Last night the other female foreign teachers and I made the trip to this club (of which I can't remember the name right now) down near the bus station. I vaguely remember seeing it when I came into Gwangju on the limousine bus, it's a huge building with lots of flashing neon. You really can't miss it.
But this isn't your ordinary club. I admit, when I heard "club," I thought of the clubs we have back home, like Players or whatever Kryptonite is called these days. No, this place goes far beyond any idea of club...and borders on something you would see in Vegas. It's huge, with 3 levels of seating, and a big dance floor in front of an equally as big stage. There is a ton of mechanics that move the DJ stand from the ceiling to the floor, and close the giant walls at the back. There is also a retractable roof that opens in good weather, and another walkway that comes down over the dance floor. On this walkway there are several girls dancing--and all they are wearing is bikinis! I'm not sure what to make of it, it's kind of like a go-go club in that sense? Of course, for all the ladies, some of the guy performers on stage would take off their shirts.
You can tell that this club is a lot different than usual when you first walk in and there are consierges waiting to direct you to your table. They bring you a tray with fresh fruit, some drinks to start you off, and some moist towels to wipe your hands. Later, they brought us a tray with nuts and dried squid. It's pretty tasty, once you get past the initial bite. It's just a little chewy though. And while you snack and drink, you can check out the action on the stage by watching the large viewing screens on the wall.
I realized very early upon my arrival here that Koreans don't dance in clubs the same way we do...smushed together into one entity dirty dancing to rap music. No, they tend to just dance in one place, mostly jumping up and down, bobbing their heads, or waving their hands to the beat.
And so I had my first real exposure to K-Pop (Korean Pop). I'm not sure who the group was that was singing most of the night, but the crowd sure seemed to love them. They sang a lot of songs, none of which I could understand since it's all in Korean, and the DJ would take over when they needed a break. Most of the music is very fast-paced, but every so often a slow song would be interjected for all the couples to dance to and to catch your breath. Dancing like they do here really takes all your energy! Of course, they did play that ubiquitous song "Tell Me" by the Wonder Girls. You can check it out here. People go crazy for that song here, and my kids are always singing "Tell me, tell me, te-te-te-te-te-tell me" every time I say "tell me" in class.
Another new experience for the evening: Eastern squat toilet! I had wondered how long it would take me to find one of these, since every place I've been to since getting here has had the Western style toilet. I have to applaud the people here for using these, because I can only imagine how difficult they are. A lot of what I've read about them suggests they're much better for the body than Western toilets. For more information than you ever wanted to know, you can check the wiki here. But here is a picture of what it looks like, just to pique your interest. I didn't have any problems with it, thankfully.