Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's time to ride!


Well, on Monday of this past week I went to the drivers license bureau and got my Korean drivers license.  The trip there was an interesting trip as communication barriers once again raised their ugly heads and spit on me, but as always, I got the best of them. Ha!

Once at the bureau I proceeded with the task at hand.  Now, government offices suck big time.  I’m sorry if you work in one, but NOBODY knows what they are talking about.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played the send me back and forth game with each office swearing that the other office is where I need to be.  Maybe it’s just me and my unique problems?  Who knows, I seem to get into things that people are not sure about because no one is trying to do what I’m doing.  Or maybe government offices suck. :-P  But that’s another blog for later.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to walk into a government office and have to tell the employee their job (trying to be completely nice and not a know it all) only to have them tell you that you are wrong when you know darn well that you aren’t.  Ever have that happen?  I hate it. :-S  Then, later, when said person finally figures out that you were correct, they don’t even apologize for giving you crap!

I do have to give props to a few people though, because every now and then you actually find someone who knows what they are doing.   Take Angelica Villalobos for example.  She was extremely helpful while I was dealing with my OHIP.  She was a God send.  And I have to say that most of the government employees that I’ve dealt with have been kind, and well, tried to be helpful, I just hate the run around.  And, as I said to my mom, at least there is a government to deal with.  No government would be really bad!

So, the reason I got into this tirade goes back to the most recent government office I was at, the license bureau.  On their web page, details are given in English as to how to obtain a license.  The easiest license to obtain is an international license but it’s only good for a year.  No biggie, it’s just a simple fee and takes about 30 min. to process.

Ah, but then comes the government employee.  “No, you can’t get one in Korea, you have to get that in the US”.  Oh, I see.  (That’s very interesting since the women at the MI license bureau said the exact opposite thing to me; “No, you have to get that in the country you are going to”)!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I had to get a full fledge Korean license.  No worries, I had given myself plenty of time.  I had the day off as it was Teacher’s day and I didn’t have to work until that afternoon when it was time for the hakwon.  (Minor irritation that, no school but I still have to work at the academy!)  None the less, I walked around the facilities getting the necessary items, getting a physical (which by the way was an absolute joke, all I had to do is squat down and stand back up again) and take an eye exam.

The next step was taking a written exam.  This was an interesting exam; all said I think there were only about 6 questions pertaining to driving on a 20 question exam.  One question didn’t have a correct answer to it at all.  I’m curious as to what the answer they were looking for is, but it’s simply a pass or fail and off you go.  (The question you ask.  Ok, I won’t leave you hanging.  If you see a person passed out and laying on the ground should you, a) can’t remember but definitely not correct, b) take their pulse to determine consciousness or not, c) perform a heart massage, or d) same as a, simply unrelated.  Well, neither a or b are correct.  There were other silly questions like this and I chalk it up to translation issues.  So, I had to guess as to which one they were looking for, I chose b as it seemed the most likely.)

As it is, I passed. :-)  I prayed before taking the test like I have most of my life before taking any test.  When I take tests, I always have a hard time focusing and understanding the questions, and as such I find it very helpful to pray.  God’s help is always useful. :-)  So now I have a full fledge Korean license which is good until 2015.

Believe it or not, all of this is leading up to the real reason for this blog post.  Are you ready for this?  I HAVE A MOTORCYCLE!!!  Yep, the reason I wanted a license was to be able to legally ride a motorcycle.  Everyone tells me I’m crazy but they’re nuts.  I’ve always wanted a road bike and now’s the perfect time.

So today, Paul, my good friend, went with me and I purchased a used bike.  I rode for about 3 ½ hours today partly because I got temporarily confused on my way back home. :-P  I was in an area that I’m not very familiar with but as usual, eventually you come along something that’s familiar and you find your way back home. :-)  Only, Seoul is a really big city and you have to go a little further to find something familiar. lol  No worries though.  I made it back and then rode around areas that I am familiar with, to Lila and back, to church and back, and then some of the side streets.

