One thing my friend John used to comment about Korea was how corporate everything is. Sports teams here are often called by their sponsor’s name (I once saw a game between the Bears and LG) and the cellphone companies pretty much own half of commercial airtime. Despite this rampant capitalism, I’m happy to have it right now. I’m writing this from the Naver Square in Incheon airport. Naver is the most popular search engine Korea, often I’d search for something on Google and the students would be shocked I wasn’t using the source of all truth in the universe Naver. At Naver Square, you can use the internet for free. That’s right, free internet at the airport (huge deal!). Granted you’re surrounded with Samsung computers and the homepage is Naver, but you can’t beat the price and the product placement isn’t intrusive! I think it’s at Trudeau airport in Montreal, Bell has some internet computer set up (or had, a few years ago) and you paid like 3$ for 10 minutes for something absurd like that. Well done Korea!
Anyway, here I am, at Incheon international airport. I’m waiting for my flight to Taipei to board. Well, actually, I think they’re boarding right now, so I should get in line. I had a really crazy day yesterday (lost my wallet but got it back and had issues transferring my money to Canada), and I wanted to talk about that, but I think it would be pathetic if I missed my flight because I was blogging.
I just wanted to update you guys on my next step. I don’t really have plans for the next few months (Taiwan for 12 days then Malaysia then …). I’ve got a few things circled in my Lonely Planet and I’ve got a place to crash for a few nights. Beside that, it’s all in the air. It’s the first time I’ve had such an open ended trip. I’m quite excited. Oh, and I think I over packed. I hate over packing.
I’m really excited for this trip, I think it’ll be great.
Final boarding call! Gotta go!
(7 hours later)
I made it safe and sound! I’m currently at the my hostel in Taipei. The weather here is crazy hot. It’s something like 35c out in the sun. My first impressions of the city would be that it’s a bit dirty, but very spread out and interesting looking. I feel like there are really neat store in small alleys. Plaes the old people go to tell crazy stories and reminisce about old times. My hostel is in a night market, so I’ll have plenty of chances to check that scene out.
The directions to my hostel were pretty bad. And the phone number provided by the website was wrong (the woman lost her phone and changed her number, a problem that has now been fixed). So here I am, walking around, fresh off the airport bus, sweaty, trying to find this place. I asked for directions at a corner store and the woman at the counter went outside to start giving me instructions, but she saw her friends walking by. She pawned me off on them and they were kind enough to invite me to their office while we figured out where I was staying. After a few minutes, the hostel owner came to pick me up while one of my new friends was waiting with me. I was blown away by their kindness. I was also taken aback by their English. Apparently neither studied abroad, but they have great vocabulary and pronunciation. I think it would be interesting to see how the English eduction system works here (though they may be exceptions…).
Ok, I should start looking at my bag and figure out what I can get rid of. I brought way too much stuff and lugging a heavy bag in this weather is the last thing I want.