Okay, 1st let me assure you that I LOVE Korea. There are SO many things I like better about living here than in America. Like taking off my shoes when I enter a building or sharing food with others........ how the people are honest and respectful and soft-spoken (until they yell, wooh! then watch out!) I love how cheap the food is, even if most of it's not to my liking and most of it has some form of animal mixed in.
However, there are some "ways" about Korea that I will never understand. In some cases, there is absolutely NO logic applied to the thinking of (beware of stereotypes) Korean people. Let's start with DRIVING: I mean, this is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to areas of Science & technology..... but they still haven't figured out the concept of RED LIGHTS or traffic rules in general. It's almost a joke among us foreigners; we'll tell the taxi driver in English that red means "stop". They NEVER stop. There are constantly accidents. I don't know if there IS a speed limit. There are major intersections w/o signs. I think it's great that Korea has zero tolerance for drugs & weapons... but it would be nice if they applied some traffic laws. It's like drive at your own risk. And people walk in the street, let their children walk in the streets. Mopeds go WHEREVER they want and parking, HA! Park wherever. Maybe it's b/c the cops are half my size and hold hands. Men hold hands here, and women... but homosexuality is a "disease from America" (can be avoided by eating kimchi).
Wooh, thank GOD.
Now, let's talk about FAN DEATH. Did you know that if you leave your fan on with the windows closed.... you will die. YEP. 16 people died last summer from it. The fan creates a "vacuum" and "eats all the oxygen". Then there are the HOSPITALS: the real hospitals and the clinics they call hospitals. If you have the slightest cold they make you go to the hospital. If you have anything serious, they hospitalize you for weeks or even months. And it doesn't matter WHICH doctor you're going to .... you always get a shot in the butt. Nobody has been able to explain WHAT the shot is yet, so I denied the shot at my dr. visit last week. It was a frigging nose/ear/throat specialist! Why are you giving people shots in the butt??? Oh, when my co-worker went for a fever, they did everything but take her temperature. But don't worry, she got a shot in the butt!
Then this past weekend I went to Busan to visit a teacher I met. Her friend came with us to the store....... 3 independent blond girls walking down the street. Guess what happened. I heard a girl shriek and turned just in time to see a man hit his girlfriend/wife HARD across the face. Knocked her to the ground. He immediately put his hand to his hip and looked at his watch like, "how long is it gonna take THIS time." She stayed down, in the middle of the street, for a while. We stood there looking at him. I suggested picking up something HEAVY but the girls reminded me that we'd get deported. It was the 1st time for all of us to witness such a scene, but we were all told that "men often beat their women in the streets" and that we're "NOT to get involved". What? If I didn't think she'd be back w/him the next morning....... he'd be in the hospital. Further down the block we entered the store and Blake put her cigarette out in the street b/c there are no garbage cans (anywhere in Korea it seems - very strange). You wouldn't think it'd matter b/c the streets were full of debris and posters from the film festival that day. But as we were deciding which orange juice to buy a police officer tapped her on the shoulder and escorted her from the store. For a minute, I actually thought he needed a witness for what just happened outside, but no. He made her pick up the gigarette butt and put it in a random BOX. Afterwards, my friend Janneke explained that Blake was lucky she didn't get a ticket... b/c it's illegal for women under 50 to smoke in public streets. Not sure if that's all of Korea...... but if that's true........ and I'm not even gonna comment on the double barber polls. Yes I am. If you see one spinning poll, go in & get your hair cut. If you see 2, go in and get a prostitute. They're EVERYWHERE.
Well, I guess you gotta take the good with the bad. And I'm sure America has a plethora of it's own weird habits...... a zillion situations that seem to lack logic. I just had to share the things that are "different" and make me shake my head.