It’s been slow on the outgoing dispatches. School has been fairly busy so I haven’t had a whole excess of free time with the computers here. A lot of my writing has also gone into compiling a fleet of postcards going out to friends and family back home. Lastly, I’ve had one extremely negative experience in the last three weeks which I had to reconcile with my self in some ways internally before I wanted to put it down in writing publicly.

About four weeks ago both my wallet and my Iphone were stolen. That day I had been out to a baseball game with some coworkers, had an excellent burrito at Dos Tacos in Hongdae and even said hello to an old college friend. I then cruised over to Roots Time for their 3rd anniversary show. Spirits were high, the riddims were proper and smiles shone from all faces. I stepped outside for a break from dancing and to catch a bit of the breeze. A very energetic girl followed me out and engaged me in a zig-zagging conversation resembling a hectic pinball game. It probably didn’t help that I bought us both shots of Espresso from the coffee shop next door. I thanked her for the enthusiastic, albeit manic/sporadic, conversation and went back down to dance to Shinji (the owner’s) spinning.

About ten minutes later the same girl and her friend came over and asked if I wanted to come with them to spot called redemption bar. It had a real laidback vibe and kind of felt like the inside of a Super Mario game, giant red mushrooms and trippy colors galore. I chatted with one of the girls for awhile. Upon departing one of the girls all of the sudden pulled a bottle of Jagermeister out of her back pack and poured a quick shot into a paper cup. She offered it to me with a smile but surprisingly didn’t have any herself. I bid them adieu and decided to see how the Saturday morning was treating my Dad before I went out to snag a taxi back home. Conversation was good though Skype wasn’t cooperating very well and had to use the “call home cheap” service (I will write more about this is in a brief future post).

The talk was good and it was nice to catch up. I gave my Padre an adios and stood up to go catch a cab back to my apartment…

And then everything went black. Now on a few occasions throughout my life (read college) I’ve drunken a bit too much and been at a loss for an overall schema or memory of events for the night before. This was different. This was like a mellow buzz to a gaping void in my memory unoccupied by even the slightest sensory memory let alone coherent cognitive statement or observation. I came to a couple hours later a few blocks from the bar with drag marks leading me into someone’s single-car garage. My hat, sunglasses, Iphone and wallet all gone. To make matters worse I did not write down my Alien Card number so couldn’t report this to the bank and have my card cancelled. They ended up charging 192,000 Won (about $175) to my card at department stores before the bank opened the next Monday.

On the plus side of this semi-sordid tale I did have insurance on my phone and bank account. I will only have to pay around $350 for a new phone and get 70% of the stolen funds from my account back. Too bad I had used the ATM earlier that night and was confused by the non-English selection screen. Instead of withdrawing 30,000 won I withdrew 300,000 won. The equivalent of $250 that was in my wallet at the time I will not be getting back.

I would be lying if I said that wasn’t slightly bitter but in the end I still have only myself to blame. The glaring red-flags in hindsight are far too obvious as they tend to be. Important lesson learned, “Don’t take shots from pretty girls that seem really into you for no apparent reason and who aren’t joining you in a shot.” After 4 trips to different police stations, what seems like an hour of my coworker talking to the phone with insurance people and filling out umpteen different forms the storm has passed.

I will still firmly espouse the virtues of Seoul being an incredibly safe place, especially when compared to the States. Nonetheless any city of over 10 million is going to have its fair share of bad apples. Don’t let your guard down. I have much different interests and passions than the people I work with and the friends I have here so finding myself on solo adventures is inevitable. My spidey senses have been kicked into overdrive though and the cost of gaining them was pretty high. Expect more dispatches from me, I just had to get over the weird limbo that comes with having your life knocked a little akimbo. Adios for now amigos!

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