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Day Number 1: Welcome to Korea

My last post left off with Amanda and me in the Korean airport, both sleep deprived, and waiting for the rest of our group to come into town. We eventually fell asleep in the airport, taking turns so no one will take our stuff. Sleeping on a wooden bench was the worst sleep I have ever had but also was strangely satisfying. Using my laptop case as a pillow, I awoke in a pool of drool with a renewal of energy. 

Awaking minutes before our friends show up, we found a Korean McDonald’s (with pictures pending)! Everything was uber cheap but neither of us were down to eat any food. We were feeling disgusting since we didn’t have tooth paste, we were jet lagged and our bed that night was a wooden bench. I hope I was able to give a little insight into how not-great our experience was. Back to the McDonalds, there was nothing special on their menu, like the “Kim Chi Mac” or the “Fillet of Salmon Sandwich Which Was Freshly Caught This Morning”. This was thoroughly disappointing.

We finally met up with the rest of our friends and spent another six or so hours in the airport talking about how crazy it is that we’re halfway around the world in a country where we can’t speak the language and don’t understand the customs. However, we were eventually picked up by a student from Sookmyung (the university we’re at) and took a bus through the city of Seoul. Downtown Seoul looks friggen SIYYYYYYCCKKKKKK! It’s uber packed, the buildings are huge, and the lights are bright. It looks like a larger Chinatown minus the Chinese people (they’re Korean) and plus first rate looking things. I guess it doesn’t look anything like Chinatown then. We’re situated in the upper part of Seoul though (think North York area) and don’t know if we’ll have an opportunity to check out the downtown area). Uptown Seoul is ridden with steep-ass-fucking-hills. It’s a mission just getting to the “boys residence” and an even bigger mission getting to the “girls residence”. Also, the street are packed and drivers are messed up.

I’m currently in the dorm room right now waiting to go out for dinner and trying not to pass out. The dorm is okay, I guess. It’s really cold and I don’t know how to turn on the heater because everything is in Korean. I was told to not flush toilet paper after taking a poop- this means I flush the poop but throw the toilet paper in the waste basket next to me. Yes, that is as disgusting as you think it is. However, I’ve just been using not a lot of toilet paper in my cleaning- yes, that is as difficult as you think it would be. Also, the shower isn’t much of a shower. The entire bathroom is the shower- with a shower head in the middle of the room, I’m to shower in the middle of the bathroom and allow the water to drain out in a hole in the floor. I don’t know how to be more specific- I can take a shit, look in the mirror, brush my teeth, and be taking a shower all at once without having to move. Imagine that.

Fun Asian Facts:

  • Original Korean food was heavily vegetable based (because it was cheaper, I assumed) and is the reason their most known foods don’t have a lot of meat (bimibap and kim chi and stuff like that).
  • When pouring out water, if the person whose cup you’re pouring is younger you use one hand to pour. If the, uhm, pouree (?) is older it is necessary to use TWO hands while pouring the drink.
  • When drinking alcohol, if you are drinking in front of a person older than you, you need to shy away from the person while actually taking a sip of your drink so they won’t see you.
  • Don’t pay a tip in Korea, China, or Japan.
  • Everything is dirt cheap compared to the inflation in Toronto.