Thursday, January 7, 2010

For everyone who complains about Korea, a rebuttal

Sometimes it seems like the expat world is overflowing with people who love to bitch about Korea. We get it, everyone has off days but it gets old fast.

Today Salsa Boy and I made the ridiculous journey from Anyang to Busan with 3 obscenely overweight suitcases, a briefcase (his), a carry on type bag (mine), and a purse. He is all moved out of his apartment and spending a couple of weeks with me before flying home to Texas. Anyways, we managed to get to the train station, on the KTX (high speed train) and even off the train again at our station. Unfortunately, the train station we arrived in is an older station which means it was retrofitted and isn't really handicap or suitcase accessible. On the overly narrow escalators, one of Salsa Boy's suitcase almost knocked over a middle aged Korean guy who managed to catch it and not fall over. Instead of getting mad at us, he insisted on helping us to the exit and practically confiscated my suitcase from me. Yes, Salsa Boy was dragging 2 but because I am a girl my suitcase got taken. Not that I'm complaining. Turns out, he spoke pretty good English and struck up a conversation with us. When he found out where we were going, he insisted that he drive us to a subway station 5 minutes away so we wouldn't have to get on the local one and transfer. His friends picked him up in a minivan, helped us pile all of the suitcases in, drove us to the train station and helped us get into the elevator.

Now would I have gotten in the car with a complete stranger if I was traveling alone? Absolutely not. Would I do it with my black belt boyfriend? Absolutely. It made our slightly hellish journey a little easier and put me in a fantastic mood.

We had to take 2 cabs from the final subway stop to my apartment since there was no way our luggage was going to fit into one tiny Korean cab. My cab driver was an elderly Korean who was an absolute sweetheart. He didn't speak any English but I managed to hold a basic conversation! Or rather, I gave 1 or 2 word answers to his questions but still! I told him where I was from and he told me that his son (or maybe it was daughter, I'm not sure, this is before he figured out that he had to speak slower for me to understand) was studying at university in Vancouver. Also, that there was a ridiculous amount of snow in Seoul and it was cold. This might not sound like much but I miss making small talk sometimes and it's fun when I can carry on a little bit. I'm looking forward to my Korean class that starts up soon!

Right now I should be asleep as it's after midnight and I have work tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm always extremely restless before and after traveling so I'm up poking the internet.


Kyle Crum said...

It's always good to hear a story from the other perspective. Koreans can be mighty nice sometimes.

However, I'm still going to complain about Korea :)

Alex said...

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm still going to bitch. It's just that it gets old when it's the only thing people ever talk about.

snowmon said...

Korea is very unique in that way, very "courteous" to strangers in a way. I always used to complain about my aunt leaving her bag at the table and not taking it when she goes to bathroom(I'm not used to this since I grew up in MD) Surprisingly no one will ever steal her bag even when it's crowded with strangers....