Saturday, August 29, 2009

Episode 4: In which DFM Gets Lost Hiking And Then Gets Taken Out For Dinner (Again)

Saturday is here, and after one "hard" day of feeling like three people at once (refer to Episode 2), I take a well deserved rest. First though, I need to head to "Korean Hollywood," Chungmuro, to see my boss and sign my contract.

On my way there, my boss phoned to tell me that he told my roommate and "agent" Lee to tell me to phone him at 11:00 AM, to set up an appointment. Lee however had told me to go see my boss at 11:00 AM. Since my boss said it would take him about an hour to get to his office from his house (Seoul is a big city), I thought I would make a detour to do some shopping in Haebongchon (long time readers will recognize that place as my original Korean stomping grounds for one day).

I had always been told that Haebongchon was an area in which many foreigners (any non-Asian is automatically considered a foreigner) lived. Since most of my hiking to Namsan started in the late morning during my last visit, I must have not seen them since they were at work. Today though it was warm, and they were out in full force. Sometimes they could be seen "prowling" the street in groups of five or more. One such group seemed to be from Australia, and I could have sworn I heard them say they were going "crocodile hunting," but I must have misheard them.

Namsan Park is a large green wonderland in the middle of an otherwise grey Seoul. You'll remember I used to hike up to the tower and that there were many workout parks located throughout. There is a running/biking path around the base of the park, and I had always wanted to see where it went but never had the time or motivation in the spring. Today though I thought since I had an hour (about a half hour earlier) I might as well see if I could get to the other side, where my boss' office was located. However, Namsan Park is a lot bigger than it looks on a map and it took me two hours to arrive. On the bright side, I managed to successfully ask for directions, in Korean, twice.

Eventually I stumbled into my boss' office, exhausted and dehydrated. I must not have fully recovered before signing my contract though, for in the blank to enter my salary I wrote "2 000 Won," which those of you with access to the CDN -> KRW exchange rate will recognize as only being roughly $2 a month. My boss corrected me and we had a good laugh. He was particularly glad with his joke that he "saved me life."

Speaking of funny, I witnessed a Korean trying to pay off a police officer today on my hike. I'm not sure what happened, but he and the police officer were having quite an argument (you can yell at police officers without having a white undershirt on?) and I saw the man pull out a wad of bills and try and hand it to the officer. For all this Korean Cop's criticisms of Korean police officers and the Korean justice system, to this officer's credit he did not take the bribe. I don't know what happened of the situation though, since I left before the argument ended (for all I know it is still going on, since the officer did not seem prepared to do anything concrete about it). But I digress...

After the nasty business of talking about money was complete, my boss took me out for lunch where he attempted to convince me to stay for longer. If I'm not careful I'll be a partner in the company before I leave.

I haven't taken a lot of pictures yet this trip because I'm just in Seoul, and readers of my last Korea trip blog will have seen most of the exciting things in Seoul there are to see. However, during my last trip I was rarely able to get a clear shot of Seoul buildings because of all the yellow dust. I noticed today, from the base of Namsan Park, looking over Yongsan-gu (in which my old home Itaewon is located) that summer brings about relatively clear skies. I have decided to upload this photo, for your viewing pleasure, of a view that I always found enjoyable but was never able to accurately capture during my last stay. It's tough to appreciate, but I'm actually standing halfway up a hill, and the view is looking down on the city. It is quite breathtaking, each time I view it, but I fear the same sense of wonder does not work as well in 2-D. You can however click on the image to see a larger version in which the many individual roof tops can be better seen.


  1. If they heart you that much, you should consider staying for longer. You could one day be known as president Mur-Ray Day-Bid

  2. Choi from Ace says that if I were Korean my name would be "Ee-beet" and my family name would be "Day"