Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My First Korean Misadventure: A Fishy Bus Journey

Yesterday I had my first korean mishap in trying to get to this fish market in the town that I will be posted in. Fr whatever reason the market occurs on every day ending in the numbers three or eight and as you all know I am a sucker for markets and so I hoped on the bus and wandered down the valley a half an hour from the hotel.

The Market itself was actually fairly big taking up 3 or 4 small city blocks and having maybe a hundred stalls. There was an enire row devoted to fish. Some of those fish were more than slightly questionable considering that the temperature was well over 75 degrees and there was no ice on them. Even the fish that had ice were forlornly lying on top of bags of ice and not the ice itself. I think if I were to buy fish here it would be from the giant tupperware bins that still had live fish in them. I watched three octopus trying to escape into a sewer grate only to be apprehended by a 13 year old stall attendent on the last tentacle of their journey to freedom.

I then wandered uphill in the general direction of my school complex and found it after badly asking for directions from another middle school girl using my dictionary and a lot of pointing. All schools in Korea seem to have a courtyard filled with sand about the size of a football field. Behind the school are some ungodly ugly residential towers that look like one of Stalin's wet dreams where I fear my apartment will be.

Of greater interest was the fact that the Catholic Church in town is half a block from my school. It was really easy to find because every other church in town has the same hideous steeple which is usually attached to an old factory building. The catholic church on the other hand was acceptable even if it did have hideous windows.

The inside was pretty standard Asian Catholic. So I may be a good boy and drop in once in awhile and at the very least will have a place for high holy days albeit in Korean.

I went back to the bus station and was promptly directed to the wrong bus by a very helpful bus driver. I knew something was wrong when instead of going up the left side of the valley we went right and came upon this. There were definately no three story gates over the highway on the way from the hotel. So I got out of the bus and wandered around the statue garden. Apparently there is a temple at the top of the mountain but I had a three hour walk back to the hotel and figured I could do the temple some other day. Amusingly I walked in just in time for orientation icebreakers games providing further evidence that in a past life I killed many many kittens.

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