Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Frommers doesn't tell you...

Well it’s been a busy and exhausting two weeks…hence, my lack of blogging. So exhausting, in fact, that when I got back to my room last night, I took out my nose ring to put a masque on my face before bed and ended up falling asleep with it on. This morning, I awoke to find that my nose ring hole had already begun to grow back. So……I decided I’m just going to let it. (Mom will be happy about this)

But in other news, since being in Korea, I’ve sort of been developing this list in my mind of all the odd and interesting things I’ve been learning about this place… some things through being informed; others, through experience… So I thought I’d share:

1. Pedestrians yield to cars and the motorcycles that sometimes come at you on the sidewalk. Not the other way around. Period.

2. Contrary to popular belief (actually, I hope not...), there ARE computers over here. In fact, Korea seems to have some advancements over Japan, which I find surprising. For example: restrooms for people in wheelchairs, where they simply hold their hand up to the sensor and the door opens; interactive touch screen navigation in all the Seoul train stations; a protective wall in all the stations that only opens when the doors to the trains open, which prevents people and things from falling into the tracks when a train is coming; and workout equipment in many of the parks. It’s awesome!

3. Black ties are only worn by Korean men for funerals. Alex learned about this when he wore a suit with a black tie on the plane to look snazzy and “Korean.” His dreams were crushed when a cute little man enlightened him on Korean tie culture.

4. Korea is more laid-back than Japan, yet there’s still a greater level of respect than in America. I find it interesting... There's this hierarchy of respect thing in regards to age. Many in the younger generations seem to resent it though, because they feel it is inefficient in society; although several have told me that things are slowly changing. Younger people, for example, must always bear the burden of a mistake, even if it’s the fault of their elder. Just because they’re younger. And even if you don't find someone respectable, you still have to speak to them with honor, simply because they are older.

5. Girls –especially the ones in Seoul—are so into appearance that they dress to be trendy over dressing for the weather. Example: I've seen sooo many girls wearing sheer tights and short skirts (and sometimes even no tights), strictly in the name of fashion; even though I’M all bundled up in bunches of layers and STILL shivering. I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t.

6. Plastic surgery is huge over here. Apparently, many Korean girls get this surgery where their jaw lines are shaved to be more heart-shaped, rather than squared. They also get rhinoplasty and eyelid surgery. In fact, there are specials where if you get a nose job, you get free eyelid surgery. It’s so sad :( I just wish they would realize how much more beautiful they are WITHOUT the surgery… I want to look like them!

7. A restaurant or bar might look ghetto from the outside, but when you go up the stairs and inside of it, it is usually AWESOME!

8. Coffee shops and bakeries are gorgeous in Korea. Even Dunkin’ Donuts, which happen to be a popular place to take your date around here. But coffee is also more expensive than in America. And it’s slowly draining my wallet… :-/

9. Koreans also love drinking. They LOVE it. And norebang (karaoke).

10. And finally, The North Face IS the brand of Korea. Everyone seems to have a North Face jacket here! ...Or just a knock-off sibling, like The Noble Face.

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