Thursday, February 15, 2007

An unexpected day off

I was prepared for last minute changes as such as the end of the year approached. I did not expect that my last day of school for the year would be canceled. I went to my waiting spot as usual where my handler from one of my schools picks me up every Thursday at 8am. She was a no-show. I waited for 30 minutes, tried to call my other handler with no success. around 8:45 I find out that they decided that I didn't need to come to school today. Instead of calling and telling me, they just didn't pick me up.

Since I was up, I decided to go about my little city. I saw some funny things along the way. First, I went to the bank to pay my gas bill. It is due in the middle of the month and its often hard for me to make it to the bank to pay before the it closes. It was due today, so I seized the opportunity.

Last billing cycle, I learned how to use the bill-paying machine at the bank. The directions are all in Korean, but the interface is easy enough even I can understand. You put your ATM card in, then insert your bill. All bills have either barcodes on them, or special Optical Character Recognition (OCR) writing to help these machines understand. I paid the bill in under two minutes.

Just as I was finishing, out nowhere, this lady bumps into me on the side. I looked up startled. She wasn't pushed or crowded, she just bumped into me. I've noted this issue before (see "Pushy People" heading). She was waiting on the machine I guess and decided to stand right up against me, looking over my shoulder. I lost it and said in an exclamatory, but subdued voice, "Woah lady. Come on!" How ridiculous. People get robbed at ATMs and here is this stranger sneaking up behind me and bumping into me.

Then, I stood on the corner and watched the traffic in front of the bank. These narrow streets are insane. They really need to be closed to parking, or to be made one way. The intersection right by the bank has no stop signs or traffic signals. In addition to the relatively small intersection, there was the added problem of people parked illegally along the corners and even double parked along the street! People at the intersection were following an accepted principal of Korea driving: get your car in the middle of the intersection, then see if anyone is coming.

There were literally six cars crammed in this intersection going different ways. Some trying to go straight, one trying to make a U-turn. It took at least six minutes for them to get untangled. I walked over to the movie theater to check the showtimes. When I turned around, the intersection had be come re-tangled. I got to just stand there and laugh at the spectacle.

1 comment:

  1. the steroetype of the bad asian driver IS justified... at least in korea! i nearly got hit by a car yesterday - which is a daily occurence on the street - but i was on the SIDEWALK and i just pulled up a foot in front of me to park ON THE SIDEWALK!!!! WTF??!?!?!?!


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