Okay so I’m not going to give the impression that Korea is all happy happy joy joy, because its not and there have been two major dark points so far – ironically both being on a similar theme. Number1. I have a 12 month South Korean Visa, however one of the requirements of the visa, is that if I stay longer than 90 days (which i very much plan to) I have to have an Alien card, thus I have to register as an Alien and in order to register as an Alien you have to have a hospital check. Hospital checks are never nice things, esepcially when you are in a foreign hospital, have no idea what anyone is staying you and are being stared at as thought you are a one legged purple elephant with pierced ears. So think of all the embarrasing things that could happen in this wonderful situation and think of ways that as a sane human being you might combat them – yes the Koreans have there single living apartments right but there privacy in hospitals could benefit on an upgrade. Not only did I have to give blood pretty much in public with a bunch of old people staring at me, I then had to pee into a cup and carry that cup (which had no lid) across the entire hospital. Luckily it wasn’t a see through cup, it was aptly labelled ‘specimen’.
Number 2. Korean toilets. The majority of the time you have western toilets, or atleast one toilet however in none of the guidebooks does it say that Koreans still use (on a regular basis) Squat toilets. They also have noise machines in the toilets… so if you want you can listen to the sound of the forest while you tinkle.
Actually I lied, there has been a third dark moment that revolves around donuts – ‘Dunkin Donuts’ the american donut company to be precise. Now Korea is full of branches of said chain and since there was one in Munsan and I was hungry I decided it would be a fairly safe place to purchase something to quash my hunger pangs… oh how wrong I was. I headed through the door narrowly dodging a small korean child and headed over to pick my donut – I love donuts – i prefer Krispy Creme however this would certainly do the trick, after several moments of delibereation over which Donut to chose and exactly to how to transport it from its donut flavour section to the counter, I arrived at the counter with my Mocha Choca something or other and tried to pay. I managed to arrange for it to be put in a bag so I could take it home and eat it where a mass of eyes would not be following my every movement however the woman behind the counter was so terrified and nervous that when I handed the money over to pay she handed it back to me with my reciept – cue awkward moment numero uno. Managed to recover from that by handing back the cash and giving her a big smile and heading towards the door. The door which despite having the word ‘automatic’ written all over it remained firmly closed… it dawned on me that I was stuck inside a donut shop, and I could be stuck forever. I did the uncomfortable shuffling thing, hoping the door would spring into action but nothing – i was starting to panic, freak out, potentially burst into tears when i noticed a little button that also said ‘automatic’… Turns out the door was automatic as opposed to manual, however the Korean version of automatic which means it opens by itself once you had pushed the button… the relief as the the door slid open, releasing me from air conned american sweetness to hot muggy korean air was unimaginable….