I'm posting from a PC bang ('room'), I'd like to write a long post but there's so much video game racket that I can barely hear myself think. These places are everywhere and you can use a PC for about $1US/hr.
I've been shopping my ass off, trying to figure out how much is too much for groceries and stuff. In many stores the price on the tag is only the opener. I bought a new waterproof-breathable coat for about $130 even though the tag said $330 and when you buy a certain amount of stuff they give you "service" (free gifts).
I bought stuff in a department store grocery section last night, only to find out that I could buy some of the things in my neighbourhood market for less. The difference was slight and some people prefer to go to the big stores to avoid the walking around but I enjoy the adventure of hunting through the narrow streets and alleys. There are bowls of fruit, pallets of fish, live octopus in pans, pretty much anything you could imagine. I like meeting the people and haggling over prices a bit. Knowing a microscopic amount of Korean and Konglish combined with gestures allows you to communicate a lot more than I thought it would. Heaps of fun, it's almost more enjoyable because I don't know enough Korean. Sometimes if I use a Korean word properly the listener still doesn't understand because they're expecting me to say it the wrong way. That happened last night with the lady who runs the late night store around the corner from my apartment. I said "rice?" in Korean and she couldn't figure out what I was asking for, when I found it she said "oooohh, sal!" (ohhhhh, rice!) Doh!
It's the dry season here right now; the rainy season is in mid-summer. Last night there was a rain storm so strong that it had all the sidewalks flooded to a depth of an inch or so. I started to walk home then bolted for the subway. My new coat was prefectly dry but my pants and shoes were soaked in about a minute. On the way to find the department store I discovered that there's an underground mall almost 1.5 km long partway between my neighbourhood (Jungang-dong) and the old downtown market district (Nampo-dong), that'll come in handy next time it rains.
Okay, I've written too much now and the noise is getting to me. Time to head back to the cloister. It really is a cloister too, when I post pics of my apartment you'll see what I mean. It's basically a bedroom with a kitchen in it (the kitchen is a little bigger than what I had back home!) I have a huge-ass air conditioner for my place that should be able to easily keep the place like a meat locker when the temperature hits 35+ celsius this summer (I've heard figures like 50 celsius in the open summer sun here.) The apartment also has a small, energy efficient washing machine and a fridge about the size of two bar fridges that makes almost no noise. The heat is built into the floor and it's pretty sweet.
Anyway, I'm rambling. Too much stuff crammed into my head from the past few days of wandering without writing. Pics will follow when my internet is connected.
This weekend is Lunar New Year (long weekend!) and the staff from my school are taking me out drinking on Friday. Any posts on Saturday may be brief and surly. ;)