Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Post-Nagasaki Whereabouts (Personal Entry)

Tomorrow (on August 1st), I'm leaving Nagasaki on a Ken-Ei bus to Fukuoka. I'll stay in the "Floral Inn" for under ¥6,000 and shop for souvenirs and presents. I'll probably also shop for a phrasebook that translates English phrases into Korean. I hope I can find one!

More to come as I go wherever I'll be. I might upload pictures, but if that process is easy enough and I'm willing to go through the effort.

Update 1: Arriving in Korea...

I left Fukuoka on a "JR Beetle" hydrofoil ferry (cuts through the strait at 50 MPH) and landed in Busan. Taxis are USUALLY cheaper but since I had such a HUGE suitcase, one of the taxi drivers asked me to let someone else drive me and the other driver told me he'd have to charge me 10,000 Won (approximately 1,000 Yen) to take me to the train station with such a large bag.

I let it go, knowing that the Korail KTX would be far cheaper than the Shinkansen anyway. I got off at GwangMyeong station where my uncle and cousin picked me up.

When they took me to the apartment where my grandma and other uncle lives, one of the cars on a toll plaza had to stop, back up, and go to the next lane because he apparently didn't have a "HiPass" and needed to pay with actual cash. I thought that was pretty bad driving manners.

It looked like he wasn't the only one with such manners right away; many other cars seemed banged up on the Korean roads, even though they were otherwise fairly new. This was further reaffirmed when I saw that the parking situation looked like the worst I have ever seen.

The parking styles were so disorganized, I took some pictures and will upload it as soon as I find a new plug adapter for my cellphone charger and other components. (Korean plug outlets do not have the same shapes! I need to find an adapter.)

I thought the driving and parking manners were such that if we only had to be 10 years old to earn a drivers' license in the US, our manners would be right on par with theirs! I would be scared Sith-less driving in Korea, unless I drove a surplus military Humvee. Those can get banged up really well before a single dent appears (provided that it never encounters an IED, of course.)

I do plan to live long-term in Korea, since much is cheaper in Japan (except for hotels, flat-screen TVs, denshi jishos, and gasoline), so whenever I move here for keeps, I'll probably get a well-used Ssangyong Musso (a large SUV that imitates a Lincoln Navigator) with LPG fuel (~800 won/liter cheaper than gasoline.) Those beasts ought to take a lot more abuse than any average car on their roads, even though the bumpers of all the cars here appear more robust than their Japanese and some American counterparts. (Necessary perhaps because Korean motorists are far more used to bumping each other!)

Ssangyong Musso here -

More to come; this note is nowhere near finished.

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