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Friday, February 4

Breaking the Ice!

Well, all good things come to an end, and it was time to say goodbye to the Korean team. Off we went to a Korean BBQ place, where you cook the pork inside the table,
trim the char with scissors and too many chopsticks,
and drink shots of Korean Whisky, which really tastes like vodka. (Fascinating conversation about Finland with one of the guys and how Finnish grammar is similar to Korean or Japanese grammar, and I say, wow, I was there this summer and yeah, their language is unlike anything else in Europe except Hungarian, and by the way, they's friendly and make great vodka, end side conversation and wow, my glass is full again, d00d, you're a friendly chap aren't you, and you make good vodka too, bottom's up!)
Now, the way you work the toasts is, you wipe your glass-rim clean, hand it to someone, and then fill up the glass. They are now honor-bound to down the glass. Hopefully, they recisprocket... recipross... repicrosket... do unto you as you just did unto them.
My kinda game.
One of the guys kept handing me his glass, and pretty soon, we're just shuttling back and forth, and he's telling me in a rapidly worsening Korean lisp how he loves France, and he starts talking about how we should karaoke afterwards, and i'm like, naw, I'm tired, let's sing now!
I started with my Danish Drinking Song (learned it in Boy Scout Camp, along with Aussie stand-by 'Bestiality' and Brit classic 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - the Drinking Song Remix'). Then I said, your turn!
Turns out he was too shy to sing. Too late now! (glee) I tease him until he stands up (another half-dozen shots), holding an empty bottle of whisky like a mike, and then tell the girls (who've been engaged in non-stop giggling for the last ten minutes) 'Ooooh, he's making his Sinatra face!', and I'm off singing 'Strangers in the Night', and 'Fly Me to the Moon' before he can get started.
Scattered applause from the other tables, and by now, I've drunk him under the table, and explaining how it's normal cuz I weigh twice what he does.
Suddenly, everyone's feeling real friendly, and the team leader starts telling me how HE loves France and has the entire Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin collection, and now, he's singing 'Je t'aime, moi non plus' and by now I'm frankly quite flabbergasted at the change that's come over my hosts. One of the girls turns out to speak some French, and the phone rings and it's their boss who's got great feedback from the customers about the speech I gave this morning. Yeah, whatever d00d, just pour me a new one.
A real lovefest!
We cried when I had to climb in my taxi, and everyone hoped we'd win the business so I'd come back for the consulting mission. The driver was listening to a radio soap, I think, in any case women were wailing like somebody'd died the whole drive back to the hotel. I felt like a Viking king going to Valhalla with a half dozen slaves and my favourite horse.
Odin bless the Koreans!
Location : an ugly couch in what my taxi assured me was the Shilla, and hotel management aledges is my room.
Watching : The Late Show with David Letterman on American Forces Network Korea (the US Army TV Channel)
Surfing : The Mirror Project (thanks, Wendy!)

11 Insights :

Blogger La Nina intuited...

That photo up top cracked me up....

Hope you get the business so you can go back.

2/04/2005 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous intuited...

Great story - and the food looks nice. I'd say it is just as well you wrote it down tonight - you won't recall as much tomorrow!

Geoff
Mulubinba Moments

2/05/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous intuited...

Great post. And you just reminded me why I could never be in sales.

Jason
http://jasonstone.typepad.com

2/05/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger james intuited...

Sounds like a great night was had by all.

2/05/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jellyfish intuited...

There's an "Aussie stand-by 'Bestiality'"? Well, nobody told *me*. And this whole thing made your lifestyle sound more 'Lost in Translation' than ever. Respect!

2/05/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Julie intuited...

Wow, what an evening! That is the sort of thing I never get to experience here in Tennessee, I'm so jealous! Ahh, to be so worldly and experience so many cultures all at once,,, just wonderful!

2/05/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger niki intuited...

Now I am jealous. You had so much fun. And I got hungry just by looking at the pictures.
Hope you win the bussiness.

2/05/2005 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Marie intuited...

Sounds like a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Pass me the Korean whiskey and bbq anytime. Bon voyage.

2/05/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Hi y'all!

I survived that evening, and the flight home, too. Thanks for the comments!

Jellyfish, well, it's got 'roos and koalas in it, and it was taught to me by an australian gentleman... who assured me you people sang nothing but at the pub. The refrain's 'bestiality's best, boys, bestiality's best!' and it says something about 'tying me kangaroo down, mate' and then degenerates into zoophilia from there...

GREAT song :)

As for fun in Tennesee, I know for a fact you guys make better whisky!

I'm off to bed, it's 20 minutes to 5am where I woke up this morning...

2/05/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jellyfish intuited...

Did he also tell you that we ride sharks to work and eat kangaroo sandwiches? :P

I think it must be a corrupted version of Rolf Harrises 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport.' I don't think anyone has sung that since 1967, but hey, tell me anyone in France goes round singing 'Alouette' or 'Frere Jacques' which I was assured were pop classics by my high school French teacher :)

2/06/2005 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Yeah, I remember singing those two songs more often in Concord's Willard School than I ever did in France. Funny how distorted another country's culture can get by word of mouth and stereotypes.

Just imagine how wrong your mental image of Korea is, now that I've been telling you about it for a week!

2/06/2005 01:47:00 PM  

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