Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Death by....

Yesterday I came very close to death, not once but twice. Perhaps very close is an exaggeration but not by much. The first time I was crossing the street (NOT jay walking either) on my way to work. I looked both ways (it's a 6 lane road) before carefully making my way across. All of a sudden a motorcycle comes speeding out from behind a truck and has to slam on the brakes so he doesn't hit me. I yelled at him in English "It's a red light you moron!!!!!" He might not have had a clue as to what I was saying but I'm pretty sure I got the point across. He looked rather ashamed of himself. This incident strengthened my resolve to learn the colors in Korean. Unfortunately, I've only mastered yellow so far. 'Red' is a three syllable word in Korean. Tomorrow, I shall conquer red. Maybe. In any case, my kids are having fun trying to teach me during our lunch hour.

Death by motorcyclist event number two:
I was walking Home from work when a motorcycle zipped up behind me on the sidewalk and had to swerve last minute to avoid hitting me. Yes, a motorcyclist on the sidewalk doing highway speeds. I kid you not.

This morning my bus blew through a red light. At a 3 way intersection of 6 lane roads. Why, oh why did I decide to stare idly out of the window instead of reading my book? No good can come of me observing these things. Granted, this event wasn't a near death experience but it could have been. In my 5 months in Korea I have witnessed or experienced hundreds of traffic violations while riding in taxis, buses and private cars. I have never once witnessed a police officer give a ticket or harass someone for it. It's one thing to overlook parking laws, it's another thing when people are being needlessly reckless on the road. Earlier this year a coworker of mine had to go to the funeral of a young friend who was killed in a motorcycle accident. Sadly, this is quite common. Korea might be a developed country but despite the paved roads and traffic lights, the experience is strangely akin to driving around in India. That is to say, frightening and dangerous.

Positive side:
As much as I hate corporate, pseudo Christian/pagan holidays, I'm enjoying doing Valentine's Day projects with my kids. They love all of the arts and crafts and a holiday devoted to saying 'I love you' and chocolate. What could be better for 6 and 7 year old kids? Nothing. I am going to feed them chocolate late in the afternoon and then send them home to their parents hyper.

This might be slightly vindictive of me. Just a little.


Christopher said...

Hi, Chris again, I figure you're way too busy or you just didn't notice my first comment especially since it was on a post from a much later day last week or so. I am totally fascinated by your experiences in Korea because you are fulfilling one of my dreams. You are actually there for a purpose. I'm just obsessed with Korean pop culture like movies and music.

Alex said...

Hey Chris!
I did notice your last comment(s) and replied! You ust not have checked the 'notify me of replied comments' box or whatever it is. I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. Do you have any good Korean movie recs for me?

Nancy K said...

Loving that you are posting more often. Blogs are such a boon to parents far away; it's such a great view into your life that we wouldn't ordinarily get.

Jessica said...

I agree with your mom. The posting more often is awesome. I like keeping up with your life and stuff as I miss you a lot. Also if either motorcyclist had hit/killed you I would hunt them down. Please be careful.

Alex said...

I am uber careful. In fact I have gotten laughed at by Koreans for wearing seatbelts in cabs. I'm glad you are enjoying my more frequent blog posts since it's addicting, and I can't see myself stopping.