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Where the streets have no name March 25, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
5 comments

bono“I want to feel, sunlight on my face
See that dust cloud disappear without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name”

Excerpt from the song Where the Streets Have No Name – U2

I used to think that this song was about Ireland, but after carefully listening to the song and reading the lyrics, I’m pretty confident that Bono is singing about Korea.

For some reason I’ve been obsessed with this song lately. There’s karaoke on every corner in this city and I can’t seem to find one with this song. Everytime I hear it, it reminds me of the raucous Bell Centre during Habs games as this used to be the song that played right before the players came on the ice. So when I listen to it now, I close my eyes and  feel like I’m back at the best place in the world to watch hockey. My obsession with this song has also coincided with the Habs most recent free-fall. They fired their coach, their stud goalie is a mess, and they got trounced again this past Saturday at home by the lowly Leafs 5-2 for the second straight time. Right now is one of the very few times when it would be fun to be a Leafs fan in Montreal.

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Tuesday, March 24th will marked our one month anniversary here in Korea. Aside from Katie’s obvious health concerns, we couldn’t be happier. (She’s on medication and feeling a bit better, by the way)

Adjusting to life in a completely different culture has been easier than expected and we genuinely feel comfortable in our surroundings. Even when we’re being stared at on the subway by old people. We’re fortunate to live in a very westernized part of Seoul so english is fairly common here and most of the locals are used to dealing with foreigners so it makes for going about you daily routine a little easier.

Seoul is one of the cleanest an efficient cities I’ve ever seen. Granted, my sample size is relatively small so I have little basis for comparison, but so far everything from the subway system to the hospital and even the airport is first class all the way. I’m a freak when it comes to organization and efficiency and these people have quickly won me over. With a few exceptions.

1) The currency

Here is what the equivalent of $500 CAD looks like when converted into Korean Won’s.

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This picture really doesn’t do it justice. This is an obscene amount of bills that is close to 2 inches thick.

545,000 won.

I could go on and on about the huge number as nothing here costs less than 500 won, which is less than 50 cents, but my biggest issue if the denomination of the bills. The largest bill that they print is 10,000 won (the green one on the left) which works out to less than $10 CAD. Can you imagine carrying nothing but $10, 5 and 1 bills and a buttload of change on top of that. It’s pretty ridiculous. I HATE change. Actually, hate isn’t a strong enough word. Now, I’m being given coins worth 50, 10, 5 and 1 won or what would work out to less than $0.05, 0.01, half a cent and a tenth of a cent. Awesome.

I’ve been living here for just over a month now so I feel more than qualified to comment and criticize a monetary system that’s been around for hundreds of years. 2 suggestions. Drop the 3 zeroes and print some 20’s, 50’s and 100’s.

2) Age

I still can’t understand the logic behind this one. Here’s how it works. When you’re born, you’re already 1 and even though everyone acknowledges their actual birthdate every year, you don’t actually turn 2 until the Lunar New Year which typically falls around the end of January. Therefore, if you’re born in mid-January you would be considered 2 years old before you’re actually 2 weeks old. So when a child tells you they are 6 years old, all you know is that they are in fact between 4-5 years old. Makes sense.

I have no idea how they organize their youth sports leagues but this age thing can’t be a good thing. In Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book “Outliers”, he points out how the majority of Canadian professional hockey players are born within the first three months of the year. His rationale is that because they have matured sooner and are more developed then their peers, that they rise through the ranks faster, make the better teams and thus receive the better coaching and opportunities (Personal note: I was born in October and got killed when contact started and puberty hadn’t). So what chance does a 13-year who is actually 11, have against a 13-year old who is actually 12?

My youngest class is made up entirely of “6-year olds”, but some of them might actually be 4. Wouldn’t it be helpful for the teacher to know from a developmental standpoint which children may not be as advanced as others? Especially at such a young age?

Maybe there’s a rational explanation for this system but I’ve yet to hear one. 

3) No street names

This one kills me. No street signs. All directions are given based on landmarks and addresses are based on blocks, districts and postal codes. Our address at home is Seocho-gu, Banpo 2 Dong, 732-7, No. 202. But there’s a 79 on the outside of our building? We’ve been tempted to order a pizza but I have no idea how it’s ever going to get here.

