Last Sunday, my friends and I visited the Incheon Global Fair & Festival. This monster of an event will last 80 days and features booths from all your favorite Korean companies as well as from all around the world. While it’s essentially a trade show, it has some pretty neat booths. Chris over at Chris in South Korea has a great write up with some photos if you’re interested to see what it looks like. If you have a day off and you live around Seoul, it’s worth checking out. We got pretty lucky and we got to see a show by Korean pop-stars SG Wannabe, 2am and 2pm (yes, there are bands called 2am and 2pm) at the end of the day. I really got a kick from seeing these guys live. That’s what happens when you teach middle school.
Two things really made me laugh during our visit though. First, we had to take a taxi from the main station to the festival site since the subway station leading to the site is brand new and doesn’t feature on any of my maps. Oddly enough, our taxi driver (from the area) didn’t know where we were going. We ended up driving around for 20 minutes and he eventually had to ask for directions. The map we were given at the information center, a map created specifically for the festival, didn’t even had the subway station. Also, because it was all in English, it didn’t help our driver.
We did eventually make it though. We bought our tickets and made our way inside. The main gate has 4 or 5 entrances, one of them labelled “foreigners”. Since the foreigners’ entrance had no line, we decided to use that one. As we walked through, I noticed a camera aimed at us. After a moment, I recognized that camera as the heat detection cameras used in airports to determine if passengers have increased body temperature. I figured out that they were screening foreigners (there were no cameras at the Korean entrances) for the swine flu. I told this to my Korean friend and she refused to believe me. I actually had to run back and ask the attendants was the camera was for. “To check you for influenza.” Awesome. Obviously I’ve got a pretty big persecution complex, so take this with a grain of salt, but God forbid us dirty foreigners would bring the swine flu to the land of the morning calm.
Anyway, I just thought it was funny that they only screen foreigners at the entrance. Though, to be fair, I saw another camera at the entrance of an exhibit (but no one was maning it when we walked by). Korea’s really not that bad, I’m just a bit dramatic (and I clearly need a break from this place).