Sunday, March 15, 2009

Episode 11:

I'm feeling under the weather from the cold I have, so I didn't feel like going on any adventures today.  That being said, the day wasn't entirely uneventful.

Before I start I thought I'd show you this picture I snapped as I was walking along the street.  It seems that almost every woman in Korea feels it necessary to put these giant three-inch heels on, and then totter around the streets slowing up the flow of pedestrian traffic (bali bali).  You can see from the picture that Koreans will put a heel on any type of shoe, even Chuck Taylor All-Star Converse sneakers (second row).

I also found the doors to be interesting as well.  The doors here are hinged straight through the door itself and so they are free to pivot open or shut.  Watch the video to see what I mean.

I mentioned before that I had been to Namsan Tower and watched a display of ancient Korean martial arts.  Today I decided to hike back up to the Tower and watch it again.  I took my camera, and this time I was able to get a picture of some of the actors as they posed for photos with the audience after the show.

I did not get lost this time either, and since I knew I was going to be walking through Haebangchon I decided to stop in and see Alistar, an expat from Alberta who has been living in Korea for 8 years whom I met on my first day.  He showed me his kettle which doesn't actually boil water (only makes it warm) and seems to fly in the face of international conventions.  If you want to "boil-ish" your pot of tea, you must flick the switch from "POT," which apparently means off, to turtle, which apparently means on.  Also, I have a washing machine at my gosiwon and the start button is a large red button with a prohibitory caution sign triangle on it.

On the way up the mountain I found an outhouse that was just a bit overdue for a cleaning.  It's tough to tell from the image, but that mound is within about three inches of the opening and it really stinks.

After the martial arts demonstration I decided to hike around the park and see some of the other sites.  This is a statue set up in honour of Patriot Ahn Jung-Geun.  Apparently he had  changed the course of Korean history by independently planning and assassinating some oppressive foreign dictator, thus symbolizing Korea's urge for independence.  Like all national heroes, Ahn Jung-Geun was executed for his heroic actions.

I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, because after walking up hundreds of stairs I found myself back at the top of the mountain again.  By this time I was too tired and hungry to explore the park more and decided to go home.

Unfortunately, the last time I had come to Namsan tower I took the bus home.  That meant that I had no idea how to get from where I was, back to Haebangchon street.  Eventually, after getting lost in some foreign neighbourhoods, I finally managed to combine my dangerously limited Korean with some good fortune and scraped together some directions back to my place.

I took a slightly different route to Itaewon this time and came across a store called The Aussie Shop.  Apparently a "Triple X" rating just isn't enough in Australia.  I was quite shocked to hear the strong Aussie accent of the store owner too, when he said something to me I didn't quite catch as he was walking back into his store.

For the past several years I have been under the impression that there is no such thing as "American Food."  Looks like I've been lied to.

Not much of a post today, I know, but tomorrow I have my first experience with Korean dentists.  Should be interesting.

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