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Now it’s nighttime and the tall-boot girls pop out of the dark doorways like it’s a shooting range—except they aren’t cardboard cutouts and I don’t have a gun—as I go up Hooker Hill. They go “woo, woo! Hey!” Just last week a U.S. soldier was arrested for trying to burn down one of the brothels when the deal went bad.
The longer I lived there the harder it became to work. When I first came to the city I wrote about all the failed artists I had met, and then it started to happen to me. I made friends quickly and they were fun, interesting. Nearly every night I wasn’t working I was asked to meet for drinks or dinner or some other amusement. I talked a lot about saying no, but ended up saying yes far more.
One caveat: the life here is addictive… After a year of watching your savings dwindle living a frugal lifestyle, you stick it out until the last $1,000 you have is the money you use for a flight back to Seoul, where upon arrival they hand your flight money back to you. In cash.