Elwood 5566

Feeling a little Dicky

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Food and Drink, vegetables by 노강호 on July 12, 2010

작은 고추가 맵다! Big things come in small packages

I haven’t been to the bathhouse lately as I’ve been feeling a bit dicky after a mild touch of food poisoning and I’ve been giving some thought to the topic of dicks. It’s the fault of the GS 25 convenience store near my one room which has a tendency to hire attractive students who lure me into their domain partly because of the motto worn on the back of their jackets, fresh, friendly, fun, but also because I usually fancy something hot before bed. The latest boy also wears a pink badge which says, ‘I love you.’ They should pay him extra money to wear the jacket and badge. Those kids are crappily paid, something like 4000 Won (£2) an hour, and I’m aware I could probably lure them with some extra won, if I was in some seedy dump like Tangier or Tijuana,  but no one has any free time here and besides, vibrant economies tend to put a damper on the extremes driven to by financial  desperation.

Small and hot

Clacton on Sea in Essex, UK! Now there’s a place as seedy as dirt holes like Tangier or Tijuana. You don’t have to travel with a passport to find economic, intellectual and cultural poverty if you’re British, Clacton provides it all. I’ve taught in most of the senior schools in ‘Clacky,’ an experience enough to terminate any interest in teaching as a career. Here’s a snippet from a diary entry for February 2000.

I don’t enjoy my contract day as I feel responsible for the classes. It’s much more fun when I just do cover. It was an okay day but the lads in my last class, Year 10, bottom set business studies (my pet hate) spent most of the time messing around. There were only four of them and I’m sure a couple of them are prostitutes – Clacton is that sort of place and I believe that the Macdonalds in the town center is where you pick them up. The boys sit with their knees wide apart, one keeps tugging at his dick and their conversation is usually about sex.

‘Do you fancy ‘him,’ Paul?’ asked one boy hitching his head to indicate me.

‘If he’s got the money.’ Later, Paul asked me to sign his report. ‘Go on, Sir, give me a good one. Just a few good comments to keep my parents off my back.  I’ll do anything you want.’ I looked at him and raised my eyebrows. ‘Even that,’ he replied. A few weeks ago I over heard this boy say he’d like to be a male prostitute. His friend asked if he’d do it with men. He told him he’d do it with anybody as long as he got paid.

I could probably pick up a local faecalapod in Clacky with as much ease as you could in Tangier,  except I’m not into dirt or STI’s and the hottest thing I’m going to pick up in GS25  in Song-So is a cup of hot chocolate. The new boy is skinny and he reminds me of a former student. Because of centuries of genetic isolation, Koreans tend to look much more like each other than we mongrel wayukins. Even beyond the black hair and dark eyes, I tend to note similarities in a passing stranger with the features of old friends or former students.  I don’t know if there been any research done on the subject but sometimes I think there must be less than 15 basic appearances from which most Koreans slightly deviate.


The skinny lad won’t last long, the students in the store tend to change about every three months. It must be a frigging bore of a job working through the night and I’ve no idea what’s on their pads ‘n’ pods but some of them seem to spend the whole evening on them and will instantly discard them as they jump to attention, when you walk into the store. Some read books but even then there is usually a pad or pod in sight.

'Peter Peppers' or 'Chilli Willies' - though they may be look-a-likes (Yonhap News)

And of course, it’s chilli season. Talking of willies, phallic shaped chillies are probably a freak of nature in Korea but in Louisiana and Texas, USA, a type of chilli, the ‘Peter Pepper’ or ‘Chilly Willy,’ is renowned for producing  consistently cheeky chillies. The website ‘Chilli Willy®‘ markets the appropriate seeds, provides growing tips and hosts a regular photo competition. Do they have the same kick? I’ve no idea but in Korea it’s a well-known idiom that the smallest chillies are the fiercest (작은 고추가 맵다).  Globally however, Korean chillies are far from the hottest or smallest. For a wealth of information on the world of the hottest chillies visit: http://www.scottrobertsweb.com/scoville-scale.php

A genuine 'Chilli Willi®'

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© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.


