First Trip To Seoul

11 Nov 2008
Posted by Jordan
Jordan's picture

This last Saturday we took a bus up to Seoul (about a three hour ride) to see Matthew,* and do a little electronics shopping (we weren't actually in the market for anything ourselves, but we thought we'd go ahead and tag along). Seoul is massive, teaming, and spreads over everything; about half of South Korea's 49-million inhabitants call Seoul their home, making it the second most populated metropolitan area in the world behind Tokyo (and equal to Tokyo in density--my previous home of Cairo, I'm pleased to say, is the most densely populated of the world's largest city areas).

The area of Seoul we visited, called Yongsan, is very famous for having... well, everything in the world there is to buy. To my understanding it is in fact the largest electronics market on planet earth (and sells everything else as well). About half way through the shopping we decided to ditch the rest of the party (American friends of Matthew's from his province of Chungbuk) and see Quantum of Solace with Matthew at a fancy cinema to celebrate the fact that the movie came to Korea before the US (which still won't see it for a couple more days).We then almost missed our bus back to Gunsan despite having over an hour to make it to the station.

In short we had a fun time, and learned how to navigate the city: on our next trip we plan to see more of the actual sites, and do some shopping for ourselves (we did buy an incredibly cool splattering pig, though, which you can check out in the video).

*Matthew, if you don't know, is my former college roommate of four years, and very good friend, who got us into this whole wonderful mess: he discovered Korea's need for English teachers first, and we proceeded to follow him over here (and are very glad we did). I would direct you to his blog, but he has stubornly taken it down for the moment.

Marisa Says: I am pleased to note that it doesn't get any denser than Hong Kong. Also it is the best James Bond movie I've ever seen (and I'm not just saying that because the story focuses on Bolivia).


Aliens At Last!

06 Nov 2008
Posted by Jordan
Jordan's picture

At long last we have attained our alien registration cards. First we needed our medical checkup results (a full medical checkup including blood tests, x-rays, dental check, vision and hearing tests, etc. costs less than $50 by the way); we had our checkups the day we arrived (Friday, Oct. 24), and it took them about a week to get our results back to us; it then took another week to actually get our alien cards processed. Without an alien card you get no bank account, no phone, and no internet; with an alien card, you receive all these things and more. Needless to say, we are very happy to have ours.

In case you're interested, mobile phones are incredibly expensive here for foreigners (I was told the cheapest one I could get was $400); fortunately I was able to get in on one of those cousin-brother's-uncle deals thanks to my co-teacher (who set us up as Koreans), and so I got ours for $50. Once you have the phones, the plans are more reasonable than in the US: we get 200 minutes a month for $10. Also, internet service is faster and cheaper here: our modem/router and install were "free," and we pay about $30 a month for the service. The bank book is, well, a bank book; we also got a check card with that--woohoo!

Alien Cards

Inside Lotte Mart

03 Nov 2008
Posted by Jordan
Jordan's picture

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time yet to write about my teaching experience; hopefully I'll be able to do that in the next couple of days. But in the meantime, here's a little video we took on Saturday exploring the delights of our city's largest shopping center: