Life and other such nonsense.
Life can be a lot like buying a cell phone in Korea; seemingly overwhelming, more then a little confusing, and no matter what happens, you feel pretty sure you got screwed in the deal.
Yesterday found Dave and I on our way into Seoul to find the Youngsan electronics market to buy ourselves some way to communicate with our new friends in Korea. It’s been something on our to-do list for some time and at last we decided to bite the bullet and go for it. The bus ride in was less harrowing then usual, due to the holiday I’m assuming and we arrived in Gangnam district unscathed and less queasy the usual. We had only begun to meander up the street when we decided to stop for a quick coffee and snack at a place that was too cute to resist☺. Inundated with a plethora of some of the yummiest baked goods to can imagine (Wine Cheesecake anyone?), we decided, however, to stick with coffee and a sandwich, one of the only places I’ve seen here that actually knows how to make a sandwich. Herbed chicken and roasted peppers. I was impressed.
Korean people do not seem to understand the concept of low-pressure sales. I have never in my life seen the staff of a department store, any store for that matter behave in the manner they do. First of all, any store in Korea has at least 3 more staff members then it really needs, which is a shock coming from Calgary where I’ve seen a Starbucks on one of the main drags in downtown manned by 2 staff members during a morning rush, both of whom appeared to be under the age of 12. Secondly, they swarm you the minute you step foot into their vicinity, pushing items into your hands and face, jabbering away with what to me sounds like gibberish, nodding and smiling at you until you have no choice but to buy whatever it is you apparently can’t live without or run away screaming. Most of the time, I choose the latter.
Much like life.
The second we walked through the door we were, of course, accosted from all directions with salesmen and women shouting, waving and beckoning to us to go their way and see what they had to offer. We wandered around aimlessly until we realized we were on the 5th floor of the market and the mobile phones were on the 8th floor. Of course. How silly of us. Up we went, catching glimpses of the other floor’s wares, rows and rows of TV’s, computer’s, camera’s, electronic translators, video camera’s, accessories, literature, information, video games….I could go on. We finally reached the 8th floor and were momentarily struck dumb by the sheer quantity spread out before us. Jolted back to our senses by the catcalls of various salesmen, we meandered our way through the organized chaos with little to no idea of what we were really looking for or how to obtain what it was we needed.
Much like life.
A couple of hour later we emerged triumphant, both of us somehow managing to acquire not only a phone that suited each of our personalities (I think), but also a sense of accomplishment and pride for successfully navigating strange and unfamiliar territory fraught with complications (re: the language barrier) and potential pitfalls (re: pushy salesmen) with grace, tact, and dignity.
I only cried once.
We decided to venture into Itaewon, otherwise known as USA, Korea, for a quick bite to eat. The streets were thick with foreigners and shopping carts selling everything and anything. The district had a different feel to it then anything I’ve encountered so far here, couldn’t really put my finger on it. Might have been a mix of mental exhaustion from electronic overload, and the fact that I always feel awkward when I’m walking through large groups of non-Koreans here in Korea…like we’re supposed to acknowledge each other or something…even though we rarely do. Like some unspoken bond that we both wish didn’t exist. It’s odd. Hmmmm…..something to ponder. At any rate, I am looking forward to exploring Itaewon further on a day I have someone to properly guide me….good thing my friend Ashley just moved there☺. How convenient…..
We capped off our day with a visit to the local DVD bang. An interesting idea, like blockbuster with viewing rooms. The screens are around a quarter of the size of the big screen , and there are leather couches to recline onto. Cold drinks are available as well. We watched “The Host” a Korean monster movie that enjoyed some success in North America not to long ago. Something that we’ll defiantly be doing again☺.
I had plans to get my phone up and running today, Sunday, however was sad to discover that although the stores are open, phone registration is a no-go until Thursday due to the holiday. Which sucks.
Spent most of the day in do-nothing mode, which is so wonderful words can hardly describe it. In the back of my mind is that fact that the Kabuki Guns are in Fernie as I write this, dancing up a storm, Daisy’s new solo is debuting and there are drinks to be had. I received a video from 3 of my best girls today, just them and a videophone at one of my favorite martini bars in Calgary. My brother had a party at his place last week, the pics looked like fun, everyone overflowing with drinks and laughter. I am still receiving e-mails regarding upcoming auditions and performances in Calgary. I miss it all. I miss them all.
But I’m starting to like it here, in all of it’s insane, annoying-at-times ways.
One day at a time.
One day at a time.