Swine Scare Week Off Day 2

I literally didn’t leave my apartment yesterday, which was a bit boring. Today I had a few errands to take care of, and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like a deadly virus stop me from a trip to the bank, my usual kimbap stop and the market.  So, I decided to join the masses of masked Koreans and hit the neighborhood.  NWA’s Staight Outta Compton came on the ipod just as I hit the self timer on the camera for the pic below, how awesome is that?


My first stop was the bank.  Although I’m still waiting for my first paycheck, and my signing bonus, and my airfare reimbursement to be deposited (and when it does I will be a Korean Millionaire), I did deposit some of my hard earned American dollars into this account so I can start paying for things like my cell phone service and my electrical bills.  The cell phone service just takes the money directly out of your account.  But today was my first electrical bill payment experience.  At home I’m used to paying everything, all of my bills, online.   Here, I pay the electrical bill at the bank.  I’m still not sure how the cable/internet or water services are paid for, they just worked when I got here.  Maybe they are included in my rent that my employer pays.

I walk into the bank and take a number.  While I’m waiting for #80 to be called I decide to stand in the back and watch the flatscreen instead of sitting down.  All I’ve been doing is sitting down, now is time to stand, walk and stretch.  As the young male bank employee slowly creeps closer and closer to where I am standing, I realize that I am in a bank, still wearing my sunglasses, with a black hat pulled way down over my eyes, and have a “sars mask” covering my entire face.   You saw the picture above, probably not the most appropriate bank attire.  So I take off the shades and the mask and decide to sit down.  It’s at this time that I notice the male bank employee is also packing heat.  Geez dude, really?

Ding, #80.  I walk up to the teller, show her my bill and hand her my bank book because my ATM card is still processing and will take a month to arrive.  Now, with my face exposed, all the ladies start to recognize me.  I’ve only been to the bank once before, when my head instructor took me there to open the account, but I guess they all know who I am and I’m greeted with waves and huge smiles.  Even the dude packing heat, who I don’t remember from before, says hello.  I think this just proves my point that there are very few, if any, other Westerners in this area.  I’m instructed to enter the 6 digit pin that you use when banking with your bank book that has a strip on the back to identify you.  I guess the ATM only requires a 4 digit pin.  I’m not sure of the strategery behind the varying of pin digit counts.  While I’m waiting for processing, they ask to see my Alien Card as ID, and then gun guy asks if I have a credit card.  Are they trying to get another form of ID?  Are they trying to sell me on a credit card from their bank?  So I smile and show him my Alaska Airlines Visa, and just say “American”.  He nods and walks off.  Still not sure what that was about.

Happy with my friendly banking experience, I round the corner to Sopoong, where I buy my kimbap several times a week.  Kimbap, or gimbap, is Korean sushi.  I have yet to see it with fish though.   Wrapped in seaweed, it has rice, veggies and usually some source of protein wrapped in the middle.  I think the rice has sesame oil added to it as well which is delicious.  The stuff I buy usually has danmuji (pickled daikon radish).  I’ve actually grown to really like danmuji, something that will floor my mom when she reads.  I buy it and kimchi and eat it at home.  Other things in the kimbap include carrotts, sometimes a smoky tasting ham or some egg or both, and this brown stuff that I’m not sure what it is.   I’ve seen some street vendors batter it and deep fry it, but have yet to try.

Again, the nice ladies recognize me, already know what I want, and I’m on my way.  One of the best parts, it only costs 1,000 won for a roll that turns out to be like 12 pieces when sliced.  That’s less than $1.   There are more expensive versions, but I can’t read anything yet, and I’m happy with this stuff.  Here’s a picture I found on the internet.  This is exactly what I had for lunch, kimbap and kimchi.


Last stop was the market to pick up salad, juice, hot chili paste, chips and coke zero.

I was not broadcasting the fact that my institution was the culprit behind a lot of the swine flu scare here in Korea.  But the news has recently blasted our name to the world, so I figured I might as well join them.  The following article will provide some info.


I went through the training the article refers to 3 weeks before the infected person did.  I did not stay at the hotel in Gangnam that most everyone else does.  I was lucky that my school moved me directly into my apartment, which I understand is pretty rare.  And I don’t see how I could have had contact with any of these people, being that I work in 1 of 120 branches company wide.  Still, it’s a little scary to think of what life could be like right now had I delayed my trip any more than I did.  As it is, I ended up delaying it like 2-3 weeks because I was being extremely picky about which offer I was going to accept, and I had plans to hang out in Phoenix and Vegas just before m0ving myself across the pond.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com


~ by ripcitytoseoul on May 28, 2009.

7 Responses to “Swine Scare Week Off Day 2”

  1. SARS masks are soooo gangsta!!

  2. In Hong Kong,a school has to stop the class for 2 weeks because of swine flu !!!

  3. 1000 Won (80 cents)for a fat roll, that is cheaper than conveyor belt sushi at happy hour. I think the pin thing is just to keep you from spending your korean millions, or maybe it was part of Obama’s credit card bill or rights.

  4. That photo is tough, D.

  5. BTW, I like the new page layout. Brandon Roy looks fierce.

  6. An interesting discussion is value comment. I think that you must write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo topic however generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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