went on a culture tour, and I met up with them for food in the evening. We had a plan - it was Matt's birthday, so we were hitting Hongdae later - but people needed feeding in the meantime. They have one weekend in Korea, so we went for...Indian food. The mildest vindaloo I've ever had as well. Not a fan.
We went to a couple of bars before heading to a club called Gorillaz. Whilst in the watering holes we had met Fumy's cousin, Minami (who I called mini-me all night), who is studying in a university in Suwon. She is Japanese and speaks fluent Korean...but no English. We also met Minami's roommate, a cute Korean girl called Cho-Rong 초롱. She also speaks Japanese...and a little English. I spent my night with four people who all speak perfect Japanese. I've never spoken so much Korean on a night out in my life. I think I exhausted every phrase I knew.
Minami lost her purse in Gorillaz, which ended any attempts I had at pulling her or her roommate. We rectified the night in a noraebang. Not just any noraebang - there is one in Hongdae that is like a Western house, and has massive windows so people outside can look in and watch you perform. 6.30am food, on the subway at 7am and, after dozing and briefly missing my stop, in bed a little after 8.30am. Haven't done that in a while.
Myself, Fumy and Minami went for food in Insadong on the Sunday. Samgyetang, which is the baby chicken stuffed with rice in a soup. It was nice not to have to meet in Myeong-dong, which is the classy shopping area of Seoul. I spent more time there this weekend than I have done for the rest of the year combined, and it is way too busy to be enjoyed. It was wonderful to see Fumy once more, and very nice to meet her friends (though we had met Lucy in Tokyo already). Though expensive, it was a nice weekend, and a great way for me to forget about how crap my apartment is. I do now have internet. Only took them a week...
Love you all