Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Much PC in the ROK.

I think I am becoming accustomed to Korean manners. This wasn't always the case.

A couple months ago when teachers at my school were gasping and asking, "Robert, what happened to your face!?", I was embarrassed. A few mosquito bites on my face and I was being treated like a circus freak. I replied by saying, "your country is infested with mosquitoes with superhuman strength that open doors and feast on me every night." My exaggeration was lost on them and they looked to be thinking, "mosquitoes can't open doors." The point is, regardless of the fault or blemish you may have, expect to have it pointed out by every single person you come into contact with. It's not considered rude.

Another example of, we'll call it bluntness, was during my first trip to the local gym. The first day I went to pay the fee and expected to work out for only 20 minutes because I had plans to meet some people. Kelly had joined a week earlier and failed to mention that I would have to go through a thorough physical exam after signing up. After getting my three page evaluation, the female trainer was nice enough to go through it with me. She said, "this is your weight, this your height, you have too much fat." Hello!! I simply replied, "thank you, that is why I am here." I suppose she made up for that statement later in the evaluation when she mentioned that I had "excellent balance". I assumed this was because I didn't fall over when she told me I was fat.

...Twenty minutes later when I was leaving she ridiculed me for leaving so soon. I hate that woman.

We went with some friends to a seafood restaurant in Sinchon this weekend. There are countless restaurants in Seoul with tanks of live seafood, we just haven't been to many because of Kelly's "condition" (As you may or may not know, Kelly has lied to her entire staff, claiming that she is allergic to seafood. This was to avoid being forced to eat anything she may not want to). Anyway, the experience was great. We picked a random variety platter that was on the menu, not sure of what was included. The waiters came with a wide variety of clams, scallops, oysters, shrimp, and other shellfish that I was not familiar with. They put hot coals in the pit of our table, similar to that of a galpi restaurant, and we cooked the seafood while it was still alive. Barbaric, I know, but I suppose it doesn't get much fresher than that. It was tasty, but more than that, it was fun. Actually the waiter poured an entire bowl of seaweed soup on my groin, which may have put a damper on the evening for some, but like the scars, my memory of that will fade with time.

I am looking forward to the DMZ tour on the 21st and Thanksgiving dinner in Gangnam... sweet! We are also hoping to spend Christmas in Shanghai. No, it wouldn't be like the beaches of SE Asia but it would be fun.


  1. Oh lord that is too funny!! Love reading your stories!!! Glad you guys are having such a great time!!

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