In Korea, if you want the price lowered, you say “ga ga joosayo”. Hahaha. I think this is hilarious, and apparently so do some Koreans. The one time I used “ga ga joosayo” this past weekend at a jewelery store, the clerk flat-out laughed in my face. Then she called over the manager, repeated the phrase in a mocking tone, and he too laughed in my face. Did I just ask for a blow job? Only after the manager caught his breathe did he knock off 5000 KRW. Confused? Yeah me too.
Navigating our way through the spaghetti pile of subway stops and transfer stations was much easier the second time. We sat next to a Korean teenager on our first train from the Express Bus Terminal to Sinseol-dong. He was noticeably red in the face and, as they say in New England, right fackin’ pie-eyed. He ran off the train at the next stop, and puked in a storm drain next to a very well-dressed Korean man violently kicking a vending machine. Nobody seemed to notice except for us.
We stayed at two hostels, one in Sinseol-dong called Backpackers Korea (or something very close to that) and another near Hongik University called Hongdae Guesthouse 2.0. Nicknamed the “Yellow Submarine”, the Hongdae Guesthouse is managed by a middle aged Korean man named Henry. He looks like John Lennon, really, he does. For anyone looking for a cheap hostel at a great location in Seoul, look no further than the Yellow Submarine; 17000 KRW a night to stay in a newly renovated town house (carved up like a frat house) just a 15 minute walk from the ridiculous night life near Hongik University. The employees speak English and are VERY hospitable. Please enjoy.
Coming home from the 2009 Seoul Lantern Festival, we stopped at a bar called Texas, which oddly enough served mainly European beers — except for Sam Adams and Honey Brown. Don’t waste your time at this bar, unless you enjoy pissing your money away on skunk beer and second hand smoke. It was late, so we waved down a cab for a ride back to the hostel. Upon telling him were we were looking for the Yellow Submarine, he drove away immediately. Poor choice of words I think. No matter, the alley was awash with taxis. Another cab pulled up immediately, but when we tried to get in, the doors were locked. “Where are you going?” he said in perfect English. Hongik University Subway Station? “Yes I will take you there for 15,000 KRW.” The previous cab ride had cost half that amount. “We’ll just walk.” Confused, the cabbie rolled up his window and drove away. A third taxi driver pulled up… and the doors were not locked. As he raced us down the two four-lane road towards Hongik Station, he started frantically pushing he buttons on his GPS and made a few rather obscure left turns into alley ways and gas stations. It became clear to us that this cabbie did not know where he was going, or he was trying to rip us off by running up the meter. Either way, we wanted out. One of us said, “Yogeeyo”, which in Korean means “drop me off here asshole”. Lost somewhere in the general area of our hostel, there was only one solution; booze. Cackling like hyenas in front of a gas station as we ripped butts and mixed soju with beer, the Koreans passerby’s were magnificently unimpressed. It was then I said it; “I love this city.”