First Impressions of Korea

First week down and these are my first impressions:

  • Groups of school girls like to giggle as they walk up to me and nudge each other until one is brave enough to say hello. After I respond, the giggling ensues as they hustle away.
  • Certain songs pop up on my ipod and I giggle because I don’t imagine that anyone else is listening to Ween, Slick Rick, Ghostland Observatory, The Dandy Warhols, Mad Season, Afrika Bambaata, The Black Angels, Waylon Jennings, Menomena, Satan’s Pilgrims, Faith No More, Hank III or the comedy of Mitch Hedberg…but who am I to assume.
  • I think I’m the only man who wears dress shoes with laces.  There are several circumstances when you must remove your shoes.
  • Unlike The City of Roses, I have only seen 2 people with tattoos, both young girls with them on their upper arms.
  • A lot of people wear SARS masks.  I’m not sure if it’s because of pollution, or because they are sick and don’t wanna spread it, or if it’s because they are afraid of SARS.
  • Korean food is the bomb. The nice Korean girls in my training class have been making sure I eat local cuisine for lunch. Dinner is interesting, depending on how brave I am.

Pretty Ribbon

Pretty Ribbon

  • To go along with that, I have eaten a Big Mac and a Pizza Hut deep dish. I’m not proud of it. But, the pizza did come with a ribbon around it. It also come with a packet of parm, a packet of hot sauce that was like an oily tabasco, and a container of sweet pickles that went straight in to the trash. The young dudes working there got a kick out of the American walking out with a pizza. And they have like 10 scooters that constantly rally around the neighborhood delivering pizza.
  • The subways are full of enjoyment and are easy to figure out. There are all kinds of food and shops underground. On the trains, people don’t talk to each other. As soon as you enter, you are reminded of the Korean diet, it smacks you in the grill. Dudes sit down and sleep, sometimes with their head tilted up and mouths gaping wide open. Old people get pissed if there is not a seat available. I have yet to sit down.
  • Everybody watches TV on their phone while walking down the street or on the subway.
  • The street food is very intriguing and I need to learn more about it so I can continue to sample. Lots of sweet smelling treats and various fried goodness (including the biggest corn dogs you’ve ever seen) as well as random things stewing in all kinds of different broth.  So far I have eaten the spiciest sausage on a stick of all times, a waffle folded in half with berry frosting in the middle, these spongy rice cake cylinders stewing in spicy red sauce with peppers and onions, and the octopus batter balls that Anthony Bourdain ate on No Reservations.
  • Sidewalks are not only for people, but bicycles and scooters as well.  Cars do not stop for crosswalks and people rarely walk until the green signals.
  • Older ladies wear crazy huge visors. They are gigantic, hides their entire face.

Spinning Pole

There are these spinning barber poles everywhere (left side of the photo), however I don’t see a barber shop anywhere.   I think there is something shady going on in there.

  • Apparently there are no rules for parking in my neighborhood. Cars are half on the sidewalks, all over the curbs, blocking streets and traffic. You just have to go around, or wait.
  • Speaking of curbs, I’m gonna break my neck tripping on them. They are totally uneven and they pop up everywhere. I’m constantly taking short or long steps off things. I haven’t gone down yet, but twisting ankles is starting to strain my back.
  • I can’t explain why, but Korean Google is cool.
  • Younger Korean girls wear very short skirts and shorts.
  • I haven’t needed an antacid since being here.  Very un-“D”
  • Wikipedia is Wiktionary.
  • Whatever Good Taste Technology is, it makes the milk amazing.
  • Mornings are fine, but jet lag sucks away your afternoons.  It also puts dark circles under your eyes.
  • There is this control panel in my apartment that activates the hot water. It not only allows the water in the sinks and shower to be warm, but it also controls the floor heaters. Yes, there are pipes running under the floor that keep it as warm as you want. Since I don’t like a warm floor, or a warm apartment in general, I always have this control panel turned off. However, I keep forgetting to activate it before stepping in to the shower.  Regardless, when I get home my apartment is hotter that Hades, the windows go wide open, and it cools down quick because my apartment is micro.  My studio in PDX belongs on Cribs compared to the size of this.  That being said, it is kinda fun.
  • ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Digestive Problems

Learn Korean with

~ by ripcitytoseoul on April 28, 2009.

4 Responses to “First Impressions of Korea”

  1. A waffle folded in half with berry frosting in the middle, eh? Sounds like great hangover food. Me want one.

    Loving that last photo. Wish we had ads like that in the States.

  2. Bravo! Though you’re dumping it ALL into one huge post. Pace yourself, dude! I’m going to share this with my few remaining demoralized friends at dee eee ay.

  3. I have to follow this! Korea???

  4. Aren’t the barber poles massage parlors or somesuch?

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