Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember how I said awhile ago that this country contradicts itself so much that I would need to save them all up to write a whole post about?  Well, that would take more than one long post, but today is an illustration of just that.  Korea is one of the most efficient countries at some tasks and the very least at others.  It always makes me wonder what our country must look like to a first-timer.  But anyway, a typical day in Mokpo…

The Good

I left for the doctor today at 10:45 (I would say for an appointment, but those are not required here).  I had roughly $14 in my pocket.  I knew that would be more than enough.  I arrived, waited in line to hand in my insurance card, waited for the nurse to call me, saw the doc, got my prescription, and walked to meet Steve who had also been taking Frankie to the vet.  We went home together and walked in the door at precisely 12:00.  I had $8 left.  You gotta love a country that gets you in and out in less than an hour, and all for $6.  The efficiency blows my mind.

The Bad

With no warning whatsoever, our water was turned off this morning around 10:00.  I thought maybe I had missed an important sign in the elevator or hallway, given that I still have to force myself to read and every ounce of unused space is pretty much wallpapered in signs anyway.  But upon double-checking, there was nothing.  No sign, no announcement on the apartment loudspeaker, nothing.  Five hours later, I started getting annoyed.  Water is the most basic human necessity.  You have to warn people when you’re going to take it away.  There are showers to be had, hands to be washed, and floors to be cleaned.  And I have to pee REAL bad.  Mool, ju-say-yo!  (That means “water please”.  It’s gotta be the one saying most foreigners learn after “hello” and “thank you”.)

Right now, it’s about 3:20 p.m. and I hear my toilet starting to burble.  That must mean the mool is coming back on soon!  Or at least I hope.  You never realize how much you need something until you don’t have it.

So there you go.  A painting of an average day here.  At least one thing that makes you think “Awesome!” and another that makes you go “Aaargh, Korea!”