Sunday, September 30, 2007

Checkin' out Itaewon

View outside my hotel room.

Checking into my hotel at Dragon Lodge was a breeze. For $5/day I get a nice high speed Internet connection - money well spent. I pulled up my sponsors info and called him on his cell phone. It turns out that his family is visiting - leaving tomorrow morning. He called the boss and it turns out my command isn't expecting me until at least tomorrow.

Without wasting any time I jumped in a taxi. I didn't know where I wanted to go, so it was good that the driver asked, "Itaewon?", shopping? I asked, "how much?" At $3 it couldn't be far. We drive through a few blocks of traffic, and there we are! There are an unbelievable number of little stores.

I found a little restaurant in an alley that didn't have any English signs. Perfect, I was very hungry. I ordered the bulgogi, which I'm thinking now just means steak, or more appropriately, meat. It was very different from the Bulgogi that my boss at Guantanamo had taught me to cook. Lunch was great.

I spent a few hours browsing and wandering through Itaewon. I had more fun in the little off alleys than the main street. I was chatting with a few girls at a jewelery store. Long story short they convinced me to get a Folex. I felt silly hiding behind the counter choosing between their hidden selection of: Rolexes, Omegas, Tags, and Breitlings - they only brought out the ones that I asked for though. Perfectly legal for me, but they could get in trouble. It's a very well made piece, but surely not worth the $160 I payed. The going rate may be $40 on ebay, if it were legit. I chose a Panerai - I'll have to replace it with a real one after I make my first $1mil.

After a bit more wandering I found myself in a massage place/spa. I know what you're thinking - but this wasn't a shady location. 16 hours of resting my head on the airplane window developed a serious kink in my back and neck. I asked for the 30 minute version for $30, but the massage lasted about 90 minutes. So I didn't have a problem when the bill came at $60 for 60 minutes. It was the best I've ever had.

On the (short) cab ride back to base I saw more motorcyclists. This time they were weaving through traffic. 2 guys waited a bit, then ran a red light. I've heard that this is considered to be acceptable here. I need to learn the lay of the land and get my local license.

I'll go in to meet my coworkers tomorrow!


Colby said...

Hey, awesome entry. You're a natural blogger. Keep it up!

W K said...

Great commentary. You should write for a travel magazine.

Katie (our families long-time Korean Laundry lady) said steer clear of those massage places. I will go see her so I can get and relay some hook ups with some NICE local girls for you.


surferb said...

Katie said to stay clear of prostitutes at Itaewon Bars...I haven't yet gone to a bar or seen a prostitute!

W K said...

I am just ribbing you. BUT, I can go over and see if Katie knows of any nice girls in Seoul.


surferb said...

I'm sure Katie does know some 'nice girls' in Seoul - but if she knew them when they were little kids they're probably almost 40 by now! I'll be ok.