Saturday, February 20, 2010

I have come full circle....

It was one year and one week ago that I came to Korea. I had a friend that I hadn't seen in a long time flying to Japan a day before I, so I arranged with my previous employer to fly in a day early. In stead of spending 10 hours flying next to a stranger, I spent 10 hours catching up with an old friend.

We took off from Seattle on the morning of Friday the 13th of February (there will be a test on dates later in this post), but due to the international date line's location in the Pacific Ocean, we landed in Tokyo on Saturday night and caught our respective connecting flights.

After a brief connecting flight across the East Sea (do NOT call it the "Sea of Japan" around a Korean if you value your life!) I arrived in Korea...well...the rest is written about elsewhere.

Due to the fact that arrived a day early, my apartment wasn't quite ready. My boss set me up in a motel room for the night.

Pop Quiz: I arrived in Korea on what holiday?

I you guessed Valentine's win a metal chop stick.

This was my first introduction to what the Koreans call "Love Motels."

I don't WHAT was going on in the surrounding rooms...but it sounded suspiciously like a bed jumping competition.

Now to us foreigners, these hotels serve as staple for traveling. When I visited my friends in various cities around Korea and I needed a place to stay...that was the place...and every foreigner I know does the same. For the following reasons: they are clean, cheap, and you get your own bed.

They have a WILDLY different reputations among the Koreans. Just the as the expression "sleeping with someone" connotes anything but Korean "visiting a Love Motel" implies anything but sleeping.

So much so that last week led to a bit of a tug of war. You see on Sunday, the 5 sisters and the general were all sleeping on the floor of the general's one room apartment. They slept on thin pads on the heated floor...aka Korean style.

I, unfortunately, am a spoiled foreigner that hadn't had a good night's sleep in 3 days and I desperately wanted to sleep in a real bed that night. It took a while, but I finally manged to convince my much scandalized friends to show me where a local motel was.

You see, my friends had never stayed, nor do they ever have any intention of staying at such a place of ill repute. But they did show me across the street where a cluster motels was conveniently located.

I could see the disgusted curiosity shining in their eyes as they escorted me to my room. They know these places as dirty and vial. They were impressed by its cleanliness and awed at the size of the bathtub (big enough to fit 2 people) With their curiosity satisfied, the reputation of type of building they were in came back to them...and they promptly said goodbye.

Pop Quiz: Lunar New Years corresponded with what Western holiday this year.

If you guessed Valentine's Day, you win another metal chop stick.

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