Saturday, July 29, 2006

Change of Address

There are a lot of beautiful scenes in Korea that pass by me too quickly to take a photo of, or I forget my camera. A good example of that was this morning when I was in a taxi, I saw the bridges over the Han river covered in fog. The fog was so thick that the bridges looked like they just stretched out into clouds.
This is the front of a bar somewhere, nothing unusual but aesthetically pleasing.

My old friend and flatmate Kylie is also living in Seoul. She kindly let me move into her place yesterday, because my time at Koroot was up. This is the alley where her flat is located. It's difficult to tell from the photo, but this alley is narrow and really steep. If you stand still on it, you feel like you're going to fall backwards. I want to buy a skateboard soon.

This is Kylie demonstrating correct delivery-food opening technique. You can order a whole bunch of food, side dishes and soup for about $9 and some guy on a motorbike will drive to your place in the pouring rain and deliver it steaming hot in proper dishes and with metal cutlery. When you finish eating, you just leave the dirty plates outside your front door and he comes by later to pick it up.
What happens if you steal the dishes? Well I don't really know, but when the delivery food is so cheap and delicious, why would you need your own dishes anyway?

This is a shop in Dongdaemun market where you can get your keys cut. The shop is so small that the guy stands up the whole time, leaning on the wall. He just stands there with the door closed and waits for people. When you knock on the door, he slides it open, grabs the keys out of your hand and can telepathically tell that you want them copied.

Because there are so many adoptees here in Korea, it's easy to meet people from all over the world. This is a meet-up in a bar in Hongdae. Of the 25 or so people in the bar at the time, only a few weren't adopted. We tend to get along really well and everyone has interesting stories.

For example this is Ulla from Denmark who just moved into Koroot. She's really cool and likes to drink Jagermeister. She told me that in Denmark, when it's a special occasion like a birthday or something, people drink Jagermeister for breakfast.

This is us at a club called S-Club in Hongdae. Hip hop clubs aren't really my thing, but they're common here. I've been looking for a decent techno joint for a while now.

The guy in the grey shirt is Brian. He's leaving Seoul to go back to the US soon, after spending 6 months here. I'm betting 50,000 won that he'll be back again next year.

This is Brian's goodbye gathering on the move from the bar to the club. I think the chronology of my photos haven't been uploaded in the right order. It matters not. What matters is that those two people shaking hands in the front have just met and it will probably be a long lasting friendship. Or maybe I've misinterpreted the photo and he's actually trying to steal her arm and sell it on the internet while she's about to clobber him with the umbrella.

This is Mi-Hyun (an American adoptee), me (an Australian adoptee) and Thomas (a Danish adoptee) at a noraebang (karaoke bar). The photo was a self portrait taken by Thomas's outstretched arm and so it isn't centered very well. Look how nice Mi-Hyun's smile is compared to my attempt at teeth-baring. Thomas probably had a nice smile too but unfortuneately the microphone is in the way.

Oh and I think it's time for you all to meet Stefano too. Stefano is one of the few Italian-Korean adoptees in Seoul and is quite a character and socialite. I actually met him last year when I was here. He's always full of energy, super-friendly and nice to the ladies. And he speaks with an Italian-Korean accent.

This is Stefano demonstrating the amazing ability of human flight. Or maybe he was dancing. Last year he explained to me that his heart only belonged to one woman, which was his mother, but his body is like Tianenmen Square - it belongs to everybody. Needless to say, Stefano and Eric the Pirate get along like a house on fire. Could life be anymore beautiful?

This is a typical Korean street. When you're living here, you normally wouldn't think about taking this sort of photo. But when I was in Australia just before I came here I remember that all I wanted to see was a typical Korean street on a typical day and I couldn't find one for ages.

This is a shop on the way to the subway from Kylie's place. It sells kimchi pots and they're all stacked up on the side of the road. At night, the shopowners just leave them there and apparently nobody steals them. If I use my powers of logic, I assume that it's because when kimchi is so cheap and delicious, why would you want your own kimchi pots anyway?

Well that's it for me this time! I've really settled in well here and can find my way around the city without too many hassles. The people I've met have been really friendly and helpful. During the next couple of weeks, things will gradually change as I set about getting a job and my own place. I should cut down on the alcohol a bit too, because my health insurance policy doesn't cover self-inflicted liver failure. Maybe I should just sip it slowly to make it last longer.

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