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Yes, boys will be boys!
Night one in Seoul was a perfectly sober one.
Hyundai organised a welcome dinner for us. So everyone was really formal and all and inspite of the cocktails, the ice wasn’t really broken somehow! First things first, there weren’t any hawt chicks in the bunch! Wait a sec, there were. But they were all married and er… sorta out of the league.
So let’s just say that the trip was mostly about male bonding and camaraderie and all those things guys do by themselves to feel good!
There are two parts to what happened on Saturday night, which was our second night in Seoul.
Just to make it interesting, I’ll start off with the second part of the story first.
There were five of us: Y, smart talking, charming executive ed of a auto mag, (age: around mid 30s) S, the incredibly funny whacko assistant ed of another mag (age: around mid 30s), there was K, the shortest but the most confident and enthusiastic of the lot (now he was the guy who took all the decisions for the gang, age: around early 30s) and R, the shy, I’ll-blush-at-the-mention-of-a-girl-giggler types (age: mid or late 20s) When I went shopping with him once, he spent so much time at the pen counter, admiring them).
And there was me, I would be the geek of the gang (cuz I had already signed up with http://www.virtualtourist.com/ and done my research on what’s hot and what’s hawtter in Seoul, age: 28…ha! you thought I’ll make that late twenties?)!
11.15 p.m. J W Marriott
“Who all wanna come to check out Seoul’s night life?” asks K.
Soon, the above-said five run down an escalator to catch the last train out of the subway to Itaewon, said to be the hottest nightspot in Seoul. We have to take two trains to reach Itaewon and change over at Yaksu. After waiting on the wrong side for a coupla minutes, S and Y realise we’ve been waiting at the wrong side of the platform and would’ve taken a train in the opposite direction.
We rush around the escalators again and within less than a minute, the last train screeches to a halt. “We won’t get the connecting train at Yaksu, we might have to take a taxi,” says S. He was right. So we head out of Yaksu station, and look around for a cab.
Not one empty one in sight in the first fifteen minutes. K jaywalks the road and runs to the store on the other side to get a coupla beers. Soon K, S and Y are sitting on a bench outside a Korean fast food place sipping beer with R and me entrusted with the job of stopping a cab. Just as a figure out that the buses we missed, while waiting for the cab would have taken us to Itaewon, S spots a cab from his bench.
“Stop that one,” he yells.
“Will he let five of us in?”
“No, no… five boss. One is a little boy!” (pointing towards K)
The Korean taxi driver realises that there’s no point talking to a bunch of drunk Indians and lets us in as K hides his beer!
We get out right outside Helios, which I had read in virtualtourist was a pub known for its aggressive women! But these guys just walked away, as if looking for something specific. And they wouldn’t tell what. And I’m thinking: “Oh no, are these guys gonna pick up women? Why don’t they just ask me? I can tell them where they can find em.”
How can you really ask someone you hardly know if they are looking to hump some hookers? So I just shut up and follow. These guys are upto something really adult and I wasn’t really feeling ready for such adult entertainment, especially at a cost. I was feeling a lil uneasy as these guys walked around the street as many attractive women passed us, some of them seemed like they were out on business and some of them just out partying and some of them, you just couldn’t tell… So here we were, fifteen minutes after arrival in the well lit street in Itaewon, still looking around for something.
Finally, I think of asking K: What exactly are we looking for? But before that, I had to think of a good excuse to back off… what do I tell them if he says: “Pick-ups”? That’s when S says dramatically: “I’ll take one babe or you want to split one with me?” (I later realise he was only gassing to freak us all out!)
I catch hold of R as the others cross the street, for the third time in 20 minutes that night.
“What do these guys want to do?”
“Oh, they are looking for a strip club”
“A strip club? I don’t think there’s one here. Or I don’t think it’s called that here.”
“How do you know?”
“Cuz I’ve researched the net on the nightlife in Seoul and things to do. There are some nice nightclubs here, we can just hang out there.”
