“What was I drinking last night? I feel like I have a Frenchman living in my head……”

1 Jun

Saturdays in Seoul can be as eventful as you make them. You can do nothing, if you stay at home….. That actually seems to be the only way to avoid drinking alcohol for myself. I have to lock myself away from the outside world and be prepared to have a week full of depression afterwards, but sometimes you need a quiet night in to appreciate all the fun that the weekends can bring.

This weekend brought many of the expats and a few Koreans of Seoul to the annual HBC festival. Held on a street named Haebangchon (해방촌) in the Noksapyeong (녹사평역) area of Itaewon. (This place is basically the foreigner village of Korea.) The sun was shining, the family mart was open and we held cheap beers in our sweaty hands ready to soak in the entertainment that the music/beer festival had to offer.

However, with the arrival of two Frenchmen into the mix, the plan of seeing live bands took a U-turn but the drinking on the streets formula was right on track! A few weeks prior to HBC festival myself and my good friend Lisa met two young French men in Hongdae, all was a bit of a blur and we never saw them again. As to be expected in Korea. We were sat outside at the festival and noticed two familiar looking men with very handsome dogs walking down the street. We collared them instantly and weather they liked it or not, they would spend the next four days in our company!

Milan and Olivier are two young, funny, travelling Frenchmen from Poitiers, somewhere kind of near Bordeaux in France. They set of travelling from France around 8 months ago and have been to numerous countries and places in between Korea and France on their mission which they call: “Notre voyage jusqu’au Népal”.

We chatted and drank with them on the street for most of the evening and after having been informed that they spent the previous night sleeping in Namsan park, I offered them a place to stay for the evening at my house. Now, if you’ve seen the standard ex-pat accommodation in Korea, you won’t be surprised when I say it was very cosy with four people and two large dogs all sharing one room.

The following day, Lisa, myself and many of my waygook friends were due to go away to an island called Muuido, just off the coast of Incheon island, near the main airport in Seoul. The day started off at a snails pace as we waited for the French boys to gather their belongings from numerous places around Seoul, but eventually we set off and made it to Muuido at around 5 o’clock in the evening.

Once off the ferry, we were informed we could catch a bus across the island to Hanaggae Beach. So we bought some cheap beers and waited and waited some more and then waited just a little bit longer until we decided at around 7pm we would walk to the beach. So, yes,  we made it to a lovely island and spent most of the remaining daylight hours sat in a car park waiting for a bus that never showed up. However, we weren’t disgruntled by this as we had all come to realise we were in excellent company.

Eventually, after a fairly tipsy walk to the beach we made it! We booked ourselves into the last available beach hut, found the rest of the foreign crew, bought some beers and soju and drank, laughed and mingled with new people for the rest of the night. All in all a splendid time was had at the beach.

Monday arrived with a bang, having only managed around 4 hours sleep, the soju was still swilling it’s way through our systems, so the only way to combat it was to eat MSG filled noodles and start the drinking all over again. We lazed around on the beach with our hangovers and listened to many different stories from many different people and the French even introduced us to some Mongolian throat singing which they learnt on their travels.

The previous night Olivier had somehow managed to put a nail through his leg whilst attempting to make a bonfire, as it seemed to be causing him quite a lot of pain, he assured me that soju would help as to drink the pain away. I thought nothing of it at the time but later events lead me to believe that soju in an afternoon may not have been the best idea he ever had!

The time came to leave the island, we gathered our belongings and walked back to the ferry, needless to say, this walk wasn’t quite as fun as the previous one. The journey home was all going swimmingly, we got on to the airport rail road subway and myself and Milan daydreamed about eating pizza and showering when we got back to my house. Olivier by this point was totally passed out from all the soju; at one point he even managed to head-butt the floor after falling asleep in an unstable position!

If you’ve managed to read the previous 800 words without falling asleep I commend you. I’ve never been very good at relaying information, nor am I skilled at condensing a story into the minimal amount of words, but this is where the story becomes slightly more interesting than just a night spent at the beach………….

I guess now would be an appropriate time to mention the French hounds. Gobi is a male Siberian Husky, full of life and beautifully natured and belongs to Milan. Hopee is an adorable Japanese Akita who just so happened to be pregnant with Gobi’s babies and Olivier is her master.

So, we’re on the subway and we notice that Hopee has been licking her posterior for quite some time. Milan decides to lift up her tail to see what all the fuss is about. He says to me “look at this” and as I did my heart sank, my face dropped and a massive “what the f**k are we supposed to do” feeling engulfed me. Looking under the tail of a Japanese Akita is never a particularly attractive view and in this case seeing what looked like placenta coming out certainly did not ease my hangover!

Yep! You’ve got it! Hopee was about to give birth on the subway. Now baring in mind, I only met the French two days previous to this and they had assured me that the puppies weren’t due for another two weeks, I was in a total panic of hysteria. Milan and I attempted to wake Olivier from his soju coma to inform him of the arrival of the first pup, he roused in disbelief and told us we were being stupid. After many an aggressive word passed about in French between the boys we had to change subway lines. This was very traumatic but we made it with the puppies still safely inside of Hopee.

With only 3 stops to go until we reached Mangwon station (near my house), I was praying to any God that Hopee could last another 10 minutes. Sure enough just as we pulled into Mangwon, Hopee gave birth. I have never heard a sound like it, she wailed like a moose as she pushed the amniotic covered wolf out of her. The doors of the subway opened, I was screaming at a Korean man to do something about the train, he panicked more than I did, so I ran off the subway and screamed at the door of the subway driver, “STOP THE TRAIN, WE’RE HAVING PUPPIES!!!!!” He pushed the emergancy stop button, made an announcement and gave us time to remove the dogs, luggage, pup and placenta off the subway.

We sat in Mangwon station in amazement. The subway staff brought us towels and scissors to clean up and cut the chord. It was a truly mind blowing experience. I’m almost certain Olivier didn’t believe it was happening until Hopee was whelping in pain whilst pushing out her first born. She was a round, brown, noisy little girl. As soon as she was free from the sack, she wriggled and cried trying to find Hopee. We gathered our belongings, thoughts and vanishing hangovers and managed to make it back to my house with everyone in tact.

After settling Hopee and the pup into the corner of the room, she gave birth a second time to a healthy, blonde, quiet little boy. She cleaned him up and he began to suckle. All was over. She had two beautiful healthy puppies and seemed like an unbelievably calm mother.

Olivier passed out immediately after the birth of the second pup. Almost like an instinctual sign of it being the end of Hopee’s birthing time. Myself and Milan decided we should look up what to do when you’ve just had puppies on the internet. The first thing we read was : “Be sure there is a quiet place for her to have the puppies.”

So after a very chaotic weekend, it is certain to say I will never forget the arrival of Milan, Olivier, Hopee, Gobi, and the two pups into my miniscule existence. I feel the moral of this story should be: Never trust a Frenchman!

One Response to ““What was I drinking last night? I feel like I have a Frenchman living in my head……””

  1. rougetet June 1, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Make good use of time spent with this guys , they are my bestfriends and they miss me a lot !! 🙂

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