I regret not having been able to write for so long; so much has happened the past few days and I fear this post will be way to long and still neglect too many details, but I’ll give it a shot! It feels soo good to finally have my space/freedom back with my new apartment, and my connection with the world/sanity back with my computer’s long-lost friend, the internet. The feeling of lacking a place in the world with no ties to anything familiar can make you go a little crazy! Aside from and probably also slightly bolstered by that, it has been an amazing weekend.
As difficult as it is to sleep during the day while sunlight fills your room and floods your closed eyes, it is equally so to get to sleep in Korea before this becomes your fate. Quick, “quick” rundown of the weekend: Friday evening, met an old friend and a new friend down by the beach to start the night; one club led to another led to the Norae-bang. Now, I am just as suprised as you are at how quickly a small room with a booth, table, and karaoke machine could turn into one of my favorite places on this whole-wide planet, but by the time we finally dragged ourselves out of there it was broad daylight, and the subways were conveniently running to take us back home for bed. After a short nap, I awoke on Saturday in time to go meet some friends at a hippy/worldly music festival/benefit by Kyeongsung University. We sat in the grass for hours watching cultural performances from all over the world. There is something about sitting in the grass on one of the first warm days of Spring to help you forget that there ever was a Winter. I love that feeling. When the sun set and the festival came to an end, our group came to the strong consensus that dong-dong-ju was in order. We found a little place nearby and ordered the sweet, milky Korean alcohol that is poured from a tea kettle and drank from small golden bowls. After dong-dong-ju and dinner, it was time to head down to the beach for a concert. I had no idea what to expect from the band, but it honestly couldn’t have been much better. This Korean band played a cover of nearly the entire Rancid album, “And Out Come the Wolves”, which is one of my oldest favorite albums. And, of course, all the Westerners in the bar rushed up to the stage for sweaty, dance party madness. Sooooo awesome! Naturally, singing along to Korean Rancid got us ready for more norae-bang, so off we went! After a short session of norae, a mere few hours remained before sunrise. I was excited to get home to squeeze in some, any sleep in it’s natural state of darkness, but the invite to the jim-jil-bang was far too intriguing to pass up. Now THIS is by far the most bizarre experience I have had in Korea yet. So the jim-jil-bang can be found at given hotels throughout the city and is basically a spa or bathhouse, but an overnight spa or bathhouse. Visualize: You enter a nice hotel and go up to the 4th or 6th floor if you are a female/male respectively, and are given PJ’s and a towel. You are then free to use the hot tubs, saunas, showers, vanities, etc. in this huge, elaborate facility as you please. And of course, this must all be done in the comfort of your bare feet, birthday suit, and false confidence. When you are finished cleaning up, relaxing, and are ready for sleep, you will head upstairs to the 5th floor to the biggest sleepover party you have and will ever see. There is literally a sea of Korean men, women, and children in matching PJ’s lying all over the floor, sound asleep. Most bizarre thing I have ever seen! After a miserably failed attempt to join them in slumber and having lost my 2 friends to the men’s sauna, I left to go watch the sunrise on the beach across the street.
Needless to say, I was exhausted by Sunday. Mentally and physically. But it was rejuvinating, in a way. I met a lot of wonderful people from all over the world and walks of life, and I’m ready for more!