R does not answer. He walks looking around. “Utopia” reads one neon board. “Russian XXX” reads another. We reach the crossroads.
“What are we looking for?”
“Any nice club yaar,” says Y casually as S checks out a coupla hookers.
And I’m thinking: “Yeah right, I believe you.” I smile.
[I’m watching Notting Hill as I type this stuff. And I’m finding it really hard to come back to this with the hilariously funny lines… the bit when William (Hugh Grant) goes to meet Julia at the press meet as the House and Hound journalist and the interviews… and the dinner he takes her to… How many ever times I watch this movie, I just don’t get bored!! William’s roomie Spike… oh, frikkin hilarious! This movie has to be a classic of our times… it’s sooo good that I just want to walk into it and be a part of it and know these people!]
This is when R musters courage to tell everyone.
“I know a place.”
Everyone’s like… “What?” “You?”
R quickly adds: “If you can walk for 500 meters. I saw it from the taxi when we were coming.”
S asks: “What place?”
“It said: Adults only”
“Okay, let’s walk,” says K.
Y smiles as we watch the three walk. We follow. The light goes red at the pedestrian crossing. K runs, the others follow too. I’m the last of the five and I decide to wait for the green. I watch these guys wait for a bit. Soon, they get walking.
[Cut to Notting Hill: Julia just said: “One day my looks will go and they will discover I can’t act and I will look like a middle aged woman who was famous for a while.” Even that day… I will still dig her. I lurve her. Background score: It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart Without saying a word you can light up the dark Try as I may I can never explain What I hear when you don’t say a thing… You say it best when you say nothing at all]
I’m bad at this huh? Blame the movie. Okay, so… I soberly wait for the pedestrian light to go green and have this taxi nearly ramming into me. And you thought traffic violations happen only in Madras? Okay, so I catch up with the men and five minutes later, we find the place R was talking about.
Camera pans up, our point of view: A board that says “Adult Shop!” And the shop is closed.
S and K decide to walk up and find out if there are any adult places. Two minutes later. K comes back.
“No adult places. They say if we look for adult places, we will get screwed.”
“What kind of place do you guys want?” I ask K. “You know what place,” he says.
“Okay. I think I know what you guys want. Let’s go back to Helios. The place we got off the taxi. Virtualtourist lists that as an adult spot with aggressive women.”
“Why didn’t you say that before?” “You guys didn’t ask.”
[Lol. Spike just found Julia in his bathroom when he goes to help himself with a newspaper containing her naked pics… I love that look on his face when he gets out of the bathroom politely, comes out excitedly and says: Thank You God]
So we walk again. About 40 minutes after getting off the taxi, we get back to the same spot and walk into Helios. And it’s a rockin nightclub as we enter… There are women dancing, the dance floor is packed. As we make our way through the crowd around the tables, I spot this really drunk girl pull down a part of her top to show her boyfriend her er… heart, I would think!
[Julia seems to be asking me: “What is it about men and nudity? Particularly, breasts…. Every second person has them. They are odd looking, they are milk and even your mother has them” lol… Well, trust William to come up with a typical guy response (He goes over to her, peeps into the blanket and says: Beats me)]
Anyways, so the guys find a table and I get into the mood for the party. I spend 5000 won (5 dollars) on a Bacardi, hit the floor. Two seconds later, there are two women dancing with me (Well, I spent too little time on the floor to figure out if they were for real or for a price) and I’m like: “Where are the other guys? Isn’t this what they wanted?” And I can’t find them. So I excuse myself from the floor and go looking. Gone.
R comes back from the stairs and says: “Come on, we’re going somewhere else.”
“They don’t like this place.”
“What about this? I just bought this” (I show him my drink)
He takes it from me and downs in one gulp. “Let’s go,” he says.
[William: I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. Everyone in the world knows who you are, my mother has trouble remembering my name.
