Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bent Backing

Today began the moving process. We officially began occupancy of the new office, which is located on the NORTH side of a train station (that's important later on in the story). We spent a few hours packing and preparing, and while CH had to attend a meeting elsewhere, I worked with two other Korean men packing up and moving some delicate electronics items that we don't want the movers to handle. To my surprise, we loaded up three SUV's full of stuff! I was even more surprised when these men told me (in body language and Konglish) that I was to lead the convoy of vehicles to the new office! I've been there by taxi a few times, but I have NEVER driven there. The car I was driving has a GPS navigation unit, so I proudly used my limited Korean skills to enter in my destination - the train station.

Well, we arrived at the train station okay, but the navigation unit took us to the SOUTH side of the station. Minor problem you might think. You would be wrong. It is true that this is a SUBWAY train station, but unfortunately for me this is one of the occassional stations where the tracks near the station are above ground. Thus, it is nearly impossible to get from one side of the station to the other. I realized this, and cautiously began searching for a way to drive around the station. I saw a promising road, and turned onto it.

At first, this road was wide and looked normal. But as we went further and further on the road, it narrowed to 1 lane and it was clearly a private driveway serving an apartment complex. A guarded and gated apartment complex! At a dead end. By the time this was obvious, I had no idea how we were going to turn around all three cars. I decided to turn around first, and backed up into the entrance where the automatic gate was located. I was about to turn around, when suddenly 2 other cars and a BUS came along blocking us all in. The plan seemed to be for us to pull forward into the dead end area, while the other cars (who belonged there) drove into the apartment complex.

It took some time for me to realize it, but that wasn't happening. Apparently when I was backing up, I slightly bent the crossbar of the gate (no damage to the car thankfully)! It wouldn't work! We waited around about 15 minutes, during which time my Korean colleagues told me over and over again... "you don't speak any Korean - ONLY english, you can't understand anything the guard tries to say to you". Finally a maintenance man came out, opeded the hatch of the gate machine, and did something really quickly. Suddenly the gate started working again. We let the other vehicles through, then we followed. I was nervous because this guard had been previously making motions like he wanted to detain me. When I was driving through the gate, he shouted something at me... I thought I was heading to the police for sure. But instead I think he was telling me I should have the proper device put on my car so I can automatically enter the parking lot (maybe he thought I just moved there?)

After this, one of the Korean men took the lead driving position. In my defense it took him about 10 more minutes to find the way there, and in the process HE led us down a blind dead end street, too. We finally arrived at the new place and unloaded all three cars and took the gear up to the new office (which is basically a big empty room). Some shelves are being delivered tomorrow, and after the real moving day on Saturday everything should be relocated. Being ORGANIZED is another matter...


Mrs. Stumbler said...

This sounds very much like our experience trying to walk to the movie theater...same train station, right?

Mrs. Stumbler said...

PS: I like your new picture.