This weekend won’t be one that goes down as full of trips exploring fun temples and towns around Korea. More one for exploring the bars downtown.
It was the first teachers’ dinner on Friday evening and after being invited along very last minute in typical Korean style, (Friday late morning, dinner straight after school), I headed along to discover what Korean social evenings were like.
It started with the complex of where do we sit? I arrived with a couple of other teachers first at the restaurant and choosing our seats was a political decision that took some deciding.
Next came presentations to all the new teachers, with myself receiving a plastic rose and some information said about me in Korean. The food was delicious at the teachers’ meal – the benefit of being with people from here who know the best places. We had a melody of seafood fried up first with beansprouts, then the rest with fried rice.
One of the teachers who speaks very good English told me this school wasn’t big on the whole drinking culture – something that surprised me, as it’s a Korean past-time. Turns out she was a bit wrong as within ten minutes the principal was coming round pouring shots of his aged Whisky, another senior teacher was doing So-Mek slammers – Soju dropped into beer and then whirled around to give it a froth; and the alcohol just kept flowing.
I went to three different bars with teachers, with copious food and drink served at each. Most of the alcohol drank is Soju, about 20% abv and always served in a shot glass, often drank in one! So certainly a heavy night. Teachers would pass out during the drinking and it would just continue around them, then they’d be woken to move on. I felt very sorry for my co-teacher and the history teacher who weren’t allowed to leave as they were my translators, so had to keep drinking all evening. One said she was bed bound all weekend after the night!
I on the other hand continued drinking with my friends after the teachers party Friday night and then Saturday night. Daegu has fun nightlife and we made the most of it. My days were spent eating food and feeling semi dead. This weekend I’ve vowed to be more productive!
I have also unfortunately already experienced the Korean dentistry. The cap I had put on my tooth in Australia fell off after less than two years. I wasn’t impressed. And my $500 bill to get it replaced probably isn’t covered under my health insurance, so that’s a blow, but life goes on. They were a bit keen to get started in the dentists after they’d given me the anesthetic. I had to get him to hold off a further ten minutes, as I could definitely feel him starting to drill the first time. Luckily it was painless from then on and I can smile again.