Monday, July 18, 2005

Back to the grind.

Weekend Recovery
What an interesting weekend.

I definitely filled my need to check out the downtown--at least for awhile. And I think I've met more foreigner English teachers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand than I ever have before in my life! But I have to admit that I won't be frequenting the Daegu party scene for awhile. The mixture of soju (Korean whisky), beer, hard alcohol and this milky korean liqueur--combined with the extra cash flow required to stay up all night...means this weekend won't be quite repeated but once a month, if that.

Angelina tells me that Koreans are known for staying up all night, when serious partying is due. Well, that's only part. Canadians know how to party too! Karyoke, finger food one bar after another, and night clubs that never stop. But alas, my Sunday was spent in recovery, aka sleep. Monday I'll get up at a decent hour to prepare my classes for the week, chat with Juan, and finally get my Korean Experience newsletter out to friends and family. They've been wondering, and I've been needing to put my experience thus far in order. Looking at South Korea from afar is one thing. Living it, certainly in my position, is another.

It's amazing how just 2 short nights of going out can cause one HUGE weekend of recovery, and one body in serious need of getting back to the grind.
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A few notables..
1. From what I've noticed so far, 'cool' Korean dress is over the top. By this, I mean, the club scene wear. It's a mixture between New York runway gone bad, hip-hop J.Lo style, mixed with a little sex and the city meets salvation army. Example: cut-off jeans made into shorts, with a white wife-beater t-shirt and high heels, baret hat and an oversized belt supporting the already baggy pants-made-into-jeans. Ouch. I feel sorry for this girl.

2. Koreans smoke way too much. Oh, and Canadians do to--even if they call themselves social smokers! I come home from a night out and I smell like a rotten garbage bin, something similar to what you would have found if South Korea still had garbage bins in the designated garbage pick up sites, along the street. Now all you see is smelly trash. Which reminds me..

3. Haven't Koreans heard of GARBAGE CANS??? Angelina tells me that the President decided to take back the use of large garbage cans/bins, and implementing the use of special plastic bags (in 10, 20, 30, 40 liter increments)required by law to use instead of garbage cans/bins (Meaning, you leave it on the side of the road, in a designated location. Talk about harvesting stray cats!?) Which, obviously, does not work. People are naturally consuming more. Taking away the garbage bins won't cause them to think, "Oh, well if there are no large garbage bins to use, then I guess we'll have to consume less." The result: more trash AND (pardon my frankness) more stray cats and dogs being sold to restaurants for food.

4. On the topic of gross, I now know why Koreans have feet problems. By feet problems, I mean, I've seen cases of exposed feet blessed with odor, athlete's foot, cracking problems and yellow, fungal-laden toe nails--all in the vicinity of my food market. That's gross! But, if normal Korean apartment dweller bathrooms are like mine---where you wear bathroom slippers while you take a shower right in the present of your sink and toilet--you're bound for foot problems. This is probably due to the bacteria that grows on the bathroom floor, and hence, your bathroom slippers. And the bathroom doesn't smell too hot either; I've already had to clean my bathroom from top to bottom like 5 times in the 2.5 weeks I've been here in S. Korea!

5. Koreans are way too hooked to their gadgety cell-phones. Angelina uses her cell phone in the course of a working day no less than 7 times, I've counted. That goes for Ellen, too.. and it's utterly amazing! I walk on the streets, people are on their cell phones. I'm in the super maket buying food, and I see more cell phone users. Heck, even in the freaking bathroom, women on babbling on their cell phones. I thought the US was bad, or better, Switzerland when I was there; it appeared that every man, woman and child had a cell phone or two. I think Koreans are worse--but, don't take my word for it. I've only been here for 2 weeks. And, last, I would say this applies to the gadgety-clad Koreans who, a) can afford to keep a cell phone because the plans are cheap (once you get over the initial 300-500,000 Won required to buy the phone), b)the young kids whose parents buy them a cell phone to 'stay in touch', and c)the majority of the younger population--so elementary school (aged 10 or so) through the very young Baby boomer adult (about 40 to 45). I still think it's ridiculous that kids aged 10 are having cell phones. Perhaps I'll think differently when I have my own kids.

But such as it is, this Korean life in Daegu is no less than interesting. I'm learning something new everyday, and it's quite surprising---so back to the grind I go, Monday morning. Look out kids!
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