Thursday, October 4, 2007

Korea - Transportation


Getting around Seoul and the surrounding cities is a snap once you've mastered the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit System.



An MMBA-like project on this could take years, if not decades

It's actually really easy to use the metro here. I'd say it's one of the best in the world too. It's really clean, there's a whole bunch of etiquette rules to follow while using it. Everything is written in Korean and English and it's cheap. Depending on where you're going, the fares range from 1,000 won (a little over a buck) to 1,600 won (just under two). Etiquette rules can be found here.

But the Subway ain't the only way to get around. Here's a breakdown of the other forms of transportation:

A Car:


The car is a good choice for getting from A to B. It's powerful, motorized, has air conditioning. However, everyone else in Korea seems to feel this way. The biggest problem you'll face when riding the car is traffic. Also, the driving here requires a strength of character that only veterans of war possess. I've been trying to figure out the rules of conduct while I've been here to no avail. I think the most apt comparison is Aussie rules football but on the street, with big mechanical players, and no referees. If you think Montreal West Island drivers are nuts, then you need to experience driving in Korea. I don't suggest you actually participate, but just ride shotgun and you'll get a pretty good thrill.

The Truck


The truck is pretty much like the car. The same driving rules apply, whatever they are. The difference with the truck is you can put stuff on it and sell the crap out of it. There are so many "stores" like this, where there's just a bunch of stuff (mostly produce) on the bed that the driver tries to sell. Some enterprising fellows mount a PA system and play a recording to "advertise" their wares. One recording I heard went something like this:
Onions, onions, onions. We have onions here. Onions for a low price. Onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions, onions.


I still can't figure out what it was he was selling.

Scooters


Okay, scooters are the vehicle of choice for the delivery person. In Korea, there are virtually no restrictions on where a scooter can go. Basically, it boils down to no highways and no indoors, everywhere else is fair game. This includes in between cars, sidewalks, sewers, crosswalks while people are crossing, up and down stairs (if they're outside), and sometime in the foreseeable future up and down the sides of buildings. Seriously, the scooters mobility makes it too powerful it unbalances the game a bit. And also, these scooter drivers are crazy. Crazier than even car drivers. I once saw a man riding with his young son standing in the space between the handlebars and the seat. The man had a helmet on but his kid didn't. It boggles the mind!

Tomorrow, I go pick up my work visa. Yeah, I'll be taking the subway.

3 comments:

Gap Boo said...

Man I miss that Blue Truck~ Brings me memories~

sol said...

hey martin!
you just cracked me up like crazy i was on the flooor!!!!
i love the way you see things around Korea!
i'm so happy that you're learning lots of new things about korea... :)
miss you bunch!

onion onion onion onions onions onions ahahaha

Barbara said...

ok martin, more posts please -especially like this one.
It was some kind of amazing multi-hit wonder.
map of seoul...
blue truck...
onions onions onions... ahahaha.... :)
hope you're doing well.
take care over there!