Friday, December 11, 2009

Oops, I Think I'm in a Male Strip Club

There is a place down the street that I've been wanting to visit ever since I moved into the neighborhood. Their walkway was lined with fake palm leaves and Christmas lights, and a Korean man dressed as Elvis was on the sidewalk trying to convince people to come inside. I once worked up enough courage to stick my head in the doorway, but couldn't make it all the way inside. I did hear some music coming from down the stairs and judging by the old, well dressed Koreans going inside I assumed it was some kind of Korean lounge.

Kelly and I had gone out for dinner and shopping in our neighborhood many times, but never to just have a drink, which was needed to have the nerves to see what was in the basement of that mysterious establishment... that is until recently.

We had a drink on the seventh floor of a club near Sindaebang Station called Luxor. It was very nice inside and the drinks were expensive. The price structures in Korean bars are often very different than they would be in America. For instance, the import beers were an expensive $8 each, but the martinis were the same price, which is reasonable. Unfortunately, most bartenders here don't have the first clue on how to make a good martini. After a couple of drinks we decided to go check out the mystery lounge down the street.

We nervously walked down the stairs and into a room with loud traditional Korean music, and I mean loud. A hostess met us at the door and immediately seated us at a table. The interior was very gaudy, like Wayne Newton gaudy. There were lots of people there, none under the age of 50, and we were of course receiving many stares from everyone. It was very dark and there was a stage where old Koreans would come up and karaoke traditional Korean songs that all sounded the same. The dance floor was packed with old people all dancing the same and seeming to be having the time of their lives. There were only two other people on stage, one guy playing the organ/keyboard and I'm not really sure what the other guy was doing.

When we sat down a waiter ran up and yelled some Korean words in my ear, I looked at him and slightly nodded, and he ran away. Oh boy, what have I just done? It was too late to leave now. We had been seated and I'm pretty sure I had just ordered something. Seconds later, three waiters hurried to our table carrying one of the largest fruit plates I had ever seen along with three huge bottles of Hite(beer). I thought this was really strange until through the smoke and darkness I began to notice that most tables had the same gargantuan fruit plates.

It didn't take long for drunk Korean men to start making their way to us. Buying us beer and squid and trying to get me on stage to sing. Beer and squid was fine but I wasn't going up on stage. The fact that it was way too loud to talk and that we don't speak Korean didn't assuage their efforts to communicate with us. As Kelly and I tried to talk to these men, I noticed that the music had changed. The music was from Phantom of the Opera and two young men started twirling around in huge and sparkled outfits. It was so strange... but not as strange as what happened next.

I was talking to a man with diamond studded Dolce&Gabbana glasses that everyone else referred to as "Captain" when Kelly began kicking me from under the table and motioning towards the dance floor with her eyes. I looked over and did not expect to see what I saw. The dancers had taken off all their clothes except for string bikini banana hammocks. They were still twirling around like before but now they were humping all over the place. They began going from table to table humping frontwards, humping sideways, and humping the ground. Some Koreans watched the dancers straight faced, others went about with their conversations like before, but Kelly and I were obviously the only ones that found it strange. We finished our beer and squid, said bye to Captain and his friends, paid for our fruit plate and we haven't been back since.

Below you see a picture of me outside of the lounge. Also is a photo that Kelly snuck of one of the banana hammock boys.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Promising Draws For USA and S. Korea

Both South Korea and the US should be optimistic with the Groups they were drawn for the 2010 World Cup. Both USA and ROK were lucky not to draw Spain/Brazil from Pot 1 nor Portugal/France from Pot 4.

USA find themselves in Group C with England, Algeria, and Slovenia. England should be the obvious favorite in the Group. England is not the strongest team from Pot 1 and usually struggle playing away from home. Many speculate that English players (as well as other Europeans) struggle in hot weather as well. It is hard to argue if you consider that no European team has ever won a World Cup outside of European soil. Although June will be winter in South Africa, hopefully a nice hot June 12th in Rustenburg will occur and play to the American's advantage.

Republic of Korea is in Group B with Argentina, Nigeria, and Greece joining them. This is a very evenly matched group. The obvious favorite to win the Group, Argentina, has more questions than answers. They easily have the most talent but with their disastrous qualifying round and the drug obsessed coach (Maradona), anything could happen with Argentina. The other three teams have an even chance to advance to the next round in my unexpert opinion. I'll be pulling for Korea myself (as for now anyway).

* My possible dark horse, Ivory Coast, drew both Brazil and Portugal. I'd like to take that one back.

* The host country, South Africa drew three teams ranked in the top 15 in the world(Uruguay, France, and Mexico). The host country usually plays well but it would be a near miracle for S. Africa to make it out of the first round.

Too bad we have to wait so long for the first game, which incidently is June 11th Mexico vs South Africa.

World Cup Draw In About 30 Minutes...

I'm staying up late tonight so that I can catch the World Cup Draw live. USA finds itself in what I would argue is the weakest Pot (2), which could prove unfortunate. Of course any team can win on any given day blah blah blah... but here is what I would consider America's best and worst possible draws:

Best possible: USA, South Africa, Ghana, Slovenia

Worst Possible: USA, Brazil, Cote d'Iviore, Portugal
or: USA, Spain, Paraguay, France

* Any team in Pot 1, excluding South Africa, I consider to be equally intimidating. For example, it would be just as daunting to face England, as it would Spain (especially after defeating Spain last summer). Spain is ranked #1 in the world but they have a poor track record in World Cups. I always find it difficult to not call Brazil #1.

*Ivory Coast is a team that could really make an impact at this World Cup, with an impact striker like Drogba and the "home field advantage" of being an African team... wouldn't be a huge surprise to see them make a run at it.

*South Korea is in the same pot so they face the same scenario as the US.