Incheon Night Life
After sweating it out on the first day of the official end of the rainy season in Nongdaemun, Hansu and Dahee took David and me to experience Korea at night.
We met Dahee a few minutes before she got out of work at Lotte World. She had told me she was a server at the mall, so I imagined, food service/restaurant but actually she’s like a host-of-all-trades in an exclusive VIP lounge in a high end women’s department. We couldn’t even find the door it’s so secret. I suppose it’s for serious upper echelon shoppers to relax in between departments.
We headed to Hwachon, another maekju jeeb for some chicken and beer and played different US/Korean drinking games. David dubbed the game we play in the video below, the “Cap Flick” game. Pretty self explanatory, you take turns passing an aluminum soju cap with it perforated seal wound out, and whoever flicks the band off, dishes out a shot to the person across from them. I’m 4 for 4 :)
Hansu is competitive so he came up with a penalty. The loser had to eat a piece of “cheese fire chicken” which I was too proud to deny and seriously paid for in the games to come. This brought about a theme of US vs. Korea throughout the rest of the night.
We headed out to play “pocket ball” (pool) and naturally Hansu haggled with the owner to bring the price down since his American friends were visiting. US ended up losing both games, even with our amazingly impossible miracle shots… But the owner did say we could come back for a free game.
Korean’s know how to do business. Every experience seems to comes with free drinks. When we were playing pool, they served us iced coffee. I think that’s just standard, you pay for a service and they make sure you’re taken care of.
We finished the night by going to a norae bang “song room” (karaoke in a private room with a disco ball and friends). There are so many norae bangs in Korea, I don’t even know what to compare it to in the states. Maybe the number of cafes and gas stations combined? Dahee says it’s because Koreans go to sing to relieve stress (with their strict education system, I can imagine). I guess that’s better than what we do…eat.
I was surprised with how many American songs they had and by how loud Hansu can sing, hahaha. Dahee talked me into singing the only three Korean songs I know…so much fun getting our Korean on.
With the little Korean I speak, and the little English Hansu and Dahee speak, we’ve gotten to know each other better that I ever thought we could. I didn’t think I’d be able to get deep with my cousins, maybe just a few “I like this/I don’t like this/my mom is crazy” talk but we’ve been able to manage a little philosophy-grade conversation. I’m so happy to finally know my Korean family!
I get to spend more time with Hansu when we leave Seoul for Daegu today, but I am so going to miss Dahee. Even though we have smallest word bank to communicate with in the group, there have been countless times when I’ll explain something for Hansu to tell Dahee, he’ll interpret and we’ll look at each other like, “Nah I don’t think he got that right” and laugh. Then we’ll use three words and know exactly what they other is saying. Probably the whole women’s intuition thing x)
Wonder Girls – Nobody
I think the reason why Koreans seem a little too pushy is because out in the streets or in public transportation, there are just so many people, everyone accepts that it just doesn’t matter. You COULD be polite and not be in someone’s bubble and wait 20 minutes for the next train or you could just do for you and they can just deal, while you just deal with the dude that’s also in your bubble. You all get to where your going faster. This is not to say Koreans aren’t polite. There are just different times and places they show it. Especially with senior citizens. You will always see young people getting out of their seats to let an elder sit there.
Culture Shock of the Day
1. People are really interested in your blood type. And they will ask, “what’s your blood type?” any time you do something characteristic of the one they suspect you are. For instance, I’m Type A. Which is defined by basically the same traits as the “Type A” personality we recognize in the States. Go-getter, detail oriented, good grades, etc. And since I’m always double checking on whether I heard something wrong/right or how to execute Korean gestures, people smirk and as ask if I’m indeed Type A. But for the record, I was a B student in school and my room was organized chaos growing up.
The highlight of the night was when Hansu told me, “Nowadays all Korean girls? The same. I wish I find girl like you.” Then Dahee, who doesn’t really understand English, came to the realization and shouted, “No! You’re cousins!!!” Hahaha, I laughed so hard I cried. I know what he meant to say. I think.