I went to Itaewon Friday night and Hongdae Saturday night and I think it is really, definitely becoming true that Hongdae is the new Itaewon. Hongdae is where all the foreigners and US military are going now. Hongdae is a little dirtier and seedier than the other areas to go out. Walking around Itaewon Friday night, I felt like I was in Sinsa because of all the nice, expensive lounges and well-dressed Korean people walking around. Not even people there to meet foreigners, which seemed like the only Korean people who went there when I first came here, but Korean people who couldn’t care less about foreigners just coming out together in big groups after work or to go meet other Korean people because there are so many nice places to go now. The lounges and bars are packed full of ritzy Koreans and it’s impossible to get a table or a taxi anywhere on a weekend now. That’s really strange for me. I feel like the status quo has been upset! There are still plenty of foreigner-packed places in Itaewon, and plenty of places in Hongdae where you will find Koreans still lingering around, but the atmosphere of both areas has drastically changed. Hmmm. I feel like these days I’m definitely spending a lot more time just hanging out near my house of friends’ houses, in small university areas that don’t have much of a nightlife scene besides a Blue Ketchup and a few hofs, chilling out in one of the many self-serve 맥주 marts that are suddenly everywhere. They’re cheap and you don’t have to buy food- people even bring in take-out from KFC and Burger King, and the staff at any of these places don’t even care! Kind of a big change for a girl who used to go to Hongdae every single Friday and Saturday night, but then again, I guess my tastes have changed in the last two years.
Is there a cool place for going out that I don’t know about? I haven’t been to Nowon in a long time- maybe I’ll head over there next weekend.
Oh also I just wanted to say that I always, always end up having the most wonderful taxi drivers! Last night the first taxi I saw agreed to drive me home, even though it’s around 20,000 won from Hongdae and drivers usually hate driving the whole way across the city. He didn’t mind that I was munching on a bag of potato chips the whole way home. (I ate the whole bag, it was so delicious.) When I got out, he wanted to shake my hand and told me he was happy to meet a beautiful foreigner who spoke Korean so well (literally all I said was “go straight a little,” “turn right here,” and “can you take me to __dong? Thank you!”) I think the nicest people I’ve ever met in Korea have been taxi drivers!