Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Korea Thus Far

I've been in Korea for about a week and a half. Seems like I've been here much longer though.
I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Lets hope it's good.

This past weekend I went down to Daegu, which I thought was my hometown. My parents both grew up there. I was even born there. But I recently found out that my mom was pregnant with me in Seoul most of the time, and when I was due, my parents went to Daegu to some catholic hospital. They mainly went to Daegu so that my grandparents could be there when I was born.
But after that, we moved back up to Seoul. This whole time I though my parents lived in Daegu, had both my sister and me, then moved to Seoul. Not the case.

Not a big deal though.

I really like Seoul's mass transit system. The subway system is super clean. It's just as clean, if not cleaner than DC's Metro. I'm not sure about Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), cause I've never seen it, but Seoul's subway system is very very clean. I noticed the subway cars are wider too, which means more standing room, and room for people to exit the car without having to crawl over people.
Look at all that space!
Me going through the gate to catch a train. (you can hear the beep of the sensor as it reads the card in my wallet)
video

Although not installed at all stations, some stops have automatic sliding doors that open up once the train stops and train doors open. Creating a barrier between the platform and the track. Suicide prevention? I think it looks neat, regardless of it's purpose. Here's a video to show you visually.

video

The buses look pretty old, but they work just fine. Not much to say about the bus, cause it's a bus.

The subway system in New York uses the Metro card, where you slide it at the turnstile. In Seoul, most people (like 95%) use an equivalent of a Metro card, except you put the card on a sensor and it beeps. It's much more eco-friendly. It can read through your wallet and some bags (purses) too.

They utilize the same system on the buses too. The cool thing is, when you get off the bus and scan your card at the sensor (they have sensors at the back of the bus too), you can ride the buses for free for an hour. So say you are transferring to another bus, you don't have to pay twice.

Despite the massive amounts of people who use public transit, the roads are always packed.
Taxis aren't yellow, but they are easy to spot.

And as always, the food is great. I'm not in a huge rush to eat everything now though. I'm taking my time cause I know I'm gonna be here for a while. Regardless, I've eaten quite well since I've been here, and have gained a little weight.

I recently joined a fitness club to try and get into shape. (keyword: try)
I'm practically obese here in Korea. I'm going on 3 days in a row (of working out). Starting June 1 till July 1 I'll have a semi-personal trainer. Whatever that means. It's so hard to lose weight when all you want to do is eat food. Especially in Korea.

I still haven't applied for Yonsei University's KLI Program yet. I should soon though. I need to send them my transcript, which I now have to airmail from Columbus, OH to Seoul, S. Korea.
There goes $40 bucks.

Assuming I get into the program, I start at the end of June, and it lasts 10 weeks. Which is cool with me cause I was on 10 week quarters at Ohio State.

I went to the office at Yonsei to get registration forms and such with my mom. The people at the office were so unhelpful it was rather frustrating. They said that we HAD to apply online.
Which in all honesty is fine with me. But, you can do it by hand if you wanted, which was what we wanted to do that day. The girl was just being lazy. I should have given her an evil eye.

Anyways, when I went to Daegu, I said that I'd be without my computer for 3 days. That won't be the case anymore. My iPod found a signal, so next time I go down, which might be soon, I will have Internet access.

If there's anything you are curious about regarding Seoul, or Korea in general, let me know.
Hopefully I know, if not, I'll investigate. Or if there's anything you want me to talk about, let me know. It will give me things to do, besides working out, before classes start.

Bye.

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