Friday, December 26, 2008


I was strolling down memory lane this morning looking at old pictures, and this one struck me. I'd see some awfully strange stuff living in Korea.
Out in the open in one of the most polluted cities on earth, Incheon, it might seem like a good idea to wrap up those chickens sitting quite close to the exhaust fumes on this pick up. It was cold as hell that day, I'm not sure ice was the most important idea to be had.

And how many eggs exactly can fit on one motor scooter, which leads me to the Ja Ja Myeong problem as philosophers call it. In Korea, restaurants will deliver food to your place in minutes, and they'll give you real plates. They come around and collect the plates and silverware from your hallway an hour or so later. Tipping is also forbidden. If you try to tip them, they'll refuse. The drivers take their scooters on snow and ice and take quite a few nasty spills. If you screw up in high school, noodle deliveryman is pretty much your fate. Late bloomers aren't such a huge feature of Korean society. I'd pose the question to my students on whether these guys were nuts to deliver food for little money risking life and limb, or noble servants doing their duty. Most sided with the latter option.
I used to live in this little office tel in Incheon, and I do mean small. I never knew any of my neighbors. I'd just hear the click of high heels late at night. The only people who would live in that place were English teachers, a ubiquitous lot in Korea, and room salon girls, who were equally ubiquitous. Korean businessmen pay a couple hundred dollars to sing karaoke, eat fruit and drink whiskey with young, attractive Korean women. Supposedly that was all that went on. Around that apartment I would see several ajummas, the perm was the telltale sign, carrying off the cardboard in their rickshaws.

Now this is a warning sign. How many drunken, pregnant, old people attempt to ride a roller coaster? Unrelated to Korean experiences, but I took this in the late 90s on the Staten Island Ferry. It still seems like some kind of bizarre movie idea that those towers went the way they did.

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