Friday 19 May 2023

Off to the beach

The kids knock on my door about noon again. They’re so lazy. I’ve been up since six. Or would have been, if I hadn’t known how lazy they are. And hadn't stayed up late myself last night.

We start the day with the leftover sandwiches from yesterday. As you do. And the little whisky that remains. I do, that is. I’m not letting anyone else get near it.

“Do you have to start drinking so early, Dad?”

“Yes. I’m on holiday. It’s like being in an airport. Drinking at any time of day is acceptable.”

“Says you.”

“It’s not me who decides, but society.”

“And it just happens to fit in with what you want to do?”

“That’s a mere happy coincidence.”


The plan is to visit the beach. But, as the pubs there don't open until six, we hang around in the hotel for a while. Occupying ourselves with weird Korean TV. And whisky, obviously. For me. I wouldn't let the kids near it.

Lexxie uses an app to get us a taxi. It's a mere 5,000 wong. Well under 4 euros. It costs 6.50 euros just to step into a cab in Amsterdam.

It's rather breezy on the seafront. Which means it's quite cool. Best thing is the view of the steelworks across the bay. It's just like being in Ijmuiden. Other than all the Korean signs.

We walk out onto the pavilion, a concrete and wood structure sticking out into the sea. Which, according to the internet, is one of Pohang’s top attractions. Probably because of its ace view of the steelworks.

“I remember when you had those things in Britain.”

“What things, Dad?”

“Those places where they make things. Factories, I think we used to call them.”

“Very funny.”

There’s not much to the pavilion. A Concrete pier topped by an open wooden structure. It feels even breezier here. There’s nowhere to shelter, either. Not much of anything, other than signs warning you not to fall into the sea. Glad they warned me. Otherwise, I might easily have dropped over the edge.

“Best not hang around too long, lads. Especially as it’s just about opening time.”

“You wouldn’t want to miss five minutes of drinking time, would you.”

“Of course not. With the old UK licensing laws, you had to grab every second you could.”

We're headed for a bar restaurant called 1943.  A place Lexxie has been to multiple times. It’s quite large.

"Why is it called 1943?"

"No idea."

"I can't imagine that was the happiest of years in Korea."

"Probably better than 1953."

We're the first customers and have our choice of seats. We pick ones close to the chandelier. Which is about a foot off the ground.

"That wouldn't last 5 minutes in Britain. Some drunk would fall into it and smash it." Andrew says.

I'm so proud of the country of my birth.

The kids order beer. By beer, I mean a 3-litre pitcher. That should keep them going for a while. I get a soju. It's more interesting than a bland industrial Pils. And perhaps a tad more alcoholic.

Lexxie orders food for us. A dish of tiny sausages covered in cheese and one of fried squid with hot sauce. The former is a bit odd. Not really my idea of Asian food.

As we eat, the place begins to fill up. I say we. Me and Lexxie, really. Andrew isn't hungry again and only has a couple of mouthfuls.

After we've polished off the first two dishes, Alexei orders another. Something spicy. It's a sort of meat and vegetable stew. Lexxie finds it a bit too hot. I don't find it that bad. Then again, I'm not drinking the broth. After a while, Lexxie nips to the shop to get some milk. Just to cool down his mouth.

“I thought you could cope with spice?”*

“Fuck off, Dad.”

“Charming. How dare you speak to your father like that?”

“Really, Dad, just fuck off.”

We sit and chat. The kids get another pitcher of beer. I get another soju. We don't manage to finish the stew. Though I pick out all the pieces of meat. Which are super yummy.

“It’s not that spicy.” I remark, as I sift through the stew.

“Remember what I said about fucking off, Dad?”


“That’s the problem. You’re going senile.”

“What did you say?”

“And deaf, too.”

Lexxie orders us another taxi to return. It doesn't take long.  Bouncing along at an only slightly scary speed through the glowing streets of downtown Pohang.

We lounge around in my room until the booze runs out. Then the kids nip out to the shop. That's the great thing about Korea. The convenience stores all sell alcohol and are open 24 hours. Not stupid licensing laws here. And having kids to go and fetch stuff for you. Not that it happens often.

We stay up quite late again. Watching the Standy-Uppy guys on Youtube. It's 2 AM when we turn in.

The kids are a bad influence. That’s what I’m going to tell Dolores. Or that we’re having priceless family bonding time. “You’re just a bunch of drunks, really.” I can already hear her say.

* Both kids bit into a Carolina Reaper pepper once in Newark.

12번지 1011 두호동 Buk-gu,


Matt said...

"Why is it called 1943?"

According to this, the founder of the chain named it after the year of his mother's birth, as you do...

Dan Klingman said...

"Both kids bit into a Carolina Reaper pepper once in Newark."

Once is enough for most normal people.