Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Korea Take 2

An-nyong-ha-se-yo! (hello!) A few street scenes from Apgujeong, where I'm staying. I get woken up by a jackhammer across the street at 8am each morning - they're remodeling a building. It's busy around here, and very urban. So far I'm having a blast nosing around the streets, eating meals with Hung Yut and Hwayi and their friends. However, since I'm here for another 11 days, I'm yearning to know more Korean so I can feel more confident going into shops. Hung Yut has challenged me to start studying by learning the hangul alphabet in 2 days. It's regarded by linguists as one of the world's simplest and most accessible alphabets, so we'll see. I'm going to get on it after going for another long walk and a nap. It's a vacation after all.....

The interface between humans and cars is intense, with a bit of a 3rd world orderly chaos feeling, but it doesn't really phase me at all. Click on the photo to get further into the scene.

A tango weekend planning party with Bono Bono, Hanin Salam, Mul, Odil, Whistle, Yon Mi, Hwayi, and Hung Yut. The personalities were intriguing.... Bono Bono is the quiet one, somehow striking me as a very special person, and I found myself keeping tabs on her throughout the meal. Hanin Salam has Mongolian features, a weathered face, and a humerous, witty personality. I also kept my eye on him because I felt an immediate connection to him - he often looked me in the eye, winked, etc. attempting to keep me engaged in the conversation, which is rare for Koreans because they're shy and avoid eye contact with new people. He also gave me a warm hug when he left, which is pretty uncharacteristic of the culture. Mul and Odil are getting married soon. Mul has an easy-going personality while Odil seemed more intense. Whistle is a school teacher who has a hilarious humor and keen sense of sociability - she listened thoughtfully and spoke at key points with fervor and authority. Yon Mi's face is very expressive when she speaks. She knows some english, a bit of spanish, and some french. I danced with her the first night and we had fun. Hwayi and Hung-Yut are my hosts. I find I get along fairly easily with Hwayi and really enjoy her company. Hung Yut and I have been friends for some time so we're having a blast catching up with each other.

I feel fortunate that I enjoy all the food and none of it has been too spicey for me, I'm comfortable using chop sticks (Koreans use chop sticks made of silver), and that Hung Yut and Hwayi have taken so much time to show me around. It's been a wonderful experience so far.

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