Air Force Ball

Bryan and I had a wonderful date weekend attending the Air Force ball up in Seoul.  A good friend came to watch the kids overnight so we could stay late and stay at a hotel in the city.  We ended up getting a room at the Dragon Hill Lodge – the Army lodging at Yongsan Garrison – as there was a courtesy bus shuttling people back and forth to the ball which was held at the Sheraton along the river. 

I was super excited about this as I’ve never been to a ball!  I got a dress made for myself downtown
and Bryan made sure his Mess Dress was updated and dry-cleaned, and shoes shined.  It was fun to get ready together at the hotel.  I usually pack light, but this trip found me carrying things like a curling iron, makeup and hairspray…a new high- maintenance girly record for me. 

We rode the bus over and at the entrance was a formal photographer, so hopefully we’ll get those pics in a few weeks as we didn’t get a super good picture with our own camera.  In fact the photographer liked my dress and look so much he wondered if I’d be willing to come up to Seoul sometime to model it at the Hangang for a portfolio photo shoot…I’d get to keep the pics.  Sounds fun!

The ball was nice – the Sheraton was pretty, but nice in a super-modern and plain kind of way. There wasn’t even a true main entrance so it all felt a bit jumbled and ‘where do we go?’ sometimes.  I think it’s one of the few places that can actually host a 5 course dinner for a thousand people.  The food was amazing; I really wanted seconds!!  Prior to that, however, were formalities like introductions of the big-wigs, cheers from all the different groups and services (there were all 4 branches and ROKAF), the POW/MIA table, toasts, the Air Force song, and cutting the 66th birthday cake….by the oldest gunner still living in Korea and an airman born in 1995 (um, that made me feel a bit old myself).

There was also a guest speaker: the current U.S. Ambassador to Korea who spoke very highly of the bond between our two nations.  It really was a great moment to be in the midst of so many military folks and get a sense of  honor and appreciation for our being in Korea.  In addition to being the Air Force’s 66 birthday, it’s also the 60th anniversary of our agreement to help defend the South Korean people.  So, it really was an evening of pride.

After dinner came some musical entertainment during dessert and the official closing before everyone migrated down the hall to the “ballroom”.  Up until now the whole place seemed too modernly fancy for my taste, but fancy nonetheless.  This room, however, felt like it was a complete afterthought…like a floor of the parking garage carpeted and sealed in.  I guess Koreans just don’t waste space, but the low ceilings felt odd.  Regardless, the DJ was good and we danced a long while until we were so thirsty and couldn’t find water ANYWHERE that we got some from the bathroom taps.  Really?  yes.  No water….only from the bar with the 1/2 hour long line.  No thanks.

Before long it was time to get going on our bus. I grabbed my takeaway memory – a fluorescent green coffee cup – and we were whisked back to Yongsan.  No one wants to turn into a pumpkin, so since we weren’t staying at the Sheraton it was essential to not miss our bus and risk breaking curfew by taking a taxi later.  It worked out fine as we were both hot and sweaty from dancing, super thirsty, and (lets face it) getting too old to be out past witching hour.

I felt like a princess all night!

Getting prepped at the hotel

Both of us, ready to go.  They have big mirrors at the Dragon Hill
 
on the bus
 
happy hour ice sculpture

view of the Hangang (Han River)
 
checking out the river
 

happy hour music

Enter the MASSIVE dining area.

whew!  Table 50, that is us.

Happy to see our names (especially my own). star = beef!

the seating chart on the giant screen for any folks who are lost

cutting the cake

At the table
 
We were starving by the time this delicious food came around.  Seriously tasty, especially that Crab appetizer…I’ve dreamt of it ever since.

sorry, I was too hungry to take pictures until my main course came around

The “ballroom” – weird low-ceilinged dirty-carpeted sweaty dance hall!
 
It sure was fun, though!
 

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