Friday, July 21, 2006

2 Life among the Koreans Day Two

I woke up as a bell went off in my room. I didnt know what time it was, or if this was my wake up call, mobile phone or door bell! Totally confused then realised it was room service. Before I could say anything, she had let herself in to see me naked staggering around the room. I think she said, " Oh sorry I will come back in a minute" but cannot be sure, as it was all in a torrent of fast Korean which I am sorry to say I am far from mastering at the moment.

It was 10.50am. Late to wake up.

Found one disgusting coffee bag (who ever thought that coffee could be made in the same way as tea? They are COMPLETELY different drinks) and make the most pathetically weak cup of coffee ever. There is only one coffee bag in the apartment - not enough to get me started really.

Husband phones on my new mobile. The ring tone is set to start with a horse whinnying and then a kind of jolly country and western number. I try to re-set it but the phone seems to be in Korean and I can only get into the call register menu, seemingly no matter what button I press.

I am to meet him for lunch.

I retraced my steps of the previous night to the underground and bought a ticket to Yeoksam Dong, just two stops away. To get there I had to walk through a massive paved square full of stark sculptures, like a massive linked pair of very veiny arms set in concrete. The square is above a huge underground mall called Coex, which features a range of rank looking fast food joints at the entrance to the subway.

The trains are massive and spotless and there are clean toilets on every platform - so efficient.

Get out of the subway and find my way to Star Tower, the font of our destiny in Seoul and where Hardworking will be putting in the hours while we are here. It is pretty smart, playing Schubert in the lobby and immaculately clean. I had to wait for a few minutes and watched the Koreans going in and out. They are all very business suited, Asian style. The men wear outrageous suits - a mixture of shiny suits or crazy pinstripes, with short legged trousers so that you can see their socks. My favourite was an Elvis-style business man with huge gold-framed shades and bracelet, white jacket and chequered black and white trousers over slip on shoes with a woven leather top. His hair was thinning on top and he had a slim, lit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth for the whole time I watched him. I wonder what on earth his life is like....

The girls are all wide hipped and slim, young ones wearing pretty floral dresses and cardigans in colours like pastel green, apricot and acid yellow. Older women wear kick-ass suits that look like they are straight out of Armani (and judging by the street of shops which we passed on the way back from Apgujeong the other night, they probably are. In about 10 mins we passed two Louis Vuitton outlets, Gucci, Armani, Hugo Boss, Escada, etc etc etc - all of them basically there on one road). The whole place exudes wealth, everyone looks really together and I have only seen one mad old lady on the subway who was walking along with a transistor radio around her neck begging. I havent seen any police yet, but I wonder what happens to vagrants in this part of town - reckon they might be "removed".

We found a dumpling restaurant around the corner from Hardworking's office and sat on chairs this time (Hardworking finds it very hard to cross his legs under a low table!). Delicious dumplings in a thin mushroom soup, filled with chopped pork and garlic and onion. My mouth is watering as I write this since we now have bananas in the apartment and i havent had lunch.

Strangest breakfast I have probably ever eaten, but we went to Coffee Bean afterwards for a reassuringly good coffee (agh, relief!). They call it KOPPEE BEAN on account of there being no "f" sound in korean.

In fact i am so hungry now I am going to take my phrase book out and try to order some more of this top Korean nosh.

1 comment:

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