I don’t have any picks of my bike yet but I will soon.  It’s not that big a deal really.  It’s just a 125 cc, but it looks like a full sized bike and well, that’s what’s really important. :-)  For a 125 it gets around pretty good.  With a 125 I don’t need a special license to ride, just a regular license will do.  Everyone told me I didn’t even need that because no cop will pull me over as they don’t speak English and they are embarrassed, but I’d rather keep things on the up and up, much more fun that way, less worry and more blessings. :-)

So now I can ride to work everyday instead of taking a taxi.  Hmm, ride a motorcycle or take a taxi?  Tuff choice. :-P



At 12:13 AM, Anonymous me said...

I forgot to mention the cost of gas. You think gas prices are crazy in N. America, well, to fill the tank of my bike up cost me $20 US! Imagine what it would cost to fill up a car!!! or a SUV! Fortunately, a bike gets really good mileage. :-)

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Al Menezes said... why not a bycycle? Do you live that far from the school?

At least you don't have to worry about updating your licence every year...

This blog is having issues today...not sure if it's me or what....add a post, two come up....delete the duplicate, but it appeqars to delete I added it I'm not sure if there is two three or one....arrrg....nap time!

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Jim Burkholder said...

A taxi or a bike..? Well as a taxi driver, taxis aren't all :-)

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous me said...

lol :-) yes, I've had some really good taxi drivers. :-P Still, I'd rather be riding a motorcycle. What can I say, freedom, the open road, adventure. Though, it's because of the taxi drivers that I know where I'm going because I could just sit back and study the surrounding areas.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger mrx65 said...

"a bike gets really good mileage",
good thing when it takes you "3 1/2 hrs" to get home. :)

I was wondering if you will (as per one of your earlier blogs) be using the sidewalks too :) It would really bring life to the old saying, "stay off the sidewalks, Ken just got his license!!" :)

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Darren B said...

Very cool.

They just changed the law here in Ontario. To ride a moped (or scooter for that matter) you have to have an 'M' licence, not a 'G'. Bummer.

It now costs me over $50 to fill my car and I'm seriously looking at replacing our second car with a scooter (or moped), but that 'M' thing could be a major deterrent.

I'm too old for tests.


At 9:11 AM, Anonymous me said...

LOL, too old for tests! That's classic. Thet thar brain gist ainta gitten liken et useta. Et gist needs a far bet mer coffeh thets aul.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous me said...

I tell you what, there's been a few times I was tempted to hit the side walk. Traffic around here on the local streets is sometimes nuts. It takes forever, and that's a long time, just to go 1/4 mile.

Today I began riding more akin to the accepted style and using my bike to it's fullest potential, going around the outside of all the traffic waiting for the light to change skipping gleefully to the front and leaving all of the traffic woes far behind.

Riding here is nothing like N. America and it's not bad. Traffic really flows quite nicely on some of the main arteries but people in N. America would have a cow the way everyone cuts each other off. It's just the norm and people don't freek out slamming on their brakes causing an accident. Things just keep right on moving. :-)

Though I must say it's been a bit unerving at times having people slide towards me (not in front of me) and start cutting me off. I just accelerate and swerve around them. Smooth as silk. :-) When in Rome...

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too old for tests???!!
Oh no, someone should have told me!!!

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous me said...

No worries Al, I got your back. I wiped it clean for you. Not sure what the problem was.

As to your question, "why not a bike?", well, that WOULD be suicide. That and it's way to far to ride. I'd be a sweaty soaking mess by the time I got there. If it was just a ride for fun that would be no problem, even so though, the traffic would run me over. Riding a bike really is a scary idea. On a motorcycle I can at least go out around a knuckle head. On a bike I'm afraid I'd be making friends with hood ornaments. :-S

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Al Menezes said...

How about hang gliding? Jump off the nearest building and bypass everything altogether?

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous me said...

Or better yet, an ultra light. No need to climb all those stairs for take off and it's much more flexible. I could land and take of at the beach. :-)

At 11:34 AM, Blogger mrx65 said...

I got a mental picture of you looking like "terminator" riding an oversized harley terrorizing the helpless public motorists. :-)

Not sure so sure about the plane thing. 8-(

Just curious if you plan on keeping the terminator image when you take up flying. "It's a bird, no it's a plane, no it's Ken... RUN!!! :-)

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Shelly said...

The correct answer is b). :-)



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