Day of Fail

May 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

Today was exhausting.  I got up relatively early to go get a cell phone with my brother before he had to work.  I had to buy a used Korean cell phone and then go to Kangnam to a SK Telecom service center to put money on it.  The whole process took a while but it was nice to be able to have the freedom a cell phone allows.  I didn’t have to be my brother’s shadow anymore.  If you come to Korea it is much more convenient to get one at the airport.  It’s just that I forgot when I arrived and going back to the airport is a hassle.

While my brother took care of some stuff I walked around and window-shopped.  I ended up buying some pencils and pens that are normally twice the price in the States.  It’s not that they are really cheap here…it’s just that Morning Glory hikes up the prices for cute pencils and pens at home because they can.  Now I know how jetpens makes money!

Afterwards we went to get some Mexican food at On the Border.   I don’t think Mexican food is very popular here.  Out of all the foreign food options, Japanese food is the most popular and mainstream because it has been institutionalized for so long.

Okay, the real story starts here.  I told my brother that I would be fine finding the subway station on my own and getting back but LITTLE DID I KNOW.  I wandered for about an hour just walking around the mall (COEX) and looking for a cute camera case until I decided that I wanted to go home.  I knew there was a subway station close by but it took about an hour to find it!  This is going to sound ridiculous to people who live in Korea because COEX has a subway station connected to it.  It would probably take a normal person 5 minutes to get there.  It’s just that COEX is so big and I kept on walking down the wrong corridors.  I also asked many, many employees but I didn’t understand some of the terms they were using so I would blindly walk in the direction they gestured.

Oh!  I should talk about the language barrier.  I can speak Korean but there are a lot of words/names I need to learn before I can become functional in Korean society.  While getting directions, reference points were lost on me and I realized that I never learned words like corridor, district, etc.  Also, for some words there aren’t even any American equivalents.  Anyway, once I found the subway station my faulty (but cool) cell phone accessory swipe card wasn’t working AND I didn’t even know which direction to go.  Finally I just gave up, exited the station, and took a taxi.  It cost about $7 from COEX to my brother’s apartment but it was worth it for the AC and convenience.  Public transportation probably would have cost about $1.

Currently I am sitting here and typing and wishing that I could just stay in my brother’s clean, safe apartment forever.  I don’t want to have to deal with the hot and air polluted environment outside these walls.  I know the sentiment will pass but I have to admit, today was a pretty disheartening day.  I left the apartment so filled with enthusiam and optimism regarding my abilities to navigate Seoul only to be crushed in bitter defeat.  But alas, tomorrow is another day and I shall try again.

Until next time,


Cool things:

  • You can use a cell phone accessory to put money on and use for the subway.  Sort of like using a keychain to go onto BART.  Of course there are the more traditional cards and tickets but not for me!
  • Korean cell phones have a universal plug for charging so no matter what brand your cell phone is, all chargers are compatible.  AND you can charge your phone at just about anywhere: restaurants, internet cafes, convenience stores, etc.  Today I charged my new cell phone as we ate lunch!
  • The uniforms are so colorful and pretty here.  Most stores have a set pattern or color scheme that all their employees wear.  I wanted to take a picture but I was too shy to ask.  Maybe next time.

Not so cool things:

  • Mexican food at On the Border is ridiculously expensive here.  It was almost $30 for a burrito!  Granted it was a fairly large burrito but still!!  That same burrito would not go for over $8 in LA.
  • Salad bars are very uncommon in Seoul.  You won’t find anything like a Souplantation or Fresh Choice here.

Random things:

  • There are pharmacies and cafes on every block!  At least in the two areas I saw today: Kangnam and Seocho-gu.

§ One Response to Day of Fail

  • Laura says:

    You’re right about the Mexican food. Youjung and I talk a lot about food and that’s one thing she’s going to miss when she gets back. So did you find a cute cell phoneo case or what?

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