Coolin’ on the Bupyeong, like a horse in a stable

So, I’m beginning to think I ought to rename this blog “Fistful of Neglect“, but I think that domain’s already in use for Britney Spears’ parenting blog.

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 And Reyneke returns to the field with a sick burn.

Yeah, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Last weekend saw my introduction to Korean public holidays, with Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving. The holiday, formerly known as the archaic Hangwai, sees Koreans traditionally taking a much more pastoral approach to the popularly-American-annexed custom of giving thanks, in that they actually give thanks for the seasonal harvest and don’t take part in some mass delusion about not having cheated a native people out of their land, livestock and grain.

For some reason, though, people give each other a lot of SPAM.

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 American processed foods and the seasonal harvest. Just like mom used to grow.

I stayed in. For like, five days straight. And wrote my ass off. Yup, Incheon’s favourite holiday came just in time for me to grind out some serious word count on my novel. It’s been one year since I tried to write 50000 words in one month for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and failed dismally. Luckily I managed to stick with it, the exact same novel, and a year, three cities, and 34000 words later, I made 50k earlier this week.

I did manage to sneak off to nearby Bupyeong for an evening, just to (finally) check out one or two of the expat bars in the area. What I discovered was basically Asian Vegas.

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Step right up and prepare for unending rows of flashing neon signs and short, elderly Korean men in nice suits!

How could I have missed this plethora of insanity, wedged into the countryside, a mere 20 minute train ride away from me? Everywhere I turned was another 16 year old girl in bunny ears and a hello kitty mini skirt throwing up the peace sign under a Baskin and Robins sign. More foreigners, shouting loudly and pointing up and down the Pandora-glow antfarm streets. Electricity cables strung from one corner of the street to the opposite, dangling precariously over taxi cabs, kimchi buckets and, as always in this country, jailbait as far as the eye could see.

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26 or 16: that’s for you and a jury of your peers to decide

Bupyeong’s fun. It has two major expat bars, Goose Goose and Woodstock, as well as a bunch of others I couldn’t find because of the Christmas light blindness. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had since I’ve been here to just mission out alone and actually end up somewhere with people who understood more than 10 words I said.

Goose Goose is one of those wood finished, lodge bar type places, with lots of draped flags and facebrick walls and whatnot. It wasn’t too busy when I arrived, so I just grabbed a Cass (Korean beer) draught at a table and soaked in some old school 90’s hip hop bouncing in from the PA.

Winding my way down the street (and past some dude with a twirly, colonist moustache, a coat with tails, and a pipe, walking his dog through the milling crowd (no, that’s not my imagination running away with me – that freak is still out there)…

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I like the nightlife – I like to boogie

I came out of a sidestreet to find Woodstock, the other nearby expat bar. Woodstock’s much smaller than Goose Goose, but, as one might guess, also a little more intimate. The bartender was also the part owner, and she was feeding the other owner, a burly dude whose name I can’t remember, GimBap and sandwiches and soup from what seemed like a magical, neverending treasure trove of snacks and Korean treats under the table. I stayed a spell and chatted with the pair of them, before discovering perhaps the most awesome treasure of the entire night scrawled on the wall behind the bar:

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You can’t really see it on there, but it says “Geniet Julle Gatte Uit – 02, 03, Rhodes University – Where Leaders Learn.” I managed to travel 13065 kms across the world, wander out into the led light glow one night, and find a message from the past, scrawled by the drunken rabble of my former Grahamstown university on the wall of some ridiculous little pub.

Nobody there understood the stupid grin on my face, but people here enjoy hearing Afrikaans, so I read it out to a couple of the patrons and beat a hasty retreat out into the street back, then home again.

I’ve been back since, and I could write about that too, but I’ll save it for my next post. I might even tell you kids about the time I visited a jimjilbang (Korean bath house) and spotted the Michael Jackson zombie out behind the hard punk club with Roger.

In the meantime, I’ll drop some more pictures here from my recent misadventures. Love, peace and chicken grease, y’all.

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This woman mans the counter at the nearby C.U./Family Mart. She’s the coolest.Image

I got through a whole lesson, let the kids out, and only realised how awesome what I’d written on the board was, once they were gone.Image

There’s a name for these things, but I always forget it. Still – LOOK! Canned Silkworm Chrysalis, baby.Image

This is the walkway near my school at night.

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How cool is that? It’s this river near my place that’s got these exact lights on every night of the week.Image

Yo, what’s up, dawg? We heard you like sushi, so we put sushi in your sushi, so you can sushi while you sushi.Image

One of the centrifugal force death rides people in this country flock to while drunk because of the fun times and near-certainty of dismemberment.Image

This is Bupyeong, as seen from the subway station.

ImageFor some reason, these cigarettes have pictures of cartoon cats dressed as Wolverine, Batman and Spiderman. That is all.

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~ by dook on October 7, 2012.

One Response to “Coolin’ on the Bupyeong, like a horse in a stable”

  1. Cheap Shots & Shelter are two really nice ex-pat bars you might enjoy checking out. We had a Language Exchange party in Cheap Shots a few weeks back which was great fun.
    Also it’s Interesting to read about a new Incheoner’s view on our little town, thank you.

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