We also read in one of the travel books we have about Korea that fax machines are popular amongst Koreans so that they fax over directions to each other so everyone knows where to go. We’ve had to ask some of the Korean teachers at our school for directions and unless they know the area and can describe landmarks, it’s a useless exercise. This place has more signs hanging everywhere than anywhere else I’ve been outside of Times Square. Remember our little excursion to Costco a couple weeks ago? Yeah, well that could have been avoided with an address instead of a crappy map from their website. Would it kill them to name at least a few of the major streets and make everyone’s life a little easier?

If poison rain starts to fall, we’re outta here.

Madonna March 24, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
14 comments

We’ve all met bad people before. Some of us went to school with them. Some of us work with them. We all encounter them on a fairly regular basis. But rarely do we get a chance to say the things that we’re thinking and give them what they deserve. Rarely, if ever do we take our frustrations out on these people who go about their lives with little regard for those around them. Well I got a chance to speak with one of these people at a bar a couple weekends ago and thought I would share a tale of how I handled the situation.

It’s St-Paddy’s weekend and we’re at a somewhat sketchy bar in an area of Seoul that we’ve never been to that is packed with students from the nearby University. There’s a drunk gay guy wreaking havoc on the dance floor. I know he’s gay because he kissed Katie while she was in line for the bathroom and told her “don’t worry, I’m gay”. Needless to say, I did not witness this event or I might have done something stupid, and I haven’t kissed Katie since. The gay guy (we’ll call him GG) is accompanied by a larger girl (we’ll call her Big Momma) and the girl in the picture who was dressed like Madonna circa 1985 with a british accent (Note: She was wearing underwear over top of her nylons). Anyway, the GG is stumbling all over and eventually grabs some other girls boobs. This girls fiance is standing next to me and isn’t too enthused about the boob-grab so we start talking and I offer my services if he decides to plow GG (they were all smaller than me so you can stop laughing now). While I’m talking with the fiance, some words are exchanged between the two groups and Madonna assumes we’re part of their group. After a few minutes she quietly approaches me and asks if Katie is my wife/GF. Keep in mind that it’s St-Paddy’s and Katie is wearing a simple green and white stripped golf shirt with jeans and this girl is dressed like the biggest whore of our generation. She then proceeds to tell me that she doesn’t appreciate us standing an judging them (?) and then she drops this beauty:

Madonna: “Your wife looks ridiculous in that outfit.”

Me: “Pardon Me.”

Madonna: “You heard me. I said your wife looks ridiculous in that outfit.”

Me: …

I was obviously taken aback for a split second before it dawned on me that I had just been presented with a tremendous opportunity (Sidenote: It’s about 1am on St-Paddy’s and I was feeling pretty good). I simply smiled at her and proceeded to calmly recite the most disgusting, vulgar insults I’ve ever come up with in my entire life. It was one of the greatest tirades I’ve ever been privy too. A poetic sermon of profanity if you will. And it flowed flawlessly from my lips into her ear without hesitation. She took most of it in, tried to dish it back and when she realized she was losing and wanted things to escalate, she slapped me. I remained calm, looked her right back in the eye. Smiled. And continued unloading all the nastiest things I’ve always wanted to say to all the trashy girls and bad people I’ve met throughout my lifetime.

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Now, while this all going on, GG is barely able to stand and eventually falls on his face and starts bleeding. Big Momma helps him up and and clearly needs to get him home. She seeks out her “friend”, Madonna who is still talking with me and asks for assistance. Madonna decides instead to turn her back on her friends in need and continue antagonizing us, further cementing her legacy as the worst human being ever. Up until this point, Katie thought the two of us were engaged in civil conversation off to the side, until she heard me ripping her apart for not helping her friend. It finally got to the point where I said something along the lines of “Get the fu*k out of my face, I never want to see your skanky as$ ever again and I hope you die from drowning in a pool of your own vomit” or something along those lines. I then turned my back on her at which point she took the heels she had in her hand (you can see them in the picture) and did this to my shirt.

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She finally left with her friends shortly thereafter. I never realized at the time that she had shoes in her hand and just thought she was trying to get my attention again after I turned by back on her, so we couldn’t figure out how she had made the marks on my shirt until one of our other friends mentioned the shoes a few days later and it all made sense. I wasn’t proud of all of things I said, only most of them, but I will concede that it was fun to unload on such a trainwreck with no repercussions whatsoever.

