I woke in the cold, outside of Polly’s Kettle House. There was a puddle of vomit nearby, potentially mine, but in this particular neck of the woods you never can tell. Polly’s, as I’ve mentioned before, is far from Seoul’s highest end bar, as their signature drinks are served in plastic bottles. Polly’s, because of their ridiculous cocktails and their precarious perch over the very hellmouth of Itaewon, is what we in the filthy drunk biz call a “game changer.” The musical selection is as unpredictable as the crowd, and the crowd is never the same. Sometimes, it’s only GIs. Others, it’s only white English teachers. Occasionally it’s filled with Koreans. Once in a while it’s an exclusively black enclave, a rarity indeed in this country. On particularly bad nights, the place is populated with nothing but overly flirtatious, closeted Korean gay men and trannie whores. On its best nights, it’s all of the above. On its very worst, well, it’s pretty much empty, with me passed in the cold just outside the bar.
Even though my idiot buddy left me wallowing on a concrete bench outside a seedy bar (or maybe he said he was leaving when I was still awake and I blacked it out, I can’t be expected to keep track of these sorts of things), I managed to wake up before the sun came up, nothing stolen, in order to quickly procure a cab to pass out in. Korean taxi drivers are generally honest to a fault, but every now and then I find an exception, and I suppose 5 a.m. in Itaewon is a pretty good time to hop into a shyster’s car. I woke up a ways into a ride, only to discover that we were on some freeway far from the usual road from the T’won to home. Taxi rides on this most plied of routes generally run $14-16, $18 if there are abnormal traffic patterns. My total this time was $25. I started complaining to the cabbie shortly before we arrived on my street, then gave him $20. He didn’t argue it, he knew he ripped me off.
The point of this anecdote? Certainly not that I’m changing my ways, although I hope to avoid passing out outside in a non-beach situation for at least the next three weeks. I suppose it could be that the honeymoon is over, long over really. I realized this a while ago, maybe a few hours after I posted my “Honeymoon” blog last month, as the wheels fell off in whatever girl adventure I was into at the time. Then again, I’m been here long enough now (two months) that any sense of newness would be impossible to maintain - now I feel like I never left. It’s not so much that I’m back to all my bad habits (though I am), but that I’m back to all my habits. Pizza on Monday. Hot Dog Tuesday. Cereal for breakfast before work every day. Up at 12:47 (although 1:22 is the new 12:47). I’ve also added the inconvenient wrinkle of Subway Sunday, as it involves me actually leaving my neighborhood on Sundays rather than laying around my apartment all day.
Still, I’m not going to drive this post off a cliff. I don’t want to write a “woe is me” entry anymore than you want to read one (unless, of course, any girls in Seoul happen to read this and dig that sort of thing, in which case, ah, woe is me). Just this week, I changed up my 2+ year food routine. No longer will I live under the rote monotony of a pizza-Monday hot dog-Tuesday existence. Nope, from now on I’ll enjoy the liberating freedom of Korean food Monday, wing night Tuesday (50 cent wings at the bar, plus it gives me another bar night) and the shocking new world of pizza on Wednesdays and hot dogs on Thursday. See, pizza night and hot dog night have to fall consecutively, because the pizzas at the cheap place I go aren’t very big, but they’re too big for one sitting. I have five of the eight slices on one night, then the other three slices with a hot dog the second. The hot dogs at New York Hot Dog prove to be the exact perfect size to account for the two fewer slices of pizza, plus the cheap pizza becomes inedibly disgusting after more than one day in the fridge, kinda like Shuttle.
I’ve been extraordinarily lazy with a few projects that I planned on working on once I got here, such as work on three new blogs (including fashionably-lame.blogspot.com, which only has two entries thus far). Plus, there’s learning Korean, joining a gym, quitting smoking, selling my screenplay, working as a professional travel writer, and becoming a chess master. That doesn’t even factor in Nintendo. I figure I’ll have some more time after the season finale of Mad Men, and far more once fantasy football season ends.
Finally, a public congratulations to the baseball world (okay, Korean [okay, South Korean]) champion Kia Tigers! For the first time since 1985, a baseball team that I care about took home the title. Kia was in the cellar in 2007 and 2008, but things turn around quickly in an eight team league. Best of all, they won with style, Game 7 ... well, I’ll let you watch. If you like baseball or sports in general, you’ll dig this clip.