With the change of the month came a welcome change in temperature...from 34 and humid to a frosty 28 degrees, Koreans have donned their toque's and scarves for protection against the new found breeze that blows down the street. I am still in shorts and sandals as to me it's still balmy summer weather. (That trickle running down my back into my boxers is a dead giveaway!!)
After a week of waiting we have received our Alien registration cards allowing us to acquire the "essential" living staples most people enjoy. Andrea immediately acquired a cellphone and activated it....she has been going through some serious cell withdrawal (worthy of an intervention) lately and now can text and call and fiddle to her hearts content. I am still waiting for the perfect phone to come along, and as I currently have no friends, I have no need for the ol' electronic leash. Bank accounts and Internet were next on the list.
Walking into a bank in Seoul is a bit of a chore as you have options to go to a non-english speaking busy bank with crazy wait times OR a busier non-english bank where a deposit is a full day event. We walked into out local KEB bank (busy but not crazy) and immediately began to wonder why North Americans put up with standing in bank ques.... this bank, as all do here has a "take a number" approach and a room full of comfortable chairs to lounge/stay clam in while you wait for the end of time (or #198). I am usually ready to choke a teller after a 40min standing wait back in Van, but I was allowed to read and relax until it was my turn to be the illiterate wae-gook (foreigner) who hopes he is opening a savings account and not investing in kimchi exports to Bangkok....(I opened the wrong account by the way and have to go back for an hour of account reorganization day sometime soon..... good times!)
The Internet guy came early on Thursday morning and had us up and running in like 25 minutes, he had to climb outside of our three story window to run some cables...because of the no shoes indoors tradition, he carried his shoes through our living room and jumped out the window, squatted on the sill and struggled to get his shoes on....3 friggin floors up!! WTF?!?! wear your shoes buddy! seriously!
It was a stat holiday on Friday (Foundation Day: formation of the Joesun Dynasty circa 13-something) so we hit our local galbi (Korean BBQ) place for end of the week dinner and drinks!. On the way home we rushed across the 8 lane nightmare that is our main drag...the hand was flashing and 2 cabs were revving their engines ready to burn out and kill us both! Andrea got a little nervous and went for a sprint to safety, unfortunately for her..... she neglected to pick up her feet at the center line and caught her toe on the reflective line marker....(it sits about 1cm off the ground).... she swan dove across lane 5, bounced at lane 6, and was up jogging again at 7 and 8 (this all went down in a second and a half)... the water works started curbside as dumbfounded Koreans wanted to reach out and console the golden haired stranger weeping on the side of the road. She is OK but a bit black and blue (and pink in the face....sorry Ang, I had to write this!).
Friday was the Seoul International Drum Festival... an awesome 3 day drumming event with a full, hands-on drum marketplace...pure heaven... I got to sit down on a kit and suck for about 50 onlookers!! For my efforts I was presented with an apple juice box.
The night brought on the huge stage show with artists from around the globe. My personal favorite was Choi Sori a solo artiste, I will sum him up by reading his bio in the English program guide (and I quote):
.... he plays sound that express Oriental vision of the universe through his unique stick work with diverse Eastern and Western percussive instruments. He is unrivaled percussionist in Korea, being criticized that his performance gives sensation of climax to audiences and touch even the soul by his primitive and masculine beating.
We left after he was done with us, as did most of the crowd as I believe we all had to find bathrooms and clean up......
We went hiking on Sunday to a shamanistic mountain temple and Seoul's ancient city border wall...It was nice to climb up high and get some perspective to our new home...Seoul is HUGE!! We are having a riot!