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Friday, September 01, 2006

NEW SEOUL AND NEW FRIENDS







I moan a lot about travelling for work but, in truth, I love it. It is probably the only time I am really happy when no pork is involved.

I love airports, I like business hotels and I have become very fond of solo dining.

The other upside is that, from time to time, I meet fascinating people. I mean, where else but Washington Dulles at 4am in the check in queue for American Airlines would a person like me get to meet an extra ordinary person like Maire ( pronounced More-a – she is keen for me to make clear) a choreographer and one of the leading experts on Irish dance ( not all Michael Flately and scary rictus grins she explains )

Just after the last book fair in D.C, I had planned a few days R&R in Las Vegas with a good pal. I had to get a flight to Atlanta for a connection and was lucky enough to be in the queue and then on the plane next to Maire. We hit it off immediately and the few hours we spent together were some of the most enjoyable I can recall and we have been in touch ever since.


Although she now lives in LA, Maire is from London and, by one of those astounding coincidences that you can never quite explain she owns a flat about 30 seconds from my office and her family live close by too.

So, when she announced that she was going to be back in London for a short while we made plans to hook up again. A couple of weeks ago, before heading to Munich, we spent a very enjoyable evening at Hawksmoor and Comptoir Gascon which involved far too many cocktails and far too much foie as if such a thing were possible.

Last night, we decided on something all together more abstemious and low key and had supper at New Seoul, an unprepossessing but entirely agreeable little Korean place on The Clerkenwell Rd.

The food is good and cheap and the restaurant was filled with ex-pats slurping approvingly. Kimchi was suitably fiery, Twigin Prawns ( tempura by any other name ) were very well made indeed and the bibimbap is the perfect thing to sop up a beer although in this case we were sticking to mineral water.

Service was as always, charming and for £40 for two it proved the perfect backdrop to catch up with this rather special new chum. God bless American Airlines.

Roll on the next lot of travel

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