Saturday, October 6, 2007

Bonus Round

Here are a couple of bonus stories for you all.

Korea is known for it's diverse smells. Sometimes they're pleasant, like food, but most of the time they're gag-inducing. I'll leave the examples out. The first smell I noticed was after my cousin picked me up at the airport. On the highway back to the city, I noticed a factory a ways off from the side of the road, but the whole area smelled like a perm. I concluded that that was where the raw materials for old Korean lady perms (pama) come from.


On my third night in Seoul, I was done for the evening and was asleep. When I was awakened by a sound in my room. It was cousin's husband. When I opened my eyes his face filled my entire field of vision. He immediately spoke some really fast Korean. All I caught was something about exercise. Next thing I know, I'm outside the apartment on my way for a walk with this guy. We walked in total for about 40 minutes. The whole time he held my hand, which really freaked me out. I told him a few times that it wasn't necessary, that I could see him and follow him no problem, but he kept reaching and grabbing my hand, especially when we were about to cross streets. Apparently it's no big deal here, but it was the most shocking of all the culture shocks I encountered so far. Since then, I noticed a few other guys holding hands. Every time, it was a mentally handicapped person being escorted by a volunteer or a child with a parent. This leads me to believe that my cousin's husband either thought I was a toddler, or mentally handicapped. Clearly, I'm not a child.


There are two types of crosswalks in Seoul: ones with traffic lights and ones without. The ones with traffic lights are no problem to cross. Wait for the green light, watch out for motorbikes, cross, while keeping a constant watch for motorbikes. The ones without lights are a bit trickier. Basically, you kinda have to disregard your will to live for a half second and throw yourself out into the street. Once you take that brave first step, just keep walking, that space is yours. But watch out for motorbikes.


I also got my work Visa on Friday. It's for Gyopos (people who have at least one Korean parent, but aren't Korean citizens). It is a thing of beauty. I don't have to go to the army but I can't own a business or property. Still it's pretty good compared to what White people get. With an E2 visa, you're bound to your employer until your contract expires, even if your boss is a huge tool. F4 Visa holders can change jobs mid-contract. Anyways, I go in for my official job interview on Monday (maybe Tuesday, no confirmation yet).


Hey, if you don't want to do the mandatory military service here, just get a huge tattoo. Apparently, the Korean government doesn't like for it's soldiers to get too much ink done. So if you don't want to do your military service, get one of these:

Actually, I think a sleeve, or a shoulder will do, but it HAS to be a Unicorn.


sol said...

your cousin's husband really held your hands???
ahahahahahaa that's just hilarious!!!
good luck with your interview martin!!
i'm so excited to hear more about your journey!
ahahahaha cracks me up

Gap Boo said...

Man...I sooo want to see the facial expression when your cousin's husband held your hand~kekeke

Laura said...

Hate to brake the news but you are mentally challenged!! Kidding! Love your entries!