Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 16th-18th


I'll start off with some Konglish from my Goshiwon to make Joen lol^^.
'No smorking allowed!' ^^
@Joen, Before I edited it, the last blogpost ended in 'meat here' ;)

Anyway. I'm glad you are enjoying this blog. I didn't expect anyone to actually read it up until now, except for my mom and Joen, who are my biggest stalkers ever. I was thinking about ending it, but it's only 2 more weeks, so I'll keep up the daily update;)

When you read this, do keep in mind I started this to let my friends back home know what I'm doing here. I didn't expect anyone else to read this. So it started with some inside jokes and as they know me, they knew I can be quite ironic/sarcastic or overreact at times, so not everything is as serious as it might seem. So Sunny, if I misunderstood things or made wrong conclusions, that's part of the reason. Also don't forget that this is my first time in Asia/Korea and the only facts I know about Korea is through drama and friends, so some things are just hard to grasp correctly for someone born and raised in Europe. Also I tend to generalize a lot, but as everybody knows you can't generalize an entire country since every person still has his/her own personality and background. I'm just stating what I think, experience, feel, so if it's wrong in any way, just do correct me. After this blog I will read your message and update the things that are needed.

Ok where were we. Right. Friday. I told you about the cellphone system, didn't I. Well on friday I went out to get myself a second handed phone. As I got in contact with a guy, who knows a guy, who knows me ;), I could get my hands on a second handed phone quite cheap. He offered 2 versions. 1 were actually free and the others were 10.000 won. I took the 10.000 won version, since it was better and I could watch tv on it ^^. I dunno if I will use it, but I would just have it. If you didn't know, you can watch tv everywhere in Seoul for free. I'm not sure about outside of seoul, but at least inside seoul you can use it as much as you want. Well at least until the battery dies out anyway. So if I ever have a long subway ride, I could watch the weather forecast or whatever and get my umbrella ready if it would be needed, because with the rainy season kicking in, you never know <_<. Ow btw, he was from the netherlands (They really are everywhere aren't they ;). I even met some in Lithuania.), but this made the conversation a bit easier. So if you ever would go to Korea, let me know and I'll get you in contact with him if you want. There is also the option of buying a cellphone yourself, but if your Korean isn't too fluent, I wouldn't advice buying a phone yourself, they will spot you in an instant and rip you off. Like they were about to do with my friend who came along to get a second handed phone as well. Since he wasn't 20 years old yet (International age), the guy couldn't give him a contract and since I already have a contract with SKTelecom, I couldn't sign the contract for him, because you can only have 1 cellphone per passport per company. I know this sounds really complicated (and it is), but if you think about it, it's actually quite a good system, since (I think) it's not really worth stealing someone's phone. Since it's registered with your passport, you will not be able to do anything with it and according to my friend, they even have something in it to trace it down if you do use it (I don't believe him though, but it could be right). So we went to look for another company to get him the contract, but when we entered some of the other stores the cheapest price started at 50.000 won, and the phone I got for 10k, was about 100k at that shop, but I guess this is everywhere. Prices at shops are always much higher than the real prices of their articles. You could probably get a discount if you asked for it, but still, you can never get it at the rate I got it. (I got lucky ^^. Still not sure though if the guy was just really friendly or if there's a catch somehow, but since I didn't give him any information except for my passport and since I'm using a prepaid system I don't see how he could benefit from it).

Ow btw, most phone have a dictionary and subway map included. Which is SOOOO helpful, so if you would go for a phone, do ask for it, because you can get a long way with it. Busses are something different..., but the subway system is really easy to use. If you ever get lost in one of the bigger cities, just ask for the nearest subway station (You can use the dictionary for this), go to that station and use the subway map system in your phone to go home. You still have to be in the same city though... and know your own subway station... But if you do, you will get home without any problem ^^

After getting the new cellphone and eating some kebab/durum <3. I had missed this... and since we were at the only place in Seoul (that I have heard of), where they sell it, I couldn't resist not buying some. The place is called Itaewon btw. A place with a lot of foreign shops/resto's/people. So if you wanna feel more at home ;) Go there ^^. Most of them are American I think. They even thought I was American at first, since most people think every foreigner is from America (probably because most of them are...). So after getting the phone and eating a snack I went to the train station to go to Daegu, which is in the south-east of South Korea. The train station is a bit more organized than it is here. You chose your train type, which practically means how fast they drive. The time I would spend on the train would be 4,3 or 2 hours, depending on which train I would chose. To drop the cost you can also chose for a standing space. With a standing place you still get assigned a wagon, but it's on 'first come first served'-basis, so you might still get a place to sit. Anyway. I got on the KTX which is the fastest train (The slowest was full until 9pm and I didn't want to arrive at 1am <_<). As with most public transport in South Korea, this was quite cheap compared to our system or especially UK's...

