So yesterday Andy and I had ambitious goals of exploring downtown and furniture shopping, but the not-so-hot weather and jet lag changed our plans quickly. A lot of stores aren’t open until 12 here, and I got up before 7am again… so we went grocery shopping instead. We spent a lot of time in E-Mart this time just so we could explore every aisle. It’s like a very large Target.
We headed back home and made lunch and just bummed around for a while. We made some plans to meet Conor a block away and met a lot of his friends from EPIK. We basically hopped onto the EPIK downtown orientation (aka bar crawl) but no one cared and it was a great way to meet a lot of people new to Daegu like ourselves. The English teachers here are from all around the world which is very cool. I think Americans and Canadians are the most common, but we met people from all over the UK, Ireland, South Africa, and New Zealand. If a country speaks English, they have a teacher here.
Our first stop was Travelers, a popular foreign pub which boasts the best burgers in town. As Andy and I were walking in, I turned to him and joked “I bet we won’t see anyone we know here…” New city and all, right? Except Jess was sitting a table with some friends, one of whom Andy had already met! So even though Daegu is a city of 3 million, it can feel kind of small at times, especially in foreigner hangouts. I think Travelers might be a bit overrated but I do like that I can get a decent cider on draught.
Then we joined a group and headed over to a place called Go-Go-Vinyl, where you can get bag drinks. Honestly the whole idea is very strange but it’s extremely popular! For 5,000 won you get a large bag of whatever drink you choose. They have an extensive menu in English and Korean. I suppose it’s the adult version of Capri-Sun. Since drinking in public is legal in Korea, people walk all over downtown with their bagged drink of choice.
Next stop was a place called Thursday Party. We had been warned this place was basically a frat party and I can definitely see how it earned that reputation. There were actually two signs outside of the bar about fights and sexual harassment – basically, if the US Army caused one more problem they would not be allowed back. I find it very disappointing when Americans, especially military, present themselves in such an embarrassing fashion. It unfairly represents the majority of Americans (including servicemen and women) who don’t behave like culturally ignorant drunken idiots. We didn’t stay very long, opting instead to check out a nearby hookah bar.
The transition from bar to lounge was great because we got to really talk to some new people. Our group was large so we split up and went upstairs. Andy and I were actually the only two Americans at our table – the rest were from England and Scotland. It was great to get to know what everyone’s been up to, hear about their schools, and discuss differences and similarities between our countries. They continued to go out around town, but we were exhausted at this point and caught a cab home. We did make promises with many of our new friends to meet up for dinner or drinks later this week, and I can’t wait! Everyone is super friendly.
Today was a gross rainy day, so Andy and I relaxed and stayed in. We went to a nearby kimbap place (Kim Pasa) and somehow managed to order food despite the language barrier… the employees were so sweet and understanding. I ordered galbi tang, which reminded me of Andy’s stepfather’s flanken soup! It was a slightly spicy soup with short ribs, glass noodles, garlic, and green onion. Perfect for a rainy day.
|galbi tang – Korean short rib soup