South Korea (henceforth referred as Unified, Korea – This is not a propaganda story or is it?)
Korea sure does know how to keep a traveler spellbound.
To a tourist Korea is just like any other developed country with skyscrapers, shopping orchards, induced alcohol hangouts and dazzling street lights; To a traveler, Korea is more than that. The people, culture, history, traditions, mindsets, stereotypes will enchant a travel’s soul to every threshold.
Since I’m back, I have started giving monologues that have even lasted hours simply praising the enchanted land(s) of Korea. I have even dispensed them as mono’chats’ to my Tinder matches. Yes, Korea is that ‘awe-inspiring’. It would be only apt if I share these memories, moments as stories or travel logs.
I shall dispense my first story now: The Green Light Girl
Clubbing scene in Korea is underrated, people there sure know how to party. Whether it be the classy streets of Itaewon or the ‘young’ back allies of Hongdae, they are killer cool everywhere. A group of few, all backpackers, seated at the common room of a hostel (Kimchee Sinchon 1) were relishing the warmth of an antic heater which had a visual portrait of burning logs. None of us realized it was the 1st Friday of the year until someone quizzed, “What’s the day today, my flights on Sunday?”, I think it was the French American guy (I forget his name) who was traveling to Japan next.
Suddenly, a storm of conversations erupted and within seconds we realized, “We gotta club tonight”. As a backpacker, you don’t really feel the need to dress up for any occasion but Korea is different, you need to look sharp, we needed to be sharp. It took us almost an hour and we were ready to drag ourselves to a Korean Club called ‘Mama’.
Now let’s not judge the book by it’s cover, though the contents were quite illustrious, let me finish narrating this unique experience.
There’s a lot that happened within minutes of us being at the club but let’s focus on this girl with a green light. It only took me a few shots of Soju and a couple of beers to start pole dancing, specially at Club Mama where it’s a desired skill.(Read as “Assumed desired skill”) plus with my bollywood skills, it didn’t take me long to have ‘followers’.
Dancing is a funny art, you just know you want to dance with someone when you see them doing a step that you almost were about to do and then either they follow you or you follow them. You dance with a unified rhythm. It wasn’t any different in our case, we started dancing together, in symmetry and suddenly we made our moves viral to an entire crowd standing near the elevated pole dance area.
After almost an hour of showing off our moves, we took a break from floor and reached out to our drinks. I had to follow her, I had to know her name before I never saw her again.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
She said something in Korean which I obviously didn’t really understand, after a minute of her looking around for something, she took out this green light from her pocket, it was one of those clubbing accessories you wear on your fingers while you rave. She displayed it like jewel and said, “Green…Green”, pointed at herself and then at the light, “Green”. I still do not precisely know what she meant by that but I assume either her name was green or her name meant something closely related to green.
Before I could ask anything else, she said “No English” with crossing her hands like a multiplication cross over her chest. “No English…No English”, and then she walked away with a polite smile which could mean almost anything in the world. At first I wasn’t really sure what had just happened, had I offended the girl or had I scared her, it was only after my conversation with my Brazilian backpacker that enlightened me that Korean girls who want to meet foreigners but cannot speak English are really shy and are embarrassed of themselves.
I took another 5000 WON beer from the bar and started enjoying the music again. You know sometimes, we need to stop thinking, to start living.
It was almost 4:00AM and we were almost set to go back to our hostel, suddenly a hand came across my shoulder, it was her, Green; without any words in any language and without any surprise looks we both submersed ourselves to the music.
It is the most predictable story hence forth, we danced till the gang was set to leave, she gave me the green light as a partying gift and I received it with bowing my head down indicating a big thank you. We hadn’t spoken a single word in our second interaction, she walked with me towards the lookers; where she hugged me a goodbye hug and asked where I was from, I said, “India”.
She crossed her hand again, with a multiplication sign on her chest, “No English…” after a pause, she surprised me with a “Namaste” in a very very Korean accent and it sounded like “Namasteooo”
The “Namasteoooo” might just have been the alcohol but the Green was very real.
It’s with me right now and it will always be.