Friday, January 22, 2010

What happens in Dongdaegu stays...

...ah, heck, nothing happens in Dongdaegu, at least not in my room.

It's Friday and I'm at lunch prior to wrapping up my first of two weeks teaching at LIKE, my old school. I thought I should make a few bucks, rather than spending them, during St. Paul's winter break. My friends are in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia... I've been in a love hotel near Dongdaegu (East Daegu) Station, in the area I've come to call Little Vegas, as it's full of motels tricked out in neon, "business clubs" (which I've never been in because, first, they sound awfully seedy, and secondly, I've read drunk Korean men don't like Westerners looking at their women) that I gather are somewhere in the murky area between Hooters and strip clubs, not-so-secret brothels, and the like.

The sheer number of love hotels is amazing: within a few blocks there are dozens, including the Versace, the Oasis, the Ritz, the Form (?), the Mirage, the Ocean, and (my absolute favorite) the InThe... yes, it's called InThe Hotel. Heeduk's put me up in what I guess is one of the nicest ones, the Castle, ten minutes' brisk walk from school and five from Dongdaegu Station.

The love hotels, I'm sure, are used for illicit affairs and such, but I gather one of the main purposes is to give some privacy to perfectly nice young couples. Apparently most people live with their parents until they get married around age 30, and sleepovers are not encouraged. This is also why DVD bangs, private rooms where you can lie on a couch and watch a movie, are so popular.

The only really seedy thing about the Castle is the fact that somebody comes in every night and leaves business cards with pictures of nice Korean ladies who aren't wearing any clothes, with phone numbers beneath. I'm sure I don't know what that's about.

The room itself is as nice as any hotel room I've ever been in, including the New York Hilton. (I guess the Paris Hilton's a little skankier.) It has a king-sized heated bed with a down comforter, a whirpool bathtub, a huge LCD tv, a couch covered in burgundy velour (or velvet, or something beginning with "vel"... not Velveeta, though) and a shower built for two, with lots of hot water coming straight down from a shower head literally the size of a personal pan pizza. Oh, and the toilet has a couple of mysterious dials on it; I don't even want to know what they control. There are also all kinds of mood lights embedded in the ceiling and around the walls. And a mural of mushrooms and tomatoes that remind me of a 1980s Pizza Hut. Don't ask me why.

After awhile, one begins to notice little things that aren't there, such as, for example, a lamp by the bed. Or a floor lamp. Or any light whatsoever that's sufficient to read by, except in the bathroom. There literally isn't a reading light in the place. Perhaps I'm the only person who wanted to read who's stayed in the room.

But the bed is tremendously comfortable, the showers are glorious, and it's quiet and clean. Tonight and tomorrow night I'm being demoted to sleeping in my own bed, and I imagine Tug hasn't conducted any maid service. How sad. But it will be good to be home.

For 48 hours, then I get to do it again.

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