Gun-Ho decided to make a trip to China once his restaurant was sold.
"Come to think of it, I've never been outside of the country."
Gun-Ho had never had a chance or money to travel abroad because his family and himself hadn't had money for it while many of his friends took a trip overseas to study English or to do volunteer work abroad.
"I already have my passport. I applied for it with Jong-Suk when I was in Pocheon working in a factory. We, at that time, talked about working in Australia or Canada because we heard that we could make a lot of money doing welding over there. I guess I can make use of it this time."
Gun-Ho took his passport along with his business license to a travel agency close to the Noryangjin Station. He paid the agency fee, and they told him to come back after three days and pick his passport up.
Gun-Ho left the refrigerator and water heater in the restaurant because the new owner wanted to buy them.
"They were very expensive when I bought them, but when I sold them their prices are like the price of a chewing gum."
Even so, Gun-Ho thought it was not a bad deal. It was better than nothing after all.
After he handed over his restaurant, he had nothing to do. When he was running the restaurant, he couldn't even dream about going out to have fun or meet with friends because he just didn't have the time for it.
"Let's go see a movie."
For the first time in a long time, Gun-Ho went to the CGV movie theater close to the Yongsan Station and watched a movie. After that, he stopped by a PC room to play computer games. It only took him a day to feel bored playing computer games.
"Even though I lost 20 million won from the restaurant in Noryangjin, I still have my seed money of 480 million won. What do I want to do now? Oh, I have to let him know whether I would go to China or not. Let me first ask the travel agency if my visa is ready to be picked up."
The travel agency said his visa was ready when he called them, and he could pick it up in the morning on the following day.
Once he received confirmation about his visa from the travel agency, Gun-Ho made a call to the BBQ restaurant owner with a shaved head in Noryangjin.
"Hi, I'm Gun-Ho Goo, the one who used to run the Vietnamese noodle soup restaurant next door. Could you tell your uncle that I'd like to come and visit his restaurant in China? I already got my visa."
"Oh, really? I will tell him right away."
The shaved-head owner's uncle called Gun-Ho.
"Sir? So are you going to China? You made the right decision. I will make a reservation for your flight. Please text me your name and your name in English as well."
Gun-Ho sent him a text with his name in Korean and English. Then the uncle called him again.
"Let's meet at the Gimpo International Airport after two days. The flight leaves at 2 PM. You need to arrive at the airport an hour early. For the flight cost, you can pay in credit card, but I recommend you to prepare 200,000-300,000 won in cash. You might need it in China. Bring your suitcase and wear comfortable clothes. I will see you at the waiting area in front of the currency exchange booth."
"I will see you then."
Once he got off the phone with the uncle, Gun-Ho called Jong-Suk.
"Jong-Suk? It's me. I sold my restaurant."
"You did? I'm sorry to hear that, bro. I was hoping for you to succeed in the restaurant business. Did you lose a lot?"
"A little. Not an amount I have to terribly worry about. And I am going to China the day after tomorrow."
"There is a restaurant I want to see. So I'm just taking a vacation there."
"You don't even speak Chinese, bro. What's your plan?"
"They said I could use an interpreter and I don't have to speak Chinese to run a restaurant there. I will tell the details once I come back."
"Did you say you are leaving the day after tomorrow? Then you are free tomorrow, right? Tomorrow is Sunday. Let's go fishing. I went to the Pocheon fishing site last week by myself and saw Chairman Lee there."
"Really? He is still going there."
"He asked me how you were doing, and why you didn't come fishing any longer. Why don't you go there with me tomorrow? Let's drink soju."
"I have to buy a travel suitcase."
"Just get a bag or something. Buy it today!"
"Okay. I will be there tomorrow at 10 AM."
Gun-Ho went to the fishing site; it had been a while. Seoul was too busy for Gun-Ho. Once he arrived at the quiet Pocheon City, Gun-Ho felt like he could breathe better. It was late fall and Cosmos flowers started falling down; dragonflies were still flying in the sky.
"Very nice. I love the nature in my country."
Gun-Ho walked down to the reservoir, carrying his fishing rod. Jong-Suk was waving at Gun-Ho at the reservoir; he must have arrived earlier.
"Hey, Jong-Suk! Good to you see you, bro."
"Bro, I'm happy to see you. Enjoy this day and forget about that Noryangjin restaurant thing."
"I'm trying, man. I don't see Chairman Lee."
"I don't see him either. There are two men fishing over there. Do you think it's them?"
"Did they change their fishing spot?"
"Let's go there to say hi, and come back to our spot."
Gun-Ho and Jong-Suk walked to the other side to see if Chairman Lee was there. The two men fishing on that side were Chairman Lee and Manager Gweon.
"Oh, Mr. Gun-Ho Goo and Mr. Jong-Suk Park!"
"You still remember our names."
"Of course. How can I forget the person with ShinWangJaeWang fate!"
"I'm just saying it. I heard you moved to Noryangjin from Asan to run a restaurant."
"I sold it already."
"Oh, really? You made the right decision. Running a restaurant is supposed to be your last one in your life."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You only run a restaurant business once you've failed all other businesses, meaning that running a restaurant requires that much experience. That's why running a restaurant is very difficult."
"It was hard. That's for sure."
"You only open a restaurant if you can open it in a corporation form with chain restaurants, or with your family. A restaurant business requires a large amount of labor, so you need family members' support to succeed. It's really hard to succeed if you run it by yourself. Now, what are you going to do?"
"I haven't decided on anything yet. Someone wants to show me a restaurant in China so I'm planning to travel to China for a vacation."
Chairman Lee retrieved his fishing rod to change the bait, and he said to himself while gazing at the fishing float that was floating on the water.
"The ShinWangJaeWang fate is leading him there."
Gun-Ho had no idea what Chairman Lee meant, so he just pretended he didn't hear anything.
"Mr. Gun-Ho Goo, you said you worked at a company in Asan and worked in accounting. How long did it last?"
"For accounting work, I worked in Yangju for six months and for four months in Asan."
"Are the companies still using the B2B payment system?"
"Yes, they are."
"Sons of b*tches!"
Gun-Ho was frightened because he never expected to hear that sort of cursing word from Chairman Lee; he seemed to be a perfect gentleman. Chairman Lee smiled and looked at Gun-Ho.
"I apologize. I couldn't suppress the urge!"
"Do you have any particular reason or story for saying that?"
Chairman Lee sighed lightly and started reeling off a story slowly.
"Mr. Gun-Ho Goo, I actually worked as a hard money lender in the Myeongdong area when I was young."
"Oh, I see…"
"At that time, there was no such thing as a B2B payment system. The accounting staff in each company came to me with their promissory note whenever they needed money. The line was long. We quickly grasped their credit rating; we were quicker than banks. Bank branch managers often asked me about a company's credit rating. Knowing a company's credit rating was critical because that was the base to determine the interest rate for that company.
"Oh, I see."
"The company in Asan, what was the early payment discount rate there?"
"It was 4.5%."
"A*sholes! They are doing good."
"The companies that needed money came to me—I was the big player in Myeongdong's hard money market—with their promissory note, and just like banks do now, we took our fee and gave them discounted cash. It was called promissory note Warikkang. I made a lot of money doing it. I almost swept money into my pocket. Once the banks realized that we were making a lot of money that way, they made it into a bank service and took it away from us.
"Oh…, I see."
Gun-Ho learned new facts.