Friday, September 02, 2005

The Fuller Story

Ok, I've said many good things about Korea, now it's time for, well, the full story.

Over all, Living in Korea is pretty much like anywhere else that has 10 million people crowded into a small geographical area. Not always much elbow room. During early morning subway traffic, there are people that are paid to be pushers. You’re in a subway car and you think, wow this thing is really full. I wonder what the weight limit or load limit is on one of these things. Then you stop at the next station, no one is getting off, at least not that they wanted to, hee hee, and 50 thousand more people push their way into your car. What!!!! I'm already standing face to face, literally, with a strange women and my hands have NO WHERE SAFE TO BE! It's not good I tell ya. My hands stay in my pockets. The last thing I want is for some women to start screaming at me saying Lord only knows what and for several men to start trying to make adjustments to my head. Thanks, but I'm supposed to look like this. :-P

So, pushers, these men are paid to shove people into an already over filled car. Can some one say moo, or bahh, or cluck cluck. I couldn't believe it. But, strangely enough, we kept squeezing more people in. Um, hi, ya, you had garlic for breakfast didn't you. mmmm, nice.

That's not even the worst of it. Sidewalks. Ok, the sidewalks, where they exist, (no side street side walks) are really wide. Plenty of room for people to walk to and fro, that is until the cars start driving down them. There is no parking space what-so-ever! So, people park on the side walk. Great! But that's not even the worst yet! Motorcycles and mopeds. Ooooooooo, those guys are the ones that really get the juices flowing.

The sidewalks are often as wide as a one way street, and the motorcycle drivers use them for just that. Traffic stops and they jump onto the sidewalk and zoom along. More than one time I wanted to reach out and give them a hand. I was clipped from behind just last week. They go driving buy and I just want to push them over. I'm working really hard at being Canadian and keeping the American in me suppressed. What if I accidentally tripped and fell into one of them? Ya, then no one would know the difference. Excellent. :-D

I'd say out of everything, the motorcycles are the thing the drive me the battiest. Sidewalks are for pedestrians, roads are for motorized vehicles. But, I guess in a nation where red lights mean accelerate, what can be expected.

Don't even walk out into the cross walk when your light turns green and the traffic light turns red. You'll get squashed. The city busses, taxis, and yes the blessed motorcyclists zip right through their light that just turned red. Just the other day a Korean women stepped right out at first green without even looking. I was watching this moped dude headed right for her hammer it for the light. I started screaming and she looked at me like I was crazy and chuckled. And yes, the moped zipped right through the light. Of course, breaking right in front of her and swerving around, and then zipping off as if nothing happened.

The worst of it though, was that there was a cop standing on the other side of the street and he didn't even bat an eye. I couldn't believe it. Pedestrians be ware. More than one time, if I would have stepped out I would have been a grill ornament for a city bus or a hood ornament for a taxi.

So, I find the traffic laws here a little screwy. But, there are very few accidents and not very much road rage. Everyone uses their horns on a quite frequent basis but they don't try to get back at a person for driving aggressively. It's as if they all know that traffic laws are a good suggestion and if someone disregards them that is just par for the course and they move on. I don't get the pedestrians though, just walking out without looking. It's as if they know the driver will stop before they get squashed, which often happens. I'll take my risks elsewhere thank you.

Now, little road rage says nothing about the Korean temper. On no! The Korean temper is like a quite little volcano allowing all sorts of life to grow on it and then boom! everything gets splattered. When there is an accident they start screaming at each other, and I mean screaming. People have gotten into fights. But I think that is still better than road rage. That can take lots of people out at one time. This way they just kill each other and everyone else keeps driving.

So overall, Korea is a wonderful place, just don't take your eyes off of where you are going to enjoy it cause you might hitch a ride you didn't want. :-P


At 8:35 AM, Blogger Darren B said...


When they drive aggressively are they aware of their surroundings?

I've been giving some thought to the self-absorbed, unaware, uncaring drivers in Sarnia and I in some ways I think I would prefer it if we were all aggresive and alert than dozy and self-absorbed (and slow!).


Hey, Ken, do you have an idea of when your return date is? I'm looking forward to sharing a meal with you and catching up on all the stories without all the typing!

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Al Menezes said...

Well....that sounds like a big city driving mentality. Got your insurance paid up?!

I agree with Darren, if they are aware of their surroundings....great, but if it's like Sarnia where everyone is so self absorbed, that they have no clue...give me Korea!

At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told you motorcycles rule the road!

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Darren B said...

They rule the road and apparently, in Korea, the sidewalks too!

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Al Menezes said...

Actually I believe there are more scooters in the world than scooters rule!

At 3:11 AM, Anonymous me said...

LOL, once again I get my daily excersise from the many laughs you all provide. :-D

Yes, there are more scooters running around. The motorcycles/scooters are delivery vehicles. The deliver everything around here, even in the winter. Brrrrrr! They have hand muffs that are attached to the handle bars for their hands to slip into. Rather clever really.

The drives, simi self-absorbed but for the most part very aware and amazingly patient. Not dozzy at all. And I agree, I'd rather have aggressive aware drivers. Things go much faster, just not stupid rude drivers or overly aggresive.

When there is a traffic jam, the Koreans are quite content, but don't sit there when there is an opening cause the horns will be deafening. Which I like.

The problem is at the red lights. Although, when you are riding in a taxi and the meter is running, I like the traffic laws are suggestions mentality. Just don't blazinly run a red light. If there is an opening, then go, after having stopped that is.

But the SIDE-WALKS! Come-on, I mean really! That's just to far. There really aren't that many peddal bikes running around they are all motorcycles etc. I could understand a peddle bike on the side walk, though that even bugs me at times, but scooters!

At 3:15 AM, Anonymous me too said...

Oh ya! Anyone that wants to feed me is more than welcome to hear my stories. lol :-P

Just kidding, I really look forward to seeing everyone again. Thanks so much Darren for the blog idea. It's been great!

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Darren B said...

Ya, blogs are cool.

Ken - way off topic, but I gotta ask - is there any way to turn off the tape counter on the LCD display of the church's Optura video camera?
When we send the signal to the big screen, everyone sees the counter in the upper right corner and it's distracting.

At 4:32 AM, Anonymous Me said...

I'm sorry to say, no, there isn't a way to turn of the counter. I know it's distracting. The manual was long gone by the time I stepped in, so I talked with Carmen's photo on Mitton St. where we bought the video camera. They told me that on that model, there isn't a way to turn the counter off which to me seems absolutely absurd. The next year’s model can be turned off. I suggested buying a new and better camera for what we were trying to do with it and money was always a problem. If things are like they seemed always to be, money is still a problem. I messed with that camera for quite a bit and found no way of turning off the counter. The camera simply wasn't intended to do what we are doing with it. It's a high grade consumer camera not a pro-sumer or (can't think of the word, but one used professionally).

The audio feed was always a problem as well. Did you ever get that figured out?

Well, I hope I have been at least somewhat helpful. Please don't hesitate to ask about any the church stuff. I love the Vineyard and will always miss it. Anything I can do to help is a privilege.



At 9:29 AM, Blogger Darren B said...

Thanks for the info (saved me a bunch of chasing) -- I tried for a couple of minutes to get the display to turn off - glad I asked!

The audio is fine now, we have a portable monitor speaker with a feed from the sound board and we use a wireless mic in the pool (Yikes!) and it all seems to work out fine.

Hmmm - that counter is really distracting... Maybe we could do it with two cameras...


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