Thursday, July 28, 2011


Well, there's always gossip, isn't there? The passing along of information about people you may or not know is at the same time good (who can't resist?) and bad (if you're talking behind their back). It's a pretty big business when you consider TV shows like "TMZ" and "Entertainment Tonight."
So let me tell you what I heard...

The "Chinook" troop carrier

During my first year in Korea, my co-worker Blondie became involved with an American soldier I'll call Mr. Bill (Oh noooooo....). Blondie, as you can imagine, was very popular. I remember once when our gang went to the nightclub at the Ariana Hotel in Daegu. She got invited to a table full of Hennesy reps and was given all the free samples she could drink.
Daegu had at least three U.S. bases, so there were many opportunities to run into and party with the G.I.'s. There was a club close to Suseong (where we all lived) called "Morrison's" (after Jim Morrison). The cover was 15,000 won, and for that you got all the beer or soju you could drink. I stuck mostly to beer, but there was a variety of flavoured soju available, as well.

The versatile, and venerable, "Huey."

I remember one night trying to drink 15,000 worth of alcohol. I made it, but just barely. And I didn't keep it for very long.
You may think 15,000 may not have been very much, but at the time you could get a jug of draft for about 6,000 or 6,500. Beer was (and still is) really cheap there.
In downtown Daegu, there were lots and lots of drinking establishments. There was the Rock 'n Roll Bar (sadly out of business), Old Blue (which featured two rooms: one devoted to jazz and the other devoted to rock - again, sadly out of business), the El Toro (which had a big patio and an even bigger St. Bernard wandering around), the Berkeley (which also had a patio and a trickling fountain), and the Gypsy Rock.
The Gypsy Rock's original location was a basement room just down from the El Toro. It was the favourite of a lot of G.I.'s. The walls were bare cement covered with graffiti, and the furniture was crude wooden tables and stools. When the place was arockin', you couldn't move. I imagined it was what the Cavern would have been like when The Beatles were playing there.

The "Loach," a light reconnaissance 'copter.

The Gypsy moved after a year or two to newer premises. The dance floor was in the basement, and the upper two levels were open in the middle so you could look down and see the dancers crammed together. The new premises were larger, but you still couldn't move when the music was playing.
So somewhere along the line, Blondie met and fell for Mr. Bill, who was a helicopter pilot. They look very happy in the few pictures I have of them.
Because she knew a soldier, he could sign us into the base and shop for certain items at the PX. He got us a turkey for Thanksgiving and a barbecue to cook it with.
We also got to go to the base for the open house and see a lot of cool military hardware (pictured here).

The Apache, Mr. Bill's 'copter.

But they didn't stay happy for very long.
Their intention was to get married until Blondie found out Mr. Bill was already married. His wife was living in the States while he served his tour of duty in Korea.
Blondie was heartbroken, but she still pined after him. She did two years in Korea, and then went to Mexico. I eventually lost contact with her. She just lost interest in replying to my e-mails, I guess.

As part of the show, Mr. Bill took off straight up into the air, spinning around, and taking off like a bat out of hell.

I later heard that Mr. Bill may or may not have been killed in a helicopter crash. I also later heard that he may not have been married at all. The crash and the marriage stories may have been invented just to give him an "exit strategy" in case any woman got too close.
This was just one story about some of the people I met while I was in Korea. I know many more. Ah, gossip.


  1. I always found that a lot of ex-pats gossiped like old women.

  2. "The crash and the marriage stories may have been invented just to give him an "exit strategy" in case any woman got too close."

    If true, then Mr. Bill is a piece of shit scumbag.

    @Flint - Yeah, it's true. I'm guilty of gossip, too. But maybe it's not an ex-pat thing, just a human thing?

  3. It is definitely part of the human condition Eve. I was "blessed" to work with a group of ex-pats that had an inordinate amount of gossips my 1st year.

  4. Bill sounds like some of the fucktards I met.

  5. And then you have the "friends" who gossip about people you don't give a shit about even when you tell them repeatedly that you don't care and don't want to hear about them.