29 August 2008

First Night in Incheon

The English Teacher that I'm replacing hasn't moved out of what is to be my apartment yet so they've put me up in a hotel for two days until he does. It's a fairly nice place, though I must admit that the large bed and condom vending machine make me wonder what sort of hotel it is. I mean sure, I can understand wanting to make them available to customers but having it in the room next to the door is a bit much in my opinion. Still, different cultures and all that.

Here we have a closer look at the Condom Vending machine. Quality isn't all that great so I'm not if you can tell that he's holding too lollipops. One says 'AIDS' and the other says something in Korean. If nothing else, it's good to know that Korean condoms like to eat AIDS lollipops. At the bottom of the picture are the words 'Treasure your life. Stop AIDS.' It also provides a link to the site http://www.aidskorea.org/ If anyone is curious, condoms cost 1000 won a piece, use two five hundred coins and the sign says that 100 coins are not accepted.

Just got back from finding something to eat, a bit of wondering got be both lost and in front of some sort of noodle restaurant. I ordered the dish in the far left picture and settled down to wait for my food. Across from me were four drunk middle age Koreans who found me to be the most fascinating thing they'd run across in quite some time. They either bought me a beer or told the lady behind the counter that I'd ordered one and we settled down to have a conversation using words in four different languages and a prodigious amount of gesturing. After a few minutes of this, I think we established that I was an English Teacher and that one of them had spent several years working over seas. At this point, the one that had spent several years overseas decided to challenge me to an arm wrestling match . . . that or he wanted to hold my hand, not really sure which and even now after all is said and done I'm still trying to figure out just what happened.

My meal arrived and the other four customers decided to go back to what really matters, drinking. They left about half way through my meal so I turned to the proprietors for my meal side entertainment. The woman explained to me that the three plates full of red stuff she'd put on my table was Kimchi, then to make sure that the lesson had stuck she explained it again and added that it was spicy and that I should add a little bit to my noodle soup dish. I did, it was good so I decided to investigate the other mysterious object on my table which turned out to be full of sliced and raw green peppers of some kind. No doubt fearing that I was unaware of what the mysterious things were, the woman was nice enough to explain that they were spicy and that I should use care if I wished to season my soup with them.

I finished my meal and was naturally curious about what I'd just eaten, five more minutes of pantomiming and using the five Korean words I know to the fullest revealed that I had just eaten a dish that was called something along the lines of Cha Chi Fuk Su. That or she'd realised that I didn't understand a word of Korean and was telling me that she'd taken great pleasure in spitting in my soup.

I've got no wifi signal in this hotel, but they were nice enough to provide me with a desktop. Still don't have a real camera so I used the one on my laptop and let me tell you what an adventure it was getting the photos from one place to the other and then navigating through the maze of Korean to get them posted here.

Well, that was my day. How did yours go?

EDIT: Meant to say something about the two figures climbing out of the end of the happy condom picture but I've got nothing, that is all.

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