Friendly Fresh Fun

Posted in services and facilities by 노강호 on June 18, 2010

GS 25 is my local store and is a mere 60 paces from my front door.  It opened only a few months ago after replacing a small business which I passed for 18 months but cannot recall.  The GS 25, which I assume means ‘general store,’ opens 24 hours day though equally, it could be the abbreviation for, ‘Get Some.’ The ’25?’ That’s  the ’25’ the usual Korean ‘term’ for ’24/7. With its blue and white neon lighting, the GS 25 has brightened up a formerly dull corner which opens onto the main road.

Recently the store has made some new innovations: with summer here, chairs and tables have been placed on the pavement and yesterday I was given a loyalty card. The GS25 company however, truly like to service their customers and this evening when I pop in to buy my bedtime beverage, a cup of milky coffee, I notice the student working within, at 8.30 in the evening it’s always the same boy, has a GS25 jacket on the back of which is emblazoned, in large yellow letters, ‘Friendly, fresh and fun!’


There are a couple of places on my walk home in which I could buy a cup of  milky coffee but over the last few months what has attracted me to this small shop is the boy. He’s a university student, studying English at the local university and though I’ve spoken to him in English on one occasion, a sort of invite for him to try out his English on me, I always have to speak to him in my poor Korean. He probably 24 and at my age, 54, I don’t have the slightest anticipation of anything developing beyond a customer-employee relationship but after a day’s teaching checking out the front his jeans as he correspondingly checks my small change, provides a little light entertainment.

Tonight I’d had a few sojus and the world always looks better when you’re mildly tipsy.  The jacket, in particular, grabs my attention.  It’s not really a jacket, it’s more like a light vest made of some mesh material and today, he also has a new baseball cap.  The  three ‘F’s’ are going through my mind as I stare at the arsenal of coffee in the cool cabinet. I always buy the same one, ‘Mild Caffe  Latte,’ but not an evening goes buy when I don’t glare at the other 20 or so different types before making my regular selection. ‘Friendly,’ the jacket reminds me, so I smile as I hand  him my the money, always the same 1200 Won but tonight it’s in loose change.  He returns my smile but it’s nothing overtly friendly, more like averagely ‘friendly, the standard ‘friendly’ I’d could expect in E-Marte, or Paris Baguette.  Then I get a little fresh; ‘You’ve got a new hat?’ He raises  his eyes from the change in his hand, smiles and lifts  the cap off of his head. ‘Oh, and a new haircut! Very handsome!’ He thanks me but has no idea I’m being ‘fresh.’ He understands ‘fresh’ only within the context of sell-by dates. You can’t really get to the ‘fun’ level without a little more ‘freshness’  and as he almost finishes counting my change, I have a fleeting urge to have some ‘fun’ and fondle  the front of his jeans. I don’t bother, it’s the soju effect and besides, ‘fondle,’ despite the alliteration, isn’t on his jacket.

The staff, though friendly and fresh fall short on providing some fun

Disappointed? Of course I am!  Whats the point in advertising to customers that you are ‘friendly fresh and fun’ when you are no more of any of them than any other store. And to be honest, I expect ‘friendly’ service wherever I spend my money as well as fresh items. As for fun? How can shopping for a bar of chocolate, a packet of batteries or a smoked boiled egg be ‘fun?’ If it’s ‘fun’ shopping in a pokey little convenience store with a small range of products it must be ecstatic shopping in a place like E-Marte or Tesco’s Home Plus – which of course it never is. And to make matters worse, next morning, when I pop in to buy breakfast, another member of staff is wearing the same jacket. However, when he turns around he’s a granddad who apart from being very friendly, is neither ‘fresh’ nor ‘fun’ and personally, spots are preferable to crinkles any day!

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