Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Korea - Subway - UPDATED!

Hello once again,

So I'm temping for a second third week. The job situation hasn't yet been resolved and it's kinda dragging along. But I have a few offers that I'm considering and will (hopefully) make a choice very soon, like next week. Anyways, that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to talk more in depth about the Seoul metro system, not that much more though. Once again, I fell out of the habit of taking pictures. Also, I totally fried the battery charger that I bought in Vancouver. I tried plugging it in the wall here and it went "Pop!" and now it doesn't work. It's a shame cause it was the best battery charger I've ever had. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that all my batteries are dead, for now.

Let's see...what can I say about the Seoul metro...well, I've been taking it a lot lately. I commute for around 2 hours a day (which sucks, but I've been doing long commutes since high school - I don't even dare to calculate the time I've wasted on public transportation) going to and from work. My route starts off with a bus ride on the shakiest, most hurky-jurky bus ever. You see, all the buses have manual transmission. Every time the bus starts to go again after a stop, it jerks at each change in gear. If you're not holding on to a rail, you will go flying and fall on your face, even if you're a ninja. Then I take the subway for an hour or so to get to work.

Subways are weird and wonderful. You will routinely see enterprising young fellows out to sell their goods ranging from cheap nylon socks to cheap screwdrivers. On rainy days they sell cheap umbrellas. Sometimes they sell old Korean mix-tapes and when they do, their sales pitch involves blasting the CD at full volume in the car (thank God for noise canceling earphones).

Man working the crowd. He's DJ Press Play. The dude behind him was trying to telepathically open the doors

These guys (and gals) go up and down the train and hawk their goods. Sometimes, they'll do pretty well for themselves. I've seen them make a few sales per car. One thing I've noticed about these people is that their sales pitch ALWAYS start with the word "차!!!" (Jah!!!!) but they drag out the "a" part. At least that's the case with the men. The ladies are more polite, they bow introduce themselves first and then make their pitch.

I forgot to mention a few other things about the subway here. The seats at the end of each car are reserved for the elderly, disabled, and pregnant. It's customary to give up your seat to elderly people, but it in the case of the end seats it's expected. If you don't you will get stared at, and possibly head-slapped. Also, when people are done reading their newspapers, they leave them on the overhead rack near the doors for others. It's a pretty cool system. In fact, Korea in general is pretty conscious of waste and the environment.


Random notes before I forget.

  • Newscasters bow at the end of their broadcast.

  • You can spit pretty much anywhere.

  • 30 Rock is a brilliant show

  • One of the metro stations (I forget which one) has a grandfather clock in it. It adds a touch of class and elegance to the otherwise sterile environment. At the same time, it's just so strange to place an antique looking piece there.

  • Parking is a free for all (I might have mentioned that already).

  • You can watch TV anywhere in Seoul. More on this in another post.


grafix said...

dude, you need a ds for long ass public transit commutes. my productivity has gone up about a billion percent after getting one for the night shift.

The Third Quarter Projectionist said...

I've been thinking about getting a DS but I'm worried that I'll get too absorbed in the games that I play and miss my stop. I do see a lot of people, not just kids, with DS and PSPs though. Most people just watch TV on their cellphones.

Gap Boo said...

The weirdest product they were trying to sell when I was in the subway in korea was Unisex underwear...I don't know how that works...

Laura said...

Maybe you should try selling something on the metro. Or sing in English that'll impress them or scare them!

yoosillyness said...

I played one of my student's DS and it was awesome!! I think I might get one too... haha

grafix said...

it is decided! especially after having final fantasy for the long ass plane rides from cuba. go ds! also i got this doctor game that leanne could not stop making fun of me for liking. that is a good game too, although i have tried to cover up the more ridiculous aspects from her so she won't make fun of me more.

also ds is region free, so you can get one over there and play english and asian games.

The Third Quarter Projectionist said...

You need to get the new Zelda game: Phantom Hourglass. It's the best use of the DS's control possibilities.