Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Adventure # 54

When one lives in a foreign country where said person doesn't speak the language, almost anything can become an adventure.  Take for instance my shoe string.

It's bad enough when your shoe string breaks when you are trying to tie it and you need to go somewhere fast (which is inevitably when it breaks) but when replacing it becomes a week long adventure; well that's quite another story.  You might say it’s an altogether different blog. :-)  Not that you have too mind you, but you might.

So here it is.  My shoe string was a nice thick dark brown string for my every day business casual shoes.  The outside of the string was dark brown that is.  That's the part that broke.  The inside of the string was a light brown rope type of material.  My shoes however are a nice dark brown just like the string was.  To clarify, the string didn't completely break, just the outside pealed away leaving a big 6 inch section of core sting blatantly sticking out.

I began asking my English speaking Korean contacts about where I could buy shoe strings at and the continuous answer was, "what's a shoe string?"  Not a great way to instill confidence in acquiring said item. :-S

After my initial explanations brought everyone up to speed the answer became, "I don't know".  GREAT!!!  In order to buy more time I taped my shoe string together with scotch tape.  It worked for about a day and a half.

I canvassed my neighbor hood hitting the most likely spots looking for shoestrings and struck out on all accounts.  I did find shoe strings in the outdoorsy hiking goods stores, but these strings were a medium grey and would in no way work for my shoes.  I even stopped at a shoe polishing and repair shed, they're all over the place, and they didn't have anything at all.  How strange is that!

How difficult can it be to find stupid shoe strings?!  I called my good friend Paul and asked in great desperation where I could go and he said as you may guess, "what are shoe strings?"  lol  Paul however was of great service.  He took me to a market place that sold all sorts of things, mostly geared towards tourists.  It was like walking around a county fair ground or at the Highland Games, really more like the fair grounds as to the shear size of this place but I'm trying to help you get the picture.  :-)

Right, so, we walked around this place for a long time looking for shoe strings.  There had to be a million and one places selling shoes, socks, cheep jewelry, and what ever else you might think of.  Only one lady sitting on the subway stairs had strings, and they were the skinny kind so I decided to keep looking.

We then walked into a department store that is basically like the street booths but cleaner and with much better products.  Paul took me to this one booth that sold all sorts of American drugs!  Yaa for me, I found Advil Cold and Sinus!!!!!  Now if they only sold the Advil Allergy Cold and Sinus.  Things being what they are, I bought a few boxes and some Nyquil.  Ah, cold relief.

Now, inside of this place are about a million fifty places selling shoes.  Do you think any of them had shoe strings for sale??!!!!  NO!  I finally found one person who had good thick brown laces and he offered them to me for basically 2 bucks US.  Paul told me later that the guy muttered he should have charged me more cause I was so excited to buy them he thought he could have gotten double.  Apparently the price he normally charged was 50 cents but in my enthusiasm to buy them he jacked the price up on me.  Isn't he a wonderful guy.

No matter, I had shoe strings and I wasn't going to let the Dutch influence of my years spent in Sarnia ruin my high.  I had shoe strings and my plight was over.  I would have gladly paid him 5 bucks for them, so, in a twisted way I can laugh at him cause I got them cheaper than I thought I would.  Ha!  (There, now my Dutch readers can relax again and enjoy the story. lol :P

The funny thing is, when I came to work on Monday at the Academy, Mr. Lee had gone out and bought me two sets of nice brown shoe strings.  Oh well, I've since been back to the market to buy more drugs.  I also checked out a bunch of watches.  Me thinks I'll have to go back there again and buy one.  I wonder if I can work em down in price a bit.  Anyone seen Frank Degroot lately?...



At 7:11 PM, Anonymous me said...

For those that don't know who Frank is allow me to explain.

Frank is a wonderful Canadian man of Dutch heritage (He was born in Holland) who is renown in Haiti for his ability to work down the price of items to an absolute bottom price. When you go shopping there at the booths and street venders, it's understood by everyone that the price is what you agree on. :-) It's quite fun really, I've gotten some nice deals myself.


At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop with all the drugs mr! you're addicted to advil cold and sinus!!
bad, bad, bad!

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Al Menezes said...

Finally a posting.....and what a wonderful adventure. I'm sure the drugs cost a lot more than here eh?

As Christmas fast approaches, what, if anything, do you see there indicating that it is Christmas?

At 3:02 AM, Anonymous me said...

If it wasn't for the drugs me thinks I wouldn't have survived! Seoul's high quality of air has done wonders for my allergies. :-P

Yes, I know I'm a bit behind, about 4 weeks behind. Now that I'm only teaching at the Hakwon since Lila is finished for the year, I will be making several posts.

I've been so bleeping busy with job negotiations, job searching, finishing the year off, etc. that I haven't had much time.

Since I turned down the offer to work at the same place next year because it would not give me the time to see all my wonderful friends and family, I have been spending many a late night pouring over job listings.

I had a pretty good interview yesterday, but what a day it was. I left Lila at noon and did not get back into Seoul until 5:00. My interview was in a city about 1 1/2 hours away by bus. I made it back to the Hakwon at 5:58 to teach my 6:00 class. I was very tired. Many brisk walks to get from place to place coupled with not eating at all that day left me a bit weak to say the least.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Darren B said...

Hey - good to hear from you again!

So I have to ask -- are all of their business shoes the slip-on kind (instead of having laces?) Lace up shoes are much better for your feet than the slip-on types (you tend to curl your toes with the slip on kind to keep them snug -- not good).

And - you'd been without good laces for a week before Mr. Lee brought you some? At least you'll be good with shoe strings for the next couple of years.

Yikes - walking all day with no food? Bummer.

Ummm, job seaching there instead of here? What gives?

At 12:09 PM, Blogger mrx65 said...

I resent the Sarnian dutch comment, opps got to go my neighbour found the extention cord I plugged into his house... :)

At 1:20 AM, Anonymous me said...



Post a Comment

<< Home