I suppose it is time that I really told you about my hostel. It is the hottest place in Seoul. When I walk into the gate, I am always amazed by the wall of heat and humidity that hits me. There is no air circulation here. No breeze to cool it down. 20 feet away is a 10 foot diameter, 7 foot high pile of stinky garbage that just sat there for a couple of days. I already mentioned the bar next door. The bar provides us with our fair share of drunks. I am angry at one in particular who went on an anti-Japanese tirade and made Yukari, the Japanese girl you had been sharing a suite with me, cry. Lastly, the bathroom is just scary.
So why stay? It can't be worth $11 a night. Even I don't think so. I haven't spent very much money in Korea. I should just get a good $40 hotel and be comfortable right? Some place with airconditioning, a bathroom, a door that locks. Well, I can't. The people here are so nice that it makes all those other problems evaporate. And, weird stuff keeps happening. Allow me to show how, with a story.
What I should really have called this entry, but chose not to so as not to worry anybody, is "I Still Have 10 Fingers!!!" My finger was almost cut off tonight, which would have put a real kink in all my plans. I'll spare you the details about how bad this would have actually been. Lets just say, it would have been bad.
So, it was really hot in my room. I had been using the rotating fan to keep the air circulating between the window and the door. It was really hot, so I had the fan of "high". I was getting a little hot, so I went over to turn it towards me. I grabbed the top of the fan to adjust it. But since I have such small hands, the ring finger of my left hand slipped between the grill that protects things from the spinning blades. A blade hit my finger, and broke. The broken blade spun around inside the cage hitting things and being sliced into smaller pieces by the other blades, finally the blade got stuck and the motor shutdown. Meanwhile, I pulled out my finger, and all I could see was blood at first it looked like the first centimeter had been cut clean off. I felt no pain at all, strangely. I calmly unplugged the fan, walked to the bathroom and washed my finger when the blood cleared away I was amazed to discover that the finger was still there, just badly mauled and bleeding like crazy. I still felt no pain, but I was beginning to feel really bad about the fan. It had bacisically been completely destroyed. The metal gril was even torn open in places thanks to the shrapnel from the explosion. I carried the fan down to the main office, of the hostel, told them what had happened, apologized and asked them what the fan cost. Then, rather than giving me a band-aid, which was all I needed, miraculously, they yanked the fan out of my hands and threw it aside, forced me to sit down, and began to tend to my wound. Everyone was so concerned that they were basically fawning over me like I had just had a head injury. They wouldn't even talk about getting a new fan. "A person is more imoirtant than a machine" the manager said. I agreed, but since I knew I was OK, I didn't understand all of the fuss. But it was a very touching fuss.
I could have easily lost that finger in that fan. The plastic that was used in the fan was heavy duty. And the fan spun with enough force to tear the metal of its cage. However, earlier today, one of my roommates bumped into the fan, it fell to the floor, and one of the blades cracked. That crack made the blade weak enough so that it broke before my finger. I am so lucky this week. Here is hoping I can make it last.