Now I certainly wouldn’t condon my behaviour on a regular basis but this just had to be done for the sake of humanity. For all of my immediate/extended family and in-laws over the age of forty who are reading this – please don’t think less of me, I was defending my wife’s honour and excellent fashion sense. 

For anyone who’d like more detail on some of the words exchanged, please email me on the side and I would be happy to share them.

Oh, and South Korea is great, we’re having a blast!

Yellow Dust March 22, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
10 comments

yellow-dustYellow dust (also Asian dust, yellow sand, yellow wind, or China dust storms) is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon which affects much of East Asia sporadically during the springtime months. The dust originates in the deserts of Mongolia and northern China and Kazakhstan where high-speed surface winds and intense dust storms kick up dense clouds of fine, dry soil particles. These clouds are then carried eastward by prevailing winds and pass over China, North and South Korea, and Japan, as well as parts of the Russian Far East.

As you can see from the picture above (click to enlarge), the dust clouds are visible using satellite photography as they leave mainland China en route towards Korea and Japan. Areas affected by the dust experience decreased visibility and the dust is known to cause a variety of health problems, not limited to sore throat and asthma in otherwise healthy people. Often, people are advised to avoid or minimize outdoor activities, depending on severity of storms. For those already with asthma or respiratory infections, it can be fatal.

Hooray!! Spring is finally here. Now get our your SARS masks and don’t go outside.

We knew air quality was going to be less than desirable but we certainly didn’t expect it to be this bad. We were fine for the first couple weeks but just this past week as the weather became gorgeous, we both started getting mild soar throats. Mine went away within a day or so but Katie has turned into Darth Vader. She can’t breath out of her nose at all and has a really bad cough and soar throat. We got her some allergy medicine but it’s not really doing the trick. She’s reached the point where she’s considering wearing a mask when we’re outside. I don’t really notice it at all as it just smells like we’re living in a big city with a bit more fish, but I did become a little bit more concerned when half my class showed up on Tuesday wearing masks because of a dust storm advisory.

Now consider for a moment that you can buy cigarettes for only $2.50 per pack, and that you can smoke in bars and restaurants and you start to wonder how there isn’t a lung cancer epidemic. Maybe there is for all I know. What is does explain is why it’s culturally acceptable to hock a loogie wherever and whenever you want. You won’t go more than 10 minutes walking outside without seeing or hearing someone let one fly. You actually have to watch where you’re walking as these saliva/mucus landmines are everywhere. Katie absolutely hates it (I find it mildly entertaining) but even when she succumbed to a coughing fit and came close to coughing up a phlegm wad, her class didn’t bat an eye and carried on as if she had sneezed or something.

If you don’t like fresh air and you like dust, smoking and spitting mucus, this is the country for you.

May the force be with us.

Subscribe by Email March 18, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
7 comments

img_54481For those of you that are tired of checking the blog 5 times a day and not being fulfilled with a new post, I encourage all of you to click the new link on top of the sidebar on the right side (or just click here) and subscribe to posts by email. Follow the simple instructions and you’ll receive an email whenever a new post is made. Thanks for reading and keep those comments coming.

Oh, and this is what a public toilet looks like in Korea. Imagine wearing heels on a wet floor after a few drinks and having to drop a deuce. And don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper as not all establishments provide it. Read that last sentence again and think of us next time you’re sitting comfortably atop your porcelain throne with a fresh roll of cottonelle at your side.

That’s the last time I wear heels to a bar.

Our School March 15, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
12 comments

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Our school occupies the entire 6-storey building pictured above. Our bank is on the ground floor and there’s a driving range in the basement. The school’s website was a little misleading when it mentioned that there was a driving range on the premises. I was led to believe that it was part of the school’s facilities, and that I would have free access to it. Turns out this isn’t the case and I’m not the first teacher to have had this impression. The driving range is separate and you need a membership to use it. I don’t know what this means yet but I will be inquiring soon. Stay tuned.

