On The Curse of The Duck
As the world sits on the very edge of firey nuclear destruction, your humble author arrives at Seoul’s Kimpo Airport for a bit of hush-hush work for some American friends.
Suffering from the explosive squits of the type I only ever experience on long-distance air travel, I stagger out of the gents’ in the arrival hall to see the excited face of my travelling companion and excellent colleague, Very Tall Dave.
"You’ll never guess who I’ve just seen" he says, and without pausing for my answer: "Michael Jackson."
"He’s probably here for the inauguration," I say, searching my hand luggage for my passport.
"Wouldn’t it - heh - be funny if he’s got the same hotel as us."
If we had LOL back then, I might have LOLed. Out loud.
And - one very mental taxi ride later (for we were on expenses to be met by American friends) through streets bedecked by flags celebrating the election of the new President Kim Dae Jung - we arrived at the hugely luxurious yet strangely deserted Westin Chosun Hotel.
We marched into reception, two English scruffs in a world of South Korean decadence in the face of Northern worker-soldier Juche self-determination.
"We’ve got a reservation. Duck and Very Tall Dave"
"We are sorry, sir" said the receptionist, "We cannot accommodate you. Err… Presidential orders."
"Michael Jackson is here. President Kim has given him the whole hotel."
"So, what are we to do?" asked Very Tall Dave, whose fault this was entirely, our plans for the best hotel jazz money can buy already evaporating, "Sleep on the streets?"
"Ha ha! No! We have found you a new hotel. Very good. Cheaper."
So we waved the Chosun goodbye, and headed for the dubious delights of The Hotel Manhattan, vowing revenge.
Cheaper, yes. Also crapper, the wrong side of a city populated by the worst taxi drivers known to man; only one named meat on the restaurant menu; a bathroom that flooded whenever you flushed the toilet; and they fuzzed out the fuzzy bits on the hotel porn. We vowed further revenge.
Oh yes. We would bide our time, but revenge would come.
June 2009: Michael Jackson dies in mysterious circumstances
August 2009: Kim Dae Jung dies in mysterious circumstances