Saturday night, 12:00AM
On train to Apgujeong, a nice friendly man said to me “Iranian?”. That’s weird, Korean people usually look away from me in public. In a brief exchange in Korean, I reveal my real country of origin and learn of his missions in America. I didn’t reveal to the minister, however, that in the front of my mind was my impending search of booze and beats. I got off at the Station and I started walking…and my feet were starting to hurt.
The air got cold. My Boy Scout sense of preparedness was going to save me from having a frozen, pink face. I donned my gator neck walked through Korea’s plastic surgery district looking like a White Ninja in leather. everywhere around me where some rather scary posters and billboards that blatantly promoted plastic surgery to attain this almost surreal standard of beauty. It’s hard to see all the before-and-after pics of the clinics’ past patients. While these surgeons can do absolutely amazing things that would make McNamara/Troy seem like amateurs, I can’t help but ponder the social and cultural ramifications of Korea’s obsession with image. It was fun learning new words for body parts though.
My GPS got me to Gangnam Station and I became lost again. I remembered that not everyone in the world goes to nightclubs all the time like I do, so I was hesitant to ask for directions. A half-hour of wandering around later, I took a taxi to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The taxi driver knew exactly where to go and I could tell he was delighted to help me. But that was because he charged me $10 to go the one block to the Ritz. I knew I was had, but a man could only walk so far before he has no energy left to haggle, especially in a foreign language. I paid it and entered the swank hotel.
The front desk redirected me to the hotel’s side and I met with the familiar setting of clubbers and bouncers and the entrance. I finally made it.
I handed my Ohio driver’s license to the door man and he politely moved me along. I went down the steps and jumped into the queue. The throbbing beats lessened the sting of a $30 cover. But soon, I was engulfed in the warmth of hot bodies and club lights. I had just entered into a vibe that I had missed for so long. It was an international sea of beautiful heads waving to the tempo of electro-house. I was, in so many ways, in Eden…
My steep cover included a free drink, which I promptly redeemed on the only beer available, Miller Genuine Draft. Whatevs, even at $10 bucks a pop, it was better than nothing. There was something about that place that made me put frugality to the side and enjoy that moment. I has fortunately anticipated the expenses and I was still in for a good night. I stayed for a couple hours and tried out my new digital camera I got before I left home. The shots and footage were beautiful, just beautiful. [Side note: I'm still learning this whole photography thingy, so don't judge my camera on my photos just yet!] This is the world through my eyes…
After a few hours, I decided to explore the Eden’s sister club, Mass. Located a (very large) city block away, I bundled up and proceeded south. Upon my arrival, I was asked for my ID and I mentioned to him in Korean that I only had an American driver’s license. “Nnnnope [Translated].” Without my Alien Registration Card, I’m told that a passport would be OK. I tried and tried to get the guy to let me in but he sternly refused my entry. Having quite the repertoire of nightlife experiences, I truly upset about this. The walk back to Eden, however, allowed me to regain a sense of humility and I resolved that the club is just following the rules. Well allrightythen.
On the way back, I was recommended a club called “NB” which stands for Noise Basement. Hearing old Top-40 hip hop blasting from the basement, I promptly moved along. Suddenly, I heard a short yelp as this drunk girl falls down the stairs from some second floor bar. It was a fall that only trained stuntmen should make, but holy shit. That the second “I can’t believe I just saw that” moment in a week. Her boyfriend picked her up and left the scene almost as embarrassed as the girl should be.
Soon, I was back at the magical place of my nocturnal rebirth. More videos, more MGD, and more conversation. The club was noticeably less packed but the energy was still unrelenting. Still unable to get over the fact that I could order a drink until dawn, I found it difficult to pace myself. This let to my Korean sounding kinda “southern” and fast. But hey, we’re making friends!
Some of the DJs I met were Juncoco (http://juncoco.tistory.com/) and a European names DJ Bruno. They were absolutely excellent and I will be sure to look for their names in upcoming events. So that was the highlight of my weekend. Just watch the videos for the next level of living vicariously through me. :)
As I took the first or second train back to Jukjeon, I was greeted at my home station with the light of dawn. Having finally fulfilled an experience I had traveled thousands of miles for, the only thing left for me to do was…yep…walk home.