Sunday, September 16, 2012

Date night like a couple of grownups.

It is 1:30 in the morning, Irish and I got home from our night on the town about an hour ago.  I'm tired, but I found the Ohio State football game streaming online and I expect to be up for a little while watching the game. So I thought I'd step in after a few weeks of Irish doing all the blogging.( I am actually posting this on Sunday because I fell hard asleep during the first quarter of the game.  Fortunately I recorded it and watched the Buckeyes win this morning!)

As a side note, related to the game.  On the first day of classes,when I was going over the syllabus, I had mentioned that I went to The Ohio State University and made a joke about giving extra credit to students who could tell me the results of Ohio State games.  This was not part of the syllabus, because I was kidding, but I saw kids all over the room quickly writing this down- so I had to stop them, let them know I was kidding.  And now I know, grades and extra credit are not something to be joked about in South Korea.

The musical Wicked is in town.  I bought tickets three weeks ago and we've really been looking forward to it. Our friends Jay and Nalisha agreed to babysit.  I think Irish has already mentioned Jay and Nalisha (or Delicious or Malicious, more recently Nalicious which is getting closer)  The girls love Jay and Nalisha.  They have been waiting all week for them to come over.  This morning first thing both Grace and Ruby told me it was going to be a good day because of the babysitting situation.

So we left the house at around 4:30 to get to Itaewon for dinner by 5:30.  Everything needed to go smoothly to get there in time and pretty remarkably it did.  We got to the bus stop and the red 5500 bus came just a few minutes later.  It was standing room only, but still good that we didn't have to wait.  Some of the buses don't allow you to stand and they will just drive by the stop if they are full. Traffic was heavy but moving. We got into Seoul, crossed the Han river and when we got off there was a cab waiting at the stop and that took us the rest of the way to Itaewon.

Dressed up for our night out

Irish the straphanger.

Traffic in Seoul from the back of our taxi.

Itaewon is near the Yongsan Garrison, so a lot of foreigners are there.  It is the neighborhood where Irish got her hair done.  We had reservations at a Bulgarian restaurant called Zelen.  I don't think it's ever occurred to me to go to a Bulgarian restaurant, I don't think I have even heard of one, but a coworker had recommended the place, and the reviews I read were all outstanding.The new phones are incredibly helpful with finding our way.  When traffic came to a halt we got out of the taxi and followed the map on my phone- went one block off the main street and then up a hill to the restaurant, just a few minutes late.

The stairs up to Zelen.

Dinner was outstanding. Peaceful with no children. And for desert, banana pancakes.  On our honeymoon, ten short years ago, we ate banana pancakes at every guesthouse we stayed at.  So as connoisseurs of banana pancakes  we  can say this was well above average.

Leaving the restaurant the neighborhood seemed to be coming to life. At a different point in my life I could see late nights in Itaewon being fun.  But now, I am a grown man heading out for a night at the theater.

 Everyone we spoke to about Wicked before we went had said good things, and we were not disappointed.

The stage, taken right before I was asked not to take pictures.  Subtitles in Korean on either side.

There was a subway station directly under the theater so we ended the night by walking down stairs, getting on a train, missing the stop we were supposed to connect at, backtracking, and then at our second transfer seeing this:

For a city that stays up late the trains close surprisingly early on a Saturday- midnight and the gates go down.  Fortunately Irish and I have become proficient enough in saying our address that we can tell a taxi where we live and be understood. We can also say "turn left" "turn right" and "go straight"  Pretty much fluent in Korean at this point.

A really nice night out.  Now we can watch for the next typhoon working it's way up to Korea by tomorrow.


  1. Sounds like a great night for everyone! Enjoyed details and the pictures!

  2. You guys look great! And you seem to be acclimating very well. I am impressed!