Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh frabjous day...

...callooh, cally, he chortled in his joy.

What a great day!

I got paid yesterday for my overtime work on Chosuk weekend, and my friend Ray and I had been talking about going out to Camp Walker, one of the US Army garrisons, to see if some of the stores out there had clothes that would fit us. So this morning we did.

First, we found a little Korean-run restaurant that specializes in real, genuine, honest-to-gosh American brunch! Much as I like Korean food, give me some French toast with syrup, eggs, and coffee once in awhile. Which they did. Heaven on earth! (They also had bagels, croissants, pancakes, orange juice, and that old breakfast favorite, Kool-Aid.)

Then, in a little shop just outside Camp Walker's gate, we hit the mother lode: I got a heavy-duty winter coat, a really nice windbreaker/raincoat, and a t-shirt, all for about a hundred bucks; I know I should have haggled, but somehow it still feels like I'm using Monopoly money, and I've always hated haggling... I have to overcome that! As I expected, a lot of hip-hoppy clothing, definitely not made for a Simon and Garfunkel kind of guy. But the jackets are great.

Then, across the street, I got a bookbag/backpack for thirteen bucks that was comparable to the ones for fifty that I passed up at E-Mart. Come to think of it, the belt I bought last week from a table on the street was seven bucks, compared to E-Mart's seventeen. Hmm...

(I've found that I've had to make some compromises with my ethics about animals... the winter coat has down in it and my belt is leather. I hate that! But the fact is that it would be nearly impossible to find strictly animal-friendly clothes here. I did reject a coat that had fur trim around the collar. We do what we can.)

After that, I found a tiny shoemaker's shop. That is, the shop was tiny; the shoemaker was merely diminutive. I asked him to punch one more buckle-hole in my new belt (to make it tighter, believe it or not; it's not that I'm losing weight-- the belt's just really big) which he did, and he refused to take any money.

Then, when I got home, the guy came and hooked up my Internet! Oh, this is great. It only took a month (exactly) since I got here. I have DSL service, the visit was free and it only costs a little over 30 bucks a month. By the way, remember how I mentioned the service ethic here? The DSL company didn't say the guy would come out between eight and one or one and six... they said between one and two, and he was there by 1:10.

So this, my friends, has been one terrific day.

And yours...?

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