We live less than a 5-minute walk from school and our first class doesn’t start until 9:50am, so I usually roll out of bed at 8:30am and still make it to school by 9:15am at the latest. Katie and I have the same schedule, just different classes. We basically teach the same age groups, with her youngest kids being a little older than mine. Our day ends at 4:20pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and at 6:50pm on Tuesday and Thursday (we have a break between 2:20-4:50 on those days though). Each teacher is assigned a partner teacher with one handling language arts and the other responsible for math, science and social studies. Thanks to our impressive backgrounds in these fields, Katie and I were selected to handle math, science and social studies. Katie is a sociology major whereas I did psychology and neither of us took a science course in university or did anything more than the pre-requisites in high school. After Grade 11 Chemistry I decided that I never wanted to take another science course again. That being said, it’s not like we’re teaching the theory of relativity or memorizing the table of elements. My first science class involved teaching what to do if their house catches fire and how to stop, drop and roll. We also did a science experiment and hooked up a lightbulb to a battery. It was awe-inspiring.

Despite receiving very little training and basically being handed the books and told to figure it out, the school is great because as long as you use the teaching materials, you have lots of freedom to teach how you want. As long as the children parents are happy, you’re doing a good job. We both have 5 different classes in total. 2 of them are kindergarten which we have every morning and range in age from 4-7 years old. The other 3 classes consist of 10-14 year olds and only come in the afternoon. I like having a mix of both age groups as both provide their unique challenges…and entertainment. Overall I’d say the children are very well behaved and respectful but the the language barrier and their immaturity poses some problems with a few of the younger ones. Some of the teenagers are lazier and less motivated than expected but it’s the luck of the draw. I have a class of 12-13 year olds that I love. They listen to everything I say and we spend a lot of time just talking about their lives and mine. We played a game the other day called “Name Jordan’s Top 10 favourite sports”. It was exhilarating.

Every teacher is also assigned a home room where we meet our class first thing every morning and are responsible for decorating and keeping in order. Each classroom has a theme and all the kindergarten classes are based on Disney movies. Well you’re never going to believe what class I was assigned to…yup, the Little Mermaid. Now, not all of you may know this but some of you surely do, but while I was growing up, one movie above all was played repeatedly by my little sister Chelsea –  yup, The Little Mermaid. I will concede that I did enjoy it and that it remains my favourite Disney movie to date. As a result I may or may not know the lyrics to every song in the movie and I may have recorded a video of me singing one of these songs while intoxicated and posted it on YouTube. Don’t bother looking for it as it’s set for private viewing. Anyway, I can’t describe the feeling I had when I walked into the classroom and looked up at the huge mural on the wall. It was a combination of unabashed excitement and shame. Mostly excitement though. I also have a girl in my class named Ariel. If only I could find a crab with a Jamaican accent I would be set.

Here’s a picture of my home room class…

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and my support class…

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Now as I mentioned to some of you before leaving, a lot of Korean children who go to english school will adopt an english name. In some cases when a child doesn’t have a name yet, the teacher has input into what name to select.  I was pretty excited to name an entire class after the starting lineup of the 2004 Red Sox but unfortunately, all of my children have taken english classes before and have all been assigned or selected their own english names. I did have one student who couldn’t remember his name on the first day so I called him Tom (an homage to Mr. Brady), but his mother wrote me a note explaining that his name was in fact, Nathan (the same name as my nephew).

We have many funny stories about our children so far and it’s only been a week and half with them. Although I don’t think it would be appropriate to tell some of them here in case someone from the school or a parent ever came across this blog, so I’ll just share a couple quick highlights.

On my first day, I had one of the children pictured above punch another child right between the eyes and sent him falling flat on his back. It was incredible. The problem was that the child who got punched had instigated the altercation by pushing the kid in a dispute over a toy. I immediately intervened and gave them both 10-minute misconducts with an extra 2 minutes for roughing and 2 minutes for unsportmanlike conduct respectively. It was tough but fair and there have been no such incidents since then.

On friday the school received a call from an angry mother because her son had wet himself on the bus ride home because his teacher had not let him go to the bathroom near the end of class. Turns out that teacher was me and the child had in fact asked to me to go a few times. Here’s the thing. These kids can’t speak much english and one of the only things they do know is to ask  to go to the washroom. So when one kid says it, they ALL say it either because they want to make the teacher happy by speaking english OR they genuinely have to go. So towards the end of class I had one kid ask and of course they all asked. I told the first kid he could go but refused all the other requests as there was only 10 minutes of class left. Turns out 4-6 year olds have very small bladders and this kid just couldn’t make it. Poor little guy. The best and most ironic part of the story is that our phrase of the day just happened to be “May I please go to the bathroom?”

