Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bad dudes at work and getting settled at home

On my way to work LT A passed me. I was walking down the sidewalk and he was on his bicycle. He cautiously rode around another pedestrian ahead of me, then rode out of my sight. He's practically a fixture in my 10 minute commute (bed to desk). He always has his helmet and construction style orange reflective jacket over his uniform. He's a mellow guy in his late 30s - he was the one that gave me an in safety brief.

I caught up with him and greeted him as he locked our gate. He says, "good morning" back and casually asks if I saw him fall? "Oh no, I was pretty far behind you", I explained. He mentioned that he was crossing the green pedestrian crosswalk and I thought he said that a car almost hit him. He said that his heart was still beating really fast, but he appeared almost bored. It wasn't until he pulled out his dinged up steel coffee cup that I really started paying attention. He was explaining what happened to the Sargent Major who had recently joined us. A car was making a right hand turn on a red, didn't look at the pedestrians crossing and knocked over LT A on his bike. He curled up out of the way. The car ended up running over his front tire. He said he was OK and shook it off - I guess it pays to be a Navy SEAL. I didn't think to ask whether the driver stopped.

The driving around here still amazes me. My coworker and I took a break from our normal workouts, thank God, to pick up his car and run errands. It's common to see full size buses squeeze through merging cars with less than 3" on each side - only to advance 40 feet and stop behind another car at a light. Before that someone decided to do business with a guy in a van in the middle of the street. I wish I had my camera with me. I saw a motorcycle that had boxes strapped on that went a few feet higher than the riders head! My buddy says that's not unusual. The amount of swerving, merging, honking, and otherwise illegal driving astounds me.

Getting back to the home front...

1. This is the gym that my co-worker and I have been using after work. I didn't realize that volunteering to work out with him meant joining him at least four days a week for heavy lifting of specific muscle sets for over an hour. Everything's sore now except shoulders and triceps since I weaseled my way out of that today - we'll make it up tomorrow, I'm sure.

I've been playing racquetball a few days a week over lunch with other coworkers. I really need to make running a priority to prepare for airborne school. They just came back from a jump today out of airplanes and it sounded awesome! Other jumps are scheduled out of blimps and Chinook helicopters. So getting in shape should pay off big!

2. They recycle everything here! Downstairs in the garbage (recycling) area there's a place for paper, plastic, vinyl, card board, I donno - about 5 other bins. I didn't see any metals, but there are several in front that are only labeled in Korean. Like old blankets, shoes, etc. There's only one small area for what we would consider to be garbage - and they have specific bags that you have to use. Somehow the "food scraps", which looks terrible and smells worse, doesn't stink up the area - they must empty it frequently. They "recycle" that by heating and compacting it then feeding it to their animals. Maybe that's why the super cheap Bulgogi burgers are so nasty! Very cool how efficient they are here. It's a totally different mindset. For example, there are 2 garbage men that ride on the back of each garbage truck to do sorting - shredding documents is probably much more important here. Another example, on the busy tollway there were Koreans standing at the automated machines to grab a ticket and hand it to the driver. You couldn't argue that it didn't speed up the flow at all, but the concept is foreign to me. We would NEVER pay a person to operate the automated system that's there to replace him!

3. House quirks. I still have a few things to figure out - like how to open my dishwasher. Yeah, that's embarrassing. I'll have to put it on my list of "Sally" questions. YOU probably would have a hard time turning on the faucet! Another one is that I kept noticing a mild but fishy smell in my laundry room that would sometimes drift to the kitchen. I tracked it down to a pipe that seems to be venting into my laundry room from within the building outside my apartment. Humm.

3a. The weirdest thing to get used to will be my washing machine. It's brand new and high tech, with lots of buttons and such. It's actually a combo washer/dryer, which is how they come around here. The dryer doesn't really "dry" your clothes. Instead of using lots of energy to heat the air it mists hot water. The result, somewhat damp but mostly dry clothes. What surprises me the most is that it actually takes 4 hours to do this - that's what the fancy LCDs on front predict. It seems to do lots of relatively quick cycles and beep a lot in between. My laundry room includes this drop down clothes hanger rack thing. I'll have to invest in some clothes pins. I'll probably end up taking towels/blankets/sheets to the laundromat on base.

3b. Another building quirk. I've alluded to this a number of times already. The security here is insane! They have their own little mini secret service with earpieces and all! I rarely see the same guard twice - there must be hundreds, and they don't play around! A few co-workers live in another nearby highrise that's pretty nice. They only have a few security guards. Rumor has it that there's something that the ministry of defense maintains as you go upward. I guess that makes sense. Ask me in person if it doesn't.
(RFID Sliding glass door)

Update for the curious - her name was So-Hyun, pronounced "So Young" - not "Too Young", must have been my imagination. I went back and said, "Hi" last night. Hopefully there will be more to follow on this one. Oh yeah, and Austin wants to take me to the "real" clubs here. He's from LA. I'm trying to imagine how packed it must be to meet his approval.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So Nathan, what are you doing job-wise?