Thursday, October 11, 2007

Victory!!! and a trip to Osan


Lets first revel in my housing victory. My command really stepped up and saved me from living on base. Without getting into too much detail, my ideal place had been held for over a week and was about to go back on the market through another Realtor. After far too much effort, I was still spinning my tires with required: exception forms, briefs, signatures, etc. Everything depended on something else and there was a lot of red tape. I already knew that I was going to live off base and that it would be there! I received an email this afternoon that my request had officially been approved. Time to strike while the iron's hot! One more trip to the housing office, this time to get something done! A little bargaining, a little yelling (...getting yelled at, if you must know...), an hour later, and I was off with a smile. I'll meet Sally in the morning to get the contract and should be moved in tomorrow.

Waiting for James' wife at a jewelery store across the street

Tuesday was a command holiday. My sponsor James invited me to run errands with him to Osan. His wife and their neighbor were going to check out custom curtains. Despite the high cost of living, skilled labor is still really cheap here. For this trip I'll bullet point interesting things I saw/learned:

1. I went to where the US forces will be by about 2012. Sucks for them as it's not nearly as cool a place as Seoul.

2. They have combo cameras/radar guns that will automatically issue tickets on the highways; similar to our red light running cameras. Their locations and speeds are well known (and posted). Koreans drive like maniacs between the cameras, then traffic slows down to the speed limit. You don't have to be a PHD physicist specializing in wave propagation or have a magical crystal ball to predict the effects this will have on heavy traffic! They even sell GPS devices that have the cameras programmed in. It'll tell you how fast you're going, how fast you should be, and how far away you are from the camera. Only Korea...

3. The rest stop was an interesting experience. This one was on a toll road - the only stop for another 20 clicks. The Koreans haven't figured out that they can rip you off at a place like this (or airports for that matter). It had a food court, free bottled water, and batting cages. I kept hearing a mechanical voice saying, "Stuu-wike", "Stuu-wike". The funny part was that the nearest batter, a goofy businessman in a suit, was swinging his bat at the air. It took several double takes to catch that. I'm guessing that he was watching the next pitching machine over. Again, only in Korea...

4. "Ho-doc" - I remember the name because after fumbling over the pronunciation several times, James constructed a sentence with words that sounded like the syllables. They look like pancakes but taste like funnel cakes. The paper is to protect your fingers from the burning hot treat. They're not overly sweet, but are very tasty. I think I'm hooked!

5. I saw lots more rice fields. This one's for you dad - you should be proud that I sometimes recognize them! I don't think anyone else particularly of those father-son moments...

No comments: