Tuesday, May 12, 2009


after a fog related delay in San Francisco (you can’t make that up) which forced me to fly through Tokyo, I finally made it to Seoul. unfortunately I arrived so late that there were no more busses running to Jeonju, and so I had to spend the night. I had read about the inexpensive, red light-esque hotels that one can find in Seoul and now I have experienced them. for only 30,000 won ($24.24, according to Google) you get a bed, a bathroom, a television, water cooler, a fridge, an air conditioner, and about every fixing one could imagine. this included all of the bath items, such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, tooth brushes, tooth paste, etc down to the finer details - a couple of bed-side condoms.

despite what one may imagine, the place was actually pretty clean and the stay, although only a couple of hours long, was not bad. I have seen far worse in most major chains of hotels near an airport in the States.

I had to get up at 5 am to get ready to catch a 7 am bus, which was not a problem considering that my body clock woke me up at around 2 am. this was not so good considering that I didn’t get to bed until just after midnight. I was picked up from the airport, taken to my hotel, picked up from my hotel and taken to the bus by a guy who was working with my recruiter. although his English skills were limited (although far better than my non-existent Korean skills) he was very kind and made sure that I got fed in the morning and suffered through the same aforementioned sleep depriving schedule.

the bus ride was as one would expect. we passed through Seoul’s morning rush hour traffic, which was pretty rough. on the way we passed through a couple of super rest stops; places for busses, and travelers in general, to pull of the road to use the restroom but also to buy food. there were around a dozen or so small restaurants which served quick and portable food. genius!

once my bus arrived I was picked up by a guy who works for my school, whose job is to make sure the teachers get to/from properly and to manage their affairs in between. he showed me around to some basic things in my neighborhood, such as a market and the apartments of other teachers. navigation here is considerably different in that rather than using streets and street numbers things are generally referred to by the landmarks they are nearby. for example, my apartment is near a well know group of apartment buildings which serve as the landmark for navigating people to it.

my apartment is nice, and outfitted with the basic necessities such as kitchen appliances, bed, clothes washer, etc. it is comfortable and the building seems generally quiet and peaceful. I am the only teacher living in this building, as the buildings where other teachers live did not have any vacancies. this may be a bit of an inconvenience but I am sure it wont be an insurmountable. on the upside, I guess my building is a little nicer.

I met a fellow teacher yesterday during lunch, a guy named Ian from Manchester. he was very friendly and had already spent one year here teaching, so I hope that I’ll be able to “borrow” some of his wisdom. what’s cooler is that when he found out that I am from Seattle he was jazzed up because he is a 90s Seattle rock fan… and he plays bass! apparently there is an open jam night at a local bar that he goes to from time to time. so I’m going to have to get an electric guitar and a POD or something so I can get my rock on!

alright, now to get my day started. pictures to come.

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