Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Long Tea of the Seoul

It was beautiful, what I remember. It was fantastic. The conversations were vivid and real. The entire evening was vivid and real. I remember playing pool. Ramon was my partner and I'd consult with him for the shots, it was perfect. The colors were perfect. The smells were perfect. The consumption of alcohol was perfect. And while I'd like to be able to recount all of it in more detail, the alcohol being perfect is preventing recollection of a great many of those details.

I remember that as the night wore on, and as the vodka continued to warm my belly, that I wanted to go dancing. Maybe it was the music. The music was fantastic. It was throbbing and pulsing and pulling me in and I wanted to move with it. I drink with Wolf and Peter and Geof and people who are nameless faceless entities in my good time drinking night. I want to go dancing, I remember the desire the need to go dancing. I convince Geof and Wolf and we wander into Korean streets to find dancing.

I am feeling very good about myself as we leave the bar. It's perhaps three a.m. and Geof, who is allergic to mobile proteins, needs to eat. I love Geof, but honestly his allergy makes him absolutely impossible to feed. He can't eat anything that might ever have moved. We had several dozen different bets at one time on how long it would take him to die after eating a hotdog. Unfortunately he would never humor anyone by eating the hotdog. I just know I would have won big, too. Geof needs food so I take him to nearby cart bar with Wolf and Peter in tow. Geof gets cheese sticks, Peter chicken, and I have cheese stick myself but pass a few around so I don't eat too much and don't sick from eating on top of my drinking. The hajuma is happy to help us. The verdict is food good, but I still want to go dancing. I push the boys and they agree to go, but where to go in Daegu where dancing is a pick up persons game and none of us are really in the mood to pick up.

I start walking down the street and I am in love with the Korean girls. They are lovely. I walk up randomly to a set of girls and hug them. They look at me with wide crazy eyes, I'm michin waygook, crazy foreign girl. I'm okay with that. The boys and I cut down and alley and work towards the dance district. I spot a string of Korean girls, arm in arm in arm in arm in arm. A little linked chain of Koreans working their way to a bar, I walk past and say hello and the grab me and pull me in, or maybe I grabbed them and pulled me in, but somehow I end up entangled in Korean grapevine. I ask them where they are going and they direct us towards Gypsy Rock. Gypsy Rock, purgatorial dance land from my first years in Korea. I think why not, it's been a long long long time since Gypsy Rock for me. We head towards the big three story bar, I want to go dancing.

We get to the rock and are asked to pay a cover. At least we get drinks with the charge, but I hate that we have to pay a cover. We stand outside at the velvet line and the Korean girls come up to me, they have sweet spun sugar, cotton candy and they open my lips with sticky fingers and implore me to suck from their fingers, and it amuses me to do so, even when I don't want to eat. We wander into the bar.

I remember the first time I went to Gypsy in Korea. That would have been five years ago now. It was during World Cup Soccer in Korea and Gypsy was in a much smaller location a basement bar. I had gone to drink with my co-workers who had plied me with mass quantities of beer. It was my second week in Korea and I was still feeling shy and under-confident. We went to a porch bar first and watched Korea win it's game against I don't remember who. It was fantastic to watch them win, and the streets lit up with red and screaming Koreans. We went to party at the bar, dancing, crushing press of people, sweat, bodies, exuberance. The music was loud, I was close to passing out, and it was fantastic. It was your friendly neighborhood bar on the night the home team had won a big game. It was perfect. Ah, the good old days.

Gypsy went corporate a long time ago and I haven't been in about that long. We get there and head down the stairs to the dance floor. I feel that tense buzzing excitement I used to feel when going down to the old Gypsy and it lasts until I get to about the bottom of the stairs. We push through dark curtains and into the bar and hit a wall of young college age Koreans. There is no room in the bar. There is no room to move, no room to dance, no room to get a drink. The atmosphere is somehow desperate and numb all at the same time. Bad Idea rings in my brain. I should have stayed behind at my old foggie bar where I can talk with people, dance at the table, play pool. Old foggie bar is better then this dance club. The club is like a creepy Korean horror film. Girls turn to me with perfect faces and perfect hair, and perfect bodies.

The troop which is now just Geof and Wolf with me in tow push towards stairs and I follow up and up and up until we find a quieter spot. "I want to go dancing." I whine. The boys just look at me in my drunken foolishness and I wander back down the stairs. I lost the boys. I went back to the massive throng of people but I found myself pressed against a wall and angry, and bored, and wanting to go dancing. The old Gypsy rock could get busy but there was always a way in, a group of girls that would grab my hand and prevent me from wallflowering. It was friendly. This dark pulsing cave I was trapped in was not friendly.

I move out of the bar, back the way I came, alone now. The night air was fresh and crisp and I felt better about life. I wandered down the street and towards a cab. It was a beautiful night. I felt light outside of the dark press of Gypsy. Happier. My hangover the next day was mostly worth the evening spent drinking, and even the lesson learned.

I still want to go dancing.

No comments: