Knowing When to Say ‘Ajosshi!’


Our group of Jon’s Totally Rad Birthday Wellwishers got a treat Saturday night, when the Dadaepo Beach Sunset Fountain of Dream was being warmed up for its big return on April 20. As we walked down the main road, we heard ominous music. One of those popular songs you hear in movies that heralds some great apocalypse of something. You’d know it if you heard it. So, we ran for the fountain and were next treated to some serious power metal. Hence the devil horns in one of those shots. And then, “Gangnam Style.” Of course.

For those not familiar, the Sunset Fountain of Dream is apparently the largest fountain timed to music in the world. Or something like that. It’s what Dadaepo Beach is known for. I must admit, it was pretty cool.

That was a great part of Saturday night. Afterward, we headed to Ma Bar for drinks, chicken, more drinks and more drinks. Then, noraebang for songs and more drinks. And then, a small group of us returned to the fountain to hang out for another hour or so. And, more drinks.

I could have cut my alcohol consumption by about half and still had a great time. But, I didn’t. So, this is the point where I must say, “anio.” Or, maybe, you can say, “ajosshi,” uncle. Maybe you’ve been there, too.

Tomorrow I turn 34 years old. And, this is not a post to lament on how I cannot handle my booze like the 23, 24, 25 years I have been hanging out with can. It’s that I don’t want to. While they got up and did activities on Sunday, or at least just got up, I slept the entire day. Literally, I stayed in bed until 4:30 p.m. It’s no way to live. It’s no way to experience a foreign country, at least not for me. Do you disagree? That’s fair, but you and I might be better suited as hiking buddies rather than drinking buddies. At least for now.

Alcohol in and of itself is not inherently bad. A tipple, or even a triple tipple isn’t the worst thing in the world. But, just like smoking cigarettes, I knew that I could not stop at one, so I had to stop at none. I have been in Korea now for over two months, and only slipped up once on my second day here, bumming a smoke after losing my wallet. I thought it would be impossible to not smoke in a place where smoking is so common, and so cheap. But, I have proven it can be done. Is alcohol the next vice to fall away?

This lost Sunday may have been the tipping point, to the point where I say, this isn’t why I came here.


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