Sunday, November 15, 2009
Nights of Itaewon Part I
For Fran's last weekend in Korea, hungover and sleep deprived,Friday after work I packed my bag and she and I headed for Seoul. We checked into Bebop House hostel. Which by the way I highly reccomend if you need a inexpensive, and fun place to stay while you're in the Seoul metro area. We arrived at this seemingly ordinary white house in Hongdae with a colorful street sign the reads Bebop House. Inside we find a friendly Korean guy to welcome us and asks us to sign in. Taking off my shoes at the door as customory Korean etiquette dicatats. I make my way to the table. I take a seat on the floor pillow and sign in. The common room is quaint and ecclectic, backpackers' memeroies clipped to a clothesline that hangs on the back wall. a bookshelf filled with maps and travel books and a mini computer station. Our host carries our bags upstairs and we meet our two roommates. After a much needed nap Fran and I get dressed and hail a cab to Itaewon. As the cold fall air whips us in our faces as we exit the cab we cant help but think maybe we should have re-evaluated our club outfits. But none the less with hit the pavement in the direction of Club UN, we were told by a friend was a "down southesque" hip hop club. We make our way inside we hear familar " Shawty wanna thug...." while the bass is bumpin, we make our way downstairs where the smoke is thick and the drinks are flowing. As we hit the door I'm flooded with brown faces. So much brown I forgot I was even in Korea. It was more transporting myself to ATL. Bandanas, fronts, tall dark brothas, "Shawty" be yelled to a near by girl from a guy in a coogi suit...lol. Not even there 10 minutes and the men swoop in, droppin cheesy pickup lines and of course the all prevelent question here " So where ya from?" Mostly military men, but there was no shortage of Nigerian men trying to make me their wife within the first five minutes of meeting. I laugh and am flattered by the attention. Fran is craking up at the bar while a guy with fronts is hammered and all in her personal space, and know how much New Yorkers loooove that!
After having out fill of drinks and make the acquaintence of a nice Nigerian man named " Andy" we all know thats not his REAL name, but I'll let him rock with "Andy". We head out to Club Zion for a little Reggae. At Zion "Andy" and I hit the dance floor. As we are dancing the tall African man kisses my forehead. I stop and say " listen you're nice but I'm def not into that..." He smiles, apparently not understanding and says " Oh you're so cute". Once again not trying to be anyone's girlfriend...or romantic interlude. Making my way back to the table with Fran, "Andy" buys us a round of drinks and boy is he a talker. And those of you who know me... For ME to call someone a talker, now thats saying something.Oh and I got an invitation to go to Africa....sounds fun but, I'm thinking he might try to marry me as soon as we get off the plane. So... I have to re-evaluate that offer...dont want to end up like Sally Fields in Not without my Daughter.After my "conversation" with " Andy" where I only understood ever 2nd or 3rd word due to his serious accent, Fran and I decided to call it a night, well a morning because when I looked at my cell it definitely said 6:30am.Heading back to the hostel we, we sat in the common room for a while make friends with a cute Malaysian guy and Ari a fellow traveller. When our eyelids could no longer hold themselves open , Rran and I headed for the room. The fun thing about hostels and shared rooms is it's kind of like a slumber party with strangers. This arrangement can either be really fun or unbearable. In our case out bunkmates wer prettycool.( Yes, I said bunkmate...We both had the top bunks.) Have you ever tried to climb into a bunk bed when you are hammered? It is No Bueno ladies and gentlemen.The next afternoon we roll out of bed looking " Oh so fabulous" and made our way to Family Hair Salon in Itaewon. Nervous about my impending hair appointment Fran assures me by saying "Really ? can some one really mess up and press and curl?" I say " Ummm ... helllo have you seen my hair" we shrugs, cross our fingers and hope for the best. As we enter the shop and climb the steep set of stairs I spot a Dudley's certificate on the wall.... "Hmmm...Dudley's?", the familiar smell of a hot pressing comb and oil sheen calm my nerves. " Is Jung Su really giving that girl micros over there in the corner? " " Is that Motions I smell...?" Sure enough as we take a seat I see Motions hair products in all their glory on the shelf. I'm put a little more at ease, but you can have all the products in the world...doesnt mean you can do hair. As this little Korean woman waves me to come back to the shampoo chair I take off my headband and unleash the beast. After a few minutes of vigorous washing, she puts in a deep conditioner , piles my curls ontop of my head and places a pink bonnet on my head that looks more like salmon quilted russian hat than something that belongs in a salon. "Deep Condition" she says in Koringlish. I nod and wait for the rinse. In the mean time Fran too decides on to get a wash and blow out. "Perry" the shampoo lady motions me to the stylist chair where there familiar smells of the oven heating up,and as my stylist grabs a jar of B& B grease, this assures me that she knows what she's doing...and hour later she turns my chair around, and I see staring back at me a glimpse of my former American hair fabulousness. Excited, I hop up from the chair and pay her 35,000 won. Which is roughly $20.00. I put on my diva shadesand grab my bag, looking fab we grab our coats. Satisfied with our oh so silky Korean hair experiences we hit the streets of Itaewon.
Confucius Say: One should never doubt the skill of Korean hair stylist, when doing black hair, with Dudley's on the wall and the smell of Motions in the air