Sunday, August 13, 2006

Korea, Kontinued

So, my room in the Hostel is now at max capacity: 2 American men, 2 American women, 1 Japanese woman, 1 Sweedish man, 1 French man and I guy who I haven't met. It is like a slave ship in here. We are basically living on top of eachother. It is also hot. Really hot.

Well, the day before yesterday, the day after Pusan, I decided to sleep most of the day and recover from jet-lag. I really only got up to eat. This is the first thing I ate. By the way, 2000 Won is about $2!!! For $2 you can get beef, and it is delicious!
Here is the other thing I ate. Noodles on ice.
So, yesterday evening at 8 o'clock I went to meet Lynn! It was so nice to see her after a whole year! I have missed her alot. She looked great, was very healthy, energetic and as kind and funny as she was last year. Somehow her English has actually gotten better since the last time I saw her, which is bizarre, because the only communication she has had in English for a year has been the e-mails that we exchanged. It must just be because she is a natural genius for languages. She came with her friend, Paek, who was nice, but talked very little and showed little emotion. Here we are at dinner.
This is what we ate.
If you look way back to the posts of June 2005, you would read that Lynn breeds Pomeranians. I may have mentioned at that time that one of her dogs was the Korean National Champion several years ago. Well, it seems as though her success has been continuing. Another one of her puppies got best in group just a few months ago.
Me getting kissed by the most beautiful girl in Korea, in a matter of speaking.
And these are the shots that Lynn keeps in her fridge to give to her dogs.
So anyway, I had told Lynn about my bathroom situation, so she has been trying to think of a solution. Finally at dinner she decided that we should go to the Jim Jee Ban again. Now, I have sort of gone over what a Jim Jee Ban was before, but Jim Jee Bans are so cool that they deserve a second explanation. Firstly, Jim Jee Bans are huge. The one we went to occupied 6 floors of a building. You go to the Jim Jee Ban with a group of friends, or with your boyfriend or girlfriend. To begin, you head to either the male or female bath house. Then, you scrub REALLY hard to get all the sweat and dirt off of you. Next, you bathe. After that, you put on some shorts and a T-shirt provided by the Jim Jee Ban and go and meet the opposite sexed members of your party in the coed sauna area. You can try various types of Saunas (jewel room, wood room, dry room) at various temperatures (5 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 110 degrees, all centigrade, by the way!). After your sauna, you can sit in massage chairs, watch TV, eat Korean snacks, get hair cuts, play video games, or just chat with friends. When you get tired, you can go upstairs to a big empty room and sleep on the concrete floor (which feels great after a sauna). This is very popular with couples because they can sleep together without damaging thier reputations. In the one we went to I woke up in the middle of the night and counted about 400 people sleeping on the floor in the upstairs room with me. In the morning you bathe again, and then get back to the real world. What is the cost of all of this? About $8. Capsule Hotels never caught on in Korea because Jim Jee Ban are cheaper and way more fun.

Unfortunately, our experience in the Jim Jee Ban this time was not all good. I couldn't sleep past about 4 am, so I went downstairs to watch TV. About half an hour later, the police showed up and hauled some guy away. I didn't have my contacts in, so I couldn't really tell what was going on, but shortly thereafter, Paek came up to me and told me that the guy sleeping next to Lynn had been molesting girls, and that she had gone to the police station to testify. I spent the next 3 hours worried sick, hoping that Lynn was OK. As it turned out, she was the witness and not the victim of the harassment in question. As a disclaimer, this sort of thing is really not common in Korea, I am told.

After that whole fiasco resolved itself, the three of us went to Dunkin Doughnuts. Have you ever seen a more beautiful Dunkin Doughnuts?!
Here are the three of us, and me with a green tea tofu doughnut. Korean original!
Oh, and look what is getting world famous! There is a certain something that I would really like to own someday, if you want to help me...
I said goodbye to Lynn, and went to meet Grace and Lindsey. But I got lost and was an hour late. We finally found eachother.
So we went to the biggest Chosun era palace in Seoul. Me posing with one of the guards.
This is one of the reasons we think Lindsey looks like a movie star. She just has a very elegant way of carrying herself. Even while in the process of putting her phone in her bag she looks graceful.
Here is one of the gates of the palace. It had a name, but it was so hot I hardly remember what happened.
Oh, there I am. I don't remember posing for this photo...
Lindsey and Grace in front of the central building.
The side of a building.
A painting?
I remember this part because it was in the shade.
Ah, the air conditioned museum! That place was great! As you can see, we were starting to get hungry.
Met up with Sohyun (who looks really diffrent!) and went to lunch.
Lunch. Also Air Conditioned!
And here is Grace.
We also went to a green tea ice shop and had some ice cream that was more expensive than a night at my hostel! But that shop was air conditioned to, so we didn't mind. It was really nice to see the girls again. Being back in Korea seems to be treating them well. The simple fact that there is no longer American food in their diet has made the happier and healthier. I think that being close to family has also been great for them. Eyes were brighter, tails were bushier. Oh, and this is me with a statue of rainbow colored poop.
See what I mean? Elegant.
Oh, in other news, I may have found a roommate in Japan! Details later.


Mom said...

Thanks for writing so often. It looks like you are having fun.

Love you

Trenton said...

It is true. By the way, Korea is so cheap. In a week of traveling in a first world country I have spent only $200, including lodging! It helps that none of my friends will let me pay for anything...