Thursday, 12 August 2004

Clara's Leaving Night

My left eye is red and I'm wearing glasses. Often this is a sign that I've been drinking and passed out with my contact lenses in, although this isn't quite the case. True, I did end up drinking till 4am last night, a school night, but my eye had had it well before then. During the day it had burst into virtual flames and I removed it before the forthcoming drinking session.

Yes, as commented in a recent email to me, I appear to be reverting to type. Since my holiday with the dirty white ladies from Scotland, posing as my friends but actually a gross disturbance in my life, I have done virtually no revision and have been drunk an unthinkable two times. My Korean revision has been shot to hell. Bad boy Nev is showing hints of his ugly head once more, and we can only hope and pray that Good boy Nev can show resilience.

Last night was a very amusing night, and rather wild in many ways. Rarely have I seen such unrestrained enthusiasm, with ladies whooping for joy and dancing like crazies. Not for me, alas, but for the joy that is known as the norebang. This, for those that don't know, is Korean karaoke, always in private rooms. But we'll get to that later.

Being a week night, I usually never venture out of my apartment, holing myself up like some rancid dog crawled under an overspilling skip. I watch Friends while I eat dinner, then try to be in bed before 9pm. That's the theory. But as I was finishing work yesterday, Clara appeared. Clara is one of the ex-teachers from here. She left about a month or so ago, and is set to go to Canada to study in a week's time. So her appearance was a farewell appearance, and it transpired that a meal out was planned, with most of the current teachers plus some stars of old.

Current teachers present were the ever-social David (he left quite abruptly during the meal because he was bored/tired), Jesse, Winnie, Rachel and Cathy. Returning faces were the boisterous Jasmine (who left Castle School just as I started), the very pleasant Ally, Chan and Sharon.

I was quite alarmed when first seeing Sharon. I don't know what she's doing since she stopped being a teacher at Castle School, but I wouldn't rule out crack whore. She used to dress quite plainly with loose clothing, but last night it was a tight day-glo yellow top, a pile of lipstick and some severe glasses. I considered slipping her 50,000 Won to see what it would get me, but decided against it in the end.

We ate at a standard Korean restaurant at first, just gathered on the floor round a long series of tables, cooking our own meat. Even at this early stage, soju was being liberally knocked back with a relish only Koreans could have for their national drink. Soju is such a mindless, foul spirit. However, once you get past the first few shots, it stops being so directly vile. I impressed Chan with my Korean, which has improved a lot since I've last seen him. When I say impressed, I mean in the same way people are impressed when a retarded child does some very basic task. My Korean is still deep down at idiot level, which garners quite a lot of patronising praise for my feeble efforts in stringing a few words together. However, as I quite enjoy being patronised (especially by attractive Korean girls) I don't mind.

We moved onto another nearby restaurant then, this one outside and dealing in seafood. Or shells and mussels of various types. Not filling but very tasty, although the wait for everything to cook before us made the ultimate experience of dining a little unsatisfying. At this point, drunkenness with my companions was surfacing. Not too obviously, but the ladies were beginning to get loud and racous and starting to screech like banshees in the way that women the world round do when they get together and drink. Most of the conversation was lost on me, but I was filled in on a few interesting details.

It appears that Daniel (not present) is not necessarily the most popular member of staff. Although he irritated me when he first started, I like Daniel now. He's a bit cheesy, but is helpful and funny and easy to talk to. But his charm with me does not appear to have rubbed on on the ladies. It was all a bit vague, but something was insinuated regarding an approach to Sharon (presumably before her crack whore days) and there was also a suggestion he was pursuing glam-girl Jessie. Poor old 35 year old good Christian Daniel. I think he's just desperate for a wife.

Of more interest was the mentiion of my name a few tmes. Chan never revealed the exact content of the conversation but I got the impression it was about my "handsome boy" status. This is something, believe it or not, that is true. Especially since buying a whole new wardrobe I'm a very handsome young man. In Korea at least, where my pasty skin and beard is a novelty. When meeting "Eric" about the summer camp last Sunday, he made a reference to having been told by the Gin Girls that I was good looking. Truly, I am Handsome Nev.

All this took up until about 1am, at which point a complaint from someone in a nearby apartment ended our outside dining, drinking and chatting. We were making too much noise, it seems, with the cackles of drunken females keeping the good people of Daegu awake long into the night. This disruption did not end the revelry though, oh no. It simply shifted it up a couple of gears and we flocked into a nearby norebang.

I've seen a few things in my life. I've been to many countries, met many people from around the world, and seen times of joy and sadness. But up until last night I'd never seen the sheer abandon that comes when a group of usually very civilised young Korean ladies take to the karaoke after an evening of hard drinking. They went wild. Korean song after Korean song (all sounding identical to me) came up, and they were dancing around and singing with great enthusiasm. Rachel, the quietiest member of staff by a long way, usually quite surly and grumpy looking, was transported into UK early 90's club culture as she danced it up rave style, as if she was appearing into a video for 2Unlimited. Everyone was whooping continuously. I'm talking loud whoops of joy and excitement at every moment of every song. They truly were loving it. It was sheer celebration in that little noraebang room.

Chan was pulling some swift moves too, as he sang a few numbers himself, playing tricks with the microphone like a seasoned pro. Even more smoothly, for the slow numbers he initiated some slow dancing with some of the ladies.

Of course, I won't pretend I was immune to the revelry. With beers finally added to the bottles of soju drank already, I was happy and joined in the manic dancing. I managed to avoid all singing though, because my singing is usually so genuinely bad that it sounds like I'm intentionally singing badly. However, after much persuasion I succumbed for one song, and I opted for a Korean song. It went alright actually, my singing voice didn't let down all of Scotland, and I managed to mostly keep up with the subtitles onscreen.

This scene of civilised teachers gone wild continued for some time, breaking through any tiredness barriers. When I was still in school I could never have imagined teachers behaving with such little restraint, and it was very amusing to see what simple karaoke could do to otherwise respectable ladies (and gents I suppose, although I've long been aware of what alcohol can do to me.) We departed the noraebang at about 3.30am and I was home by 4am. The night was such a success that plans are now in place to make it a monthly event.

So, this morning was a little rough, after just a few hours sleep, but I wasn't feeling too worse for wear. The kids didn't seem to notice than my energy levels were sagging and that I didn't appear to care what they did. After lunch though, and a big turd, I was back to normal and so the rest of the day should cruise by easily.

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