Asia | Korea, Republic of | Seoul – Discombobulated
12.11.02 (12.12.02) 12:43AM
I am starting to completely lose track of time. It is not making any sense anymore. With the time changes and international date lines and all. It was the tenth when I left and now it is getting close, and well, actually it is after midnight, so that would make it the 12th. For all intensive purposes we are going to say that it is still the eleventh. I arrived in Seoul, with no problems whatsoever. We made, wait. Who is this we that I keep referring to? Everything I have said now is a we. I guess I am including you, as the reader, even though I am writing this more entirely for myself, I want you to feel included in my experience as well. My friend Tony just made me a big bowl of soup and noodles, very Korean. He is rocking out some Boogie Nights over the computers lo-fi speakers. This is so exciting. I made it through customs. OWE! I just go a big slap in the eye from one of the noodles, and now hot sauce and soy sauce is burning my eye. The apartment is very small, much like Tonys New York apartment, although this one has the heating pipes in the floor, so the floor is nice and warm. Whew, my eye isnt hurting as much any more. I still dont even think that I fully comprehend where I am or what I am doing. I want some more of that soup, but my eye says no. My stomach is going to win. Wow, it is so hot and so good and so spicy. I was told that the food is sometimes so spicy that it will make me sick. I hope that is not the case. I am going to play Tony in a game of chess and then finish writing and then we have to go to sleep because he has an early morning…
The chess game is over, it was a draw, but really it as a draw because I couldnt get any pawns across, and it was looking like Tony could, and really he had to go to sleep. So technically he won, but we didnt finish, and maybe he would have made a mistake, but he is much better at the endgame then I am. So I feel like I am visiting Tony more in New York then in Korea. He is telling me that the United States is the number one country, the most powerful country, and that anywhere we go we command respect. I am not so sure that I believe that. It think there are some riots going on right now because some American soldiers killed a Korean girl and they didnt get into any trouble for it, I think they just got deported. Now everyone is mad at the Americans, and the United States can get away with murder. I dont really know what is going on here yet. I guess I will find out in a couple of days once I have explored a little, and can see what is going on. Tony still hasnt learned any of the language. That is not good. He gave me a little book that has some helpful phrases. He said he still hasnt opened it. He said for the most part he has been pretty lucky in the respect that he has been able to communicate using English just about everywhere he goes. I think that when you try to use the language, the native language, the people here anre more receptive to you. They think that you are at least trying to assimilate to their culture, instead of you imposing your culture onto them. I dont really know what else to say. I could describe what I have seen so far, but it has been night, and you can really see all that well. I know it has been cold, and that there are apartment complexes lined up ten fifteen at time. I have noticed that they drive on the same side of the road as they do in the United States. We got dropped off at the Ritz Carlton, a hotel just up the street, and that looked just like any fancy hotel I have seen. Al the buildings are covered with backlit signs with Korean writing. And Tony lives on a side street off of the hotel, that is only one lane wide. It was full of cars, and a guy passes us on a moped scooter carrying a box of carry out Chinese food in one hand, an trying to steer with the other. I guess the only real difference so far is that the number of Korean people as opposed to the ratio of white Midwest people have swapped. Now I am a minority. I have seem to receive very special attention due to the chair. That seem to be fairly common whenever I travel. This time they seem to be very willing to assist me in whatever needs to be done. I climbed onto the bus, because they didnt have one available with a lift on it. In the U.S. they never would have allowed that, because there would have been the possibility of a law suit. In the United States everyone always has to worry about getting sued for something, so what ends up happening is that in the process of protecting them selves they have to do away with some of the service. That is what a lot of these security issues are turning out to be. Your freedoms to so what you used to do are slowly being restricted and only certain people are going to be able to get through certain checkpoints. It is strange. I thought I would be a lot more tired than I am right now, maybe it had to do with the fact that I only stayed awake a total of two hours plus however long it took to feed my face. I got the phone number from the Korean guy I met at the Star Wars movie. He is going to be here for three weeks, so I figure maybe he can show me around a little bit. I need to get some money sent here so that I can get out and about, and be that big spender that everyone is expecting from the big American. You need to hear the sarcasm in my voice to truly understand that statement. It is funny I made a type-o, vice, instead of voice. Could that have been a Freudian slip with a keyboard? Is there such a thing?