My first weekend back in Suncheon, South Korea. I only got out of bed at 1:30 this afternoon, and have been slowly recovering from a hangover. I've played a couple of games of Go on the Internet and won both. Aside from that, the only productive thing I've done all day is buy myself a pair of glasses to replace the ones that I lost during my Christmas vacation in Canada. I still marvel at how cheap glasses are in Korea. I paid 100,000 Won for mine, probably about 75$ US, although I don't know the exact exchange rate, and the Koreans are all surprised because that seems awfully expensive to them. Most pairs run for 50,000-60,000 Won. I have no idea why glasses of all things are so cheap, given that most things are similar in price to what you'd pay back in North America.

Last night was good. I went out with my friend 2-Pac (nicknamed thus, because his name is Mr. Pak) and had some ori bulgogi (barbequed duck) and oship seju (a 50-50 mix of soju (Korean vodka-equivalent) and bek seju (Korean ginseng wine)). We then met up with my friend/girlfriend Eun Jung (we're sort of in that in-between stage... more on that later) and a few others and went to Elvis, our favorite bar, just two blocks away from the duck restaurant.

Four or five pints of Korean beer later, we decided to leave the bar and go back to my apartment, where I have a bottle of good Cuban rum that I brought back from Canada. After we'd worked our way through two-thirds of that and some maeshil-ju (plum wine), I was good and loaded, as was 2-Pac. The rest of them were only a bit drunk, because they hadn't had the oship seju that we had with dinner. Amazingly, Eun Jung never seems to mind if I get really drunk around her, which is good, since I met her while she was working in a bar, and I was getting wasted there.

It seems that Eun Jung and I are moving in the direction of a relationship. No one there last night, except 2-Pac, had met her before, so of course everyone who showed up immediately asked, "Is she your girlfriend?" I shrugged, and finally, after being asked for about the fourth time, said, "Molayo (I don't know). Ask her." She said, "Na do molayo." (I don't know either). Since Korean girls will usually tell you emphatically that they just want to be friends even if they're really interested in you (they want to be chased... Korean men have to be persistent and not take no for an answer), her answering in the uncertain means that she also thinks we're headed that way. Later in the evening, back at my apartment, I brushed my hand up against hers, trying to make it seem accidental, to gauge her response, and she immediately took it and held it. That's first base in Korean terms. Because of Korean attitude towards physical affection and relationships, the equivalents to the Western first base-second base-third base-home run system is first base: holding hands, second base: arm around the girl, third base: kissing, home run: sex. If you get as far as kissing a Korean girl, it's virtually guaranteed that she'd sleep with you or marry you, depending on whether she's one of the promiscuous ones, or one of the conservative ones. Speaking of which, that worried me last night. Eun Jung's younger sister got engaged in early December, and she told me last night that now her older sister is engaged, too. That leaves her. Knowing Korean girls, she's probably already worried about being forever unmarried, and looking to get hitched with whatever guy seems most likely... which would be me, in this case. I suppose all things are possible, but I wouldn't be considering marriage until at least a couple years into the relationship.