Thursday, November 26, 2009


Chris: Last Saturday I saw snow falling for the first time in my life. I was drinking with friends at a bar when at the time. Instead of the usual fare of Korean beer, we were downing cherry soju and makgeoli. For the uninitiated, soju is a Korean spirit made mainly from rice. It tastes kind of like a weak, sweet vodka, and it has an alcohol content of about 20%. It's sometimes mixed with flavours like kiwi, lemon, yoghurt, or in this case, cherry. Makgeoli is a Korean rice wine. It has on off-white colour and tastes a little like a sweet milk. It was served in a battered, old large metal bowl and ladeled into smaller individual serving bowls. Is your mouth watering yet? Well what if I told you that both these drinks (particularly makgeoli) provide you with a hangover whilst you're drinking? No need to wait for the next morning. But don't fret, you'll have a (monster) hangover then too. Okay, so maybe it doesn't sound all that appetizing, but you'll be sold when I tell you that I spent only 10,000 won (AUD$10, USD$9) and got all the makgeoli and flavoured soju I could drink (this price includes the relatively expensive appetizers we bought).
Aaaaaanyway was about midnight when it started snowing. It was only a light dusting, my Michigan friend assured me. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool, I thought ...even magical, dare I say. I ran outside to catch a few flakes on my tongue. Not even the nearby violent expulsion of vomit by the young lady rushing out of the bar could spoil the moment (clearly she had had a little too much of the aforementioned drinks). Incidentally, you'd think that Koreans could handle their soju/makgeoli, but no.
The obligatory snowball fight ensued. My friends, I would like to say that I won this battle. I would at least like to say that I held my own. But these would be lies. Morally speaking I have no issue with lying. My only issue is with being caught lying, and my snowball adversaries might read this blog and post nasty, truthful comments. To my more experienced snowball-fighting opponents I say this: the Korean winter is long and I'm a quick learner.

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