Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I have never taken the bus by myself in Korea, unless you count the airport limousine "bus". I've noticed a few buses at a stop next to my apartment, and they seemed to be going to the subway station which is about a 12 minute walk. That's not too bad in fair weather, but in the freezing cold it's a long way. Also, I recently discovered an english-language website for the Seoul Bus System. Between observations and studying this website, I determined I could ride the bus to the train station and transfer for no additional cost. I can now report, it actually works. The transfer is handled seemlessly, mainly because I have a special T-Money widget on my handphone (sorry, that's cell phone for my American friends). I remember in college in Atlanta, when you transferred from the bus to the subway you had to take a slip of paper from the driver... here it is all done electronically. (It probably is eletronic in Atlanta, too, these days).

Today at lunch I had an interesting experience. I was eating alone in the food court of my office building, and a lady and man came up to me. The lady spoke to me in English, and said that the man wanted to meet with me when I had finished my lunch, and that she would translate for us. He was the developer of our building, and wanted to talk to me about his development and his dreams. Hmmm, okay. When I finished eating, I met them at the nearby coffee shop. He is indeed the developer of not only our office building, but the entire complex of buildings surrounding the station. His dream is to have a place where Koreans and Foreigners live and work together. Apparently I am the first foreigner to live or work here, so he was eager to talk to me. We had a nice conversation, then they took me on a tour of the 5th floor public outdoor garden. Even though it is only one floor below our office, we had no idea there was a full garden and park out there - there is even a carpet golf course! Next, it seems the lady is the owner of a health club which occupies the 4th and 5th floors of the building, and we took a tour of the facilities. It was a pleasant experience. So how did they know that I was a foreigner working at the building, and hadn't just wandered off the street to eat lunch? you might ask... because I was wearing my office slippers to lunch, that's why....

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