Burn in Hal!
Last Friday evening, I joined friends Seung-Tae and Kent at Burn in Hal for drinks and conversation. The proprietor -- whom you see in the above photo and who reminds me somewhat of Mr. Em in my novella -- was friendly and already knew Kent (for around ten years), so he spoke with us a bit to make the acquaintance of Seung-Tae and me. I discovered that he was born in 1957, my own birth year, so I asked him what day.
"I'm older," he said, with remarkable confidence.He smiled, and we continued our more general chat. I learned that he comes from Turkey, that he's been here in Seoul a long time, but has only recently opened Burn in Hal, a smoking place for people who like to partake of fine cigars. Interesting to me was that even as the place filled up with other folk, many of them smoking cigars, it didn't fill up with smoke, so I had no difficulty breathing.
"Really?" I asked. "What day?"
"January 1st," he said.
"Okay," I conceded, "but I look older."
I was half considering trying a cigar myself, but I decided to wait on that, maybe next time. Instead, I drank beer and ate some of the tasty dishes available there as Seung-Tae, Kent, and I talked about politics and history here in Korea . . .
As for Burn in Hal? I recommend it for the civilized atmosphere, a place where you can enjoy a beer or other drink and indulge in conversation without having to shout over loud music.
It's likely also good for smoking fine cigars . . .