So I guess I’m 24?
April 29, 2011 13 Comments
Well I promised a new post before the end of the week I am delivering…well at least I hope I can. These post usually take me some time to make so I hope I can finish this all in one day. I’m at work right now, but I’m just desk warming no classes today and also I have my lesson plans for the next two weeks finished so I have a little bit of time. So lets see what we can do!
OK! I know I promised I would post up some random trivial photos and I will but first I just want to show you guys something really cool that I found. On sunday i usually go hang out with my friends. Since we only get to see each other once a week we party pretty hard. Here in Korea you’re not having fun unless you go to three different places and I think I already explained one of them is more likely than no Karioke. But sunday is my day to chill out…relax and just look around the city.
Well last Sunday I decided I really wanted to hang around the Han River. It’s really beautiful here in the Spring (you could have guessed that from my last post) so i wanted to explore it some more. I found the most interesting thing. A bike park! It’s like a roller skating rink just with really odd unusual bikes. You pay about a $1 to get in and you can ride any one you like for as long as you like. There were A LOT of interesting bikes and I wanted to show some of them to you guys for kicks and giggles.
The bikes were really cool. Some of them you had to jump up and down on, others went sideways and sat four people and some were jus odd to look at. And I didn’t even get good photos of some of the more interesting ones like the turn table bike that needed one person to spin around on a platform while another person steered. I have to thank all of my unwilling bike models especially the little girl in the last one. As an outsider in Korea I stand out and it’s nice when people are having so much fun they don’t realize I’m taking pictures of them with my cell phone like some weird pedophile.
After that I saw a pretty long bike path and believe it or not a bike rental shop! It was a beautiful (if slightly over casted day) and I rented a bike. It was only about $3 for an hour so I rode for miles. Before I knew it I had gone about four miles out…the return trip left me sore the rest of the day. I must admit when I wanted to see the Han River I hadn’t expected to go on an 8 mile bike ride. However, the scenery was beautiful, so i would take it back even if I could.
OK! now that thats out of the way. Onto the culture! There are many things about Korea that differ from life back at home. I’m sure you’ve discovered that much by looking at the toilets. But there are still tons of things that are pretty interesting. Take this fo example:
This is a trash can at the Cherry Blossom festival, and while i must admit the place was pretty packed this is actually a pretty common sight in Korea. The problem here is that…well there just aren’t any trash cans. I mean literally none. If you buy a soad and walk out of the store with it. Chances are you will hold onto that empty soda can until you get home. Trash cans are very very very hard to come by here. The rumor has it that the Korean government just decided that trash cans were ugly…so they just got rid of them. I think the mess makes it look even worse, but thats just the culture. The funny thing is…the city is remarkably clean. I think due in no small part to the many many many individual trash collectors who seem to sweep every street corner every single morning and night. I feel bad every time I do it, but I’ve started to getting accustomed to just leaving my trash in the street. I promise you the garbage won’t be there when you return in the morning.
For anyone who remembers that painting I saw in my school, it’s a direct reference to the island of Dokdo. Dokdo is a practically worthless island situated somewhere between Korea and Japan. And the two countries have been fighting over it FOR YEARS. The reason being is that territorial control of the island controls fishing locations in the surrounding sea. Now…while this isn’t such a big deal…if you understood the resentment Korea has for Japan you would understand a little better. When Japan took over Korea they pretty much abused the country…even to the point that Japan took young Korean women from their homes to supply their troops with whores then murdered them in mass. If you think I’m kidding look up Comfort Women. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women ) It’s not very pretty and the countries are still at odds.
One thing I touched on briefly in an earlier post is the abundance of scooters on the road. If you want to order a pizza it’s delivered by scooter. If you want to order McDonalds (yes, McDonalds delivers, I’ll get a pic of that later) it comes by scooter. them I’ve seen pieces of furniture strapped to the back of scooters. Never a motorcycle, (I’ve see two of them and I’ve been in this country) only scooters. This is a Korean mail man, and yes, he too has a scooter.
Korea…well Asia in general…is pretty well known for it’s clubs and night scene, and I’ve made my way into a lot of the really good hot spots. And like many places I find that the biggest parties and the best clubs happen near colleges. It’s funny…my teaching partner just pointed out something to me. In the West we tend to resent our students for being too lazy, but here in Korea and other places in the East they seem to pity their students for having so much to study and prepare for. I think no where is this more true than in colleges and no where is this more apparent than when they have down time. Work Hard, Play Hard…and the Koreans take these words to heart.
And here we see a couple of college students burnt out after wht clearly was a pretty hard night of partying. I took this photo inside of a KFC at around 3 or 4am.
Vendors here are pretty vicious…err…tenacious. They can be kind of aggressive and they usually don’t care if you can speak English or not. Money here is universal. I actually once got dragged into a custom tailor’s shop (literally dragged) where he tried to sell me a $150 dress shirt. I left and found a place just across the street where a guy sold them for $10 a shirt. I can’t read Korean but I’m pretty sure our school doesn’t have a “No Soliciting” sign. One day this guy waltzed right into the office and started selling shows about 3 feet away from my desk. I was a little surprised, but considering my office is about 85% female they all started walked up to him and trying on shoes. Who knew bursting into school office with a bag full of shoes was such a lucrative career.
Nothing too interesting here. I found this shirt in a second hand used clothign store. Just thought it was funny that the Piggly Wiggly somehow made it’s mark in Korea. No…there are no Piggly Wiggly’s here. No I have no idea how it got there.
And now some very dissapointing news…I WAS going to fill up the rest of this post with photos from a hike I had with my staff, but my phone decded to delete the photos instead. There were atleast twenty photos of me climbing a mountain that had the ruins of a fortress ontop where the Korean King defended the country from China. But I only have three pics. I will share them however. I hope you enjoy.
That was a little dissapointing. But atleast I gt to show you guys something. Looks like i need to buy a real camera and stop using my cell phone.
Well This is where I say goodbye. It’ll be a little while before I can make a new blog post. My friends are taking me out for dinner tonight and tomorrow I’m going to a Soccer game. I’ve already made some pretty big plans for next weekend. i can’t wait to write to you guys about what I’m going to do then. But for now I’ll just leave it a secret and just surprise you when I write the post.
By the way…since I missed it I wanted to wish you all a…
Also apparently I tun 24 or something today, so happy birthday to me.