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80 Secret Bar at Hannam Town 2 – PART 1

 Friday came around.

Gun-Ho wore a suit and went to Hannam Town. The sunset was early these days because it was wintertime. It was dark outside, but the lights from the stores illuminated the street.

"This neighborhood has a romantic vibe."

There were many single houses in the neighborhood along with several foreign embassies of various countries such as Switzerland, Thailand, Cambodia, etc. That was why the road in front of Soonchunhyang Hospital was called the Embassy Road.

"Mr. Gun-Ho Goo, over here!"

It was Manager Gweon who had been assisting Chairman Lee.

"How have you been, Manager Gweon?"

"Long time no see. I'm so glad to see you again."

After shaking hands with Manager Gweon, Gun-Ho followed him to a quiet alley in the neighborhood. When they arrived at a single house with a landscaped yard, Manager Gweon asked Gun-Ho to get in there. There was no restaurant sign. Gun-Ho could only see a small acrylic sign on its brick wall next to the front door.

"Pine tree?"

The sign said 'pine tree,' and below the word 'pine tree', it said 'restaurant' in a small font. Gun-Ho thought that no pedestrian would be able to see the small-font restaurant sign and recognize the house as a restaurant.

"Welcome."

A young man in a suit came out of the house and greeted Gun-Ho. He didn't let Gun-Ho in the house though; instead, he led Gun-Ho to the back side of the house. There was another door leading to the house next door. The house next door was also a single house with a yard.

"Come this way. Watch your steps. They are stone stairs."

Following the young man, Gun-Ho passed by the quiet yard which had a big pine tree in it and entered the front door.

"Welcome."

A lady who looked like in her 50s wearing a traditional Korean dress came out to greet Gun-Ho. Even with her mature age, she was very beautiful. The lady showed Gun-Ho into a room where Chairman Lee and Master Park were. The room was decorated with an embroidered folding screen, and the two old men were sitting at a floor table. Chairman Lee was wearing a vest without a jacket.

"Hello, I am honored to meet you." The lady said to Gun-Ho.

"Ms. Jang, why don't you bring a floor cushion for him?"

The lady whose name was Ms. Jang brought a floor cushion embroidered with a crane.

"Have a seat."

"I initially suggested going to a puffer fish restaurant in the vicinity, but Master Park insisted that we should come here."

Chairman Lee seemed to be concerned that Gun-Ho might find it uncomfortable being in a rather unique restaurant setting. Master Park stuck his head out to Gun-Ho.

"ShinWangJaeWang young man! You became rich, right? I told you that you would become rich when you reached the age of 35. Am I right?"

"Right, I think you told me that. You have a very good memory, sir."

"I memorized all about your fate. It's very unique! Your fate is to become dirty rich!"

Chairman Lee seemed to be embarrassed by his friend, Master Park's choice of words.

"What is dirty rich? Rich is rich."

"Young man! I was right, wasn't I? You made billions!"

"Oh, umm, yes, I... I did make money."

"Then you can treat us here. Ms. Jang, bring us the table!"

Ms. Jang smiled elegantly and stood up from a sitting position.

"Mr. Gun-Ho Goo, do you recognize this lady?!"

"Umm, I don't know..."

Gun-Ho looked at Ms. Jang's face again. She surely looked familiar.

"Probably you are too young to recognize her. She is a famous actress, Mi-Hyang Jang in our old days."

Gun-Ho now recognized her face. He might have seen her in a magazine.

"Oh, really?"

After a moment, two young men in a white shirt brought a big floor table. The table was already set with all kinds of Korean food and liquor; there was Sinseollo* as well.

Ms. Jang entered into the room and served liquor in a gold-colored pot.

"It seems like you are reversing your age. How come you're not aging at all and keep a resilient young skin?"

"Hahaha, are you saying I should age with all those wrinkles like you do, Master Park?"

"I don't have that many wrinkles. I am still a young guy. Listen to what this woman says."

Master Park didn't seem to be a gentleman when he was talking with a woman.

The door was opened and two young ladies who were also wearing a traditional Korean dress entered the room. Those women sat next to Chairman Lee and Gun-Ho to serve them.

Gun-Ho looked at the profile of the lady sitting next to him. She looked like in her mid-20s and she had very long eyelashes. She had a different vibe from the girls Gun-Ho saw in the room salon. This lady seemed to be more cultured and refined.

"Hey, you women! Drink it!"

Master Park handed a glass of liquor to those two young ladies. The ladies sipped the liquor while turning their heads slightly to the side and covering their mouth and the glass.

"Ms. Jang, pay attention to this young man right here. He will become very very rich soon."

"I just heard he made billions already. He is already rich then."

Ms. Jang said while putting a piece of Galbi-jjim* on Gun-Ho's plate.

"We don't call a person with several billion won rich. You have that much money, Ms. Jang. Then you are rich too."

"I am not rich."

"You are! When you were younger, you made money by mesmerizing men, and now you are making money by running this secret bar."

"Don't say that, Master Park. I am not doing well these days because you haven't come here as often as before anymore."

"President Goo, let's drink."

Chairman Lee called Gun-Ho President Goo. The lady sitting next to Gun-Ho poured more liquor in his glass.

"So, how did you make the money?"

"I invested in real estate and the stock market. I invested in real estate when I was in China, and this time I invested in the stock market."

"You probably invested in the stocks related to the Four Major Rivers Project."

Gun-Ho smiled without saying a word.

"The real estate investment is good. However, you shouldn't cling on stocks for too long. Once you make money from stock investments, you should get out of there right away unless you have some kind of certainty to continue to invest."

"I will take heed of what you said, sir. I think you are absolutely right."

"In this country, the insiders share information exclusively within their inner circle. They establish some investment company, issue stock to raise money, and then make a short sale of the stock so they can make more money once the stock prices go down. As long as short-selling is allowed in our stock exchange system, little people can hardly make money by investing in the stock market because they don't have the necessary information. The recent stock hike involved with Four Major Rivers Project was a special case influenced by politics. You shouldn't expect to make money again in the stock market like that case. You shouldn't invest in the stock market without certainty."

"I will keep that in mind."

"Once the stock prices go up, the insiders will issue a CB (convertible bond). Bastards!"

"Oh, I see."

Gun-Ho thought he was getting more than he would have to pay today. The advice that Chairman Lee was giving to Gun-Ho was so valuable that what he had to pay for today's dinner and liquor seemed nothing.

"The stock market will shrink in the future unless the problem in the stock exchange system that I just mentioned is resolved. If an alternative investment option emerges, the investors will move there rather than the stock market, virtual money for example."

"Virtual money?"

"Haha. I am just thinking since we are living in the digital age."

Gun-Ho later was stunned when the Bitcoin storm arrived. When Chairman Lee had mentioned about digital money, no one even thought of the very idea. Gun-Ho thought later that Chairman Lee was indeed an incredibly wise man. He was absolutely different from the old men in the subway, who were raising voices saying the younger passengers must give up their seats to them.

"What's your plan now?"

"I am thinking of acquiring real estate and rent them out for now, and then I'll start running a business when I see a good opportunity."

"Hmm..."

Master Park got annoyed while hearing the boring conversation between Gun-Ho and Chairman Lee.

"Stop talking about money. We are here to have fun, right? Then let's have fun! Hey, you girls! Sing a song or play a musical instrument or do something."

Note*

Sinseollo - It is also called the royal hot pot. All sorts of vegetables and meat in a rich broth.

Galbi-jjim - Korean style beef short ribs dish.