PsyReturning to Seoul from the madness that is the DMZ I have realised that it is Saturday night and I need to go out and party with the locals.

Psy’s parody of life in the Gangnam area of town, which is all fake tans, implants and designer labels, means I am looking for something a bit more authentic. A little bit of research suggests either Itaewon which is usually full of personnel from the local US army base or Hongdae

WP_20131012_198I opt for Hongdae because I am in South Korea and not the USA after all, and am staggered at how busy it is.

Think Times Square in New York or Piccadilly Circus in London and then double the number of both people and light bulbs.

f-16-paper-airplaneThere are an huge number of very attractive local ladies wandering around here too in particularly short skirts or hot pants, which is very easy on the eye.

At the point where I realised I would really need a wingman to have any success in chatting up the local talent I bump into a fighter pilot from a local US Air Force base. His call sign is Prox and he flies an F16 often on patrols along the North Korean border.

MiG-29-Jet-FighterHe is in town due to being given extended leave as a result of the US government’s funding issues. I am fascinated by what that must be like to work on the front line knowing that your any move could escalate to World War III.

With the sort of swagger you would expect from a fighter pilot he tells me that the only concern he has is the handful of MIG-29s that the North Koreans have got hold of. I have no doubt he fancies his chances against them too. The two of us enjoy a few drinks together and I’m quickly chatting to the female service personnel and ex pat teachers who are also in the bar we are demolishing tequilas in.

KoreaAtNightThe only other thing to report here was what Prox (I can’t remember his real name as a result of the tequila) told me about what he can see from his rather unique vantage point of the North. There are virtually no trees because all have been cut down to be used for fuel, and at night you can see almost nothing across the border because they can’t supply their population with electricity.

Something which I can confirm from this night time photograph of the Korean peninsular that I found online, which probably tells the real tale about what is going on around here.

My Top Gun days might well be behind me because after a few hours I am more interested in bed than thinking about dueting ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ to impress the talent on offer. Getting home was a nightmare though because I didn’t note the hostels address and obviously my pronunciation of Hyehwa, which is the nearest train station, was nowhere good enough for most of the taxi drivers. It took me 30 minutes before anybody would let me in their cab.

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