Tuesday, June 23, 2015

two strikes, one hit

After finishing my Tuesday work in Daechi-dong, I went over to the Seoul campus of Dongguk University to collect some paperwork and to drop other paperwork off. While I was in my office, I met a coworker—we'll call him Ampersand—who told me he was shopping around for a new place to live. He said that, for now, a yeogwan would be fine, so I told him I'd take him over to the Jongno 5-ga neighborhood where I had stayed a couple nights on the recommendation of a former coworker.

Amp and I taxied over to that neighborhood, but when I told him that we'd be heading into a back alley, he suddenly betrayed a great deal of trepidation, which I found amusing. We walked into the alley, and Amp started muttering, "Damn... this is filthy..." Now, I'm actually okay with a certain level of squalor (witness my multiple stays in the pube yeogwan), but Amp was apparently unready for even this rather modest level of trashiness. We passed the juicy girls; we passed the bars; we passed a few shadier-than-usual love motels. The buildings' fa├žades had been redone since my last visit, so I ended up skipping past the yeogwan I had stayed in, but when I asked Amp if we should turn around and look for it, he said, "Naw, man. Let's go back to the main street."

So we headed out of the alley and back into the world. At that point, breathing fresher, less whore-y air, Amp felt a bit better and asked me whether I'd eaten dinner. I said no, so Amp said we should step into the soondae-guk restaurant right next to us. It looked like a nice place, so I shrugged and said "Why not?" The blood-sausage soup, laced with stringy beef, turned out to be fantastic, and was a great deal at barely $5.60 per large bowl. Good call on Amp's part. I paid, despite my colleague's protestations, so he insisted on paying the fare for our next cab ride, which was over to my old neighborhood from last semester, right in Chungmuro 5-ga. I wanted to take Amp up to the Hyundai Residence, a building just up the street from my former yeogwan. I had visited the real-estate office there months ago to ask about the cost of an apartment in the building. Amp said he'd like to see an apartment if possible. When we got to the front desk, the two harried clerks told us there were no apartments available—just hotel rooms. This contradicted what I'd heard from the real-estate office, but the night manager said, "I'm just the night manager; come back during the day and somebody higher up can help you better."

So my two attempts at hooking Amp up with a place to stay turned out to be a bust. The only high point of the evening was that soondae-guk restaurant, which was truly memorable. Amp and I walked back to Dongguk's campus, collected our stuff, walked back down to the street, and parted ways. Amp was intent on having a beer in Itaewon; I was tired and wanted to catch the 7119 bus from Gwanghwamun back to Goyang.

At least I got a good bit of walking done.


1 comment:

John (I'm not a robot) said...

Didn't like the trashy alley, but likes to drink in Itaewon. Go figure.