I met with Jueon and her friend and we went to this resto, where they actually told us they were going to close in about 10 minutes, so would be the last costumers. I was actually surprised about this. In Seoul everything is open 24/7! (It's not though, but you can always find a place to eat if you want at any time, without any trouble, especially where I live). After that we went to 찜질방 (jjimjilbang), which is a kind of Korean sauna, but it's more than that. I'll tell you how mine looked like, but there are a lot of them and they might differ. We payed 7000 won (which is 4-5 euros), which is like nothing and you get a lot. At first both genders are separated and you get your own uniform and key, you then put your stuff and clothes in the locker and change into the uniform. At this place there is the possibility to shower (this is without any shelter, like you would experience in any team sport), but you really have everything you need. I don't know why I brought it all. There is soap, shampoo, razors, towels, gel for your hair, ear picks, a hairdryer, ... Is there anything you'd want more? A tv maybe? Well there was one just outside the actual shower ;). Inside you had the standard shower we are used to in Europe and the lower showers, where you sit on a stool when showering. I've heard that it's not abnormal that people wash each others back. I've not seen it, but I wouldn't be surprised. When you looked aside you could see 2 'big' pools, 1 with really hot water (I expected it to be hotter though, because everybody always says how it's quite unbearable to get in. Maybe Japanese are hotter, dunno) and 1 with cold water, where you could relax after your shower. When you are done with your makeup, just kidding ;) When you are done washing up, you get back into the uniform and go to the common room. There you can see a lot of things, but basically a lot of people sleeping, since you can sleep at these kind of places too. A lot of people come here to get some peace and quiet from there busy lives. The only thing is, that you only get a wooden brick for you pillow and the floor is your bed ;) It's quite the experience would Jueon's friend say and it is. You can rent a blanket, but that's as far as sleeping places get. If you looked passed the sleeping people on the ground you could see a room with massage chairs a place where you could get a massage, an inner garden with a small fountain (I think. Well it was peaceful, I can't remember if it had one, but that's not really important.), a sauna and an oven. Yes an oven, well at least it looked like one. It was a small door about half a meter high, with a small window and it looked like it had fire inside. When we looked closely this was actually the real sauna, but we didn't want to go in since it was quite hot to even open the door... I saw this family going in, with this little girl among them and my immediate thought was that I would never see her alive again... So we went to the other sauna, which apparently was cold inside instead of warm ><. The only other thing you could see was a place to get something to eat or drink ;). Sitting in the cold 'sauna' Jueon's friend (Sorry, I forgot his name again><) dared us to go inside the really hot thing for 5 minutes, so we did (Btw the girl got out safe and looked happy ^^). Apparently this was an actual oven... It was this really high room, I think about 2-3 stories high and it was blazing hot (75 degrees). So it was quite difficult to breath when we got inside, but after a few minutes you get used to it and it feels rather good to be there, so after cooling down after a while, we went back in for a longer period ^^. You actually felt clean after coming out and relaxing in the cold sauna. Which actually had snow on the pipes btw ^^. So I did see snow in Korea ^^. Even in summer! :D Really relaxed we tried to sleep, but that didn't go too well. You can imagine snoring people, getting kicked in the face because people move in their sleep and I even got a wooden brick shoved towards me. I don't think this was by accident though -_-. After a while you get used to it though, so I would recommend going to such a place. Remember we only payed 7000 won/person? Now think about sauna prices in Belgium... To girls I should give this warning though. I heard from a friend that girls can get harassed by older men at night and that her friend experienced this before when she went to such a place, so keep this in mind. I still recommend going to it though, maybe not to sleep there.

On saturday me and Jueon went to Aphsan mountain (앞산). Finally some nature ^^. Since we didn't had the proper shoes to go on, we stopped halfway at this resting spot which had benches, cups to drink from the small river that was flowing there and a mirror... Yes a mirror... I was glad to finally had a walk in one of Korean's mountains and get some rest from the crowdedness of seoul. After the walk we went to the cinema's, which is basically the same as in Belgium, except it has different subtitles ;). We, or well I, because someone fell asleep ;), saw Knight and day. Quite the funny movie, so if you are at the cinema's and don't know which one to see, go for that one. It's quite over the top, which makes it quite less realistic, but that's what makes it funny ^^. That night I slept at a hotel, which was cheaper than it would be in Europe, you also got a lot more, but you didn't have a key, so it was just for sleeping only I think. I dunno how hotel rooms for about 20 euro's are, but I got a big ass screen tv, a computer with internet connection, a air conditioner, fresh water, everything you would need to wash up, a cellphone recharger, etc...

Since I couldn't take any later train, I had to go home at noon already, so we couldn't do much more on sunday and went downtown to eat and went to the train station. Since I didn't had a tablet to write on, I couldn't do my homework, so as usual I just slept, thought about life a bit and watched the people. I was back at 4pm already, but I didn't feel like doing much at the time. The entire class went to this japanese resto at 5, so I could make it if I'd run, but I was kind of fed up with not being able to have a normal conversation. This is no offense to anyone, but always ending up in groups where I can't understand anything just got to me, it's already difficult as it is, to actually join a conversation in a group in dutch, so let alone if you can't understand anyone. I don't understand how people can cope with this, so it made me feel a bit homesick, so I just went home for a quiet evening, but listening to my old music and talking to some friends again and reading your comments made me feel much better ^^. Thanks! @Jueon: This doesn't mean I didn't have a great time with you during the weekend. It's just a pity that I'm still this bad in Korean or it could have been much more fun.

Hmm... 9.35pm already <_<. Time to eat and study : )


  1. "Time to eat or study" - you soudned so KOrean just now :DDDD

  2. improved your engrish, you did, young padawan! ;)
    skype ga wrs ni door morgen, pie moet zijn vader gaan wegbrengen morgen... dus ik wet ni offek dien nog gon zien. en wij missen u ook ze gast, vrijdag bbq (me veeeel vlees;)) ga ni etzelfde zijn:(;)