Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sightings in Seoul

It's been a while since I've done this, so I thought I would share a few more observations with you. There are a number of things that I feel like we're starting to get used to...before I get so used to them that I don't even notice any more, I need to write down a few of them. So, here you go...
1. There are no public garbage cans along the street. It's really annoying to me. It seems like with the kids, we have always have something to throw away, but there is never a place to throw anything away. I recently read that because of the garbage problems in Korea, they don't use public garbage cans as a way to reinforce the fact that your garbage is your problem. The problem with that idea, is that people throw it on the street instead. There isn't a ton of garbage everywhere (see #2), but I still don't think it's working.
2. The ajummas (essentially grandmothers) feel it is their obligation to walk the streets and pick up the garbage. They are always pulling around these wooden carts full of garbage and recycling. Apparently it's acceptable for the younger generations to litter and for the older generations to pick it up. I don't understand. I'm not Korean.
She is selling already prepared food. These are usually out on the weekends. People take this food home and serve it.
3. There is food for sale everywhere! Fresh vegetables and fruit are for sale on the backs of trucks. Those trucks tend to have loudspeakers on them, and the same Korean phrases are repeated over and over again. I really wonder how often a person hears the announcement and decides to head over to the produce truck. Then there are the little stands (or again the back of a truck) that sell things like dried fish (little tiny ones!) and freshly grilled squid (they literally take them right off the coals and hand them to you) for snacking along the street. 
Apples (which are surprisingly good), clementines, and tomatoes (Korean tomatoes are rarely red)
4. Korean women wear heels with every outfit regardless of what hill they are walking up or down or where they are going. I will never look like a local because I refuse to do this.
5. Our children get a ton of attention regardless of where we are. Someone is always looking at them. We can't get on the bus without someone giving them a piece of candy. They are going to have a hard time when they don't get that much attention in the States!
the "03" bus that we ride most often--it goes through our neighborhood and to E-Mart
6. Koreans eat a lot of Spam and processed cheese. I can't help but think it's weird. 
7. Kimbap (similar to sushi) has some strange ingredients. I like the kinds with just vegetables, but when they throw in their dried salted fish, or the "gourmet" version with processed cheese, I'm not a fan. 
8. Police cars always have their lights on and it never has any meaning. You just get used to it. Tow trucks sometimes turn on sirens. That doesn't seem to have any meaning either.
9. You see more men carrying purses than women and sometimes their pants are tighter, too. The funny thing is that the girl will have nothing in her hands and yet, he is still carrying her purse for her. How sweet, right?
Here's a guy holding a purse, but it's also a good example of the many alleys here that buses and trucks drive through at speeds that seem impossible. The parked cars and pedestrians in no way impede their ability to drive through narrow alleys.
10. Korea is one of those countries that has no regard for personal space. I'm starting to get used to it when I'm around people. What I can't get used to is the same practice with cars. They leave NO room between bumpers and everyone keeps their side view mirrors folded in. Many of the roads are only one lane, but one never knows which direction to go, so you will often see cars come upon one another in the opposite direction and one of them will have to back out of the incredibly narrow alley. And while they usually drive on the right, they have no problem going to the left if it gets them where they want to be faster!

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