A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Korea: dreaming of cell phones since 2333 B.C

It was near a bus station. I only saw it for a split second, and maybe the late hour and the neon glow of a hundred Korean shop signs obscurred my view, but I swear I saw a middle-aged man kissing his cell phone.

I've only been here a short four days, but I wasn't nearly as surprised at this sight as I thought I might be. Cell phone culture is so pervasive here, the things are like extra limbs. A friend of mine says in restaurants and on the bus, he frequently sees couples cuddled together watching a favorite TV show on a cell phone sized screen.

Fitness seems to be another national obsession. There's a small mountain close to my apartment with a walking trail through the forest to a small lookout point at the summit. As I was walking the trail with my boss and his son, we happened upon a small outdoor gym in a clearing, complete with a weight-bench and various balancing equipment. Maybe my inherent Western laziness is shining through, but when walking up a mountain (albeit a small one) my first impluse is not to wish there was a place I could pull over, do a few squats and bench 150.

At least there's also custard filled bread, and deep-fried meat on a stick.

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