06 May 2007

jong-no all-nighter

late night stroll.

seoul is a big city and im still learning how to approximate travel times. i was almost an hour late meeting min at a coffee bean + tea leaf store near insadong. after coffee we enjoyed drinks and a fruit plate at "blood g", a small gay bar in jong-no. the place featured about 10 stools surrounding a bar with three wrap-around booths against the opposite wall. the red and black décor was highlighted by wallpaper festooned with textured red roses. after a bit i cajoled chris to join us, and before long it was past 1:00 am. it's been some time since this old man pulled an all-nighter for work or play. but if you've missed the last subway and you're too cheap to grab a taxi, you've got another 4-5 hours before the buses and subways start up again.

despite loving jesus, seoul has a respectable after-hours scene. so when min dropped us off at a jajangmyun ("chinese spaghetti") joint, chris and i ate up and made our way into jong-no's sketchy labrynth of alleys. our pursuit was to discover some of seoul's 70+ gay bars and clubs. what we found were very small bars with names like "banana," "little giant," "uncle," and "shocking". above and around us were neon signs advertising sex motels and other unspeakable crimes. powered onward by booze and strength in numbers, one of our stops was "say yes". after enduring piercing homo stares and a fat man singing his heart out, we were met with a 31,000 won ($34) beer+anju (bar snack) fee. the beers were 3,000 each, the basket of shrimp chips was 25,000! after chris played hard ball with the very drunk owner and a more conciliatory (and mildly buzzed) server, we escaped paying 10,000 won. shortly thereafter, light returned and chris' bus had arrived. after ambling about i caught the first line 3 train back to seocho-dong. a quick shower and i was in bed by 7:00.

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