Anna Scott: I’m also just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her
So we are back to the crossroads again. We hear Bhangra music. “This is where we go.”
We walk in and S asks the enthusiastic hostess, “We want to see a live show.”
“I’m live and you can see me,” laughs the hostess.
That did it. We were in. There were very few people on the dance floor. This seemed to be a more seedy place. And there was this incredibly cute girl in red who was one of the hostesses. “You wanna dance,” I asked.
“We aren’t allowed to till we are done,” she said.
“Oh! So how long do you work?”
“Till nine in the morning,” she said.
“Awww… I’m sorry.”
Soon, there were these guys at the table bullying her. One of them grabbed her and all she could do was smile and walk away. I felt soooow bad. Soon enough, I saw her walk into the restroom and sob. She came out trying to look cheerful but it showed on her face that she really didn’t enjoy it. Imagine, there’s this one creep who is asking her to dance (me, me!) and another grabbing her ass.
I deposited my bag outside and returned in only to come face to face with the girl in red. She was still looking lost. I smile and tell her: “Smile.” And she did. Her face lit up instantly. It felt good. In ten minutes, we were out of that place too.
Back at the crossroads, we spot these two Russian hookers. I must say, that they were incredibly jaw-droppingly hawt! Itaewon is a colourful place. There are roadside eateries which are still alive, with barbeque. There was a guy playing a guitar and another on our side of the road dressed like Spiderman. There was these benches outside another nightclub and there were three babes sitting on it. Soon, they got some pictures taken with Spiderman. There was this huge black American man wearing a hat chilling with a beer calling every other guy ‘Brother,’ and he was making friends with everyone at the bar.
And suddenly it occured to me. Maybe all these people know each other. Maybe they are all a part of a racket. Spiderman, the guitarist, the barbeque vendor, the hookers and maybe even the girls in the bench.
K sat facing these girls and refused to move. Y and S went inside the bar to get a drink. Soon Y came out to give K company while R and me continued standing in the corner, at the crossroads checking out the crowd. Fifteen minutes later, I walk in to see what’s happening. Finally I figure out that S is checking out these two girls at the bar. “Why don’t you just say Hi,” I ask S.
“Wait,” he says as he moves to sit at the bar counter. Soon, one of the three babes from the bench is sitting with him and the black American man introduces her to S. “Let’s leave him alone,” says Y as I stand in front of them. “Move away,” says an intoxicated K and then I figure I was blocking his view of the babe he was smitten by. Right now, there was another guy sitting with her and the third girl was away in the pavement. God! Is every single girl a pick up here, I wonder.
“Let’s check out other clubs,” suggests R as soon as I get out.
Soon, we walk into this Russian place. It was empty and the hostesses did seem like they were pick-ups too. We rushed out. After checking out two more of these, we came to a conclusion. The place is packed with women on business.
It was close to 2 15 and we decided to call it a night. “You guys carry on,” smiled Y. “We are gonna be here for moral support for him,” said K.
Next day, we all wanna know. So… did he do it??
We couldn’t help laughing when he said: “No… but I got her number.”
Oh… the first part of our story…
Earlier that night, before we headed to Itaewon… we were taken for the Walkerhills Show. It started with a Korean traditional dance and they hadn’t let cameras inside. We nearly dozed off. What a boring show, I thought.
Then the curtains came down. It was just break time, apparently and a French group was gonna perform next. Oh No! Another opera?
So these women dancers came on to the stage, like they just walked out of Moulin Rouge… And at the drop of the hat, they took their tops off! Yes, they had just flashed their breasts at the audience! Am I on drugs? Or dead? Are these women really topless?
One act after another, they did the most sensous numbers, with aesthetically choreographed nudity (ahem ahem!). Later, we found out that these dancers are from the Parisian nightclub Lido, one of the best there, that too in the league of Moulin Rouge!
Well, life. It throws up things when you least expect them. And when you go looking for things, it gives you something else.
Boys sure have simple needs, huh?