Monday, October 4, 2010

The Nameless Streets of Seoul

I know. Its been over a month, no that is wrong, it has been one week (see how my propensity to exaggerate even gets ME in trouble) since I have posted last and I apologize. The end of the month has been a bit of a whirlwind. 'A bit of a whirlwind', what does that even mean? Anyway, I meant it to mean that it has been straight crazy out here. Im getting bills! In Korean! My landlord has posted some notes on my door telling me to pay him some amount of money, I'm sure, but I don't know who he is, where he lives, what his address is, and even if I did know his address, I don't know where the post office is. I have actually asked about this, seeing as I have wanted to send some letters back home, and no one really knows where one is. There aren't any post boxes on the street, and yesterday,  I learned that the streets in Korea, DON'T HAVE NAMES!? Yes, they don't have names. The streets here, if you still aren't getting it, (I'm not) don't have names. What? How do you find anything? Well, landmarks, obviously. So the way I have been getting around the city, (through the multi-colored see-through tunnel, then under the overpass and then Left after the flowered tunnel) is how everyone gets around here? Seems so. What a woman's directional paradise! Everyone uses landmarks to tell directions. Its not weird to say, 'you make a right after you pass the big red barn and then you will see the big field where the pumpkin patch is in the fall, and then three streets past that, you will see my street. You will know it is my street because my next door neighbor painted his mail box orange and there is a fake bird on top. Turn Left there.' Anyway, I am not responding to my landlords yellow post-it notes and am honestly pleading ignorance. I also figure if he really does need me to actually do something, he will contact the school who is paying the most important bill: rent. The other bills, I have been told, can be paid at any local 7/11. Yes, the bills come with a bar code, the 7/11 worker scans the bar code, and abracadabra (this word is in the spell check - awesome), your bills are paid. Unfortunately, some of the bills don't conveniently come with a bar code so they make you go all the way to your local ATM where you insert your bill like you would deposit any check and the bank automatically deducts the amount from your account and your bills are paid. Or, if you are like me, still not figuring out the system, you can take all your bills to your bank teller, and have her deal with all of them all at once. And then have her show you how to withdraw money from your account, since you couldn't figure out how to get cash from the ATM, even though it was in English. I still can't get cash out of the ATM even though it is in English.


  1. Look at it this way. You know how Carmel has no street number and how that is supposed to be so damned chic (unless you live there...)? Well MAYBE the Koreans figured that they were going to bring a little California to Corea and Carmelize your section of town. What do you think? is this idea working for you or should I just can it now and get back to you later?...I'll get back to you later. And how do you know that the landlord is posting a bill on your door? It could be some guy who thinks you're a babe-o-rama and is asking you out to have some dried squid with him. You never know...OR, being that the Koreans are as polite as can be, maybe you are the teacher of the landlords kid and they are really saying thank you by posting those notes all over your door. The biggest concern however, is how will we ever find YOU if and when we come to visit (and wreak havoc) since you exist in an unnamed place? So many questions!

  2. haha Fred is awesome.

    I love everything about this post! I was going to say the same thing about Carmel not having addresses either. Maybe, even though you "hate" it for how quaint it is, deep down you really love it, which is why, subconsciously, you chose to go to Korea, to a town which also does not have addresses. At least there is something to help you feel at home :) I love "What a women's directional paradise?" true. I also would like to see a picture of this multi-colored see-through tunnel- sounds awesome! Another way for you to feel at home is that in IV, you could pay your electric bill at the liquor store in the shopping center by KMart. The fact that you can insert your bill into the ATM and it automatically withdraws your money is insanely cool and convenient... Come on, America, why are we lagging in this awesome technology!?

    And finally, I really REALLY want to send you some stuff so figure out the dang mail system! I'm sure you can find a PO Box, or get mail at the school? Just do it. Nike.