Our Home March 11, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
18 comments

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We still haven’t decided if this is an upgrade from the Seoho Hotel from a quality perspective, but it certainly does have a lot more space. There’s no escape rope though, so I’m a little nervous about what to do in the event of a fire.

I don’t want to give away too much of the video tour, but our bathroom is literally smaller than 2 telephone booths, and that includes the shower. From an outside perspective this may seem less than ideal, but I’ve spent the better part of the past hour trying to find the right words to describe the satisfaction I get from being able to shower, shit and shave without moving, and I just can’t. There are no words. I’m speechless. I am without speech.

As for my closet, next to packing, this was my next biggest concern about moving overseas. Way ahead of cultural assimilation and the obvious language barrier. Actually, while we’re on the subject, let’s examine my top 5 biggest concerns about moving to Asia.

1. Packing (What to bring?)

2. Closet Space (Where to put what I brought?)

3. Food (How do you say filet mignon in Korean?)

4. No dryers (Try hang-drying a pair of underwear and putting them on first thing in the morning. It’s like like wearing sandpaper)

5. Missing family, friends, weddings, blah, blah, blah.

That’s the list.

I should also point out that since the filming of the video you’re about to see, my shoes have been moved from the bottom of the closet to a small shoe closet next to the front door, and my sweaters/sweatshirts have been moved to the bottom of the closet. This was a difficult decision but I think it was for the best. Katie has a nice closet too.

Some other minor things worth mentioning include the fact that all apartments and houses are heated through the floor. Always nice to wake-up to a nice warm floor. The only problem with our floor is that it’s nasty and we have to wear sandals or socks. The walls are thin. Like cardboard thin, so we can hear everything in the hallways. Including the guys who stick menus on your door at all hours of the night and sound like they’re breaking into your place. The front doors on most of the places in this area are wide open so anyone can walk in and knock on your door. No buzzer, no security guard or cameras. Nothing. I like not having to carry another key around but it’s not the most secure dwelling. Let’s see, what else?…Um, no dishwasher…no oven…kids who play outside our window at 9am when we’ve been out until 5am…a double bed with two single comforters. Mine usually ends up on the floor and I end up with Katie’s, not sure what she does but I think she mentioned something about being cold this morning…couches and decor from the 70’s…and I think that’s it.

As bad as it might seem, please don’t interpret this as complaining. It certainly doesn’t compare to our old condo, but we still love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Enjoy the tour.

Costco March 8, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
8 comments

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Before we left Canada, the Mulloskeys challenged us to see if we could go more than a month without going to Costco. We made it 11 days. Much like the Mulloskey experience from over 2 years ago, it was quite a trip. Back in Montreal, we lived less than 5 minutes away from Costco by car and could be back home with a full load in less than an hour. Here in Seoul, we clearly didn’t have the luxury of a car and had to rely on the subway and a very basic map from the Costco website which was nowhere close to being to scale. After navigating the impressive subway system, we exited on to the street and had no idea where we were. After walking for over an hour in various directions, we finally swallowed our pride and grabbed a cab. Fortunately the driver understood our destination thanks to our Costco card and we arrived at the 2-storey cathedral.

Upon entering we were impressed by the similarities. Aside from being on 2 floors, the lay-out was a carbon copy of their north american locations. It was also nice to encounter something that reminded us of back home and allowed us to navigate freely through the store. We had been warned that it would be crowded and hectic and that Asians are just as skilled at driving shopping carts as they are cars. Not only was it crowded, but going to Costco in Korea is a family event. As we waited by the curb for our taxi to pick us up we had a Hyundai Sonata pull up next to us and unload a family of 8. I’m not kidding. They will also use 2 carts per family, one for their kids and one for their goods. It was a nightmare. Fortunately we weren’t in any rush and I welcomed the challenge of playing bumper carts for a couple hours with our fellow shoppers.

