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.