Donnerstag, Juli 26, 2007


good people

Korea seems very family friendly and social. It is all the little things that let me get a very good impression of Korean way of community life.
There are surely also some curiosities; for example the Etiquette bell at every toilet, it is a bell that makes a loud flush like sound; people press it that their own body sounds that they might make at the toilet are not shared with other people.
Then they behave like in classic Asian tourist commercials. They smile and are friendly; they keep on bowing in front of people and try to make your life convenient. I was really treated like a states guest there. I have to admit thought that it is not easy to deal with the fact that someone is bowing for you all the time, I can not get rid of a servant and devote image in my head, although it seems to be mainly respectful and courteous.
They seem to be super punctual and hard working, once a working session started 3 min late and they were all very apologetic for the disrespectful delay.
So often I got the impression there is a strange mixture between American Puritanism and Japanese busyness and hectic (not that I have been in Japan ever before). So they are friendly, rather conservative, they have churches everywhere (with neon signs saying “CHURCH” and huge illuminated crosses on top).
The American life style is copied in university clubs and societies who go out in groups on Fridays and get drunk on pitchers and pitchers full of beer, always the hand in front of the mouth when giggling, total fashion victimisations (if I draw conclusions from the window shopping I did and the adverts I saw) – but there is not much going out on Saturdays, because that would be bad for attending the religious service on Sunday morning. But going out in Sinchon on a crowded Friday evening was a tremendous experience.
Seoul has a wide and modern underground that functions well. It is not very expensive but still older people and kids can use it for free. As they have barriers for entering the underground like you might know it from London or Paris, every ticket counter has a little box with free tickets in front of the glass window of the counter. Old people and kids can go there to pick their free tickets and it seems to work and not being abused by others for free rides. The other people have kidney bean sized little cell phone straps with bar codes that they swipe at the barriers to pay their for their transportation. And as everything is focused on mobile phones – there is a mobile phone charging station in every car of the metro, 4 in each to be precise.
In addition Koreans are also very strict – guess that is the part that makes them so hard working. The Agenda for our meeting for example had every day an agenda point called “go to bed” this point was usually scheduled for 22:30.
Unfortunately I was there in monsoon period. Which means that the whole city was covered in one big cloud, the humidity was around 3728% or so and every move made me sweat a lot, despite the fact that it actually only had 24°C.

Did you have any chance to go out and party a little... I remember there was one quite special area to meet the international crowd... still lots of great memories... Seoul is a wonderful city...
yes, i was out in Sinchon, this is where the picture is from!
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