Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Gin and Lime Juice

“I’m trying to decide if I should move from wine to gin.”

The Kiterunner, who was sitting across from me, paled. “I’m still vomiting after last night.”

“And this is my fault how?”

“You should get the gin.”

“I know.”

Gin seemed like a good idea at the moment. It was 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon and I was in Itaewon after having rushed up to Seoul for yet another weekend of work and meetings. Tomorrow I would be on an early train to another part of the city before taking a late train to the destination, which was where I was currently working. Where I was currently working was the ass-end of nowhere, but I was willing to let it stand as it would be over soon enough and then I would get paid.

“Well, what do you want to do?” asked the Kiterunner.

“What I always want to do when I’m in Itaewon. I want to be on vacation.” Itaewon was like a trip to America for the price of a train ticket. You got to go to a bunch of restaurants which were all within walking distance, eat, drink and be merry. And if you did it right you didn't have to speak Korean for an entire 48-hour period. Granted I was not doing it right, since this weekend I only had 18 hours off. (Which was actually better than last weekend, when I only had 10 hours off.)

“Finally, someone who believes as I do. Why is it so hard to explain that when I am in Itaewon all I want to do is eat, drink, and eat?”

“Then let's do that.” We packed up from Buddha’s Belly and went across to another western-style bar with food. We sat and drank at three in the afternoon and discussed work and our lives and what we were doing with our lives. The last was the most difficult and unsatisfactory of our conversations because the what-we-are-doing-with-our-lives bit seemed a bit unclear; neither of us were sinking, although swimming required a continued acceptance of the Korean way.

“I’m not sure there is booze in this.” I said after my fifth gin and tonic.

“So order another one.”

I did, and this time I asked for it strong. They brought a much smaller glass with a straw.

“What that hell is that?” asked the Kiterunner.

“The better question is, what the hell have I been drinking?”

“I think that is just a straight glass of gin.”

“It’s a possibility.”

She took a sip and said that it was pretty much just a glass of gin. I giggled and suggested we head someplace else. It was only five and I had been drinking what I was pretty sure was just straight tonic water for the last three hours.

“Maybe you have to earn the gin?” suggested the Kiterunner.

“Yes, you drink enough tonic to prove you are worthy and then you get the gin.” I giggled some more and finished the glass.

We headed out into the hot, steamy Korean early evening into the ‘Won, giggling more. We walked up and down the streets looking for a bar or a place to eat, as while we had been drinking since two, we had only been been picking at food and decided it was time for a bit more to eat.

In the end, after being rejected from Circus and not interested in waiting forever to get into a Tapas place, we headed to Margaritaville.

“Our guy will be there.”

“Our guy rules,” I responded.

And sure enough, the King of Margaritaville came over and grabbed us and put us in seats. He pampered us with chips and salsa. Rushed over with margaritas, and even some swag. He brought us free tequila, and smiled and flirted with us.

“He runs this place,” she said.

“Yes he does. That’s what we should do. We should open a restaurant and put him in charge.”

“Yes, yes,” the Kiterunner agreed.

Maybe it was the craziness of the day, the drinking, or the reoccurring discussion of what it was we are doing with our lives. Maybe it was just the strong margaritas and free tequila. Maybe it was just food or life, and the lack of any time off.

I drank the tequila and just after eight at night I said good night to the Kiterunner and walked myself up the hill and toward this night's particular room and board.

The bed was inviting and I drifted to sleep before ten on gin-fueled dreams.

1 comment:

Maladaahn said...

And even better the second time!