Monday, September 22, 2008

This place is amazing

It’s Sunday evening now and I’ve done several more things today. My piggies are beginning to feel better, so I walked to PapaRotti’s coffee shop, which is a Web hotspot, and sat outside with my laptop and a bun to upload my previous post. I like their coffee and I love their buns. (Please don't take that last bit the wrong way.) The buns are addictive: big, warm, wheaty, a little sweet. Most of all, I love the block the shop is on. It feels so continental, with wide, shady walkways and a plethora of coffee shops and restaurants and little tables with umbrellas in front of the storefronts. Just on the one side of the street, there are five coffee shops: Dunkin' Donuts, PapaRotti's, Sleepless in Seattle (great name, neh?), DaVinci, and Angel-in-us. And that's not counting the Starbucks in E-Mart, across from Dunkin'. Oh, and there's a "men's beauty shop", too.

Everything was perfect, except that the laptop supposedly connected to the ‘net but wouldn’t open any pages. I'm so frustrated; I wanted the Internet at home within a day or two of my arrival; by the time I get my foreigner card, and thus can get a bank account, an Internet account, and a cell phone, it will have been over a month. Anyway, I guess PapaRotti's signal wasn't strong enough out in front of the store.

I blew my budget all to hell today; I bought some groceries and a wall clock at E-Mart, on top of the Costco trip. I need the apartment to feel like home, and that means cooking from time to time and having a few basic furnishings. I’m in living room 90 percent of the time, and I’ve sat aimlessly in front of the tv, not realizing how much time’s gone by; the clock should help. If I don't buy anything but lunch, I can get my budget back in shape by the weekend. It's two and a half weeks till my first paycheck.

When I got back from that trip, I headed right back out again for a short walk, and a half-mile to the east (the opposite direction from all my usual haunts), just past a gigantic community garden, I found an ultra-modern sports arena and a concert hall; behind that was a neon-laden neighborhood with a couple of dozen restaurants, sports bars, and hotels (including the one in the photo above). Best of all, there was a carnival area with batting cages, bumper cars, a mechanical bull, break-the-balloon and shoot-the-basket games like at a carnival, big plush animals for the kids to ride up and down on like the tacky horsies in front of K-Mart back home, and some real amusement park rides: merry-go-round, tilt-a-whirl, that big swingy-back-n-forthy pirate ship thing. But, this being Korea, it wasn’t so much a pirate ship as a dragon. If I hadn't just wandered randomly, I would never have known any of that was there.

The locals aren't really big on copyright law: that little area has Popeye's sports bar, the BMW restaurant (complete with the car company's logo), and the Prada Motel.

This place is amazing.

No comments: