24 January, 2006

The Long Weekend

I got up early and waited all morning Friday for the phone/ internet man to come. He was supposed to come between ten and eleven, but when Liz came over at three, I gave up, and we took a taxi down to the market. When I returned around five-thirty, I found his card stuck in the door. Grrrrrrrrr

My doorbell woke me out of a dead sleep at nine Saturday morning. Grrrrrrr
It was the phone/internet man. I stared at him with a glazed look on my face while he prattled on and gestured, and I finally just handed him my landlady’s phone number. She came down, and they got the phone worked out. He then started to leave, so when I brought up the internet, there was a big to do as he had apparently been misinformed about his obligations at my place. All told, he was here for two hours, killing the small hope of a little more sleep, but the good news is that I now have a phone and really fast internet!

Sunday I finally got the ‘sleep in’ I had been denied all weekend. I spent most of the day summoning the courage to take my first solo taxi. I had a list of things to buy, and E-Mart was my destination. The taxi proved no problem. E-Mart was a different story. It was worse than the Kirkland Costco on a weekend. One, everybody in Gangneung was there. Two, I couldn’t find the carts that everyone else seemed to have, requiring me to pile everything on my huge list into a hand-basket which induced a terrific sweat in the tropically heated building. Three, the place has three floors connected with ramp-style escalators. I can’t tell you how many times I fought my way up and down trying to track down all the things on my list. And four, as with driving a car, swerving in and out, cutting people off, and passing fast on both sides without checking your mirrors are all acceptable behaviors while manning shopping carts. I literally had a woman rear-end ME with her cart, and the look she gave me made me think that I needed to apologize to HER for driving to slowly in the fast lane. I realized that my American sense of politeness and the whole ‘right of way’ thing was going to get me nowhere, so I squared my shoulders, lowered my head, and started swerving. Two and a half hours, 80,000 won, and a large paper cut later, I managed to escape with a shelf under one arm, my life, and my giant Vitakato (Vitamin Rabbit) shopping bag packed to the brim. Whew. Next time I’m taking Liz. Oh yeah, on my way out the door, I saw the carts.

No comments: