Monday, July 05, 2004

Korean Ryan Goes Drinking

NOTE: This post was originally written for my email list. It was written on 07/05/2004 (thus the date). I edited it a little today, 10/13/2004. While this is a favorite story among friends (and is being turned into a children's book by Dy), I feel there's a lot I need to elaborate on in this story.

This was the most I had ever drank--and still has remained the most I have ever drank. I STILL haven't had soju again (well, at least not more than a single shot of it). Really, aside from the occasional night, I don't drink any more here than I did at home. It's just that when I DO drink here, the night tends to last until morning. That's just how Korea is.

No-ray-bawngs are really popular here. Many people go to them every weekend. I've limited my trips to a few cringe enducing voyages. More on these places in another post.

I still see Kay from time to time. We flirt. That's it. This was a big question after the original email. Nothing happened or will probably ever happen there.

One more thing: my original roommate's name was (and is) Chris. So is my new roommate's name. I've taken to calling the original roommate "Classic Chris" and the new one "Wichita Chris." There are stories with both...and a lot to be said (especially about Wichita, as many of you have heard). So, yeah, on with the story.

Soju is the tool of the devil. The night started out at a Korean Barbeque. Not a thing I could eat but I got to know the people I was hanging out with. Chris, my roommate, is from Canada. Peter is from Australia. And then we had three Korean women with us. Kay is the only one I remember her name--but she's really the only important one in the story anyway.

From the barbeque, we went to a traditional Korean bar. No shoes, sitting on the floor, the whole deal. Drunk Koreans are all over each other: men hanging on men, women hanging on women. But few men hanging on women or vice versa. It's nuts.

We started by drinking Bamboo Soju, which is really good. It tastes like a cross between apple juice and sweet white wine. Then we moved on the harder stuff, regular soju. This stuff tastes like nothing at first...literally nothing, not even water. It's weird. After a few drinks it tastes like vodka, which should have been my first clue to stop (as all of you know, I don't do well with vodka). Then came soju mixed with stuff. Beer. Bamboo soju. Etc. But this point I wasn't really drunk, but I was buzzing really good. And my stomach hurt...bad. I drank a bunch of water, though, and the stomach got better.

From the Korean bar we went to a singing house (No-Lay-Bawng). These are really popular in Korea. You rent a room and have your own little karake session with friends. I found it hilarious at first and refused to participate, but after a few beers I was convinced to join in on 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins. A few more beers and I was singing almost every song. Those of you who have heard me sing can imagine that this was not plesant.

We left the singing house at about 1:30 in the morning. I was thinking the night was about over. Not so. We went from there to a foreigner bar. This place was great. A whole bar of people that could speak English...and every one of them wanted to buy me a beer. By this point I was sloppy drunk. I was playing pool...and (god help us all) danching the night away. I hung out a bunch with Kay at that bar. She and I danced a lot and played pool. She's a great girl.

Unfortunately, all the drinks did finally catch up with me. I threw up the first time at about 8 in the morning (that's right, about 12 straight hours of drinking, my friends, and this is my first vomit). Chris decided at that point it was about time to head home. More vomiting in the cab on the way back.

I slept the whole day Sunday and woke up that night with the worst hangover I've ever had. Honestly, though, it was worth it. Between stupid singing, silly dancing, and korean girls all over me, it was a blast. Still, next weekend I'll drink more in moderation. Mostly because, as I've said, soju is the tool of the devil.



Friday, July 02, 2004

Korean Ryan (The Original)

NOTE: This was originally written as an email to my list on 07/02/2004 (thus the date). I edited it a little today, 10/13/2004, but it's pretty much the same as originally written. This email mentions a lot of things I hope to elaborate on in my blog at a later date, namely the neon, the hand holding, and my school. I was correct when I said I'd have a million stories to tell; I suppose I should get started telling them.

Welcome to the first offical session of Conversations with Korean Ryan, where our motto is "He's just like regular Ryan, except now he's in Korea."

Yep, it's weird here. Neon signs everywhere (including huge ones on churches). Lots of women holding hands. VERY cheap beer. Tiny apartments. But also incredible mountains and a river greenway that blows Fort Wayne's out of the water.

I'm pretty settled in now. I've started teaching at my school (in fact, that's where I'm typing this from). These kids are so full of energy that it's crazy. I only hope I can keep up.

There's about a million things to tell, but I'm going to keep it to this for now. Suffice to say that I'll have stories for you all later. I've only been here three days and I could write a book. At any rate, talk to you all later and I hope all is going well on your side of the world.