As we had hoped, it had many of the staple items we needed which were cheaper than most other places we had been to so far. They also had several of our favourites from back home that we couldn’t find anywhere else – these items weren’t as reasonably priced (Honey Nut Cheerios – $11?!). After covering the entire store and filling up our cart to the brim, the reached the check-out and loaded our items on to the conveyor. I gave them my Costco card and asked if they accepted Visa or AMEX as I knew we didn’t have enough cash on us to cover this load. Virtually everything about this Costco was identical to our Costco back home so why wouldn’t they accept AMEX only just as they did in Canada. Unfortunately, they only accepted cash or Samsung (?) credit cards. After loading our goods back into the cart and standing off to the side for a few minutes, I was able to find an ATM and extract the cash necessary to cover the cost – 257,660 wons (approx. $250 CAD). We got back in line, paid for our items and took a cab back to our humble abode. We had left our place at 2pm and walked back in the door at just after 6:30pm.

I also was able to get Katie a birthday present. They had her favourite chocolate treat from Australia known as Tim Tam’s, so I got her a box of those and agreed to shave. It was the best birthday present anyone has ever given her.

Random Pictures March 6, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
4 comments

Katie here.  I’ll try to keep this under 5000 words.  My contribution to the blog will involve posting random pictures from our experiences which we invite everyone to submit captions or comments on the first thing that comes to mind.   I may do a real post someday, but that won’t be until I gain enough confidence to get naked and have random old Asian women rub me down in a bath house.

First Photo….

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Hotel Seoho March 4, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
14 comments

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Sorry for the delay, but the person we were stealing wireless internet from in the hotel realized what we were doing and cut-off our access. We’ve had no internet since Sunday but we’re in our new place and ready to go. I’ll try and keep the posts coming so keep the comments flowing…

We knew that once we arrived in Seoul that we would be living in a hotel for at least a few days and maybe as long as a week. We certainly didn’t expect the Ritz, but I don’t think we were adequately prepared for what we were about to experience. Had I written this post after our first night, I probably would have been much more critical, but as the days passed I actually grew to like Hotel Seoho. Sure, living out of suitcase sucks and not having a kitchen and having to eat out for every meal isn’t ideal, but in terms of location and convenience, the Seoho is where it’s at.

At first we couldn’t figure out how to use the lights. That’s because you have to insert the room key into a slot near the entrance which then triggers a series of motion sensors throughout the room and allows you to use the light switches to manually override them. When the key is inserted it also lights up a small light outside the room to let others know that the room is occupied and should not be disturbed. It’s energy efficient and eliminates unnecessary disturbances from hotel staff. Brilliant.

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This tiny room also comes fully stocked with a TV, a very small fridge, 2 coat hangers, a water cooler and an escape rope. Yes, an escape rope. The bathroom is fairly standard, but as the Mulloskies had warned us, no shower curtains. Anywhere. There’s a drain on the floor so that all water that sprays everywhere gets drained properly but it’s still kind of annoying when you go to use the washroom and your socks get soaked because someone just had a shower.

Upon entering the room, I immediately noticed that 2 condoms were provided on the desk, which at first seemed odd but probably a good idea in retrospect. After further exploration, I came across some Asian porn videos and everything started to make sense. We were living in what Koreans commonly refer to as a Love Hotel. There was actually shelves full of porn in the hallway. These cheap hotels cater to young people who still live with their parents and don’t want to bring home any unwelcome guests, and the 70% of Korean men who cheat on their wives (we were told this stat last night so take it for what it’s worth).

img_54112I could go one but I’ve already been told that my posts are too long so I’ll finish by sharing the story from our first night. We were both awoken abrubtly around 5am by a large thud coming from the floor above. Neither of us knew that the other one was awake so we just laid there in complete silence wondering where the hell we were and what was going on above us. The thud was followed by a series a screams – some of pure joy, some of sheer terror. Imagine trying to drown a squirrel who’s in the midst of an orgasm – that’s exactly what it sounded like. After a while, the screams would fade and loud conversations would commence. There was clearly a party going and I’m pretty sure alcohol was involved and clothes were optional. I spent the better part of the next hour or so wondering what we had gotten ourselves into, and whether I should call the front desk (and not be able to communicate in Korean) or grab my camera and head upstairs. Fortunately we fell back asleep and that was the only incident of consequence during our week long stay.

UPDATE: We moved into our new place today and it’s a palace. And when I say palace I mean homeless shelter (stay tuned for the video tour!). I should also point out that living in a hotel triggered a chemical in my DNA and had been dormant for at least 7 years and I may or may not have “borrowed” some towels from Hotel Seoho.

Oh, and I swear I’ve never tried to drown a squirrel. Or heard one have an orgasm.

 

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