Thursday, 26 May 2005

The Seoul Experience: The Quest for a Football Pub

If you've read my sport blogs , you'd know that I'm deliriously happy today because Liverpool won the Champion's League yesterday in a brilliant comback game that saw them claw back from... er... never mind. Go to Eye on Sports for more details on the match.

Now, what you DON'T know is how relived I am right now to actually be able to WATCH the match here in Korea in the first place.

I'd brought forward my flight to Korea just so that I could catch the match here, and there was no way in hell I was gonna miss the match.

Little did I know how hard it would be to find a place to watch it.

Unlike in Malaysia or Singapore, where almost every single respectable pub or mamak has a TV that shows live football all the time, here in Korea, they didn't even have the ESPN channel.

To make matters worse, everything was in Korean, so we didn't know which channel would be showing the match.

So, rather than take the chance that we would miss the match, we decided to get out of the hotel at 3am, and walked almost an hour looking for a bar that showed live football.

It was a nightmare. We walked and walked an walked, looking for a pub, and when we came upon this street that seemed to have a lot of pubs and bars, we thought we were saved.

WRONG.

Sure, there were lots of bars, discos, karaokes and coffee shops, but ALL OF THEM did NOT have a single TV that had football! Pub after pub we went, with no results.

The nightlife here in Seoul seems to revolve around sleazy looking discos, karaoke bars, slot machine outlets and lepaking outside the 24-hour mart in a suit and tie, drinking beer.

There were whole STREETS of clubs, with blinking neon lights, and men wearing suits and ties were staggering out by the dozen. I even saw one guy standing and sleeping face down on the hood of an SUV. It was surreal.

Anyway, we were about to give up and go back to the hotel when we decided to cross one last road, and lo and behold, there was a bar with a small TV showing the match, which had just started. Thanking the gods, we ordered beers, gasped in horror at the price of the beers, and proceeded to scream and shout and cheer through the most memorable football match I have EVER seen in my life.

Yup, this is definitely one trip that I will remember for a LOOOOOONG time... :-)

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