Korea: the good and the bad

Once again I seem to be neglecting my blogging duties, so guess I’m due for an update. Nothing new, so I thought I’d write a post about some of the more interesting things I’ve seen here in Korea.

Things I love here:

  • Mountain Scenery
  • Cheap, clean public transit, at least compared to the U.S. Seoul Metro is cheaper and WAY cleaner than the D.C. Metro or Chicago El.
  • National healthcare. Anyone who knows me is aware of my strong support for a national healthcare  program in the U.S., a topic I can go on for hours about. I should probably save this for another blog topic, just suffice to say that if so many other countries have pulled it off, the U.S. should be able to as well.
  • Cheap food and liquor. A decent meal usually doesn’t set me back more than 5,000 KRW (~$4.20 USD). Likewise, a group meal with side dishes and booze generally seems to run no more than 10,000 KRW/person.
  • The prevalence of food delivery. Literally any food you want can be delivered via moped to home or work (Korean food, Chinese food, pizza, even McDonald’s has a delivery service); it’s also cheap since there’s generally no tipping or minimum order amount.
  • Jjimjilbangs. Like a sauna/bathhouse with rest area that can be used as budget accommodation in a pinch.
  • How open people are here. It seems to be that Koreans don’t seem to have a lot of the hangups regarding socializing that are often seen in the West. This makes going out with a group of Koreans quite the adventure 🙂

Things I could do without:

  • The incessant air pollution. Seoul seems to be blanketed in smog most of the time, which sadly blocks many views of the pretty mountain scenery. I can’t help but wonder what effect all this air pollution is probably having on my health…
  • The humidity. The rainy season has turned every trip outdoors into a sweat-stained ordeal within a matter of minutes. I literally cannot imagine life here without A/C at the moment.
  • People driving on the sidewalk. Usually just moped drivers, but you do see the occasional delivery truck barreling down the sidewalk as well. Amazing more people don’t get hit.
  • Entertaining/annoying salespeople on the subway. Entertaining the first few times I saw one, but they get old after a while – unless you’re in the market for a poncho or a box set of Korean folk CDs.

Hopefully I’ll have some actual material for my next post!

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~ by theuncommonlife on July 4, 2010.

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